good comedy movies
Good comedy movies can lift your spirits after a rough week, and there’s even scientific evidence to suggest a link between laughter and better health. While I’m not Patch Adams, I do care about the well-being of my readers, which is why I’ve put together this list of 12 Good Comedy Movies That Might Go Under the radar otherwise. Some modern comedy classics are included, but you’ll also find foreign comedies, cult comedies, and even classic comedies.
Groundhog Day (1993) – Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is a misanthropic television weatherman who is unhappy about having to cover the annual Groundhog Day ceremonies in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. But he imagines his surprise when a snowstorm leaves him stranded in the small town, and Phil suddenly finds himself living the same day over and over again. Murray is perfect as the prankster jerk who slowly finds redemption, and Andie MacDowell is a beautiful love interest.
The Princess Bride (1987) – Framed as a fairy tale read by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his ailing grandson (Fred Savage), The Princess Bride tells the story of Westley (Cary Elwes), a farmer trying to reunite with his true love, Buttercup (Robin Wright), after being presumed dead. But Buttercup is in the clutches of the evil Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), so Westley must seek help from the hulking Fezzik (Andre the Giant) and a Spaniard named Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin). A wonderful comedy for all ages, it also features plenty of romance, fantasy, and action.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) – Cary Grant plays Mortimer Brewster, a newlywed who discovers that his aunts and brother are completely crazy. The two aunts have been poisoning older bachelors and burying them in the basement, and Mortimer’s brother is convinced that he is Teddy Roosevelt. But things get even more complicated for Mortimer when Mortimer’s other brother, Jonathan (Raymond Massey), arrives. It turns out that Jonathan is completely psychotic and is soon planning to kill the only stable member of the family. Despite the gruesome nature of the crimes committed, the film is a comedy (and a very good one at that).
The Perfect Crime (2004) – A black comedy from Spain, The Perfect Crime follows Rafael (Guillermo Toledo), a department store clerk looking for a promotion. He has also slept with all the women in his apartment, except one: the homely Lourdes (Mónica Cervera). But when an accident suddenly produces a fresh corpse, Rafael finds himself in Lourdes’s debt, and she intends to collect… heartily.
The Big Lebowski (1998) – If you want to experience what has been called “the first cult movie of the Internet age,” be sure to check out this slacker comedy from Joel and Ethan Coen. Jeff Bridges stars as The Dude, a stoner who is mistaken for a millionaire with the same name and finds himself embroiled in a web of intrigue. Hardcore fans attend an annual celebration known as Lebowski Fest, and the film is packed with quotable dialogue. Also starring John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Sam Elliott.
The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) – Before the plane! and the Naked Gun movies, writers Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker created this wacky comedy flick that spoofs everything from educational movies to kung-fu movies. The unusual cast includes Bill Bixby, Tony Dow, Donald Sutherland, and George Lazenby. Directed by John Landis, who would go on to direct such hit comedies as Animal House, Trading Places, and National Lampoon’s Three Amigos.
Hollywood Mix (1987) – Robert Townsend directed, produced, co-wrote and stars in this story of an actor struggling to make it in Hollywood. Filled with humorous daydreams and parodies lampooning the stereotypical roles often assigned to minorities, the film was paid for on Townsend’s credit cards. Several future stars make appearances, including Keenan Ivory Wayans and Damon Wayans.
The Boy (1921) – The Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) takes in a waif (Jackie Coogan), takes care of him and teaches him the finer points of being a con artist. But when social workers try to break up the duo, the Tramp is willing to do whatever it takes to reunite. As with most of Chaplin’s classic comedies, the film mixes laughter with moments of sadness and social commentary. It’s a silent movie, by the way, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing the magic of Chaplin.
Booth Boy (1994) – Former David Letterman screenwriter Chris Elliott plays Nathaniel Mayweather, the arrogant heir to a hotel empire. Looking to board the Queen Catherine to Hawaii, he instead stumbles upon a dilapidated fishing boat called The Filthy Whore. Now stranded at sea with an unhappy crew (including Brian Doyle-Murray and James Gammon), Nathaniel must eke out a living and deal with all the dangers of Hell’s Bucket, including a jealous giant (Mike Starr), an iceberg monster, and a cupcake who likes to spit tobacco. While it’s a weird comedy, it should be perfect for those whose taste in humor is unconventional.
Eurovoyage (2004) – After discovering that his old pen pal is actually a beautiful girl, recent high school graduate Scotty Thomas (Scott Mechlowicz) heads to Germany to make things right. He is joined by three other friends (including Michelle Trachtenberg), and his adventures include soccer hooligans, Italian lovebirds, and a nude beach full of men. He looks out for Matt Damon in a cameo as the lead singer of a band.
Soap Dish (1991) – Soap opera plotlines are funny enough on their own, but this movie ups the ante by taking a behind-the-scenes look at the fictional The Sun Also Sets. The star cast includes Sally Field, Robert Downey Jr., Kevin Kline, Whoopi Goldberg, Teri Hatcher and Elizabeth Shue.
The Tall Blond Man with a Black Shoe (1972) – Remade in America as The Man with the Red Shoe (starring Tom Hanks), this French comedy classic stars Pierre Richard as Francois Perrin, a hapless violinist who becomes embroiled in a power struggle between two servicemen French secret. Packed with slapstick comedy, action, and a liberal dash of French eroticism.