20. A Fish Called Wanda
directed by Charles Crichton
It’s rare when comedies win Academy Awards, but nobody deserved it more than Kevin Kline when he won Best Supporting Actor in 1988 for playing Otto West in A Fish Called Wanda. Even more impressive is how the film juggles so many genres while serving as a knowing commentary on British and American styles of humor. It’s a romance, heist, and comedy all in one. The humor is dark and biting. The characters are sympathetic and conniving. Jamie Lee Curtis has never been as funny as she is here. Monty Python fans will enjoy the witty screenplay by John Cleese and the droll performances from John Cleese and Michael Palin. The bile Otto West spews upon Palin’s stuttering Ken Pile makes his comeuppance all the sweeter. Only the dated score by John Du Prez full of wonky synthesizers, saxophones, and Spanish guitar solos hurts the film. A Fish Called Wanda is the funniest comedy you’ve never seen.