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Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Old 09-08-09, 09:51 AM
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Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Comedies are a tricky genre. It's hard to come up with a film that makes everyone laugh. In my experience, there are countless amusing movies, but very few laugh out loud comedies. Especially of late. I watched Wild Hogs again over the weekend, and I can't think of a single movie since them that cracked me up.

On reflection, I noticed a trend. It seems like each decade has belonged to a certain director for truly funny films. For example:


The 70s - belonged to Mel Brooks. Blazing Saddles was so outragerous and hysterical. The campfire fart scene is just classic. Mel was at the top of his career in the 70s. He fizzled out in the 80s with Spaceballs.

The 80s - Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. They made the best comedies in the 80s such as Airplane, Ruthless People and the Naked Gun Series. Can't remember anything they did after the 80s.


The 90s - Farrelly brothers - I wish I could go back in time and experience Dumb and Dumber with my family for the first time. While some people hated the style of humor, I was in tears from laughing so much. So many gags and jokes in this film. Kingpin was just as much fun as well as all the others. Then after the 90s, their films were less successful.


Current - the current decade belongs to Judd Apatow. While I am not a huge fan, he has the biggest comedies out there.



What do you guys think?
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Old 09-08-09, 10:09 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Fuck you, Woody Allen, John Hughes, Coen Brothers and Todd Phillips!
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Old 09-08-09, 10:26 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Originally Posted by jeffbase34 View Post
Comedies are a tricky genre. It's hard to come up with a film that makes everyone laugh. In my experience, there are countless amusing movies, but very few laugh out loud comedies. Especially of late. I watched Wild Hogs again over the weekend, and I can't think of a single movie since them that cracked me up.

On reflection, I noticed a trend. It seems like each decade has belonged to a certain director for truly funny films. For example:


The 70s - belonged to Mel Brooks. Blazing Saddles was so outragerous and hysterical. The campfire fart scene is just classic. Mel was at the top of his career in the 70s. He fizzled out in the 80s with Spaceballs.

The 80s - Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. They made the best comedies in the 80s such as Airplane, Ruthless People and the Naked Gun Series. Can't remember anything they did after the 80s.


The 90s - Farrelly brothers - I wish I could go back in time and experience Dumb and Dumber with my family for the first time. While some people hated the style of humor, I was in tears from laughing so much. So many gags and jokes in this film. Kingpin was just as much fun as well as all the others. Then after the 90s, their films were less successful.


Current - the current decade belongs to Judd Apatow. While I am not a huge fan, he has the biggest comedies out there.



What do you guys think?
Excuse me, but did Mel Brooks and the Zucker Bros. invent screen comedy? Was there nothing to laugh at before BLAZING SADDLES?

Once upon a time everybody in the world laughed at the antics of Charlie Chaplin, the Keystone Kops, Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle, Harold Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy, etc.

Sound made it harder for comedy to travel to non-English-speaking countries. But the English-speaking world all laughed at the Marx Bros., Mae West, W.C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, and, later, Bob Hope and, maybe not as loudly, Danny Kaye, Martin & Lewis, Red Skelton, etc. On TV, Milton Berle dominated the airwaves before Lucy took over, along with Burns & Allen, Jack Benny, Phil Silvers, and many others.

Have you ever sat in a packed theater watching the Marx Bros. movies? I have and they've always gotten much bigger laughs than any comedy I've seen in the last 20 years.
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Old 09-08-09, 10:32 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

I've never liked The Farrelly Bros. The Coens are awesome with their comedy but the Farrellys run out their humor by the time the trailer to their film is done.
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Old 09-08-09, 10:37 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
Have you ever sat in a packed theater watching the Marx Bros. movies?
Here's the cool thing about that -- they pause for laughs. In most other comedy films, the dialogue continues and often you miss a lot of jokes because you're still laughing about something from a few seconds earlier. But because the Marx Brothers were so used to live performances, they incorporated the wait for laughs into their films as well.
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Old 09-08-09, 10:42 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

You mention Wild Hogs and Ruthless People, so already you've proven your own point that it's hard to make a film that makes everyone laugh.

Also, the 80's belonged to John Hughes.
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Old 09-08-09, 10:53 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Originally Posted by KillerCannibal View Post
You mention Wild Hogs and Ruthless People, so already you've proven your own point that it's hard to make a film that makes everyone laugh.

Also, the 80's belonged to John Hughes.
Well in my mind, there are comedies, and then there are ROTFLMAO comedies. John Hughes movies were funny in a cute way, but besides Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I don't find his films particular gut busting. How many times did you laugh in Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller?
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Old 09-08-09, 11:08 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Originally Posted by jeffbase34 View Post
Well in my mind, there are comedies, and then there are ROTFLMAO comedies. John Hughes movies were funny in a cute way, but besides Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I don't find his films particular gut busting. How many times did you laugh in Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller?
Actually, I don't ROTFLMAO with those films, so you are right. I find Hughes' films like P,T&A, the Vacation series (and even Home Alone) to be funnier. But I think that the 80's were full of WAY too many good comedies to give the gold to any one filmmaker.
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Old 09-08-09, 11:48 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

I've seen very few actual comedies in the last few years that I find even remotely funny. The films I laugh the most at are the ones that incorporate black humor and wit into otherwise violent proceedings. I found much to laugh at in:

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE
PUNISHER WAR ZONE
TRANSFORMERS
300
PLANET TERROR
CRANK

And it was fun to experience them with audiences that clearly got the intended humor. But I can't think of a single actual designated comedy since the NAKED GUN films that had as many laughs as these films. Maybe CLUELESS.

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Old 09-08-09, 12:57 PM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

You've seen "Wild Hogs" multiple times so we probably don't have the same sense of humor.
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Old 09-09-09, 02:00 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

yea apatow is currently running comedies. but i'll tell you what, his movies are becoming hit or miss. In my opinion he peaked early with movies like 40 year old virgin, superbad, etc.
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Old 09-09-09, 02:02 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post

And it was fun to experience them with audiences that clearly got the intended humor. But I can't think of a single actual designated comedy since the NAKED GUN films that had as many laughs as these films. Maybe CLUELESS.
Its funny you say that, I was watching airplane the other night and really most comedies now arent slap stick humor or the stupidly whitty stuff from that time. Most now are either so dumb its funny or the dialogue is so vulgar its funny.
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Old 09-09-09, 02:19 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Stanley Kubrick had such a wicked sense of humor, most people don't realize that his films are comedies.
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Old 09-09-09, 10:35 AM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Originally Posted by DvDDan View Post
yea apatow is currently running comedies. but i'll tell you what, his movies are becoming hit or miss. In my opinion he peaked early with movies like 40 year old virgin, superbad, etc.
I don't think I laughed once during Superbad either. Yet, I found Harold and Kumar GTWC to be hysterical.
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Old 09-09-09, 04:26 PM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

I read in some movie mag special on the 80s that said something like "the only really fresh element in the American movies of the 80s were comedies". Speaking of Ferris Bueller, everyone else in that movie is funnier than Matthew Broderick. It's kind of like the Bart Simpson syndrome where he's not actually funny but just cool which is boring. Everyone else were Homer Simpsons though especially the sidekick. "Rooney UHHG"

Also i have to agree that those comedians from the 20/30s are still funny since it's so primal and universal, and the Zucker ones too, even Benny Hill's silent bits were gold. I too like the more visual comedies than the wordy ones, just more timeless and probably globally appealing without the language barrier.
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Old 09-09-09, 05:54 PM
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Re: Accurate Observation on the History of Comedies?

Originally Posted by jeffbase34 View Post

The 80s - Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. They made the best comedies in the 80s such as Airplane, Ruthless People and the Naked Gun Series. Can't remember anything they did after the 80s.

What do you guys think?
The 80's comedies still rule, but I think the decade is diverse from Bill Murray and Ivan Reitman to Chevy Chase in his prime, to John Hughes ruling the teenage genre, to Rodney Dangerfield scoring many hits too, to Eddie Murphy right after SNL, and Zucker and co too. The 80's have the most depth:

Caddyshack
Ghostbusters
Stripes
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
The Breakfast Club
Sixteen Candles
Ferris Buellars Day Off
Back to School
Easy Money
Fast Times at Ridgmont High
Fletch
National Lampoons Vacation
Airplane
The Naked Gun
48 Hours
Trading Places
Beverly Hills Cop
Midnight Run
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