Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bravo's 100 funniest movies

The list, with my comments. If I haven't seen a movie, I don't comment on it.

100. Anchorman
Seriously unfunny movie with about three funny moments in it.
99. The Birdcage
Very funny movie.
98. School of Rock
97. Happy Gilmore
One of Sandler's weaker offerings.
96. Four Weddings and a Funeral
Very funny, esp. strong supporting cast.
95. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
94. Waiting for Guffman
I think this is one of the weaker Christopher Guest films.
93. The Aristocrats
I'm guessing this is the Glenn Close version, which I haven't seen.
92. Father of the Bride
91. Revenge of the Nerds
Better than I might have thought, though they really beat the sequels to death.
90. Clueless
Whatever happened to Alicia Silverstone?
89. Slapshot
Haven't seen this, but I've heard it's great. On my must-see list.
88. Team America
I don't quite get how this is rated so low when the South Park movie is rated so high.
87. The Kentucky Fried Movie
Uh, I liked this movie, but let's get real.
86. Zoolander
85. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Very good Steve Martin movie, back when he was funny. Michael Caine is terrific as the straight man.
84. Silver Streak
The first of the Wilder/Pryor collaborations. Pretty good, though I prefer Stir Crazy.
83. Sister Act
82. Tootsie
Should be much higher. Though I personally tend to think cross-dressing as a humor gag is very overrated.
81. Half Baked
Uh, this is above Tootsie? With all due respect to Dave Chapelle, that's nutty.
80. Lost in America
79. Three Amigos
*sigh* and this is above Tootsie. I think this is the turning point where Chevy Chase's unfunny virus infected Steve Martin.
78. Bananas
Very good Woody Allen film.
77. Flirting with Disaster
Moderately funny.
76. Ghostbusters
Should be way higher. I don't know if people can really remember what 1984 was like, but this movie ruled.
75. Dumb and Dumber
Wanted to hate this movie but ended up liking it a bit.
74. Trading Places
A breakthrough movie for Eddie Murphy, back when he was funny.
73. City Slickers
Tolerably funny. Mostly because of Jack Palance.
72. Moonstruck
Uh, this is a love story. It's not a comedy. It's not a "funny movie".
71. Roxanne
Back when Steve Martin was funny...this is very good.
70. The Nutty Professor (Eddie Murphy)
69. The Blues Brothers
Should be WAY higher. I would put this in the top 10.
68. Broadcast News
Decent in a light comedy way.
67. Kingpin
Moderately funny at best.
66. Dazed and Confused
I like this a lot. Matthew McCounaghey's best film.
65. Office Space
Very funny - should be much higher.
64. This is Spinal Tap
The definitive Christopher Guest film. Should be higher.
63. Manhattan
Not as good as Annie Hall. The beginning of Woody Allen's "I want to make serious film" phase.
62. The Pink Panther
Presuming this is the Peter Sellers version, it should be much higher.
61. Election
Tolerable, shouldn't be on any list.
60. When Harry Met Sally
Again, this is more of a love story than a "funny movie".
59. Police Academy Series
58. Private Benjamin
Somehow this movie died after they all left boot camp.
57. Swingers
Good film. Not "funny" in a made-me-laugh way, but I enjoyed it.
56. Young Frankenstein
One of the two best Mel Brooks movies. (He went downhill after losing Gene Wilder.)
55. Bull Durham
More of a baseball/love story movie than a "funny" movie.
54. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Enjoyable movie. I don't know if I'd call it "funny".
53. Dr. Strangelove
Peter Sellers rules.
52. Meet the Parents
It sucks to be the first movie placed higher than a classic. Meet the Parents is tolerably funny,
but come on!
51. National Lampoon's Vacation
A rare funny Chevy Chase movie. Since I don't count Caddyshack as a "Chevy Chase film", that leaves Vacation and Fletch as the only funny ones.
50. The Princess Bride
Great film.
49. American Pie
What sane person could put this ahead of The Princess Bride?
48. American Graffiti
Uh, this wasn't a funny movie. Enjoyable, yes.
47. 9 to 5
Decent, but probably too high.
46. The Incredibles
WAY too high.
45. Raising Arizona
Very funny movie. Cage and Hunter were great.
44. Sixteen Candles
43. What About Bob?
This movie really annoys me a lot for some reason. Probably because Bob is so annoying.
42. Harold and Maude
Dark comedies aren't "funny" per se. A great film, though.
41. Austin Powers
The first or all thre? Decent, but too high.
40. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
39. Mrs. Doubtfire
Should not be above Tootsie.
38. Best In Show
Yes, this was much funnier than Waiting for Guffman. Not, it was not funnier than This is Spinal Tap.
37. Dodgeball
Haven't seen it but you've GOT to be kidding.
36. Good Morning Vietnam
Decent choice.
35. Beetlejuice
Michael Keaton's best film.
34. Rushmore
Never thought this was funny.
33. Clerks
Good choice.
32. Groundhog Day
Great film.
31. The Big Lebowski
I liked this a lot, but would think Raising Arizona was funnier.
30. The 40 Year Old Virgin
Enjoyed this, surprisingly.
29. Legally Blonde
Shut up!
28. Annie Hall
Woody Allen's best film.
27. A Fish Called Wanda
Great film.
26. Wayne's World
Possibly too high.
25. Meet the Fockers
Should not be on the list. Was not even as funny as its predecessor.
24. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Enjoyed. It's underrated. But not by this list.
23. Big
Not that funny.
22. Beverly Hills Cop
OK, can buy that.
21. Shampoo
Too high.
20. The Jerk
Good film.
19. Wedding Crashers
WAY too high.
18. Stripes
Some say it's Murray's best, but I'd disagree. I prefer Groundhog Day.
17. M*A*S*H
Yes, this is great.
16. Old School
Whoever put this ahead of M*A*S*H should be shot.
15. Fast Times At Ridgemont High
Enjoyed it. This is WAY too high.
14. Napoleon Dynamite
13. Naked Gun Series
Too high.
12. The Producers
Presuming this was the original, it's about right.
11. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
I'm not a huge Pee-Wee fan.
10. Arthur
Actually very funny at the time, but it hasn't aged well. "Drunken fool" was funnier in the early 80s, trust me. And Gielgud stole the movie, of course.
9. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
*rolls eyes*
8. Blazing Saddles
Deserves to be on the top 10 list? Possibly. Unlike its neighbors.
7. The Wedding Singer
Shut up! And I liked this movie.
6. Airplane
Yes, this movie was outrageously funny. A legitimate pick.
5. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
Not as funny as a lot of the episodes, and not really their best work.
4. There's Something About Mary
OK, die already. This is WAY too high.
3. Shrek
Who's smoking crack? Again, I enjoyed the film, but this is WAY too high.
2. Caddyshack
Should definitely be in the top 5.
1. Animal House
Should be in the top 5.

Restricted to the list provided, my top would look like:
Animal House
The Producers
Monty Python & the Holy Grail (+Life of Brian, not listed)
Dr. Strangelove
Groundhog Day
Raising Arizona
The Blues Brothers
Office Space
Young Frankenstein/Blazing Saddles
A Fish Called Wanda
The Pink Panther (+Shot in the Dark, not listed)
Beverly Hills Cop
The Princess Bride

Apparently all of the following people were less funny than Anchorman:
Abbott & Costello, Buster Keaton, Bob Hope, Cary Grant, Hepburn & Tracy, Jerry Lewis,
Laurel & Hardy, Alec Guiness, etc.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

quickie review

Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room
Saw this at the Odeon Swiss Cottage last night. Pretty decent documentary. I'd forgotten that it came out much earlier in the US, and that I'd seen a bit of it before leaving for London last June. In particular, the bits about Lou Pei I think I'd seen on cable TV last Spring. But it was good to see the whole thing.

What are the take-home lessons here?
  • Wide-scale lying and deceit really doesn't get overseen by the "marketplace" very efficiently.
  • A LOT of people who must have known what was going on with Enron were quite happy to play along for the short run, collecting profits while the stock prices were high. I would wager that some of the people involved in the banks would even argue that their "fiduciary duty" required them to take advantage of an evident scam, as long as it was having a positive impact on their on firm's short-term profits.
  • A lot of the Enron people involved seemed quite a bit insecure about their role in the debacle. There's a lot of "go-along-to-get-along" in corporate America.
  • It's appalling to see the evil at the roots of the energy "crisis" in California. It's the kind of thing that made me think that, one of these days, one of these hot-shot energy traders is liable to get himself shot. Quite seriously, the idea of creating rolling blackouts to increase one own's profits is horribly selfish, and a blatant violation of the public trust under which all corporations are governed.
  • To put this more bluntly: if corporations want to be treated as "persons", which they evidently do in some manners, they need to develop a bit more in terms of social responsibility. As an entity, Enron was behaving like a sociopath. When that happens, the people who are driving the train to hell need to face some kind of personal backlash commensurate with the crimes they are committing.
  • I'm truly amazed that Enron was not only getting away with their bogus financing for so many years, but that the entire business culture was willing to not only not hold Enron up to scrutiny before the Fortune article by Bethany McLean, but were willing to declare Enron a model corporation.
  • This latter fact has to make one very dubious about the merits of widespread deregulation as an approach to corporate law. History is clear that people without oversight or regulation who have the power to rip off the public will do so. In the case of the energy industry in particular, that is essentially a monopolistic utility. The possibility for market manipulation is just too evident if there is no regulation.

Rain, rain, go away

Crappy weather this weekend.

Must..have..backup..plan...when it rains.....