Humorous Must See Movies

Humorous Must See Movies are are mostly Satires, or Dramedies that are drama comedies, or Docucomedies based on true stories, or Seriocomedies with serious comments on important matters in a comedy film. They are scattered among more serious investigative reporting films on this Must See Movies website, some of which also have a humorous slant:

Midnight in Paris

Fantasy 2011 PG-13 94 minutes. In this charming romantic comedy, legendary director Woody Allen focuses his lens on an engaged young couple whose experiences traveling together in Paris make them begin to question the kind of life they want to live.

She’s Out of My League
(Hard 10)

Romantic Comedy 2010 R 104 minutes. When he starts dating drop-dead gorgeous Molly, insecure airport security agent Kirk can’t believe it. As his friends and family share their doubts about the relationship lasting, Kirk does everything he can to avoid losing Molly forever.

The Invention of Lying

Satire 2009 PG-13 99 minutes. In a world where no one fibs, fiction doesn’t exist and people take each other at their literal word, unsuccessful screenwriter Mark gains fame and fortune — and maybe the girl of his dreams — by saying things that aren’t true. The Invention of Lying is a comedy with ideas; fortunately it remains, throughout, a comedy first. Such an original plot and that first half hour has some of the funniest original writing and scenes you’ll have ever seen in a comedy, in which people actually say what they think about each other. Not only is it inventive and imaginative and original, but it truly inspires the viewer to think! For instance when Mark makes up the story about “The Man In The Sky” and gets millions of people to believe in him, you start to wonder “is this how religion was invented?” Something to think about. He can lie! His world lacks even a word for this. Nor does it have the word truth. Something is either “so,” or “not so.” With his new power Mark is able to tell his mother that death does not lead to oblivion, but to a wonderful afterlife. Of course she, and everyone else, believes him. The word races around the world, and people beg for more details. Anna tells him how happy he could make everyone. Then, in one of the funniest satirical scenes I can remember, Mark stands on his front steps and informs the world there is a Man in the Sky, and they will be happy up there with him after death. The world is ecstatic. This Man, Mark explains, is responsible for everything. “Even my cancer?” a woman asks. Yes, that too, but Mark asks his audience not to get bogged down in the details. What we have here, in microcosm, is the paradox of a benevolent god creating a world of evil. Mark is hard-pressed to explain it, but greater men than he have tried. That’s a definite extra in a light romantic comedy. The dialogue on genetic selection was funny and yet kind of serious, too. Jennifer Garner gives an inspired, seemingly effortless, performance as a great beauty who isn’t conceited or cruel but simply thinks Mark, with his pug nose, is the wrong genetic match for her children. She plans to marry Brad (Rob Lowe), who is as conventionally handsome (and boring) as Clark Kent. The film has one of those scenes at the altar (“Do you, Brad, agree to stay with Anna as long as you can?”) that avoids obvious cliches by involving profound philosophical conclusions. Very dry, low-key and thought-provoking subversive satire about why we say the things we do, why we believe the things we do, and what can happen if we dig a little deeper and stop taking things solely at face value. Mark (Gervais) lives in a bleak world where there is no such thing as fictional entertainment, no comforting white lies, nothing beyond what people can see (i.e., no God, no heaven or hell), no fraud, no subtleties — people say exactly what they think, take everything at face value, and “losers” have no hope for the future because they are constantly confronted with their faults and cannot see beyond the here-and-now. Mark is in danger of falling into this category: he is in love with a woman (Garner) who likes his personality but is not attracted to him physically, and he expects to be fired from his job as a writer of history movies that tell only true stories. Things change in unexpected and funny ways when he discovers the ability to state something that isn’t . . .i.e., how to lie. But once he starts, where and how should he draw the line? This movie does not provide many “laugh out loud” moments, but it consistently amuses, provides tons of cameos by brilliant performers, and keeps you thinking long after the lights come up.

The Yes Men Fix the World

Documentary 2009 NR 87 minutes. In The Yes Men Fix the World, two pranksters known as the Yes Men employ MONKEY BUSINESS to highlight bad behavior by corporations.  In this film, the Yes Men go after a collection of corporations who have injured the world in one way or another. They go into corporate meetings and conventions posing as heads of business to expose how greed and instant stock satisfaction destroys lives.  One such was the political and economic shenanigans surrounding the ecological catastrophe of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in India of the Bophal industrial accident that killed over 10,000 people when a pesticide plant exploded.  Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno pose as spokesman for the Dow Corporation (which took over Union Carbide) and go on live TV apologizing for their role in the incident and pledging to fix the wrong. I was dumbfounded watching the BBC World News allow these guys to say Dow was going to reimburse India 12 billion dollars on camera live, worldwide, which wasn’t done for laughs, but as hard punch in the face of a multi-billion dollar American company that got away with murder and didn’t even bother cleaning up the toxic mess left behind.  The PRANKS in this film are great. Yes they are illegal as fraud but they make a social commentary. The Yes Men target selectively and explain why they target these corporations.

Catch Me If You Can

Docucomedy 2002 PG-13 141 minutes.  Catch Me If You Can is the true story of Frank W. Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), a cunning con man who poses as a doctor, lawyer, and pilot — all before turning 21. The son of an unsuccessful con man, Frank flees home when his parents’ marriage breaks up and starts on a spree of check forging and impersonations of respected professionals. He becomes a deft forger to the tune of over $2.5 million, but this attracts the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), who makes it his mission to put him behind bars. But Frank not only eludes capture, he revels in the pursuit, even taking time to taunt Carl by phone. Steven Spielberg directs this comic caper based on a true story, a docudramedy about a real-life criminal mastermind before he was even old enough to drink.  This movie takes us on a non-stop journey of this teenager who is conning his way around the world posing as others. This is a fascinating character study, and the fact that it is all based on a real person makes it all the more astounding.

Koko

Documentary Nature 2004 NR 60 minutes. Koko is a gorilla who taught scientists much more than they’d imagined possible about how animals, humans included, communicate. This documentary, part of the popular Nature series and narrated by Martin Sheen, examines how Koko interacts with the doctors who studied her, including lead researcher Penny Patterson, with whom she forged a strong bond. This is a fascinating documentary about a 30 year-old gorilla who learned sign language, and had her own pet kitten.  We are shown Koko’s life from the time she was small enough to be picked up by her trainer/human companion, Penny Patterson, to when she as an adult weighs 300 pounds. Even at that size, Koko is incredibly gentle when she hugs Penny. We are introduced to Koko’s understanding of English, how she learns to sign and strings words to form new concepts. Imagine, a gorilla, learning Sign Language at three months old? The first thought that comes to mind is “impossible”, right? Wrong, my friends.  It was wonderful to watch as Koko learned, and displayed much more than just rote memory “tricks”.  The concept of inter-species communication through sign language is fascinating.  A captivating look into the mind and emotions of Koko, this female gorilla who communicates through the use of sign language.  The film, while surprisingly unsentimental, will not fail to move you. The complexity of Koko’s personality, HER SENSE OF HUMOR, and her ability to connect beyond her own species will challenge (and perhaps change) our understanding of the world and our place in it. It would seem that we as humans have much more in common with other species than we previously thought possible.   Koko taught the world about the complexity of emotion that these highly intelligent primates are capable of feeling.

Religulous

Documentary 2008 R 1hr 41m. In Religulous politically provocative talk show host Bill Maher skewers the current state of organized religion.  This hot-button documentary makes stops in Jerusalem, the Vatican and other holy destinations.  It is hard to call a film controversial when its maker is only asking people to discuss the reason for their religious faith, but this documentary was labeled controversial, nonetheless. Bill Maher, an agnostic comedian created this study of the motivations of people from various faiths. He doesn’t humiliate them or attack them for committing to a way of life that he doesn’t subscribe to. He just asks – “why do you believe?” But, Religulous is successful at showing how the most adamantly religious are often so stubbornly unwilling to entertain the idea that their faith might not be the one true faith. A few of the subjects allowed Maher to quiz them without becoming irritated, but the majority of them only agreed to the interview so that they can promote their God while insisting that all others are imposters. Maher is outspoken about how absurd he believes the concept of religion is, and he is very funny about it. The ultra-religious are outspoken about how they believe they are right and everyone else is wrong, and they are usually humorless. It is this contrast that makes Religulous so good.

Super Size Me

Documentary 2004 PG-13 98 minutes. In Super Size Me, director Morgan Spurlock takes a HILARIOUS and often terrifying look at the effects of fast food on the human body, using himself as the proverbial guinea pig. For one month, Spurlock eats nothing but McDonald’s fare. Spurlock offers a very genuine look into several controversial issues, and A TOUCH OF HUMOR helps it go down easier than a vanilla milkshake. He examines the obesity dilemma in the US, problems in the United States public school system, and corporate greed and neglect.  A HILARIOUS SLAP-STICK TRAGICOMEDY about a hipster doofus who concocts a wacky scheme to eat only McDonald’s in order to escape his ball-busting girlfriend and the vegan gruel she forces him to eat. Typical scene: Spurlock goes to McDonalds, eats way too much and then moans “ohhh, I don’t feel so good!” A true master of physical comedy! Spurlock also decides to not exercise in order to emulate the kind of pathetic craven trash that would populate such a hideous place as Micky Dee’s. Makes you think, doesn’t it? IT’S REALLY ENTERTAINING, and Morgan Spurlock is astonishingly objective in his attitudes toward fast food. For a seriously informative look at the evils of fast food chains, read Fast Food Nation. But for a fun 90 minutes that effectively condenses much of FFN into delicious nugget-sized portions (with very little reading required), you can’t beat this movie.

What Would Jesus Buy?

Documentary 2007 PG 91 minutes. Taking on rampant American consumerism with a focus on Christmas shopping, the Rev. Billy (Bill Talen) and the Church of Stop Shopping go on a cross-country journey to save citizens from the Shopocalypse in this HILARIOUS documentary produced by Morgan Spurlock. Reminding shoppers of the true meaning of Christmas, Reverend Billy exorcises demons at Wal-Mart’s headquarters and preaches his message at the Mall of America and Disneyland.

I Do: How to Get Married and Stay Single
(Prête-moi ta main)

Romantic Comedy 2006 NR 89 minutes. Successful perfume executive Luis (Alain Chabat) is happily single, but his mother and sisters want him to settle down. After they arrange a string of disastrous blind dates, Luis concocts a crazy scheme that will make his family happy without his getting married. All he needs to do is hire a girl to act as his fiancée and then dump him at the altar. But when Luis meets Emmanuelle, the plan takes a turn he never anticipated in this French comedy.

Hitch

Romantic Comedy 2005 PG-13 118 minutes. Smooth and sexy Hitch helps clueless clients make a great first impression with their dates so they can get to the second date. But when a lovely gossip reporter starts nosing around his business, Hitch has to figure out a whole new strategy to love.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Comedy 2005 UR 133 minutes. At age 40, Andy Stitzer has a pleasant life, but there’s one thing he hasn’t done — so his sex-obsessed coworkers make it their mission to help get him laid. But it all seems hopeless until Andy meets small business owner Trish, a single mom.

The Triplets of Belleville
(Les Triplettes de Belleville)

Comedy Animation 2003 PG-13 1hr20m. When her grandson is kidnapped while competing in the Tour de France, Madame Souza and an eccentric singing group of triplets set out to save him. I had such a good time watching this film. It plays like a silent comedy drawn with surreal animation with truly unique artistry and backed up by a fun score. It has some funny observations about America as well as France. It is refreshing to see a mostly hand-drawn cartoon with very little CGI computer animation. The film is almost completely void of dialogue (some French spoken, but no subtitles) and relies on music, sound effects, and creative animation to deliver the story. The Triplets of Belleville made me feel like a little kid again, and I can’t praise it enough.

Roger Dodger

Comedy 2002 R 106 minutes. Roger is a hopelessly cynical advertising copywriter with a razor-sharp wit who believes he’s mastered the art of manipulating women. But his seemingly foolproof methods unravel when he tries to school his teenage nephew in his techniques.

Amelie
(Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain)

Drama 2001 R 122 minutes. When impish gamine Amélie (Audrey Tautou), who lives alone, finds a long-hidden trove of toys behind a baseboard in her apartment, she’s inspired to repatriate the items, an impulse of generosity that sparks more benevolent acts. A celebration of life and love, French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Oscar-nominated charmer stresses the importance of small wonders that surround us, if only we paused to look.

Dick (1999)

Satire 1999 PG-13 90 minutes.  After 15-year-old best friends Betsy Jobs and Arlene Lorenzo inadvertently witness the Watergate burglary, President Richard Nixon takes an interest in them and hires them as “official White House dog walkers” to keep them under surveillance.

Next Stop Wonderland

Romantic Comedy 1998 R 96 minutes. When Erin is dumped, her mother places personal ads on her behalf. Erin reluctantly goes out with a string of men who prove unsatisfactory in ways that are humorous to the viewer, revealing the bleak bachelor prospects many eligible women feel they are faced with these days and nights. But a lonely plumber keeps crossing her path. If the two could only meet, they might make the perfect pair.

How to Be a Player

Romantic Comedy 1997 R 94 minutes. Dray (Bill Bellamy) is the envy of his friends, living life one woman at a time and keeping all of his sexual trysts a secret from his girlfriend (Lark Voorhies). Determined to show him the error of his philandering ways, Dray’s sister Jenny (Natalie Desselle) and her friend Katrina (Mari Morrow) throw him a party — but the bash is a bust when Dray discovers all his romantic conquests are on the guest list.

Fargo

Drama 1996 R 98 minutes. Police chief Marge Gunderson — a serious sleuth who’s sharper than her folksy accent suggests — is hot on the trail of a Minneapolis car dealer conspiring with two kidnappers to snatch his wife so he can pocket part of the hefty ransom.

Love Serenade

Comedy 1996 R 1hr 41m.  The Hurley sisters (Miranda Otto and Rebecca Frith) are, by turns, shy and introspective and flashy and outgoing. What they have in common is that they’re both lonely young women on the make for Mr. Right. So, when a slick, smooth-talking radio deejay from the big city blows into their tiny town (moving in right next door), the sisters square off in a hilarious competition to win his affections!

Barbarians at the Gate

Docucomedy 1993 R 107 minutes. This seriocomedy based on the RJR-Nabisco leveraged buyout neatly encapsulates the greed that became synonymous with the 1980s. James Garner has never been better as charming, covetous CEO F. Ross Johnson. Johnson grabs for the brass ring when he tries to buy out the conglomerate, only to run up against investment banker Henry Kravis (Jonathan Pryce), who gave him the idea.

The Efficiency Expert
(Spotswood)

Comedy 1992 PG 1hr 29m.  Tasked with improving the bottom line of a small, old-fashioned moccasin factory, a cutthroat management consultant (Anthony Hopkins) plans to lay off more than half the workers. But as he gets to know the eccentric employees, he begins to have a change of heart. Russell Crowe, Toni Collette and Ben Mendelsohn co-star in this charming comedy set in 1960s Australia.

My Cousin Vinny

Comedy 1992 R 120 minutes. When teenage buddies Billy (Ralph Macchio) and Stan (Mitchell Whitfield) are falsely accused of croaking a convenience-store clerk in a backwoods Southern town, Billy calls on his Noo Yawk cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci), a fast-talking personal injury lawyer who’s never tried a case. Vinny’s crass demeanor lands him in hot water with the judge, but the lippy Brooklyn barrister has a few tricks up his sleeve. Oscar winner Marisa Tomei plays his gal pal.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Comedy 1987 R 92 minutes. Think you’ve had a bad day? At every turn, marketing exec Neal Page’s (Steve Martin) plans to get home to his family for Thanksgiving get foiled, and somehow the loudmouthed, idiosyncratic fellow traveler Del Griffith (John Candy) is always right next to him driving him nuts. Will this odd couple make it to Chicago without killing each other? Ben Stein and Edie McClurg also appear in writer-director John Hughes’s COMEDY CLASSIC.

The Money Pit

Comedy 1986 PG 91 minutes. An up-and-coming entertainment lawyer and his yuppie girlfriend set out to renovate their dream house, only to be plagued by her ex-husband, an unscrupulous construction firm and the house’s crumbling structure. The Money Pit works. It works because it takes a homebuyer’s biggest fear and turns it into a mocking, biting, hilarious reality. Couple Walter and Anna, (Hanks and Long) decide to buy a home together, and they find one that has an “anxious to sell” owner, and the price seems too good to be true, and it is. After they purchase their dream home, first, little things start to go wrong, unfortunately, the little problems turn into huge problems, including hiring some shady looking men to fix the house, of course, they say it will only take two weeks. Oh, are Walter and Anna in for a surprise. The shape of the house begins to reflect their relationship, as the stress of the cost, and work, and the house takes it’s toll, and their relationship begins to fall apart too. Will either the house or their relationship be fixed? This is a remake of “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” and carries the same message: always make sure you know exactly what you’re getting.

Lost in America

Satire 1985 R 91 minutes. David (Albert Brooks) and Linda (Julie Hagerty) live a boring life. David has dutifully obeyed orders at an ad agency for eight years, while Linda has devoted seven years to a dead-end job. But after David gets fired, they impulsively embark on a painfully hilarious odyssey of discovery. As they travel across the United States their finances dwindle to a dangerous low… and when they park their RV in Las Vegas, all bets are definitely off!

Trading Places

Comedy 1983 R 116 minutes. Eddie Murphy established himself as a comedy superstar playing streetwise hustler Billy Ray Valentine, who trades places with wealthy investment executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) to see whether circumstances truly do make the man. It’s all part of a bet cooked up by the rich, greedy Duke brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy). But when Valentine and Winthorpe find out about the wager, the payback begins. Jamie Lee Curtis co-stars.

Local Hero

Comedy 1983 PG 111 minutes.  In this good-natured fish-out-of-water comedy, disenchanted Texas oil tycoon Felix Happer (Burt Lancaster) sets out to buy an entire Scottish town in order to drill offshore. When one curmudgeon stands in his way — he refuses to sell his precious beach — Happer calls off his negotiating dogs and visits the town himself to finish the deal. Of course, it’s not long before the quirky, small-town vibe works its magic on this cynical outsider.

Neighbors (1981)

Comedy 1981 John Belushi as Earl Keese is a low-key, ineffectual, middle-class suburbanite with a wife, Enid, and teenage daughter, Elaine. Earl’s peaceful, dreary life changes when a younger couple, Vic and Ramona, move next door. Vic and Ramona both impose themselves on the Keese household; Earl is infuriated by the loud, gung-ho Vic, and flustered by the sly and seductive Ramona. Earl is frustrated by his inability to handle Vic and Ramona, and the way that he can never come up with absolute proof that the couple are doing anything wrong on purpose. Enid and Elaine are no help, and over the course of one night, the antagonism between Earl and his new neighbors escalates into suburban warfare. Earl begins to question his sanity, and the sanity of his wife and daughter. He realizes that his new neighbors have provided him with the most excitement he’s had in years, and that they can give him a promising future out of suburbia and away from his family. In the film’s closing scene, Earl joins Vic and Ramona, leaving his family behind and his house on fire.

The Gods Must Be Crazy

Dramedy 1980 PG. Three vignettes highlight the surreal in this cult comedy, including a tale about a Coke bottle that falls from the sky and becomes a one-of-a-kind object coveted by everyone in a small African village. The first 10 minutes or so of the film appears to be a documentary and I wanted to leave. I stayed and discovered an absolute gem of a film. It is quite humorous in many scenes and the beautiful photography of the Kalihari Desert encourages one to call a travel agency immediately. The main story concerns a bushman’s interaction with the “civilized” world and how he is introduced to it via his accidental encounter with a Coke bottle. There are several subplots; the romantic one is a little silly and the political one introduces tension and danger to the story. It important that the bushman was, and remained, the hero of the story. The best word I can come up with to describe this film is unique. It is a bizarre mix of romance, physical comedy, drama and even violence. I enjoyed it a lot. There are three distinct storylines and when the three converge, it is pure hilarity. This movie just did it for me…it made me laugh out loud! It also has some very touching moments, but it is slap-stick at its core. These quirky characters get under your skin and are just plain funny. The lead character is an actual bushman and never speaks a word of English but captures your heart and wins you over with his charm and his memorable facial expressions. He proves to be a natural actor. If you have a healthy sense of humor and can laugh at yourself once in a while, I think you’ll like this one.  In general, it’s an excellent film for everyone.

The Gods Must Be Crazy 2

Dramedy 1989 PG 98 minutes. N!xau is back in this sequel to the 1980 cult hit, and this time, an even stranger turn of events — stranger than a Coke bottle — leads him to an unexpected run-in with the world beyond his African village. While hunting in the desert, N!xau discovers that his children have been abducted by elephant poachers and vows to find them. But he’s forced to save the day (again) when he meets transplanted New Yorkers and soldiers who’ve lost their way.

Shampoo

Satire 1975 R 109 minutes.  In this racy satire set in the narcissistic world of late 1960s Los Angeles, a womanizing hairdresser trying to open his own salon in Beverly Hills has trouble juggling his business and sexual affairs.

Blazing Saddles

Satire 1974 R 93 minutes. Politically incorrect and relentlessly FUNNY, Mel Brooks’s take on Hollywood Westerns follows the tortured trail of freed slave Bart, who’s elected sheriff of the racist town of Rock Ridge. He must foil a land-grabbing governor (Brooks) with help from a washed-up, pot-smoking gunslinger (Gene Wilder).

Bananas

Satire 1971 PG-13. Neurotic nebbish Fielding Mellish (Woody Allen) follows his dream girl (Louise Lasser) to the fictitious Latin American nation of San Marcos, where he unintentionally becomes a freedom fighter for a revolutionary leader. But shortly after taking the reins of power, the new strongman goes — you guessed it — bananas, leaving Fielding in command to bargain with the United States. Watch for Sylvester Stallone in a microscopic role.

Mash

Satire 1970 R 116 minutes.  Director Robert Altman’s thinly veiled Vietnam War satire is indicative of when the spirit of the 1970s went mainstream, with Elliot Gould, Donald Sutherland and Tom Skerritt as Army doctors fighting military insanity and healing wounded soldiers during the Korean War. Featuring an Oscar-winning score and standout work from a huge ensemble cast (including Robert Duvall and Sally Kellerman), M*A*S*H is a masterpiece of ’70s cinema.

Little Big Man

Dramedy 1970 PG-13 139 minutes. Dustin Hoffman stars as Jack Crabb, a 121-year-old man who recounts a long and colorful life in the Wild West, including being raised by Native Americans. His recollections form a HUMOROUS Western epic that includes the infamous Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Alfie (1966)

Drama 1966 PG 113 minutes. English playboy Alfie (Michael Caine) is a charming Don Juan in the free-spirited 1960s with an insatiable appetite for women. He lives for sex and steers clear of emotional attachments, taking up with one “bird” after another. But his carefree days are over when he impregnates multiple women … and discovers one of them is married. This Golden Globe-winning comedy boasts a cool jazz score that’s as smooth as the title character.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

Comedy 1948 NR 94 minutes. Sophisticated New Yorkers Jim and Muriel Blandings (Cary Grant and Myrna Loy) leave their jaded city life for a dreamy getaway in rural Connecticut. But when their first house isn’t to their liking, the Blandings start over from scratch — with disastrous results. As local tradesmen increase their work rates and try to cash in on the recent transplants, Grant’s advertising executive job may be on the line if he can’t think of a slogan to sell ham. Anyone considering moving whether from an apartment or a house should watch this movie to understand the pitfalls of that next “dream” abode. It is a wonderful “how to” movie better than any Bob Villa program for the neophyte. In today’s world of MacMansions it might be even more appropriate than in the 40’s when it was produced. Just remember contractors love “change orders”. Anyone who has built or bought a house will relate to the trials and tribulations of the process. It truly stands the test of time and is watchable again and again. This is a solid 4 star movie and could be 5 if it wasn’t dated in appearance.

Sullivan’s Travels

Comedy 1941 NR 90 minutes. Tired of churning out fluffy comedies, Hollywood director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) decides to write a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. When his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, he hits the road as a hobo. On his journey, Sullivan invites an out-of-work actress (Veronica Lake) to be his traveling companion, and the pair get into more trouble than they ever dreamed of.

BLACK COMEDIES

Dr. Strangelove

Dr. Strangelove is a CLASSIC BLACK COMEDY that brilliantly skewers the insanity of the nuclear age. When a fanatical U.S. general (Sterling Hayden) launches an air-strike against the Soviets, they raise the stakes by threatening to unleash a “doomsday device,” setting the stage for Armageddon. The film excoriates the denizens of the military-industrial complex, exposing them as a collection of disturbed lunatics whose pathological urges translate into nuclear destruction. Much of it is HYSTERICALLY FUNNY, but overlaid with an ominous solemnity. The script’s SATIRICAL punch is so effective it gave birth to a slew of jocular, oft-quoted one-liners: “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here; this is the War Room!” The film’s star-studded cast includes George C. Scott, Slim Pickens, James Earl Jones and Peter Sellers, who steals the show and copped an Oscar nod playing three roles. George C. Scott epitomizes the soul we secretly suspect to be the military mind. Sterling Hayden plays intense insanity. Slim Pickens character, Major T. J. “King” Kong in his cowboy persona, does a bronco ride into oblivion and film history. The psychotic wing commander, Gen Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) who is concerned that the commies are attacking “the purity and essence of our precious bodily fluids”; and has unleashed his wing of B-52 bombers in a preemptive attack on the Soviet Union. George C. Scott, as Gen Buck G. Turgidson, as the over-the-top Air Force Chief of Staff. Kubrick tricked Scott into playing Turgidson more ridiculously than he felt comfortable doing, by telling him they were just practice takes. But the tour-de-force performance is by Peter Sellers, who plays three characters: the president, and a British captain who is executive officer to Gen Ripper, and also the title character Dr. Strangelove, the former Nazi and science advisor to the president, who is OUTRAGEOUSLY FUNNY. Also watch for Keenan Wynn and James Earl Jones, in small but important roles. This Stanley Kubrick BLACK COMEDY MASTERPIECE may seem dated to many viewers today. But to those of us who were of age in 1964 when this was released (I was 20) this BITING SATIRE of the Cold War and the possibility of nuclear annihilation was all too real. So real that I and many of my friends had trouble laughing at some of this back then, but it is much easier to laugh today, watching it for the umpteenth time. For all cold war babies who were subject to the old duck and cover drill in elementary school, this movie is a great revisit. Four decades after Strangelove’s release, the film is still alive with the power of his audacious wit and intellect, and even after all the years carries a hefty combination of HUMOR, powerful acting, and uniqueness. One of the best films ever made, ONE OF THE BEST COMEDIES OF ALL TIME; and probably the BEST OF POLITICAL SATIRES. My highest recommendation. Dr. Strangelove still remains one of my top five favorites of all time. ‘Nuff said. Satire 1964 PG 95 minutes.

Bernie

Docudrama 2011PG-13 1hr 39m.  In this BLACK COMEDY inspired by a true story, affable Texas mortician Bernie befriends the small town’s wealthiest widow and then kills her. But despite the suspicious nature of her death, no one wants to think anything but the best of Bernie.

Life is Beautiful

(La vita è bella)

Drama BLACK COMEDY 1997 PG-131 hr 56m.  A Jewish Italian waiter named Guido is sent to a Nazi concentration camp, along with his wife and their young son. Refusing to give up hope, Guido tries to protect his son’s innocence by pretending that their imprisonment is an elaborate game.

The Nasty Girl

(Das Schreckliche Mädchen)

Docudrama Satire 1990 PG-13 1hr 34m. German high schooler Sonya (Lena Stolze) decides to write an essay about her town’s history during the Third Reich and its heroic resistance to Nazi tyranny. To her (and the town’s) dismay, she instead uncovers evidence of collaboration with the regime. As she digs deeper, she must struggle against the vocal and violent opposition to her search for the truth. This provocative satire won a BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language.

Korkoro

Docudrama BLACK COMEDY 2009 NR 1hr 47m.  Based on the real-life experiences of a Gypsy family living in Nazi-occupied France, this poignant drama explores the broader definition of freedom through the eyes of characters who see permanency as punishment.See Full Review

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ROMANTIC COMEDIES  (ROM-COMS)

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