Category Archives: Humor

April Fool’s Day Politics…the only sane response…

It has become clear that the nation has a lot of idiots and a lot of lunatics. Far too many in fact. I think it’s safe to say that sane intelligent people are the minority. But worse is that the dim and loons are so fragmented that they will never get along with each other. Sadly the only choice is to carve up the nation into different factions. Nothing less will do if we want to avoid the bloody business of civil war (who are we kidding even carving it up will still lead to some war, but we’ll get to that later).

I think due to the myriad of candidates we have had it’s fair to say that we can judge exactly which groups there are out there and each head of these groups will be the new chief executive of each new nation.

I propose a distribution that follows the following map (we can of course do some swaps of individual counties but these more or less follow the population distribution of support for each given candidate).
The new nations and their chief executives are as follows

People’s Republic of New England–Premier Bernie Sanders
The Trump Empire–The Divine Emperor Donald Trump
Progressivania–Prime Minister Hillary Clinton
The Confederate States of ‘Murica–Pres Ted Cruz
The Neoconservative States of America–President Marco Rubio
Lower Canada–Best Bud John Kasich
The Anarchic States of Fuck You–First Citizen Rand Paul (let’s be honest “libertarians” are a fairly anti-social bunch and would want to make it clear that non-libertarians are not welcome)

usa50out.png
Now this break down does a few things. It gives everyone access to a major water way to everyone.  It protects all the xenophobics from having to touch those evil, evil brown people.  It keeps Trump in the traditional home of racism. It keeps the neoconservatives with access to both oceans as they the only ones who will actually want to defend the oceans. Granted the NCSA has more oil but it has less infrastructure and farmland. The Trump Empire and CSM more factories and infrastructure but their economic policies will solve that shortly.  PRNE has more rich white liberals, but they’ll move when they have to live through what they advocate (or at least try to). The ASFU is colder and doesn’t have much, but the residents will be too stoned to care (not that everyone there will be a drug addict but the contact high alone will effect everyone).

So the only thing that’s really to divvy up is military infrastructure. I think Air Force, Army, and Marines can be equally divided up, but Trump, PRNE and ASFU should not have a Navy (libertarians have no use for it, Trump and PRNE wants nothing to do with those dirty foreigners, not to mention I think we all fear they would want to spread their evil). Progressivania, The CSM, and Lower Canada can each have one carrier group to defend themselves and still feel relevant, the other 7 groups will go to the NCSA as they’re the only one who will want to use it for the defense of liberty around the world.  Nuclear weapons will be divided in similar fashion (we can all agree the commies and fascists can’t be allowed to have nukes, if the libertarians want some they can have them some, but they won’t.)

Two years will be given for everyone to move to the state they want…most of the nation’s people won’t bother because most of the nation thinks politics is pointless and has no effect on their lives…they will soon learn the error of that mistake.

So let’s talk about the changes to structure of the Constitution and policies each government will put in place.

The Anarchic States
The Anarchic states will at first change their Constitution to guarantee private property rights to such a degree that even Adam Smith and Milton Friedman would be worried.  Of course they will also abolish all forms of patents and copyrights as modern libertarians hate those things…drugs being legal is a given.

Initially there will be boom of economics followed by a crash as no major companies will actually want to stay in a place where their copyrights and patents aren’t protected (and few foreign trading partners will want to have anything to do with them either with such little protection for IP beyond the sale of basic goods).  Further as there will be no bureaucracy to register property or marriage or anything like that the Anarchic states will soon find their economy looking like former Soviet Bloc nations that had similar lack of government infrastructure.  Initially the residents will not notice as they’ll be too high (either by choice or the contact high) but as the place stops looking like a frat on an early Friday night and starts looking more and more like a used crack den what little economy is left will disappear.

A few of the more intelligent libertarians will pragmatically realize they’ve gone too far and some government needs to be put in place but the rest of the body politic will be too stoned to care and the intelligent will try and move to Lower Canada, Murica or the NCSA.

People’s Republic of New England
The Constitutional protection for private property will of course be abolished…but will be replaced with a right to free healthcare, free education for however many graduate degrees in things like feminist basket weaving and privilege studies you could wish, free housing, guaranteed employment if you want it but a living wage no matter what, guaranteed 20 weeks vacation, guaranteed medical leave, parental leave, leave for days when you just don’t feel like it, and a constitutional guarantee that you will be loved.

Of course a welfare state that would make Mao think it was a little crazy will be immediately put in place.

This will of course lead to complete and total economic collapse that will make Venezuela look like a vacation resort.

Like most virulently socialist regimes they’ll soon try to compensate for this loss of income by invading other nations.  But as the libertarians to the North and the fascists to the West will be too gun happy they’ll of course turn to the only nation that doesn’t pose a major threat…Canada.  But even Trudeau will be able to turn them around.  Thus the People’s Republic will collapse.

The Trump Empire
Here the great Emperor will at first model the new government off of Rome making himself with only one Senate (all members appointed by him) himself a member of the Senate, the executive, the judiciary, the head of the church and the Commander-in-Chief.
There will be nothing else.
Borders will be closed.  Foreign trade will be abolished.
Deportation squads in shiny white uniforms will be created.
Soon the Senate will be abolished and control handed over to regional governors…fear will keep the people in line.

The minorities who supported Trump will soon regret that choice as they will find themselves the workforce of Trump Empire…whether they want to be or not.
Trump will of course pronounce an early victory in stating he has eliminated all Jews from the Empire…because none of them were dumb enough to stay (fool me once shame on you, fool me twice).

Economic output will at first be very high (slave labor is cheap and effective if you’re evil enough to use it)…but of course there will be flaws after a few years, and the Empire will need breathing room.  And while Murica will initially be too well defended, the People’s Republic, the Anarchic States and Quebec will soon fall (mainly because even Canada won’t mind too much that the damn French get taken out).  But soon they will turn their eyes on…

Lower Canada
Lower Canada will pretty much run thing like they’re going now in the USA.  There will be increase to welfare spending, and they will continue the slow death spiral (halted only very slightly by the fact that they will have no foreign military budget to speak of…but most of that will be taken out by the increase in worthless foreign aid that thinks the answer is just throw money at the problem).

They will be invaded by the Trump Empire within about 7 years however and while putting up a valiant 5 minute struggle, like the French before them.  They will fall.

This will of course present a problem for…

The Confederate States of ‘Murica
Initially the Confederate states will grant more power to the states, the power for states to veto laws, the power for the Senate to review executive orders, stronger controls on the executive branch, reaffirming of property and individual rights and a lot of other good things.  However, because of the Judiciary, because you just can’t trust those activist judges, will be gutted of power the powers to interpret law will actually move to the executive branch in charge of implementing those laws as no other branch with the power to interpret law will be there to stop them.  Also as term limits will be put in, as has been seen in every Republic with strong limits on the legislature, the executive branch will benefit and gather even more power.  Initially this will not be a problem…and were it not for the Trump Empire then ‘Murica could probably have seen something like the economic boom of the 90’s again lasting maybe even two decades.

But as they have created a recipe for an executive that cannot by checked by the other branches…like the other Confederacy in time of crisis it will turn quickly into a tyranny and in the face of war all liberties will be suspended in defense against the Trump Empire.  You might have thought this was building up to WWIII…it’s not.

The fact is that these first nations were all so isolationist that no one in the world would be their allies so it would remain a matter within their own borders.  And the weakness presented by the slugfest of a war between them would provide ISIS and the rest of the Islamofascists in the world the perfect weakness to come and attack so being the magnet that draws the poison out of the rest of the world isn’t going to piss off anybody else either.  It will be a new Syria…and this time turnabout will be fair play and nobody is going to take refugees from this conflict.

About 15 years after the nation is split apart these two nations will have all but destroyed each other’s populations and most of their infrastructure (although at least Murica will never use nukes against civilian populations.

Not that the fall of Murica is completely the fault of the Trump Empire.  As the populist desire to strip government of it’s power will lead inevitably to a dictatorial leader, and the factionalism inherent in populism will lead to social collapse…their death warrant was already signed, Trump just hastened it.

Shifting to the other coast…
Progressivania under Hillary Clinton will become like any Western European mildly socialist haven…but without the USA to prop it up it will start falling apart within only a year or so (they’ll also be a tempting target for ISIS and their ilk and won’t have the spine to do anything to stop them)…especially after the refugees from the People’s Republic start streaming in.

They will luckily be temporarily bailed out as with each economic crisis the NCSA will buy up large tracks of land from Progressivania.  Which is also what will keep Muria propped up for a while.

You see, The NeoConservative States of America will be just what its name suggests: Neoconservative.  The first that will be done is a complete capitalist overhaul of the government.  Like Murica you will have strengthening of property and states rights, a lowering of bureaucracy and taxation, and a restoration of checks on the branches of government…unlike Murica you won’t have a disregard to the balance part of checks and balances and the three branches will be more co-equal (but with the most power in the legislature) again not set up to favor the executive.  You will likely see Senators return to being elected by states not the public and a slow deliberate legislation process will return to America.

Also the NCSA gets the land bordering Mexico because unlike every other nation here, they won’t be xenophobes and will actually welcome immigrants from the world over.  This along with the capitalistic reforms that will almost immediately come out of the federal government will produce a Renaissance in innovation and economics that will make what were once the least populated states in the union an economic super power that will laugh at China.

Unlike most of the other nations which will torment and possibly execute what are now illegal aliens, the NCSA will offer them a path to citizenship at the price of four years of military service (thus solving the man power problem that would come in in trying to keep up the previous US commitments worldwide that only the NCSA will be concerned with honoring)…though this man power shortage will be short lived as economic super powers always drawn legal immigrants who want to be a part of the nation and culture that rewards skill and genius.  And not hating people who are different the NCSA will welcome them.
Not being hindered by the populists, fascists, and isolationists, long term foreign policy will be enacted and Marshall Plan like rebuilding programs will be put in place that will make our current deployments stable and drive back ISIS (they’ll survive for a while only because they’ll have so many new targets with such idiotic leaders).  With the massive revenue that will be coming in (despite low income taxes and no corporate, capital gains, death or VAT taxes or tariffs) they’ll be more than willing to buy up land from the failing nations around it…first the eastern portion of California and the Pacific Northwest, then the California central valley…then probably Alaska and Hawaii…

The Trump Empire will foolishly try to invade (big mistake) and the fascists will first be route out of Lower Canada (which will be annexed…only makes sense as most of the inhabitants will have been slaughtered in the Trump labor camps) and then having had enough of this crap will take back the all the other land that the Empire once held…this time not making the mistake of FDR and Trump and making sure that not a single Nazi is left to return.

Murica, in true Texas fashion, finding it cannot stand on it’s own, will offer to be annexed by the only adult in sight.

Finally Progressivania having become an third world nation will collapse and the NSCA will take over in a humanitarian effort to stem the suffering…at this point they’ll return to their proper name, the United States of America…sans a bunch of idiots.

What makes this an April Fool’s day post?  The fact that everything I just said is more rational than the freak show we currently have going on.  And that is either a cosmic joke or just sad.

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April Fool’s Day Post: Secret Documents Reveal Democratic Plan to Undermine the Right From Within

Exclusive, The Conservative New Ager has, this April Fool’s Day, been shown recently uncovered documents that show conclusively that the Republican Party has been infiltrated by liberal moles hell-bent on destroying the Republican Party from within.

 

What’s this you say? Liberal infiltrators within the Republican Party? Yes!

 

And no I’m not just referring to the fact that liberals have been heavily funding “libertarian” candidates to divide votes against conservatives. No the plan appears, according to these documents, to go much further (beginning with the open push for open primaries – we now see the underlying liberal reasoning).

 

While the documents do not list exactly who is involved or where money is being funneled to, the plans and tactics for the double agents are laid out clearly. For instance, one document states:

 

Liberal infiltrators are to always bring up abortion.   Polls show that while Americans are not in favor of the Democratic position of abortion on demand at tax payer expense, the natural American tendency toward liberty finds it even more offensive to claim “”If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”. Gallup studies have shown that despite claims otherwise, 71% of Republicans favor keeping abortion legal in one form or another…yet a vocal minority within the Republican party, which these documents show are on liberal payrolls, are hammering a point that in no way appeals even to the base of the Republican party and certainly not to the majority of voters. Further these documents suggest that DNC forces have also paid off the media to only cover these infiltrators which explain why the media gives these comments so much play and not real fiscal comments from the Republican Party. These liberal infiltrators have started even attacking what the vast majority of Republicans and independents believe is a valid purpose of abortion, aborting children with severe medical challenges to spare them the living hell of a

Dinner?

Hmmm….

life like that. Further these liberal infiltrators are being paid to make Republicans look mentally challenged by suggesting that abortion is the cause of our economic woes with truly brain dead statements like “The reason Social Security is in big trouble is we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees. Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion, because one in three pregnancies ends in abortion.” Quotes this insane assumes that conservatives believe that children have one purpose – to support the elderly – which if that isn’t the ring of liberal propaganda then what is… there is nothing there about the conservative beliefs in individualism, personal responsibility and freedom of choice – whatever those repercussions are.

 

These documents were obtained in light of the fact that despite being a traitor worthy of hanging for his crimes, Edward Snowden did reveal what liberals consider data security. The field agents of the Conservative New Ager just strolled into the DNC headquarters and asked for access to the computer systems claiming to be tech people called in to repair an unspecified problem. The stoned hippie behind the desk was apparently more than helpful in providing our investigative team with all the documents they needed.

 

As such deep cover agents have been sent into the Republican Party to pose as conservatives, they work tirelessly to offend moderates and even Republicans as liberals are desperate to get votes for themselves or at least deprive Republicans of votes by having those voters veer towards the perpetual waste of a vote known as the Libertarian party.

 

In addition to the abortion issues, similar DNC drafted talking points for these infiltrators include making statements against gay marriage (when the majority of moderate and even conservative voters would rather you just get government out of religion and just have legal civil unions for everyone) or focusing on other issues that any idiot would know would not drive moderates away.

 

It is unclear exactly who in the Democrat Party came up with this plan and who is funding it (or even that anyone at the DNC could possibly have the foresight to think up something this clever)…or who in the Republican Party was too stupid to not notice what was going on. But as insiders begin to comb over the paperwork it becomes clear that this is the only thing keeping the Democratic Party alive as the Republicans would sway the vast majority of independents and libertarians if they were just running on conservative economic values.

 

Documents do not make it clear exactly who these people are but there are clues within the paperwork. For instance one such infiltrator is listed as a former Governor who during their term of office threatened violate contract law (something conservatives hold as sacrosanct) with contracts the state held with private corporations, raised taxes on those corporations, encouraged large federal spending projects to nowhere, advocated that the budget to the Department of Education be expanded, endorses the worst candidates (even liberal scum) whenever possible, and takes government subsidy money for their TV shows. One wonders how moderates could be so dumb to accept such a clearly vile liberal shill as a conservative, but you betcha they are just that dumb.

 

Other infiltrators are suggested to have endorsed arming al-Qaeda in Syria. One even appears to be a massive closet case who never met a government spending program or bribe he didn’t like.

 

To spot these liberal infiltrators according to these documents, the following positions should be noticed:

(1)  They make wild baseless claims about abortion rather than just pushing to end all government funding of it.

(2)  They believe that gay marriage is an abomination rather than the conservative belief that government should get out religion, and only do civil unions for any two consenting adults leaving marriage to religion and religion alone.

(3)  They attack other Republicans.

(4)  They treat conservatism as a belief that can only exist within Christianity despite the fact that the moral basis for conservatism can be found in just about every religion on Earth.

(5)  They attack corporations as something inherently evil or do not hold other basic conservative/capitalist views like the sacrosanct nature of contracts – personal property rights.

(6)  They speak in terms of populism accidentally dropping liberal talking points like “living wage” or feel that competition is a bad thing.

(7)  Having no understanding of the difference between the idiotic federal Race to the Top (Obama’s plan) and the intelligent state led Common Core standards and treating them as if they’re the same thing.

It is almost certain that anyone who traffics in statements like this is clearly on the DNC payroll and following their direction/talking points.

 

When informed of this GOP chair Reince Preibus stated that, “When you think about it this actually makes sense. I mean the only other option would be that the Republican Party was laced with absolutely suicidal morons who don’t understand the principles of real conservatism and have no desire to win….wait what, this is an April Fool’s Day post and none of this ever happened. We actually have a minority of the party that really are that dumb? Well shit. We’re doomed aren’t we?”

 

Well shit indeed. Guess we had better start teaching true conservatives ideals starting with fiscal responsibility.

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Filed under Constitution, Election 2014, Evils of Liberalism, GOP, Humor, politics

Most Patriotic Movies #29: Movies that are stand-ins for American Patriotism

There are a lot of movies set in the ancient past or distant that are meant to be metaphors for our current problems.  Frank Herbet’s Dune was a warning about the over reliance of oil dependence on a single source ruled over by a culture that by most standards of civilization is backward and barbaric (one wonders what the book would have looked like if his knowledge of said culture had included their propensity for genocide).  There is a certain logic to this, when you provide enough distance between the audience and the subject you allow them to put aside immediate prejudices about party or history and allow us to see the thematic truth of something and then reapply it to our own present situation.
There are a lot of movies and shows, but I have chosen three to highlight this point.

300

An action movie that was ruined by too much action.

But from free Greek to free Greek, the word was spread that bold Leonidas and his 300, so far from home, laid down their lives, not just for Sparta, but for all Greece and the promise this country holds […] This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny, and usher in a future brighter than anything we could imagine.”

 

Ironically this would have been a truly great movie if there hadn’t been as many action scenes.  It was odd that the movie that was supposed to be 110% mindless action, actually had strong character development, excellent writing, and powerful themes…so much so that it was the over-the-top action that ruined the film.

 

How do I know this is a metaphor for America?  Because the tyrannical, dictatorial Spartans, make fascists look warm and fuzzy by comparison, Spartans would never speak about an “age of freedom” that was coming.  They were pretty much opposed to freedom in all ways, at all times, with all people.  The actual economics of Sparta would have a been a dream for Marx, and the rest of society made Nazi Germany look libertine.  But this movies isn’t really about the real Sparta…it’s about America.

 


 

Now how is this patriotic toward America?  Well, to state the obvious, this was a bit of a love letter to the troops fighting in the war against terror.  It states that our service men are willing to die not so much for country (the Spartans are certainly fighting for more than just Sparta, and that point is made quite explicit) but to stand against tyranny (represented by Persia instead of the modern world where Iran is one of the major centers of tyranny…hey, wait a second…), to draw a line against an evil which seeks to conquer the world and say you will not cross this line as long as I live.  And while there is always the disenchanted minority of whiners in any group, I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of our armed services, do not do it for glory or a pay check, but because they wish to defend the liberties of not only friends and families, but of people they don’t even know.

And how many countries breed an attitude like that?

 

Now we have to hope this pro-American theme is carried by director Zach Snyder into his next movie, The Man of Steel.

 

Firefly

Mal: Well, look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?

Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir.

Mal: Ain’t we just?

 

The West.  A constant metaphor for the freedom and greatness of America.  Also a genre populated by some of the corniest, most poorly done films and TV shows of all time.

But never underestimate Joss Whedon for breathing life back into a genre.  Confederate soldiers in a post-Civil War west surviving as bandits, soldiers of fortune, and whatever jobs come their way a little tired….no problem, just put the whole thing in the 23rd century and add a lot of wit.

The crew of the firefly class ship Serenity time and again exemplifies the classic ideal of what makes the cowboy the American ideal of a hero.

Honor and ethics above all else

Sheriff Bourne: You were truthful back in town. These are tough times. A man can get a job, he might not look too close at what that job is. But a man learns all the details of a situation like ours… well… then he has a choice.

Mal: I don’t believe he does.

Even the law

A government is a body of people; usually, notably ungoverned

Fair play

“You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake, you’ll be facing me, and you’ll be armed”

 

Capitalism…

“Let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job…I get paid.”

…over the destructive forces of government regulation

Jayne: You save his gorram life, he still takes the cargo. Hwoon dahn.

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me

Mal: He had to. Couldn’t let us profit. Wouldn’t be civilized.

 

 

Notably this show does something that is also very America…it points out that when your government (which should not always be confused with your country) is corrupt and in it’s constant arrogance to think that it and it alone can make people better must be opposed.  Which in many ways is one of America’s greatest strengths and most heroic qualities (but I will admit that many whiners have stolen the idea of opposition to tyranny and applied the appellation of this form of heroism to a lot of whiners).

If you have the time, go through the virtues listed by Alexis De Toquville when he discusses what makes America a great democracy.  You’ll find that almost a T the virtues listed in Democracy in America are the ones that are exemplified in Mal Reynolds and his crew.

Although I will admit I’m getting a little worried about this trope I’m seeing more and more that shows the Confederates to be men who fought for principle and state’s rights and liberty.  That may have been the way they viewed themselves, but let us not forget the real Confederacy was not some libertarian dream land, it was an oppressive slave state with very heavy socialist economics.  And I while I will admit this trope can be useful in certain contexts, I would be more than happy to see it die for a few years before people actually start viewing the entirety of the Confederacy as a heroic bastion of idealism.

And finally…

Gladiator

 

“I will not believe that they fought and died for nothing. They fought for you…and for Rome.  I’ve seen much of the rest of the world, it is brutal and cruel and dark.  Rome is the light.”

It’s a favorite thing of historians to compare Rome to America.  Always with the implication as with Rome, America will fall not with a bang but with a whimper.  And while there are volumes of lessons to be learned from what worked and didn’t work in the Republic, the comparisons can often get a bit to hackneyed to be taken too seriously, in art where the lax rules of allegory allow for some wiggle room, the story of Rome, of a mighty nation that was destroyed more from within than from without, is always an interesting comparison.

In Gladiator we see this from the perspective of a nation at the point of collapse, ready to fall into chaos but still potentially able to rise out of it own corruption and regain the past of being a republic of laws and not a nation that follows one man blindly if he just offers them bread and circuses.  “There was once a dream that was Rome” they several times and if you’re looking for the message it would be hard to not find this a bit of a call against the oppressions of our own government which in 2000 and still now is becoming more about Caesar, er, I mean the president, and less and less about law.  (Which brings up an interesting point to make about how we view the past.  Remember in 2000 when were coming off 10 years of liberals screaming about how wrong it was for  a GOP Congress to lower government entitlement spending and balance the budget and how the GOP as tying the hands of Clinton who would have spent more if he could have…and now Clinton is taking all the credit for being the great president who had surpluses in his presidency.  People really need to have a better memory of the past.)

“Is Rome worth one good man’s life.  We believed it once.  Make us believe it again.”

Now unlike Rome we are not going to saved by one man…maybe one president and a Congress that will back him, but really that’s up to the people.  But the fact of the matter is that idea of what America is, is waning.  And to a degree it is up to up to us to make ourselves believe in America again.  May I suggest by booting the tyrant out.

Now again, I’ll admit these are at best allegorical comparison, that are meant to be taken loosely.  Don’t read too much into them.  There is a reason that these 3 only got one blog and came in below a few films that only made it onto the list because of a single scene…as you will see tomorrow…

 

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Art, Conservative, Evils of Liberalism, Faith, Foreign Policy, Government is corrupt, Humor, Joss Whedon, Movies for Conservatives, Patriotism, politics, Tyranny

The Greatest Comedy Film of all time! (and one last honorable mention)

Hitmen, FBI Agents, Cops, Criminals, teenagers, a maid, a housewife, a corrupt executive, an ad executive, and a bum who lives in a tree...what could possibly go wrong

#1 Big Trouble

“Make her stop! Dear God in Heaven make her stop, she wants my soul!”

Based on one of the greatest comedy books ever written, by the ever hilarious Dave Barry, Big Trouble is probably the greatest comedy of all time.

What you haven’t heard of it? The story of dysfunctional families, annoyed hitmen, and two really stupid criminals who manage to get a nuclear weapon past the ever inept group of people known as airport security? Can’t imagine why not? Oh, wait I know exactly why you’ve never heard of this film…because the original theatrical release date was supposed to be September 15th 2001…yeah read that thing about a nuke on a plane and then date…and I think we all see why this movie was buried with a very brief theatrical release in 2002.

Which is a shame because this movie is hilarious beyond the telling of it.

Trust me, if you haven’t seen this movie, this is one of the few movies that I will say you have to see before you die (you should also read the book).

I'm fairly certain you could still get this nuke past the MENSA members the TSA employs.

Henry: Hold on a second. We have a Die Hard situation developing in the kitchen.
Leonard: What?
Henry: There’s a guy there in the kitchen.
Leonard: A guy? What’s he doing?
Henry: Well my guess is he’s either gonna whack em’ with a rolling pin or he’s gonna bake em’ a cake. I don’t know. Could go either way with this crew.
Henry: Holy shit. Betty Crocker’s got a squirt gun!
Leonard: Let me look!
Henry: Forget about it. This is better than pay-per-view.
Henry: There goes the warranty, and here comes the Iron Chef.

 

 

And one last honorable mention…I didn’t want to put this one in with the other honorable mentions because this isn’t just some mere also-ran. …and it also doesn’t exactly fit anywhere else because it is not just a single work…but it is some of the best comedy in all of film and TV…

And the last honorable mention is…
The Collective Works of Joss Whedon.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, Dollhouse, Doctor Horrible, Toy Story, Cabin in the Woods…and likely Much Ado and Avengers.
Everything Whedon does is unspeakably funny. From Buffy’s quip, to Wesley’s faults, to River’s insanity, to Topher’s observations. There is not an episode and hardly a scene without its humor. I couldn’t pick any single episode for two reasons. The first is that even the bad ones have their wonderful moments. The second is that like Shakespeare or any truly great writer, Whedon never creates humor without tragedy or tragedy without humor. There are funnier episodes to be sure, but those are also episodes of deep and moving, and sometime very depressing, pathos…and so while I feel the need to mention his skill in writing great comedy none of it is purely in the comedy genre…






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The Greatest comedies of all time #3 & #2

#3 Arrested Development

The lovable dysfunctional family.

“I’ve made a huge mistake.”
“Have any of you ever seen a chicken?”
“There’s always money in the banana stand.”
“I just blue myself.”
“Spring Break!”
“I never thought I’d miss my hand so much.”
“Anyong.”
“No touching!”
“Illusions, Michael. Tricks are things whores do for money.”
“Watch out for hop ons.”

Almost every quote of this show is comedy gold.

Okay, technically not a movie. But that it is a solid 3 seasons of unending humor with even the weakest episode better than most of the films on this list. And given my loathing for almost all sitcoms, it is a small miracle that I not only like Arrested Development, but love it as much as I do.

From Ron Howard’s voiceovers, to treating it as if it was a documentary, to beyond plausible dysfunction of the Bluths at every level. There were jokes in this that only were funny on the second viewing, and there were jokes that took almost a dozen episodes to buildup before you got the punch line. On the whole it was near perfect. Every thing is perfect comedy gold.

And while I think all right thinking people were sad to see it go…there is always something good about a show ending before it jumps the shark (except for the fact that we actually did see the Fonz jump the shark in this show). And because there was a stop, I have hopes that this coming 2nd run of the show will be equally as good.

#2 Airplane

“Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”


Possibly the best slapstick film ever made.

Making fun of disaster movies, classic films and language in general, this movie has no rival among slapstick films, and if you think it does then I think you picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue…that and you may have a drinking problem.

Every scene, low budget though it may be, is perfectly executed. But if I had to pick a favorite scene it has to be the bar scene with the fighting girl scouts and the bizarre Saturday Night Fever moment (which I couldn’t find a full clip of)…
…but while not quite as good as the original the trial scene from Airplane II is also one of my favorites.

But these are good too…

…yes I’m sure you’re curious what the #1 pick is…tomorrow…

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Greatest Comedy Films #5 &#4

#5 Arsenic & Old Lace

If you think your family is a handful, try being Mortimer Brewster. The insane uncle who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt is the sanest one of the bunch. You’ve got the homicidal brother. And the mass murdering old aunts. And everyone else in the neighborhood also appears to be a bit off.

When most of us think of Cary Grant comedy we usually have Grant in mind as the debonair straight man who plays off the insanity of the rest of the cast. In this case a young Cary Grant, while his character is certainly more mentally stable than everyone else in the movie, the insane troupe is calm and unaffected by their mass insanity while Grant as the sane man in a group of crazies is bouncing off the walls trying to bring order to a situation that has none. As seen by Grant’s facial features here…

Starting with this film I find the rest of this list may cause severe problems to breath from laughing to hard.

#4 Blazing Saddles

“A sheriff! But law and order is the last thing I want. Wait a minute… maybe I could turn this thing into my advantage. If I could find a sheriff who so offends the citizens of Rock Ridge that his very appearance would drive them out of town. But where would I find such a man? Why am I asking you? “

Only Mel Brook could come with lines of racist slurs that only humiliate the racists. “…but we don’t want the Irish!” The sad thing as vicious a critique of racism as this movie is, you could never make it today.  The politically correct mores of modern society would never let the slurs of this film be made, despite the fact that they are being aimed at humiliating those who use such words.

Rivaled only by Young Frankenstein (which I’ve already discussed) this is probably Mel Brook’s funniest film. If this movie has one flaw, it is the ending which, I think we all admit is a little forced. But even that can’t dim the surreal ingenius/ingenious of Kahn’s bizaare/bizarre stage number or Sherriff Bart holding himself hostage. There are few scenes in this film which aren’t hilarious.


…And Methodists! …?

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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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Greatest Moments of Comedy in Film #9 & #8

#9 The Trouble With Tribbles

“Most curious creature, Captain. It’s trilling seems to have a tranquilizing effect on the human nervous system. Fortunately, of course, I am immune to its effect.”

Okay, technically not a movie…although I’ve included TV episodes on my lists before. But this is the only standalone episode of any show to make it on this list…true there were some very funny episodes of the other Star Treks, some great moments of X-file humor, and I am still looking forward every year to The Closer’s Flynn and Provenza episode. But while almost every show has a great moment in comedy, I think only the “Trouble with Tribbles” really rises to the bar of the Top 30 comedies (if I did a top 40 there might have been an X-file episode or two, “Bad Blood” & “Jose Chung’s”, but I figured 30 was pushing it as it was.

Tribbles are possibly the cutest prop ever developed. A purring ball of fur. How can you not love a purring ball of fur? But it’s not just the tribbles that make the episode.

I will be the first to admit there were some pretty low moments in the original Star Trek. Episodes of bad writing, bad directing, bad special effects and yes bad acting. And when it was bad it was really bad (see “Spock’s Brain”)…but, oh, when they had a good script and a good director then the actors would bring up all the talent they had and everything worked into some of the finest moments of TV history. And “Tribbles” is one of those truly great moments.

Near perfect comedic timing from both Shatner and Nimoy in almost every scene in dealing with a situation that is beyond preposterous.

Looking for a quick 45 minutes of nonstop laughing The Trouble with Tribbles never fails.

#8 Duck Soup

“Remember, you’re fighting for this woman’s honour, which is probably more than she ever did.”

I love the Marx Brothers. Mad cap wit and pure insanity. And Groucho as the Prime Minister of a nation is just more insane than you usually get even in a Marx Brothers film. (And there is the sad fact that he’s a better leader than a lot of the world’s current chief executives). I will admit that this has a much weaker plot than some of the other Marx Brother films…but why are you watching Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo for plot? But the mirror scene, the war scene and a dozen others I find this perhaps the funniest of the Marx Brother movies…but only by a small margin.

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The Examples of Great Comedy in Film #12-#10

#12 Evolution


“Allow me to share something with the entire class. Last night as I was grading papers, I came across two gems both entitled “Cells are Bad” and both with just one paragraph which I unfortunately committed to memory: “Cells are bad. My uncle lives in a cell. It’s ten foot by twelve and he has to read the same boring, old magazine everyday. The end.” Although my standards are nowhere near where they used to be I could not bring myself to put A’s atop those beauties.”

Part of me thinks that this movie’s absolute refusal to say anything scientifically correct is what makes me love it. It is a masterpiece of Hollywood’s constant misuse of scientific sounding words and phrases to come to the most preposterous conclusions and scenes. This movie makes The Core look well research, but is completely unapologetic about it’s lack of serious scientific knowledge.

While I love him in this movie I think it may have probably been a bad call on Duchovny’s part to do a movie about an alien invasion where he falls for a red-headed scientist as the first role to play after he left X-files…but it does make his line about “No government. I know those people, we can’t trust them” all the more enjoyable.

#11 The Hangover

Stu: So, uh, are you sure you’re qualified to be taking care of that baby?

Alan: What are you talking about? I’ve found a baby before.
Stu: You found a baby before? Where?
Alan: Coffee Bean.

This is one of those movies that found that rarest of rare balances between wit, raunchy, physical and verbal humor….and it appears it was a bit on accident as they clearly weren’t able to repeat it…and lord knows why they’re even trying for a third?

Is there a scene in this film that is not perfectly written and performed for a great laugh? Although for some reason I find Stu singing about what tiger’s dream of to be the scene I can just watch over and over again (maybe for the look on Cooper’s face at the end) but frankly this movie never seems to get old.

#10 Lucky Number Slevin

Slevin: I’m sorry, who are you?
The Boss: I’m The Boss.
Slevin: I thought he was The Boss.
The Boss: Why? Do we look alike? So, Mr. Fisher, you were gonna tell me something?
Slevin: I don’t know, you brought me here.
The Boss: Yes I did. Back when you thought I was him.
Slevin: I didn’t think you were him, I thought he was you. And I was trying to tell him – you that they picked up the wrong guy.
The Boss: The wrong guy for what?
Slevin: Whatever it is you wanna see me about.
The Boss: Do you know what I wanna see you about?
Slevin: No.
The Boss: Then how do you know I got the wrong guy?
Slevin: Because I’m not…
The Boss: Maybe I want to give you $96,000. In that case do I still have the wrong guy?
Slevin: Do you wanna give me $96,000?
The Boss: No, do you wanna give me $96,000?
Slevin: No, should I?
The Boss: I don’t know, should you?
Slevin: I don’t know, should I?
The Boss: [pause] Long story short.
Slevin: I think we’re well past that point.
The Boss: I bet it was that mouth that got you that nose.
Slevin: Okay, I’m under the impression that you’re under the impression that I owe you $96,000…?
The Boss: No, you owe Slim Hopkins $96,000. You owe Slim, Slim owes me. You owe me.

I wish I lived in a world like “Lucky Number Slevin”…okay maybe not the part where everyone is trying to kill everyone else…but the part where every single person you encounter speaks in nothing but rapid fire glib repartee.

The movie keeps you guessing exactly what is happening through it’s near byzantine plot (even thought they pretty much tell you what it’s all about in the first scenes) by distracting you with one Howard Hawk’s-esque scene of witty banter after another. Even the scenes that aren’t fall on the floor laughing are great humor in their crisp delivery of dialogue.

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The Greatest Films For Comedy #16-#13

FYI: Someone over at yahoo came up with a list of “100 Funniest Movies to See Before you Die.”  Be warned that I looked at the list and I would at most say 25 of them are worth watching even once (and 75 I would consider a waste of time)…but as I said comedy is a very personal thing that’s hard to define (I might go as far as to say I have a greater preference for wit than cheap jokes than the person who compiled that list, but to each his own) and I won’t bother going into detail of why I dislike many of those movies. Besides only the most worthless, tasteless, brainless philistine hack would waste his time coming up with lists of over-rated art (yes, I do have someone in mind)…I prefer to focus on greatness rather than merely bitch about the flaws of works of art I will never have the talent to rival.

#16 Hudson Hawk


“Impressive, Hawk. Enjoying Italy? “
“ Yeah.”
“ Yes, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Rome. I did my first bare-handed strangulation here. Communist politician.”
“ Why George, you big softie. “
“God, I miss Communism. The Red Threat, people were scared… the agency had some respect, and I got laid every night.”

This film is possibly one of the most scathing critiques of the insanity of most Hollywood espionage films. Every trope of every spy movie is parodied in this movie without turning into a slapstick comedy.

The plot: To reconstruct Da Vinci’s machine that can turn lead into gold a conspiracy the CIA, an evil billionaire businessman and his wife who seem to have no understanding of economics beyond the Ron Paul campaign, the mob, and tangentially the Vatican’s black ops team (?) hire the world’s most skilled cat-burglar: The Hudson Hawk. The Hawk, played by Bruce Willis, sings songs to time his heists. And in between falling in love with a nun, taking on a the CIA and a sociopathic sword wielding butler, avoid a vicious poodle, throwing a stuffed elephant, robbing the Vatican, saving the world, all he wants is some bizarre drink, keep in mind this movie was made in 1991, called a cappuccino. Oh and Andie MacDowell seems to want to communicate with the dolphins.

On one level it’s a movie about a smartass thief in your typical overblown Hollywood adventure. But on another it gets beyond surreal which if you’ve watching makes it all the funnier. While driving home from jail the New York skyline can be seen from the right and left of a car, when falling off a building the Hawk lands in a place which is miles away and no explanation is given…and there are bizarre references to just about every espionage film of the preceding 30 years: Bond, Flint, North by Northwest. Also as far as I can tell this is the first movie to ever use the “we record over the security tape and keep running a loop in its place” trope that has become far too common in film. Also you will see the most competent line reading David Caruso has given in his entire career.

You could enjoy this film…or you could be swinging on a star…

#15 Office Space

Ummm....yeah...

“The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.”
“ Don’t… don’t care? “
“It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.”
“ I beg your pardon?”
“Eight bosses.”
“ Eight?”
“Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.”

If you’ve ever worked in a cubical you can emphasize with this film. If you’ve ever had an over-promoted idiot as your boss you can certainly understand this film. For instance there is a server at my office that my coworkers have jokingly asked management to let us buy so that we can treat it like these guys treat that fax machine.

And while everything in this is exaggerated, it is only exaggeration; the movie sadly plays on every small hell of office work that actually exists. Every scene, but more importantly, every scene is cathartic in that it allows us to know that we are not alone…and that there is hope out of morass of endless bad jobs.

#14 Clue

“They all did it. But if you wanna know who killed Mr. Boddy, I did. In the hall. With the revolver. Okay, Chief, take ’em away. I’m gonna go home and sleep with my wife.”

Who did it? Where? And with what?

Whoever realized there was actually a good plot line hidden within the board game Clue is a genius (as opposed to the idiot who pitched the idea of making Battleship). In spite of every expectation you should have had about making a movie based on a board game this movie not only provides an almost endless stream of wit, slapstick and enjoyable insanity; it places bizarre caricatures of people who should never be in the same room and gives them a bizarre circumstance where they are literally at each other’s throats (and other such vital organs).

It’s sad that I find that this movie has fallen out of the knowledge of the general public and is now known mainly to film buffs. Nothing is better than a mystery literally designed to have three different endings. And each one works. Of course the one where Mr. Greene did it is the best.

#13 Kiss kiss bang bang


“Anyway, by now you may wonder how I wound up here. Or, maybe not. Maybe you wonder how silly putty picks shit up from comic books. The point is, I don’t see another Goddamn narrator, so pipe down.”

This one you may have missed as it got horrible play in theaters and was more or less a straight to DVD film. It’s sad really. Wit of a near Shakespearian level, Val Kilmer (before he really exploded around the waist), Robert Downey Jr.) before he exploded back into the top tier of acting) trading quips and insults at a rapid fire pace.

Robert Downey Jr. as idiot thief Harry Lockhart narrates the strange tale of how while trying to break into Hollywood he gets acting lessons from private detective Gay Perry, and in the process ends up solving a murder and personally killing a lot of other people. Maybe it’s that the jokes (yes plural) about grammar appeal to the English teacher in me. Maybe it’s Perry’s absolute contempt for Harry’s endless stupidity that I find endearing. Maybe it’s the off-kilter plot structure. Whatever it is this is one of the best comedies I have ever seen.

Harry: Well what I’m doing for the guy who likes to bluff is I’m playing a little game called “Am I Bluffing?”
[Loads one round into the revolver to play Russian Roulette]
Harry: Where is she? Where the fuck is Harmony? You want to play hardball? I can do that.
[Spins the chamber and points the gun]
Harry: Where is the girl?
[Shoots the guy in the head]
Perry: [Stuttering at first] What did you just do?
Harry: [Confused] I just put in one bullet, didn’t I?
Perry: You put a live round in that gun?
Harry: Well yeah, there was like an 8% chance.
Perry: Eight? Who taught you math!

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The Greatest Film Comedies #20-#17

We crack the Top 20 and start getting into films that can’t just be watched over and over again, but you almost want to watch them over and over again.

#20 Whole Nine Yards

“I’m gonna keep the coke and the fries but I’m gonna send this burger back. And if you put any mayonnaise on it, I’m gonna come over to your house, I’ll chop your legs off, set fire to your house, and watch as you drag your bloody stumps out the door.”

The story of a hitman and his dentist.  Again, as seems to be a fairly consistent theme with a lot of movies in this list, the sequel sucked, but the original was genius.  From Bruce Willis’s deadpan straight-man performance as a hitman who has a rather irrational dislike of mayonnaise (okay we may not like mayo but threatening to kill people over it) to Kevin Pollack as a mafia member who supposedly has lived his whole life in America yet has the strangest accent ever conceived.

Mob hits.  Cheating wives.  Dental assistants with a love for Walther PPG’s.  Plots within plots…and of course, as Bruce Willis puts it, “the great and powerful Oz.”  Every line is unexpected, every scene played a little against the trope.  Crisp, clear humor of the witty variety with just enough stupidity to keep it fresh.

#19 Thank You For Smoking

“We don’t sell Tic Tacs, we sell cigarettes. And they’re cool, available, and *addictive*. The job is almost done for us.”

A brilliant dark comedy that lambasts everyone and everything.  It has a simple theme, you’re an idiot if you didn’t already know that cigarettes were harmful and you’re an idiot to defend them and you’re an idiot to attack them—grow up and take responsibility for your own actions.  Lobbyists, politician, the press, the public are all shown to be the idiots they are…and if there is one thing that isn’t funny about this movie is that it isn’t that far off from reality.

#18 Real Genius

“Was it that dream where you’re atop a pyramid wearing sun god robes and naked women throwing little pickles at you?”

“No.”

“Why am I the only one who has that dream?”

This gem staring a very young Val Kilmer has been all but forgotten, which is sad.

The movie is a mishmash of surreal moments of geniuses bending the rules of school and science to just prove how smart they are mixed in amongst their attempt to one up each other with wit and experiments



#17 Galaxy Quest

“Never give up.  Never surrender!”

I will admit that if you are not a Star Trek fan this movie may not make a lot of sense.  Why? Because every scene is designed to not just make fun of Star Trek episodes but of Trekkies themselves and the actors who were made famous by the show.  Red shirts, Shatner getting his shirt torn in every fight, Nimoy’s early years of pretentiousness toward Star Trek, the pathetic but loveable lives of devout Trekkies (yes even I have been to a Star Trek convention).


I’ve met people who don’t find this movie funny, and without exception they will always tell me they’ve never watched Star Trek (which is almost equivalent to admitting to not leading a full life), I have never met anyone who has watched Star Trek and does not find every scene a viciously accurate lambast of a show that even I will admit, despite all it’s greatness, has a lot of flaws.

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Greatest Comedy Films #25-#21

I loved this scene. Not humorous, but it does a great job at conveying the sense of accomplishment at what they just did.

#25 Ocean’s Eleven (and Twelve and Thirteen)
While the original has its place in my heart, the remake is one of the few remakes in history that I think was actually better than the original. And I know I’m not the first to say it, but part of what makes all three movies so enjoyable is that the cast clearly just had a fun time making all of them.  And one of the greatest part is that this movie does an excellent job of subltely playing off the plotline of the original where the money was lost when the oldest member of the gang had a heart attack and the money was burned up with him when he was cremated.  It was little things like that where they paid homage to the original that made this a great film.

All of the humor is witty and seldom goes for the obvious joke which really helps keep what could easily be a silly heist film fresh and original.

#24 Get Shorty
Get Shorty (and to a much lesser degree Be Cool) are one of the few examples of an ensemble cast working out. Usually when you try to shove more than three actors that people might recognize things get lost very quickly yet this movie manages to balance all of the different parts. I make this comment here and not with Ocean’s Eleven because as much as we love all the characters in the Ocean films Clooney, Pitt and Damon do dominate, whereas in Get Shorty there is a healthy balance of all the characters and their individual expressions of insanity.


#23 Men In Black

They should have stopped with the first one.

The sequel was terrible and I have few if any hopes for number 3, but the original was a masterful work of wit and whimsy. Yeah there were some issues with the supporting cast and a few scenes that I think didn’t work but overall the movie is not only funny but, despite the stupid concept, seems to have stood the test of time and remains watchable and enjoyable.

#22 Snatch
As far as I can tell British comedy is a bit of an acquired taste for most Americans…especially since it seems to be broken into low comedy which seems obsessed with the radically different attitude toward sex that the Brits have and high comedy which isn’t much different than high comedy over here (although we don’t have much of it anymore)…but that said, the works of Guy Richie are more in the high witty and surreal category, and by that virtue hilariously bizarre. Now while I love Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels I found Snatch to be just a little more entertaining (especially with Brat Pitt’s utterly incomprehensible Irish gypsy character).  As opposed to the other films listed here there is a chance you might not know what this one is about…but I couldn’t try and summarize the plot in a sentence or two, it’s just too damned insane.

#21 My Fellow Americans
A movie that portrays politicians as idiots.   Not so subtle hits at Bush and Clinton…and really Democrats and Republicans in general.  It’s kind of obvious why I love this film.  Can’t you just see Joe Biden saying some of the things that the VP in this movie does?  Actaully no, Biden is a lot dumber than the VP in this movie.

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The Greatest Comedies of Cinema #30-26

We’ve done the honorable mentions, now onto the main list of the best comedy films of all time!

#30
The Hard Way
Yes, I know it’s a little odd to think that James Woods might do comedy, but it works very well. Woods plays a Dirty Harry-ish NY cop who is given the unfortunate job of babysitting a Hollywood actor who wants to learn how to play a cop, played by Michael J. Fox. Even more so than most buddy cop films, these two cannot stand each other. I am not sure exactly why this movie has fallen into obscurity as I find almost every scene a laugh riot, but for some reason it has. As I said with the honorable mentions humor is more dependent on personal taste and less on any objective standard than any other form of art that I know of…so who knows why I find this hilarious and others find it forgettable. But if you haven’t seen it you should at least give it a try.

#29
Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Now I will admit that I am not the biggest fan of Stanley Kubrick’s work. I find him a competent director but overall I find his collective body of work overrated. It’s too dark without any redemption and too pretentious. And Strangelove is no exception; it just has a lot more funny scenes. For this I think a lot of credit needs to go to George C. Scott for an over the top General and the great Peter Sellers in triples roles as a British Air Force Officer, the President of the United States, and the deranged scientist Dr. Strangelove. The film plots the utter insanity of the concept of nuclear war and how preposterous it is to engage in such a possibility…and even worse when you have nuclear weapons in the hands of lunatics.

#28
The Distinguished Gentlemen

I’m not the biggest fan of Eddie Murphy’s version of comedy, it’s usually a little too crass and cheap for my taste…but in this film he chose the right targets to make fun of. The stupidity of the voting public and Congress itself. What makes this movie so funny (and frightening) is how accurate all of it is. I believe American voters might just be dumb enough to vote for someone just because of the right name (especially when it appears that he was elected in Dade county Florida, known for it’s spectacular voting history). But the best part of the film is the wonderful way he attacks the corrupt nature that politicians are bought by special interest (for an example please see the career of Rick Santorum who as far as my research has shown never gave a single vote on the floor of the House or Senate that wasn’t bought and paid for). And the nice thing is that parties aren’t mentioned and all sides of every issue are shown to be corrupt.

#27
Big Trouble in Little China
Kurt Russell takes on the powers of darkness armed only with ego and bad one- liners.
Some of this movie is more of a fantasy film, some more an action movie, certainly good parts of it are a comedy and then there is…yeah for lack of a better definition I’m going to call this a comedy. It’s at times too surreal to consider it anything else. A cult classic that despite some truly bizarre scenes never gets old and never quite makes sense.

#26
Singin’ in the Rain
If I had any intention of making of top musical list I might have held off on this film…but I don’t think I can get that many musicals that I like (maybe 10 that were actually done well) so since that will likely not happen Singin’ in the Rain will go in the comedy position. (Yeah there might also be an argument for it going in the Romantic Comedy column, but I think the focus of the film is more on the nature of the changing industry than truly on the relationship between Kelly and Reynolds). Theme of this movie is best summed up in the song “make ‘em laugh” and it does just that.

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For April, I bring the top comedy films…up first honorable mentions…

Humor. It’s probably one of the hardest things to define and understand. What is hilarious to some people is just boring to others. Probably no form of art is more dependent on education, personal experience, beliefs, and acquired tastes than humor (even with the highly subjective field of music you can appreciate great music even if it doesn’t move you, and we can more or less all agree what makes great music…not so much humor). So while I felt the need to do a list of great comedy movies (despite the complete lack of philosophical backing for them) (and it is a bit of a stretch putting them in April so as to go with April Fool’s Day is a bit of a stretch…although where would you have put it?) I will admit you may think these are all terrible films…but I enjoy them.

So let’s us begin with the honorable mention! In no particular order…

Kuffs
An odd tale of Christian Slater becoming a police special (a private police officer) to track down his brother’s killer in between speaking to the camera directly and making smartass comments to the audience. In between you get to see what in retrospect has to be the high point of Milla Jojovich’s acting career as his girlfriend and a villain with perhaps the strangest fashion sense of any character in any movie ever made.

The humor varies between subdued to just surreal, but overall it makes for a lot of good laughs in between some well done action.

The Zero Effect
What if Sherlock Holmes were a manic-depressive drug user with poor hygiene skills and no social skills with maybe a touch of borderline psychopath…oh wait, he was…okay I mean without any of the charm and grace that Downy Jr. or Cumberbatch bring to the part. Well you would have Bill Pulman’s Daryl Zero. Probably the most dysfunctional and off the wall interpretation of Sherlock Holmes…and his Watson played by Ben Stiller (whom I usually find dull and boring to be extremely entertaining in this) has none of the love and devotion we’ve come to expect from the side kick of the world’s greatest detective. I will admit this movie is very much hit and miss, people I know whom I usually agree with on many things in terms of humor find this movie pointless and a waste of film, while others love it. I enjoy it but I haven’t figured out what the makes this movie funny to some and not to others, if you have thoughts please share.

The Cheap Detective
A Neil Simon comedy that mixes up the plots of Casablanca, The Big Sleep, and The Maltese Falcon with Peter Faulk playing a mixture of all three of Bogey’s parts. Need I say more? Yes, why is this only an honorable mention and not in the list proper? Because while a lot of scenes are hilarious, the whole thing falls a little short.

A Night at the Opera/Animal Crackers
I felt putting more than one Marx Brothers movie in the actual list was a little unfair so these two got knocked down to honorable mention.

The Pentagon Wars
This is either a comedy or a tragedy…it deals with what it takes for a government bureaucracy to create a new machine…it’s sad and hilarious all at the same time. And the worst part is that it’s more or less true…

Bedazzled
For some reason I like this version more than the original. I know I’m in the minority I don’t care.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world
This is a great movie…the problem is that it runs too long and tries to stick too many jokes into too short a time and the movie actually runs just a little too long.

Support your Local Sheriff
This slapstick western has been forgotten by many, but I find it to be one of the funniest wastes of time you can find.


Hot Shots
A classic of the slapstick genre.

The Brother’s Bloom

A quirky little heist movie.


Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House
Not Cary Grant’s best comedy, but certainly a good one about the hellish nature of dealing with your dream.

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Movies for New Agers–Groundhog Day

“This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat. What a hype. Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it. You’re hypocrites, all of you!”

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same and nothing you did mattered?”–Bill Murray, Groundhog Day.

So today of all days, February 2nd, is the only day to discuss one of the greatest films of all time, Groundhog Day. I think by now we all know the film and the concept…although just in case you don’t know let me quickly recap the movie (I have to do this because I found some people just live in caves and don’t know movies at all). Phil Connors (Bill Murray in his last enjoyable role) an unhappy, misanthropic TV weatherman gets sent to Punxsutawney, PA to cover the annual Groundhog festival to see if famed weatherman and groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not. Then a snowstorm hits and he can’t get out of the small town he loathes. But what’s worst of all is that when he wakes up the next morning, it’s still Groundhog day. It’s always Groundhog day. Every day he wakes up and it’s Groundhog day. The universe seems to reset itself every time he falls asleep and only he seems to remember what happened. And after having all the fun you could think of having when there are no lasting consequences, a funny thing happens, the meaningless pleasures become, well meaningless, and he starts to actually improve himself and become a better human.

Ever since it came out this film has been popular with spiritual people of all faiths because it shows progression of self-improvement and placing value on things that actually matter as just about all religions actually call for. For New Agers it works as an allegory for a very abbreviated form of reincarnation and movement toward enlightenment. Bill Murray as Phil Connors works his way both through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (First food, then sex, then money, followed by thrills and the fun stuff we’d always like to try but never have the guts to) soon, he, like all of us, become both fixated on something of value and something which is just out of his reach (in this case Andie MacDowell’s love). As these lower pleasures give no lasting pleasure he tries to find something that lasts for more than a single day. But as he cannot find it by being his shallow petty self he becomes depressed.
In spiritual discussions of a lot of religions there is always a point where a person has progressed far enough to understand that the world isn’t enough to bring Happiness, but, in spite of deeply held faith (and oddly usually because of it) a person will hit a point where both the material world they have left and the spiritual world they have yet to fully enter both become meaningless and bereft of hope. “You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.” In Christianity this period is called the dark night of the soul. It’s a necessary spiritual point, but also a dangerous one as the soul hits rock bottom and feels it has nothing to lose. In the case of Groundhog Day this manifests in repeated suicide attempts.

“I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned. […] and every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender… I am an immortal.”

Luckily, like most people, he arises from the dark night with the help of a higher power believing in him which allows him to again continuing through the levels of Maslow’s hierarchy to work on issues of personal improvement, achievement and self actualization. After passing through the dark night he ceases to be fully fixated on only himself which actually allows him to better himself (which harkens back to my constant point that there is an extreme difference between narcissism and rational self-interest, between materialism and finding joy in the material world). And by becoming a better person he actually becomes a much happier one.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, or for the rest of my life, I’m happy now… because I love you.”

This movie works as a good movie for New Agers because, more or less this is what we believe happens to us through reincarnation. We get sent back life after life after life, confronted with the same problems over and over and over again until, like Phil, we learn how to deal with them. There is no limit to how much time we can take to learn, there is no force other than our own desire for happiness that forces you to learn. But if we wish to escape the particular cycle we are in, we must learn.

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Filed under Death, Faith, Free Will, God, Happiness, Humor, Love, New Age, New Age Movies, Purpose of Life, Reincarnation, Religion, Spirituality