Dec 29, 2009

Top Cult Comedy Classics

Me and my big mouth have gotten me the editor position for the funniest post of the year. @CTK1 asked who wanted to have guest bloggers for #TopCultComedyClassics. You should have seen me (figuratively) jumping up and down volunteering my site.

So get ready for some good memories, some laughs, and a list of great comedies to rent. Thank you to all the contributors. Here's to starting the new year off FUNNY.

The Rules: Submit a review in 200 words or less of your favorite cult comedy. Give a brief plot synopsis and reasons why it's a cult classic. (The rules were adhered to loosely).

In no particular order, I present The Top Cult Comedy Classics of our time.

DISCLAIMER:  A lot of these comedies are rated R and there is cussing in a few of the reviews.




Office Space submitted by @BDJoyner
“Ah, yeah, I’m gonna need you to come in on Saturday"
The red stapler; the printer beat down; Michael Bolton spittin’ gangsta rap lyrics; and the best personality change since Roddy Piper turned heel. Office Space took something as mundane as cubicle-world and turned it into a desk jockey’s fantasy complete with action-hero entrances, tributes to Superman II, and of course Jennifer Aniston, who’s always better as the second banana.

Office Space was funny for a lot of reasons – God bless Milton’s soul, sipping tropical drinks and threatening to burn down the resort – but mostly because it was so true for so many. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to smash an inanimate object? Peter, Samir, and Michael (and Joanna) capture the dissatisfaction with life in corporate America and instead of suffering in quiet desperation, decide that, “fuck it,” and make a move. Except that they’re lousy crooks and not really smart (“In these conjugal visits, you can have sex with women?”). And the whole while, Lawrence spouts wisdom (?) through the walls of a shitty suburban apartment.

Office Space tied up the end of the 20th century in a tidy, snort-laughing, bow.






Watermelon Man (film)Watermelon Man  (1970)  submitted by @SinnerX

White insurance man and bigot Jeff Gerber (Godfrey Cambridge) wakes up one day to find that he has become black.  He spends the next few days trying to become white again. Comedy ensues as he is slowly forced to accept his newfound blackness.  It's a funny family movie with a message.

Directed by Melvin Van Peebles








Blazing Saddles (1987)  has a little something to offend everyone.  The comedic genius that is Mel Brooks goes out of his way to mock everyone and everything.  It's a no-holds-barred riot of laughter set in the Old West and follows the story of, ... well the plot of the movie isn't really important in this one.  It's more about the outrageous characters, one liner set-ups, crossing the line of tasteless jokes and slapstick style comedy.

Starring Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn and a score of other famous actors. There is even a cameo of the Count Basie Orchestra playing the most overstated caricatures of politicians, floozies, rednecks, recently freed slaves and set in a small town full of the inbred Johnson family  in Wild West Utah..

The gags are constant, the quips timely and laughs overflowing.  There is a scene where the new black sheriff (Cleavon Little) takes himself hostage to get out of the sticky situation of the townspeople ready to kill him rather than accept a black sheriff that will have you rolling of the couch.  It is one of many times you will do so.

From the opening scene to the final credits you will find yourself in hysterics at this not safe to watch with the family comedy.  Often seen as Mel Brooks' best work, it will not leave you disappointed or your pants dry.*

*be sure to cover the couch in plastic.
Rated R          






Withnail and I - submitted by @britmic

In 1969 two struggling actors running out of money and alcohol decide to get out of London for some R & R at a holiday cottage in the Lake District.

The film contains some great advice. For example Danny, one of the supporting characters, lets you know that hairdressers are all government employees, and that when they are cutting your hair they are really cutting your aerials. These aerials receive signals from the cosmos and take them directly into the brain. This explains why bald men can be uptight.

And who could forget the Camberwell carrot.

The plot. Well, let's just say that when Uncle Monty decides to gatecrash Withnail and I's holiday we find the story takes a turn to one of camp and unrequited love.

The film was made in the '80s so as with any period piece you can also play the game of spotting things which betray the 1969 setting. Like, the M25. It all adds to the comedy.







Spaceballs - submitted by @tyronem

From the first viewing of Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, I was hooked. I love how the movie take potshots at every big space-themed movie - AlienStar WarsPlanet of the Apes and Return of the Jedi. As a nerd who somehow never followed Star Trek or Star Wars closely, I found this really refreshing.

More importantly, they not only make fun of everything that may be sacred, they do so without taking themselves too seriously. An all-star cast really makes the movie work – Bill Pullman (pre-Independence Day, which I always found odd since I think of him in this role), John Candy, Rick Moranis (before the awful Honey I Shrunk the Kids movies), Dick Van Patten as King Roland, Joan Rivers (when she was funny), and Mel Brooks in two roles (President Skroob and Yogurt). They even rolled out Jim J. Bullock and Michael Winslow.




"So long, Boys! Have fun stormin' the castle!"
The Princess Bride - submitted by @Slickriptide (and my personal favorite)

Do you have any doubt what movie that came from? Unless you live under a rock you'll recognize that and dozens of other quotable quotes from The Princess Bride. It's probably the single most quotable film ever made, followed closely by Airplane! and Casablanca.

Even without the wonderfully campy main story and the meta-story about the bonds between a grandson and his affectionate but crochety grandfather, The Princess Bride would qualify as a cult classic. Unlike many films, that are "classic" BECAUSE they're incredibly, likably, cheesy, The Princess Bride embraces all of the cheese and the camp. It unabashedly charms the viewer into embracing it also, by saying "Climb aboard, you're in for a helluva romp. LET'S HAVE SOME FUN!"

It's impossible to walk out of The Princess Bride without quoting part of it afterwards ("Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.") The fact that you could walk into any party and say "Never go up against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line!" and have at least one person smile and nod at you is a tribute to just how broadly and insidiously this film has infiltrated the consciousness of that last couple of generations of film viewers.




Airplane! - submitted by @wildbill

No list of cult comedies is complete without Airplane! This movie has defined an entire genre of comedies, but when it was released in 1980, it was groundbreaking. The type of comedy in Airplane! is relatively unique. There's a ton of sight gags and outlandish things happening constantly, but the pace is always one-at-a-time. There may be a joke in the foreground, or one in the background, but it's always just one. The Zucker brothers sense of timing is impeccable.

Perhaps the most endearing thing about Airplane! is the way the cast plays everything. Regardless of whatever ludicrous things are happening around them, they deliver their lines and react 100% seriously. Watching Leslie Nielsen deliver a line like "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley" totally deadpan is amazing. And the cast... the supporting cast MAKES Airplane! what it is. From Peter Graves' "Ever seen a grown man naked?" to Lloyd Bridges' "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue", to Leslie Nielsen's "I just want to let you know we're all counting on you", the supporting cast steals just about every scene.

There've been many attempts to recapture Airplane!'s magic, but most of them have fallen flat. If you've not seen Airplane! recently, check it out again. Bet you can't keep from laughing.







Shakes the Clown (1991) submitted by @bklynMF

Written, directed by, and starring Bobcat Goldthwait in the titular role, Shakes the Clown tells the tale of an alcoholic birthday clown -- hence, the name Shakes. We follow him on the run from rodeo clowns, while chasing after mimes. (There's a hierarchy here.) And he pukes the morning after nailing Florence Henderson. A truly heartwarming story.




Arsenic and Old Lace  by Roger Hjulstrom @booksbelow

Arsenic and Old Lace is the classic black comedy. Never has the murdering and disposal of lonely old men in the basement brought such laughter to generations. The plot, script, and acting are all superb. The two nice old Aunts (think Aunt Bee in Mayberry gone psycho), the brother charging up the San Juan Hill stairs as Teddy Roosevelt, Cary Grant showing his superb comedic skills, and Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre lending their sinister talents work together like a fine clock. First produced as a play (the movie was actually held for three years until the play had ended it’s run), it was extremely popular in it’s time, and it is the patina of age and passing generations that have given it a cult status.





Young Frankenstien submitted by @DarthSam

Possibly the greatest cult comedy classic is Young Frankenstien. Gene Wilder, Cloris Leechman, Teri Garr, among others round out a memorable cast. Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder know how to write some of the most memorable and funny lines. Who does not remember Frau Blucher? (Did you know that "blucher" means "glue" in German). How about Abbey Some thing. "Abbey Normal"....."What!!!!! You gave Me an abnormal brain!!!!!" Lighting strikes, Putting on The Ritz...and so much more. This is one of the funniest scripted movies of all time.




Half-Baked - submitted by @ernestwilkins

Let's play "What if" for a second. Let's say I had an idea for a movie where a bunch of stoners sell weed to bail one of their buddies out of jail before a guy named Nasty Nate takes his "cocktail fruit", with hi-jinks to ensue.

You'd probably say, "Who are you and why are you in my home?" (Not important right now. Do you have any coffee by the way?)

Now, what if I told you I could get you a cast that included Dave Chappelle, Jim Breuer, Harland Williams and a fourth guy who isn't famous but steals the movie in several scenes?

Not doing it for you? How about random cameos from people like Steven Wright (on a COUCH!) , Tommy Chong, Janeane Garofalo, Willie Nelson, Tracy Morgan, Snoop Dogg, Jon Stewart, and a Baldwin?

No? Did I tell you the lady who did Hanson's "MMMBop" video is going to direct?

(Sigh) Here's my last offer. All of the stuff I mentioned, a bunch of catch-phrases and an inspired Bob Saget giving a speech about sucking dick for coke.

If that isn’t enough to make this a Cult comedy classic, you can go [watch the movie or this clip]



By the way,  I think we should vote Mel Brooks as funniest man of the 20th century. Three of his films made the list.



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