Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Formative Comedies

Most everyone has a list of favorite movies. Here’s a list of my favorite “modern-era” comedy films (in no particular order):

  1. Airplane! (1980). There’s one gag after another in this spoof of disaster flicks. You might say, “Surely you’re not serious!” to which I’d reply, “Yes I am, and stop calling me Shirley.”

  2. National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978). John Belushi and his fellow frat brothers from Delta House attack just about every college tradition. Go ahead and put me on “double-secret probation” for this choice, but everything runs amuck in the college whose founder’s most memorable utterance is “Knowledge Is Good.”

  3. Caddyshack (1980). Welcome to Bushwood Country Club, where golfing is turned into pure anarchy. My favorite subplot is groundskeeper Bill Murray’s never-ending quest to rid the course of a gopher that’s way wilier than he is.

  4. Blazing Saddles (1974). The frontier town of Rock Ridge is about to be blown off the map to allow the railroad to run through it, but the town and its citizens (all of whose last name is Johnson) are saved by an unlikely sheriff and a has-been gunfighter. Just plain silly.

  5. Young Frankenstein (1974). Like Blazing Saddles, another hilarious Mel Brooks flick. Dr. Frankenstein (“that’s 'Fraunk-en-steen'”) leaves his gig as a medical school professor, claims his family's estate in Transylvania and creates a monster of gigantic proportions. Marty Feldman is especially funny as Igor ("that's 'Eye-gor'"), and the mention of Cloris Leachman’s character’s name has an unusual effect on horses.

It just dawned on me that all of these films are from my so-called "formative years" -- the mid-‘70s and early ‘80s – which might explain a few things about myself. I’m sure there have been many laugh-out-loud movies since then – and definitely before then -- that I’ve seen, but I don’t recall them as well as I do these movies. And, this list doesn’t include some of the early Marx Brothers movies, which I love.

What comedies are on your laugh-out-loud, rolling-on-the-floor list? What movies did you particularly enjoy during your “formative years”?


Karen said...

Great - now I have this urge to make my mouth droop on one side and approach people saying, "Cannonballllll....Cannonball comin'..."

Great list, Bob - we obviously grew up in the same era.

Chris said...

Zoolander (2001) It doesn't matter how many times I see this movie - I still laugh long and hard. My favorite scene is when the car blows up at the gas station. What does that say about me?

Disco Stu said...

My formative comedies are the 'Burbs (1989) and Clue (1985). I have quoted these movies into oblivion and they still never lose their ability to launch me into fits of red-faced, tear-streaming laughter! A movie that is a close third is Weekend at Bernie's (1989), especially when Richard and Larry can't figure out what that mysterious "Bong" sound is whenever they pass a buoy, only to discover that Bernie isn't on the boat anymore ..... I lose it every time.

Anonymous said...

I've watched Men in Black at least fifty times, and still find it fiendishly funny in big and little ways. Too many funny things to mention, but for example, when Rip Torn introduces the tentacle twins, "Veepywoprejknd . . . and Bob." Or when Linda Fiorentino (coroner) is tricked into keeping the cat by a cop and she says "I hate the living."

Karen said...

A favorite with my entire family is "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." I'm pretty certain I can recite the entire movie, start to finish. When my niece and nephew were very little, they would pretend to tap their wristwatches impatiently and whisper, "I gotta GO," just like Steve Martin in the opening scenes. My parents, who are in their 70s, are particularly fond of the "You're going the WRONG WAY" scene. Something for everyone and a movie that's made me smile for decades.

Anonymous said...

"PUT THE CANDLE BACK!" Young Frankenstein should have won the Oscar.

Anonymous said...

I love spoofs and Young Frankenstein and Dragnet (with Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd) are among my favorites. But I guess my all time favorite spoof movie has to be Spaceballs. So many great lines (May the Schwartz be with you!) and a terrific cast including John Candy, Daphne Zuniga, Bill Pullman, Rick Moranis, and Mel Brooks. I've watched it so many times I can recite the dialog and I still laugh every time I watch it!

Anonymous said...

Moscow on the Hudson is a favorite of mine. Robin Williams is a saxophone player with the Russian circus, which is touring America, who decides to defect. In Bloomingdales.

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