Top 50 Comedies (35-31)

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11 Responses

  1. Darin says:

    Only one of mine have made the list so far and that was way back with BRINGING UP BABY. That being said I really agree with the results so far.

  2. Robert says:

    32/31 made me instantly rework the ending of Fargo in my head.

  3. Caleb says:

    That’s the perfect image from Fargo for this list!

  4. BJ says:

    I have voted for two that have made it on the list and I am thrilled for that. I know that my number one will not make the list, but I am okay with that.
    PS: I almost voted for either Philadelphia Story or Bringing Up Baby, but I didn’t feel super strong about the vote, so they got pushed off my list.

  5. Steveb says:

    I have to say, I disagree with both Fargo and Royal Tenenbaums being on this list. Both are up there as some of my favorite films (Tenenbaums may be in my top 10), but I would never consider them comedies. If this list were the 100 “funniest” films of all time, I would have no problem with them making the list.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      As someone who considers The Sopranos one of the all-time funniest TV shows, I get where you’re coming from but I disagree. It’s entirely possible to view both of these films as comedies first and not lose any impact.

      – David

      • Steven says:

        *Despite the different name, I’m the same person as above. I’m just dumb and initially spelled my own name wrong*

        To me (and this is the first time I’ve thought about this so forgive me if it’s not fully formed) everything in a comedy should be in service of something comedic. That can obviously take many forms which is why there are so many sub genres of comedy and so much debate about what comedy is/can be (re: this discussion).

        **SPOILERS AHEAD***

        For example: A lot of the horrific stuff that happens in Fargo is comedic. Kristin Rudrüd’s foot sticking out of the wood chipper is both disturbing and really funny (specifically how her foot still has a sock on). But there is nothing funny to me about Harve Presnell’s death. Its not in there to set up a “joke”. If anything, his death is the Coens saying “Oh you think this is funny? Well how about now!? Not laughing now are you?” Same for Royal Tenenbaums. What is comedic about the way Luke Wilson attempting suicide is presented?

        Murder, suicide, many other normally dark, tragic things have been used for comedy to great effect. I just don’t see a consistency in how those elements are used in Tenenbaums and Fargo. I don’t see them being used in service of something comedic.

        • Battleship Pretension says:

          This is far too restrictive a definition. So does When Harry Met Sally stop being a comedy because it’s sad when they have a falling out? Does any movie with a plot get disqualified for moving the story forward without making a joke? It sounds like you’re saying that only things like Airplane, Anchorman, They Came Together, etc. count as comedies. I will implore you to do what I would implore every potential comedic filmmaker to do. Look to Annie Hall.

          – David

          • Steven says:

            I have never actually seen When Harry Met Sally but I would say that the sadness in Annie Hall is informing the comedy. When Alvy Singer makes a self deprecating joke, we understand it partly as a response to the sadness he has gone through.

            I think part of the issue here is the use of violence in comedy. I remember hearing Bob Odenkirk talk about how he never wanted to have a gun used in a sketch on Mr Show because he thought you can’t make a gun funny. Now while I don’t agree that a gun can’t be funny, I think there is something to the idea of violence being a tricky area in a comedy. I think that’s why when its used in comedies, it is often taken to a such cartoonish levels. Truly upsetting violence is such a hard thing to turn around and make funny, as least to me. I am not saying the violence itself has to be funny or not without emotional weight; it can be as dark and disturbing as anything in any other genre of film. But is it’s purpose to inform something comedic? Is it bringing me down so it can pull me back up with something comedic? Comedic to me doesn’t necessarily mean a gag or a punchline; it is much more nebulous and I don’t even know if I can articulate it right now.

            I believe the a lot of the violence in Fargo and Tenenbaums is meant to upset me but too often does not use me being upset for comedy. So while Fargo and The Royal Tenenbaums will for me always be great films, they just don’t make great comedies.

  6. andyluvsfilms says:

    Hot Fuzz is my favourite of The Cornetto Trilogy, it’s funnier than Shaun I would say.
    Fargo is wonderful and very rewatchable, Buscemi is just great in the bar scene when he first meets Jerry Lundegaard.
    As for Tenenbaums, my favourite Wes Anderson film, makes me both laugh and cry, sublime.

  7. Robert says:

    Fargo and Tenenbaums can never be disqualified as comedies, given how often they’re clearly intending us to laugh. But they are both such rarified, specific and idiosyncratic comedies by guys who clearly and confidently know exactly what they’re trying to accomplish, and do, that they can get away with throwing extremes into the mix. They do it in different ways, obviously: the Coens are generally going for shock-funny with their violence – in a way that’s surface similar to Tarantino – while Anderson, when he does use violence, is clearly going for a complete and different emotion altogether in those moments – real life violence intrudes on what was usually up to that point only thickly melancholy (dog gets arrow in Moonrise Kingdom, Ned’s death in Life Aquatic, the kid in the water in Darjeeling, etc.), and the effect, to me, is to give the melancholy a basis in full-on sorrow so that it doesn’t (as it does sometimes anyway) remain simple solipsistic navel-gazing. Man, do I admire the ability of these particular filmmakers to pull this stuff off time and time again. And, David, I’ve never heard better advice given to hopeful creators of comedy than to make Annie Hall their bible. It remains my favorite comedy.

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