Greatest Comedy Films #7 & #6

#7 A Shot in the Dark

“François, I just cut off my thumb.”

Ah, Inspector Jacques Clouseau when played by the great Peter Sellers. Clouseau is perhaps the dumbest person on earth, and in this the only Clouseau movie without the words “Pink Panther” in the title, and thus it is ironic that it is the best of the Pink Panther movies. I’m not entirely sure who deserves more credit for this moment in insane comedy, Sellers as Clouseau or Blake Edwards as the master of comedy behind the camera, but when these two men collaborate, even at their worst (see Revenge of the Pink Panther).

Clouseau the investigator who has never solved a crime. Clouseau, the master of disguise who never fooled anyone. Clouseau, the master of martial arts who only is able to defeat his trusted (?) assistant Kato, who is constantly out to kill him. Clouseau, the man who drives his boss Dreyfus to self-mutilation and homicide. The only thing Clouseau is really good at is providing an endless stream of laughs while investigating a murder.

#6 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

“Oh, he’s very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.”

Let me speak anathema. I’m not overly impressed with many of John Hughes films. Sixteen Candles, Uncle Buck, and Planes, Trains & Automobiles did nothing for me, and I was utterly unable to sympathize with any of the characters of The Breakfast Club (and we’re not even going to talk about some of the shit he wrote beyond saying that if it wasn’t for Hughes we would never have been tortured with hell that is Macaulay Culkin). But as much as his works clearly did resonate with me as much as the rest of America, there is no denying the greatness of Ferris Bueller. Maybe it’s just the beauty of the image of a smart-ass getting everything he has worked for (and make no mistake it’s not that the world just opens to him without effort, he works for all of it), but there is just something unbelievably beautiful about the way Ferris Bueller lives his life and looks around once in a while. Ferris is an embodiment of what individualism and hard work will get you (and he does work hard, he just doesn’t work hard at what society wants him to, “It’s a test on European socialism. I’m not European; I don’t plan on being European. So what do I care if they’re socialists. They could be fascist anarchists; it still wouldn’t change the fact that I don’t have a car.”)

The comedy credentials of this film do not even need to be described…while I don’t think this is the funniest film of all time it is certainly one of the best known films. It would probably make the top 100 list of film buffs and philistines, those who know movies by the boat load and those who only know a handful. Honestly if you don’t love this movie then either you’ve been living in a cave or are quite possibly mentally unhinged (there are few other excuses for not loving this film). So I won’t wax long on its comedic effect.

However there are some things that recent events have brought up to me some other lesser appreciated points of this film.

First off is the lesson in economics that it is too sad that many did not learn. That government interference through higher taxes and more regulation leads to depressions, also that people named Bush know less than nothing about economics. The utter lack of flair and style is part of its charm.

And of course there is the issue that half this film is people whining about “It’s not fair.” Why does that sound familiar?

“Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe Ferris isn’t such a bad guy. After all, I got a car, he got a computer. But still, why should he get to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants? Why should everything work out for him? What makes him so goddamn special?”

Oh that’s right because the movie goes out of its way to show that people who worry about what’s fair or not that other people get things that they don’t. The clear message of the movie is that those who worry about others are pathetic and the people who only worry about their own lives are not just the ones to be admired, but the ones who actually enjoy life.

And let us not forget it probably has some of the wisest words ever uttered on film:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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Filed under Art, Humor, Movies

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