Movie Comedy: At an all-time low?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by steve jaros, Oct 11, 2001.

  1. steve jaros

    steve jaros Second Unit

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    I thought it couldn't get any worse when an unfunny waste of celluloid like Rush Hour 2 made 230 million at the box office. But this Chris Kattan makes that foolish step'n'fetch Chris Tucker look like the second coming of Richard Pryor. His rubber-necked idiocy ruined Monkey Bone, and what does Hollywood do? Give him a star vehicle!
    Chris Tucker... Chris Kattan... Adam Sandler...
    This is what passes for comic talent on the big screen these days? Someone give it the hook!
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  2. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    I absolutely agree with you. Lame Hour 2!?! as if the first one wasn't bad enough. and what really ruined Lame Hour in the first place? chris "not funny what-so-ever" tucker. Adam Sandler movies are predictable because essentially they are the same movie only Mr. Sandler plays a different lovable moron who saves the day in the end while getting the girl in each movie. That's why I, on the rare occasions I watch comedies, stick to comedies like Brain Candy, Austin Powers, etc. because I rather enjoy the outrageous attempt to make me laugh than the subtle ones hidden by a failed plot-attempts and... writing. Kinda reminds me of pornos: they put in a "script" and define a "plot" when in essence we all just skip to the sex.
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  3. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Couldn't agree more. I'll stick with the classics, thank you very much...
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  4. Brad Grenz

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    Sure, there's a lot of crap out there, but Wes Anderson's still making movies. Off the top of my head Meet the Parents and Oh Brother Where Art Thou were pretty recent and really funny. Maybe nothing out in the last few months...
    But I think this decline isn't exclusive to the genre of comedy. Hell, the Mummy movies and Tomb Raider are absolutely pathetic attempts at film making when compared to the Indiana Jones trilogy. But they make a bunch of money cause people have forgotten what a good action-adventure is like.
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  5. JohnRice

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    OK. The cynic in me says, "You are all complaining about all the crappy comedies and how they keep making so much money, when it is pretty obvious that you yourselves continue to go to them." Every one of the crappy comedies you mentioned is obviously crappy just by watching the commercial or trailer. When I cringe at a 30 second teaser I figure the last thing I want to do is go through 90 minutes of the same thing, so instead I watch "Raising Arizona."
     
  6. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    I will go one step further, and say look at the subject material that they try in order to get a laugh.
    Today's comedies...
    Tom green(Freddy fingered) masterbating an elephant
    David Spade(Joe Dirt) urinating on a fire, then cathes himself on fire.
    Tomcats...doing a girl dog style while she's pukeing.
    This is all lame and sick humor that just isn't funny.
    What happened to the good old comedies???
    Like Vacation, Spies LIke Us, or even Marx Brothers movies.
    What ever happened to Smart, clever jokes/scripts???
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  7. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    JohnRice, I'm with you 100%. We deserve the crappy movies that are made because we go see them. Since they are successful, more will be made.
    Did anyone actually see the trailer for Bubble Boy and think, "Ooh, that looks great, I'm gonna see that!" I have no idea how well it did in the box office, but whatever it was, it was too much.
    Yes, comedies now are teen gross-out fart jokes. Apparently, though, that's what people like.
     
  8. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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  9. Eric Bass

    Eric Bass Second Unit

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    My main gripe with comedy these days?.....Sex jokes are not inherently funny. If it's going to get to the point where we are supposed to laugh just because of the subject matter of the joke rather than the joke itself, well then I'll just have to throw in Caddy Shack and Rushmore over and over again, cause I won't be rolling in the isles when someone on screen says 'This one time...at band camp...'
     
  10. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

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  11. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I for one do not deserve these crappy comedies. I haven't seen any of the above listed. The trailers for "Bubble Boy", "The Animal", "Joe Dirt", etc.... all made me want to cry not laugh. I have avoided all of these movies like the plague. In the last year the only comedies that I have paid to see were "O Brother..", "American Pie 2", and "Jay and Silent Bob..". I'm debating about "Zoolander" but will probably wait for the second run theater.
    I have NEVER gone to a movie when I thought the trailer was stupid!!!!! I would rather re-watch "Some Like It Hot" or "Airplane" for the 500th time.
     
  12. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    Okay, I for one enjoyed the American Pie movies...but I won't defend any of the others mentioned...especially Freddy Got Fingered. Sorry Tom, you can be funny in small doses. ("The Chad is great! The Chad is Great! The Chad is stuck!")
    I prefer the more classic comedys, whether it's one-liner oriented (Romantic Comedies, basically When Harry Met Sally, or You've Got Mail.) or absurd comedy (the Airplane movies perfected this so well.)
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  13. Jason Whyte

    Jason Whyte Screenwriter

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    I agree it has been a very bad year for comedy, but let's break down the comedies (with some certainly "unintentional" ones and some films that may not be classified as comedy but made me laugh) that are on my 2001 Film List:
    ****
    Ghost World - It may not be classified as a "comedy," but the best film of 2001 so far contains so many witty truths about life and love that it makes you laugh out loud and smile at it. Everything from Illeana Douglas' art teacher to Scarlett Johansson saying she wants to make love to everyone she meets. And who can resist a shirtless, nunchucking J6P at a convience store?
    ***1/2
    Bridget Jones's Diary - It's refreshing to see a British comedy like this where you smile and pull for Bridget as she works out her problems, and is surrounded by so many hilarious family and friends.
    Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back - The laugh out loud party film of the year. It gave the fans something to revel up, and still retained smart and original for the non Smith crowd.
    Rush Hour 2 - A sequel that was slightly better than the original, with some great fight and action scenes, but what set it apart was the hilarious Chris Tucker in full "loud" mode in a scene where he tries to speak Chinese.
    Shrek - Everything about "Shrek" is hilarious, right from the get-go: the Ogre, the donkey and even Princess Fiona, the gingerbread cookie, the inflatable snakes.....it's suitable for children but adults who know their stuff will appreciate it even more.
    Spike and Mike's 2001 Festival of Animation - A terrific complilation of animated shorts, some are dramatic pieces but for the most part, they are little 7 minute comedic masterpieces. Don Herzfeld's "Rejected" and the Italian/American comparison short are funnier than almost any movie released this year.
    ***
    All Over The Guy - A hilarious comedy about gay and straight love, reminiscent of Don Roos' "The Opposite of Sex" (and it should be, he's the executive producer here).
    America's Sweethearts - Big, big laughs among the film industry with an interesting love triangle. What may be even funnier are those completely bogus movie-within-a-movies that are shown.
    Cats and Dogs - I'm surprised this movie wasn't just animated, with so many hilarious scenes of canines and felines just going at each other, the pace always energetic and fast, never slowing down.
    Curse of the Jade Scorpion, The - One of the Woodster's lighter comedies, but still containing some big laughs, especially the way David Odgen Steirs just says "Madagascar!"
    Heartbreakers - This feels like a good 'ol 50's comedy, shot in Cinemascope with no effects but totally goofy performances by Gene Hackman, Sigourney Weaver and Ray Liotta that hit just the right note.
    Josie and the Pussycats - A delicious satire of teens and their thirst for buying music and garbage they don't need, featuring a rather good soundtrack by Josie and the Pussycats that I would certainly buy. Am I brainwashed? Maybe....Josie and the Pussycats is the greatest movie ever. Now let's go join the army.
    One Night At McCool's - Film noir taken to violent and profane lengths, with Liv Tyler all dolled up and three different guys after her. And I couldn't believe how funny Andrew Dice Clay ("DICE!") could be. What can I say, it made me laugh.
    Series 7: The Contenders - One hell of a clever satire of reality shows, shown entirely like a TV show on film but set in an alternate universe where it's ok to screen ultra-violent programs like this!
    Zoolander - It's stupid and out there but boy did I laugh and smile at the antics of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as two totally ugly models. The set pieces and dialogue are almost impossible to describe without getting into giggle mode.
    **1/2
    Just Visiting - The remake of "Les Visiteurs" has its good share of laughs and some annoying toilet humour.
    Legally Blonde - I could almost recommend this film for the presence of Reese Witherspoon, but the film falls apart in the last half hour with a court case I couldn't give a damn about and a moronic plot development that just halts everything on screen. Still, for what it is, it has some big laughs.
    Mexican, The - An overlong comedy with some real shining moments and dull ones just the same. You gotta love Brad Pitt weasling his way through Mexico, and Julia Roberts and James Gandolfini becoming friends, but the film seems to have an ending around the 90 minute mark and then just keeps on going.
    Rat Race - Until that nerve-racking ENDING, this is one of the funniest comedies of the year, almost at a cartoon style comedy. The set pieces and performances are near perfect. But then it finishes, and we scratch our head wondering what the hell happened?
    Sugar and Spice - Besides Roger Ebert, I seem to be the only one who found this film moderately funny, but not without its flaws.
    **
    Animal, The - I found some laughs here and there, in this otherwise stupid, stupid comedy. Rob Schineder and Colleen Haskell are somewhat likeable.
    Bandits - It's a comedy, it's a drama, it's a heist picture.....or IS it?
    Evolution - This seems to be a drama with comedic performances inside, and the four leads (Duchonvy, Moore, Jones and Scott) are funny, but the tone isn't.
    Osmosis Jones - Unpleasent animation mixed with even more unpleasant live action by the Farelly brothers.
    Princess Diaries, The - More like a comedy for people who don't want to think while watching a film. Anne Hathaway's great performance is about the only thing to note here in a movie with almost no commendable jokes.
    Saving Silverman - Like many of these two star comedies, it's the performances that give some momentum but not enough. Here, Steve Zahn and Jack Black are those guys in a lull of a comedy.
    Serendipity - Far too many Meet Cute's and contrivances that will drive you over the hill, but I couldn't resist Eugene Levy as a wily salesman and Jeremy Piven as an even more wily best friend to John Cusack.
    Two Can Play That Game - Another pro-woman "romantic comedy" that has a few scenes of insight but little follow through.
    What's The Worst That Could Happen? - Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito are funny in a movie where nothing around them is funny. It would be more interesting to put them in a room together for 90 minutes and start an improvisation.
    *1/2
    American Pie 2 - A BRUTALLY unfunny sequel with about two or three things to laugh at, most of them belonging to the wonderfully charming Alyson Hannigan as Michelle. Otherwise, I just kept counting the reels for this bore to end.
    Closet, The - You gotta love the french. Their dramas are wonderful but their comedy formula seems to be to take the same dramatic formula and put funny music over it.
    Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles - You know what to expect when 12 years pass since the last Paul Hogan Dundee installment.
    Monkey Bone- Yowza. This dank, dark comedy fails on so many levels. I still don't know who this movie is made for!
    Town and Country - The infamous bomb that cost over $100 million and didn't make a tenth of it back. And for good reason!
    *
    Bride Of The Wind - Slap this bio/period piece in the unintentionally hilarious pile. So poorly made I'm amazed it got theatrical distribution.
    Bubble Boy - Depressing, loud, racist swill posing as a comedy.
    Double Take - Or did I mean this film?
    Down To Earth - Or this one?
    Get Over It - Excrutiatingly bad teen comedy, one of the worst in years. Kirsten Dunst in a bikini sold a few tickets but Ben Foster's "Me lose brain? Uh oh!" performance kept everyone away, thankfully.
    Head Over Heels - Proof that talent like Monica Potter can make bad films such as this.
    Joe Dirt - I laughed about once or twice, in about the one or two instances where David Spade didn't have shit pouring on him, something was blowing up infront of him or he was getting hit by something.
    Pearl Harbor - Another for the unintentionally hilarious pile. This film has a large laugh factor at how bad Hollywood Filmmaking has become.
    Scary Movie 2 - To quote Ebert: "I liked this twice as better as the original. But you know what two times zero is."
    See Spot Run - David Arquette falling on dog shit. 'Nuff said.
    Wedding Planner, The - Jennifer Lopez irritating against a wooden Matthew McConaughey in a romantic comedy that thinks you've never seen one before. Uh huh.
    ZERO (to be added later tonight)
    Druids - Oh, I'm going to give you a break. For NOW, that is.
    Freddy Got Fingered
    3000 Miles To Graceland
    I'll edit in my thoughts later. This took longer than I thought to post and I gotta go.....
    Jason
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  14. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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  15. Seth Paxton

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    It's a bit ironic though that one of the finest comedies that's been made in years relies so much on "offensive" humor - Jay and Silent Bob.
    However, as pointed out above, it's not the SUBJECT or the dirty words that are funny, and far to many filmmakers just don't get that. Kevin Smith does.
    Smith sets up the situations. It's not that Jay is swearing, it's the situation in which is so inappropriately doing so, or the attitude he has taken in the scene, etc.
    "My what a lovely tea party" is a great example of this. It's just a funny, unexpected line even (or epecially) with the previous setup of the security guard having no interest in receiving Bob's "service" himself. Catching the audiance off-gaurd via a misdirection setup is so much better than just trying to shock them.
    And when you think about it, it's a lot like horror. Build a good mood, don't give everything away, pick your spots for surprises and you can really scare people. Just cranking up the gore and relying on cats jumping out of shadows isn't as scary.
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  16. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Subtlety, wit: on the endangered-species list.
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  17. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  18. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Screenwriter

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    Are comedies really on the decline or just the ones we hear the most about? The movies that get the greatest ad campaigns, comedy or otherwise, usually aren't worth the price of admission. Some of the fun stuff in recent years has always been independent or international film, where writing and acting take centerstage over name recognition or SNL Alum status. I agree with the Jay and Silent Bob review...it was funny, lewd and sappy in the way that I expected it to be. Not Shakespeare, but still funny stuff. Ghost World was very funny, too, but calling it a comedy seems to miss some of the other stuff in it...it kind of defies simply classification. I want to see Zoolander, because Ben Stiller has always been funny to me since his short lived but high-larious Fox show (is that showing anywhere?). I think maybe mainstream movies overall (as the Tomb Raider noted above) are in decline, as glossy ad-campaigns have taken the place of writing, directing, and acting.
    Phil
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  19. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    Jason,
    While I think you may have given Josie and the Pussycats a little too much credit, I have one thing to say to your review...
    Jerkin!
    And Ghost World is the best movie of the year.
    = Derek =
     
  20. Patrick McCart

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    Rejected is officially the funniest cartoon, in my opinion, since the classic Tex Avery and Bob Clampett cartoons of the 1940's through the 1950's.
    The only comedies lately that I liked were O Brother Where Art Thou? and Shrek.
    I'll take comedy masterpieces like It Happened One Night, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, The Producers, A Hard Days Night, Help!, and the classic 3 stooges, Looney Tunes, and Fleischer Popeye cartoons over steaming piles of crap like American Pie, AP 2, Rat Race, and Freddy Got Fingered.
    It's a huge shame that Rat Race wasn't a straight remake of It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. There were so many posibilities that could have been used!
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