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Ten Great Comedies

This month the 10 Great section is all about the laughs. I did my best to pick out ten comedies that are probably off your radar, but I'm pretty sure that there is something in this group for everybody. If you are feeling really ambitious you can rent them all on 2 for 1 Wednesday (although Scarecrow takes no responsibility for laughter related injuries).

Johnny Dangerously
My family has been quoting this film for nearly three decades! Johnny Dangerously tells the story of Johnny, a good natured newsboy who rises to the top of the crime world in 1930's New York. In addition to being a spot-on parody of the 1930's gangster genre, it is a finely honed joke delivery system which I personally vouch for. Although the star of the film is Micheal Keaton, the ensemble cast deserves just as much credit. If you don't laugh at least once during  this film you may need to see a doctor.

Fear of a Black Hat
I'm going to preface this by saying that I have zero knowledge of hip-hop or rap music history, and I find this movie hilarious.
My friends (who are considerably better educated on the subject) also love it. It has been called the Spinal Tap of rap (Spinal Rap?) and in my opinion it is just as funny as TISP) Fear of a Black Hat is the story of up and coming rap group N.W.H.. It chronicles their history, their feuds, and their battles with censorship. What I love most about this movie is that the more I learn about rap history, the funnier it gets. If you don't mind some bad language you'll probably love this film too - if you do mind bad language, I suggest Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Real Life or Take the Money and Run.

Yellowbeard
With a script penned by British comedy legends Graham Chapman and Peter Cook, and an international cast of comic geniuses ranging from Madeline Khan to Cheech and Chong, Yellowbeard is not only a great movie, but also a great pirate movie! Fans of Monty Python will adore the offbeat humor - and there's even a secret, uncredited, David Bowie cameo. How can you not have seen this already?
 

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Micheal Caine plays Lawrence Jamieson, the suavest, most sophisticated con man on the French Riviera. Steve Martin plays Freddy Benson, a scheming American lowlife who wants to learn the ropes of high society scamming. What starts out as an uneasy friendship quickly escalates to an epic rivalry when a ditsy heiress enters the picture. This film contains some of Steve Martin's greatest moments. Interestingly enough, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a remake of the movie Bedtime Story, where the role of Freddy is played by Marlon Brando and Lawrence is played by David Niven. I've seen both versions - and there is a reason I picked this one.

Amazon Women on the Moon
Like its predecessors, The Groove Tube and Kentucky Fried Movie, Amazon Women on the Moon is basically a collection of short sketches tied together with a loose, unlikely, premise. I like this movie because it offers so many different kinds of comedy - sure, some of it is dated, some of it is politically incorrect, and most of it is unabashedly goofy - but you don't always need a whole story to make you laugh, sometimes you just want hear some jokes.

Take the Money and Run
Woody Allen films aren't for everybody, but Take the Money and Run is one of his best comedies. Filmed in a psuedo-documentary style it tells the story of Virgil Starkwell, a hilariously inept bank robber. I saw this in a drive-in when I was a kid and it had me howling with laughter. I watched it again recently and it holds up excellently. I might not have howled this time - but I did laugh loud enough to scare the dog.

Real Life
Writer/Director Albert Brooks plays a neurotic TV producer determined to document the daily life of an average American family in this weirdly prescient 70's comedy.  If you watch reality TV at all, you know that the show producers are constantly working behind the scenes to keep things interesting, Brooks' attempts to keep the family together and realize his dream start off well-intentioned, but by the time the movie is over he has spiraled into hilarious madness.


Blazing Saddles
When was the last time you saw Blazing Saddles? If your answer is NEVER, then you must rent it now. Yes, the humor is crude, yes, there are more fart jokes than
are strictly necessary for the progression of the narrative, and yes...a horse does get punched in the face. The only thing wrong with this movie is that it contains a pie fight. I have never thought of pie fights as being important to comedy, but apparently Mel Brooks feels differently. Who am I to question the opinions of an expert?

Idiocracy
Long story short. A guy volunteers for a time travel experiment, and wakes up in a future where only stupid people exist. This movie lampoons everything from corporate culture to advertising, and while some might call it mean spirited, I prefer to think of it as a barbed commentary on where our society might be headed. This movie is as laugh provoking as it is thought provoking.

Good Old-Fashioned Orgy
This movie is kind of a hard sell (no pun intended), but is absolutely one of the sweetest, most sex-positive films to have come out in ages. The basic plot is that  a group of close friends decide to have an orgy - and despite the awkwardness and general weirdness, they end up having a good time after all. It isn't a movie you should watch with your parents or kids, but it isn't a movie that is trying too hard to be sexy either. It is just a good old-fashioned sex comedy starring some really talented people.

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