Existential Entertainment
February 23, 2005 8:28 PM   Subscribe

I went and saw I <3 huckabees the other month, and after having a lengthy discussion about what a friend and I decided were its strong points, I wondered if other movies dealing with such issues in a comedic light exist, or even movies enjoyable in the same sense, since it seems like most enjoyable movies draw inspiration from lesser known predecessors.
posted by angry modem to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
What 'such issues' are you referring to? Philosophy?
posted by bingo at 9:05 PM on February 23, 2005

mostly, but in that it portrays it in a comical light.
posted by angry modem at 9:16 PM on February 23, 2005

It's pretty popular to lampoon philosophy in literature (Voltaire's Candide being the main example that comes to mind.) But I think what you're asking for is not necessarily lampooning, nor literature.

I got a strong whiff of Woody Allen from Huckabees. His movies often seem to be in the same spirit. They are full of characters that adopt popular philosophies and spin into silliness. Some somewhat deep existential thoughts along the way. Deconstructing Harry sort of goes that way. Annie Hall, Sleeper, and Bananas are what I was thinking of originally.

I also think Being John Malkovich is along these lines, but it has a reputation as a "dark" comedy.
posted by ontic at 9:19 PM on February 23, 2005

Was it Candide or Gargantua and Pantagruel where the professors are farting at eachother? I can't remember but always thought it would make a great short flick.
posted by tweak at 10:37 PM on February 23, 2005

Have you already seen The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie? While it's not exactly about the "issues" you might be looking for, it's a playful film that you and your friend could probably have a lengthy discussion about afterwards.

To quote one review: "If there's a granddaddy of breezy situationalism, it's probably Buñuel. You could dust everything from mid-period Woody Allen, France's François Ozon and the music of Prince Paul to the fiction of David Foster Wallace and 'Being John Malkovich' and find his timeless fingerprints."
posted by gluechunk at 12:14 AM on February 24, 2005

The closest analogue might be THE HUDSUCKER PROXY. HUDSUCKER doesn't mention philosophy outright in the script, but like HUCKABEES, it builds its own interconnected, karmic system in the form of a screwball comedy.
posted by eschatfische at 5:09 AM on February 24, 2005

I think most of Hal Hartley's film have scenes of comical existentialism but the ones that deal with it significantly are Book of Life and maybe Henry Fool. Oh and the two short films that come with the Surviving Desire VHS/DVD
posted by sammich at 5:20 AM on February 24, 2005

Every Dog Has Its Day definitely qualifies as "lesser known." It was ostensibly a comic road movie with the dog as a stand-in for existential Zen acceptance and the journey/road part the path to that. (according to the director). I can think of many non-comic movies, but i think typically the comic movies on this subject are less overt. Like silent comedies or filmed versions of Becket. In contrast, I know it is a different philosophy, but I know many who consider The Fountainhead a comedy.
posted by Duck_Lips at 6:47 AM on February 24, 2005

Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
posted by gentle at 6:48 AM on February 24, 2005

hal hartley maybe. simple men and henry fool and surviving desire all have deadpan but wonderful dialogues about how to live life properly, with meaning.
posted by ifjuly at 9:20 AM on February 24, 2005

Was it Candide or Gargantua and Pantagruel where the professors are farting at eachother?

Gargantua and Pantagruel. I vaguely remember Panurge winning that debate, though it's been quite a while...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:39 AM on February 24, 2005

there's a derek jarman film that has a space alien discussing wittgenstein, iirc.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:12 AM on February 24, 2005

which would be wittgenstein, obviously.

(props to david markson ;o)
posted by andrew cooke at 10:17 AM on February 24, 2005

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