10 Must-See Comedies: Jordan’s Take

Three Amigos

Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short in Three Amigos!

A list by Jordan

When you think of comedy, your mind might wander to the silent films of Charlie Chaplin, the immature escapades of Monty Python, Abraham and Zucker bros. spoofs or the manchild antics of Will Ferrel. There are Mel Brooks hits and Mel Brooks misses, Peter Sellers classics and the National Lampoon brand, as well as the Cornetto Trilogy, mockumentaries and Steve Martin as The Jerk.

In short, when it comes to comedy there is no shortage out there and perhaps more than any other genre it truly is each to their own. Below are ten films that personally made me laugh the first time and have continued to every viewing since (I’ve seen some of these far too many times…), and I hope they make you laugh too!

For Eddie’s list click here.

Plot summaries from IMDB

10. Eddie Murphy: Raw (1987)

Directed by Robert Townsend

Starring Eddie Murphy, Tatyana Ali, Billie Allen

Delirious was funny, but Raw was deliriously funny. Arguably the finest stand-up performance ever seen, Eddie Murphy denies his current family friendly image with lewd but frequently hilarious anecdotes and interactions with the audience and cemented his position in the comedy elite.

Quote: “Yoouuu cannot say filth flarn filth flarn filth in front of people!”

9. Hercules Returns (1993)

Directed by David Parker

Starring David Argue, Mary Coustas, Bruce Spence

When Brad quits his job at a large cinema chain, to open his own picture theatre, his ex-boss sabotages the opening night by switching the Italian film with a non-subtitled version. Brad and his team hilariously improvise the dialogue to avert disaster.

Those outside of Australia could be excused for not being familiar with this cult favourite, which handles the dubbed foreign movie style with aplomb and features cameos from film journalism icons Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, two of the inspirations for this here blog.

Quote: “Whoops, that Ribena’s getting a bit hot.”

8. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Directed by Edgar Wright

Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield

A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

Conversations around the feature film debut from the Spaced crew tend to deviate into it’s undeniable influence on just about every horror/comedy since, which makes it easy to forget just how funny movie this is. Allow me to remind you then: it’s very funny, and also clever, endearing and respected by all horror aficionados for its loving references to Night of the Living Dead.

Quote: “You’ve got red on you”

7. Three Amigos! (1986)

Directed by John Landis

Starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short

Three unemployed actors accept an invitation to a Mexican village to replay their bandit fighter roles, unaware that it is the real thing.

Everyone who watched this as a kid would agree that you couldn’t have asked for a more worthy vehicle for three of America’s most recognizable comedy actors than John Landis’ endlessly silly tale of identity confusion, which features a moving rendition of “My Little Buttercup,” an invisible swordsman and a “male” plane.

Quote: “In a way, all of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be *the actual* El Guapo!”

6. The Man with Two Brains (1983)

Directed by Carl Reiner

Starring Steve Martin, Kathleen Turner, David Warner

Steve Martin comedy about brain transplantation.

The only actor talented enough to rival Eddie Murphy in his prime was Steve Martin, whose many lovable classics include The Jerk, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid and Planes, Trains and Automobiles (as well as #7 on this list of course). It’s a title perhaps lesser known than all of these though that reigns as his funniest: The Man with Two Brains.

Quote: “The only time we doctors should accept death is when it’s caused by our own incompetence.”

5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Directed by Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones

Starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle

King Arthur and his knights embark on a low-budget search for the Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles.

No list such as this is complete without a Monty Python outing, and given its possibly the single most quoted movie in history it has to be the mythical tale of King Arthur and his very confused quest for the Holy Grail. As I’m sure the legendary troupe would agree, this is a very silly movie indeed.

Quote: “I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”

4. Dark Star (1974)

Directed by John Carpenter

Starring Dan O’Bannon, Dre Pahich, Brian Narelle

In the far reaches of space, a small crew, 20 years into their solitary mission, find things beginning to go hilariously wrong.

John Carpenter’s directorial debut was billed as a parody of Kubrick’s 2001, but it’s pleasantly apparent that it’s its own wonderfully written sci-fi odyssey that’s rich with black humour and cleverly crafted existential bomb monologues.

Quote: “What a beautiful way to die – as a falling star.”

3. Young Frankenstein (1974)

Directed by Mel Brooks

Starring Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman

An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that he is not as insane as people believe, travels to his family’s home country and discovers the process that reanimates a dead body.

Laugh out loud funny from beginning to end, but also lovingly made in homage to the films of James Whale and co., Young Frankenstein is a gift for film lovers that just keeps on giving. The humour is both knowing and situational, and the occasional joke that doesn’t quite land only makes the others sing louder.

Quote: “Wait Master, it might be dangerous… you go first.”

2. Withnail & I (1987)

Directed by Bruce Robinson

Starring Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths

London, 1969 – two ‘resting’ (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp, cold, piles of washing-up, mad drug dealers and psychotic Irishmen, decide to leave their squalid Camden flat for an idyllic holiday in the countryside, courtesy of Withnail’s uncle Monty’s country cottage. But when they get there, it rains non-stop, there’s no food, and their basic survival skills turn out to be somewhat limited. Matters are not helped by the arrival of Uncle Monty, who shows an uncomfortably keen interest in Marwood…

Withnail & I pushes Magnolia and Watchmen as the most oft mentioned topic on this site (we’re sorry, but they’re just too good to ignore), and for good reason; it takes increasingly horrible scenarios set in squalor and through two of the great characters of British cinema makes them hilarious. This is one holiday you wouldn’t want to be part of, but should sure want to watch.

Quote: “I can never touch meat until it’s cooked. As a youth I used to weep in butcher’s shops.”

1. Clerks & Clerks II (1994, 2006)

Clerks

Shoplifters are given the heads up at the Quick Stop in Clerks

Directed by Kevin Smith

Starring Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes

A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.

Clerks and it’s incredibly worthy sequel have long been my go to worlds when I’m in the need of a pick-me-up, with the original introducing slacker heroes Dante and Randal, their pop culture-infused conversations and observations on relationships and more and the belated follow-up offering more Jay and Silent Bob shenanigan and an inexplicable music number, but retaining the underlying sense of nostalgia that made Smith’s View Askewniverse films so endearing.

Quote: “You know, there’s a million fine looking women in the world, dude. But they don’t all bring you lasagna at work. Most of ’em just cheat on you”

Honorable mentions: Top Secret! Flying High, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, The Mouse that Roared, Toxic Avenger

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23 responses to “10 Must-See Comedies: Jordan’s Take

  1. Good list (I’ve seen eight of them), but I couldn’t leave out “Airplane!” Personally, I’d have to throw some W.C. Fields and Marx Brothers somewhere in there, but that’s just me. Oh, and “Animal House”. I could go on and on….

    • I recently rewatched airplane and was shocked to find it wasn’t quite as funny as I remembered! Prefer Top Secret. animal house though certainty would deserve a spot.
      Jordan

  2. Great list. Love the variety. Totally agree with Raw… Eddie Murphy WAS funny! I’m digging most of these. A lot. So, now I must hunt down Hercules. It sounds hilarious. Kinda like MST3K. Thanks for the hidden gem recommendation. Right on. Like your honourable mentions too. Man, the 80s had some legendary comedies.

  3. I’ve only seen 3 of your list but they are 3 greats (3 Amigos, Young Frankenstein and Monty Python and the Holy Grail- my favorite comedy). I haven’t even heard of most of these so thanks for the suggestions!

  4. Pingback: Opinion Piece – What’s in a Movie Title? | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

  5. Pingback: Young Frankenstein: An Appreciation | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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