Recommend some great comedies!
November 4, 2005 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Cinephiles and Filmhounds! Recommend some great comedies for me based on what I already like...

I'm on a bit of a classic movies kick (although contemporary suggestions are welcome too). I like smart comedies with witty dialogue and great characters. Think Woody Allen and the Coen Brothers (particularly the Hudsucker Proxy and O, Brother).

Examples of some classic movies which I just love: The Apartment, The Seven Year Itch, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, The Awful Truth, The Lady Eve, The Ladykillers (1955 version), The Lavender Hill Mob, and anything with the Marx Brothers. (and I've just rented, but haven't watched yet, Arsenic and Old Lace, which looks right up my alley)
posted by Robot Johnny to Media & Arts (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Some Like it Hot! Surely you've seen that?
posted by jdroth at 9:56 AM on November 4, 2005

The Odd Couple
posted by tristeza at 9:59 AM on November 4, 2005

Response by poster: Yeah, love both of those! Keep 'em coming! And I promise this will be the only "I've seen that already!" comment I leave...
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:01 AM on November 4, 2005

I try to go by director/writer with these things. Check out some other Billy Wilder (Sunset Blvd. !) and Preston Sturges (The Palm Beach Story) films. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Have you seen Barton Fink? Its my favorite Coen bros comedy.

You may also want to check out:
To Be Or Not To Be
My Man Godfrey
The Thin Man Series
The Trouble With Harry
posted by deafweatherman at 10:03 AM on November 4, 2005

There's always this list, from the American Film Institute.

Network is one of my faves.

There's no dialogue in Modern Times, but you'll fall in love with Paulette Goddard anyway.
posted by halcyon_daze at 10:06 AM on November 4, 2005

See previous AskMe.

Go through the rest of Preston Sturges' stuff... Unfaithfully Yours, The Great McGinty, Sullivan's Travels, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, Hail the Conquering Hero.

And His Girl Friday if you haven't seen it.

Noises Off is a hysterically funny slapstick comedy -- less with the witty dialogue.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:06 AM on November 4, 2005

Big Night, The Imposters, and Cradle Will Rock.
posted by ColdChef at 10:06 AM on November 4, 2005

m. hulot's holiday (jacques tati)
seven chances (buster keaton)
charade (technically not a comedy but still quite funny in places)
posted by dorian at 10:07 AM on November 4, 2005

You could go nuts with funny Katherine Hepburn movies. my favorites:

1. Desk Set
2. Bringing Up Baby
3. The Philadelphia Story
4. Woman of the Year
5. Adam's Rib

And not exactly a comedy, more of an adventure story, but Bogart and Bacall in To Have and Have Not have some pretty funny moments.
posted by MsMolly at 10:09 AM on November 4, 2005

The Dinner Game is a nice French farce. Tried any Wes Anderson movies like Bottle Rocket, or Rushmore (personal fave)?
posted by fatllama at 10:13 AM on November 4, 2005

Some more:
All about Eve
Sullivan's Travels
It Happened One Night
Dr. Strangelove (You've probably seen this one)
Bringing Up Baby
Ball of Fire
Libeled Lady
Nothing Sacred
His Girl Friday
posted by deafweatherman at 10:13 AM on November 4, 2005

His Girl Friday. D'oh, deafweatherman beat me to it.

I know that Rear Window is supposed to be a thriller, but it was the first movie that I thought of when I read your question. It's much more funny than scary. Same with To Catch a Thief.
posted by wryly at 10:19 AM on November 4, 2005

Long before Cher, Sting, and Madonna, there was a man called Fabian. And he co-starred with Jimmy Stewart and Maureen O'Hara in the enjoyable Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation.
posted by Kibbutz at 10:31 AM on November 4, 2005

I forgot to put Ninotchka in my last post.

Some more modern ones you may like:
Wes Anderson's Films (Bottle rocket, rushmore, royal tenenbaums,etc - i'd watch them in order)
Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein especially)
This is Spinal Tap
Monty Python movies (Search For The Holy Grail and Life of Brian)

There's probably more of a chance you've seen these ones, but for the most part they have a lot in common with the older movies.
posted by deafweatherman at 10:40 AM on November 4, 2005

Tapeheads is a good forgotten gem if you like weird & talky subtle humor. Plus, Cusacky goodness!
posted by phearlez at 10:41 AM on November 4, 2005

Also, Ghost World (fascinating characters, several great satirical establishing scenes), The Castle and The Dish (excellent Aussie comedies), Being There (f/ Peter Sellers, a comedy in the same sense as Network). I'd like to second the above recommendation for Desk Set.
posted by fatllama at 10:54 AM on November 4, 2005

Harvey, with Jimmy Stewart.
posted by barjo at 11:15 AM on November 4, 2005

Third on:

To Be or Not To Be
Adam's Rib
and His Girl Friday.

Put these three right at the top of your list. To Be or Not to Be, in particular, has to be one of the most underappreciated movies of the entire 20th century.

By the way, we have the same taste in films (though I like classic dramas and thrillers, too). I'll keep checking in to see what else is recommended that I haven't seen.
posted by Miko at 11:27 AM on November 4, 2005

Raising Arizona
posted by ewkpates at 11:38 AM on November 4, 2005

Not a movie but the 'Jeeves and Wooster' BBC series is great. They are based on P. G. Woodhouse stories. Available on DVD.

Network is one of my faves.
posted by halcyon_daze at 10:06 AM PST on November 4 [!]

Network is also one of favorites but given our current sociopolitical climate, I don't find it very funny. Mainly because I am mad as hell. Sorry for the derail. Back to movies.

'A Shot in the Dark' and any of the other Pink Panther movies that actually have Sellers in them. 'Being There' is another Sellers great. It's a little heavier fare though.
posted by Mr T at 11:50 AM on November 4, 2005

Whiskey Galore
Kind Hearts and Coronets
posted by cushie at 12:00 PM on November 4, 2005

"The Horse's Mouth" by Ronald Neame starring Alec Guinness is quite humorous. You might also enjoy "Mon Oncle" and "M. Hulot's Holiday" by Jacques Tati. Peter Sellers is hilarious in "The Ruling Class." Finally, Anthony Asquith's film version of Shaw's "My Fair Lady," called "Pygmalion," is a gem.
posted by vkxmai at 12:39 PM on November 4, 2005

I'll second (third, etc) Peter Sellers, Adams Rib, Woman of the Year, and any Monty Python.

The first 15 or so minutes of 'Raising Arizona' had me in tears (laughing). Also one vote here for 'Fargo'.
I'm also surprised that no one has mentioned Cary Grant.
posted by mikeinclifton at 12:41 PM on November 4, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all these suggestions. I've seen several of them, but there are lots of new gems to seek out.

mikeinclifton -- maybe no one's mentioned Cary Grant yet, because 3 of the films in my question are Cary Grant movies!

vkxmai -- Shaw's play is actually called Pygmalion, and it's the musical that was renamed My Fair Lady.
posted by Robot Johnny at 12:50 PM on November 4, 2005

If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend Election

(You may want to peruse AFI's "100 Years 100 Laugs" list)
posted by pardonyou? at 1:15 PM on November 4, 2005

Get ahold of any of the old British / Ealing Studio / Alec Guinness / Peter Sellers comedies that you can find.

My favorites in this genre:
Kind Hearts and Coronets
The Lavender Hill Mob
The Ladykillers (original)
The Man in the White Suit
Barnacle Bill
Our Man in Havana
The Mouse that Roared
A Shot in the Dark
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:44 PM on November 4, 2005

Fabulous thread! Netflix queue, here I come.

" comedies with witty dialogue and great characters," although more contemporary:

Grosse Point Blank
. John (& Joan!) Cusack, Minnie Driver and Dan Ackroyd, contract killers, high school reunions and 80s music. Freaking hilarious.

Better Off Dead
. John Cusack and a bunch of other people you'll recognize but can't quite place. Quite funny, and somewhat bizarre in places. My favorite lines:
"Go that way really really fast. If something gets in your way, turn."
"Thanks, coach."

High Fidelity. John Cusack (trifecta!) as indie record store owner. Watch Jack Black steal scenes. Tim Robbins as John's nemesis is a delight.
posted by ZakDaddy at 4:59 PM on November 4, 2005

Just out of curiousity, which To Be or Not To Be are people recommending? The Jack Benny or the Mel Brooks?
posted by walla at 5:31 PM on November 4, 2005

lost in america with albert brooks is hilarious.

to repeat other suggestions, young frankenstein and election are my top choices.
posted by brandz at 6:08 PM on November 4, 2005

gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, ZakDaddy. you left out one crazy summer !

and yes, we all agree that cary grant is the man. was actually re-watching the awful truth just a few nights ago.
posted by dorian at 7:30 PM on November 4, 2005

Arsenic and Old Lace is a riot
George Cukor's The Women is fast and sharp
The Importance of Being Earnest isn't perfect but it's fun
That Touch of Mink has many superb lines
posted by Mike C. at 8:58 PM on November 4, 2005

witty dialogue and great characters

Oooh. It's short of a classic, but Midnight Run is very much this. Great interplay between DeNiro and Grodin.

My favorite Ben Stiller comedy is Flirting With Disaster -- it's just daft from beginning to end.

Broadcast News is in many ways a great throwback dramatic comedy, and still feels relevant. Terrific work by Holly Hunter.

Another vote for Sullivan's Travels -- not exactly forgotten, but few people but film buffs seem to know of it these days. I quite liked Steve Martin's little speech on it in Grand Canyon (which isn't a comedy, though it has some light moments). Oh, and as for Martin, I still have fondness for L.A. Story though it feels a tiny bit dated already, and Bowfinger was hilarious in places and has a wicked satire on Scientology (and a scalpel-perfect skewering of Steve's ex, Anne Heche).

(Similarly -- The Apartment came up. I've always been floored by the brief scene with a breathy Marilyn Monroe clone -- this after Wilder had worked with that most difficult of actresses.)

The Mouse That Roared was always a favorite of mine as a kid -- Sellers in multiple roles.

No dialogue, but The General with Buster Keaton is simply a must-watch for any real film buff.

A couple good black comedies from the 70s: The In-Laws and The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!.
posted by dhartung at 12:08 AM on November 5, 2005

To Be or Not to Be, with Jack Benny and Carole Lombard, was my rec.
posted by Miko at 8:01 AM on December 11, 2005

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