In looking back at the 1980’s I was surprised how rich the decade was in comedies. Films that could have made my list but did not include Airplane!, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The Naked Gun, Tootsie, Spaceballs and Stripes. There are others, but you get the idea. The 80’s included one of the last great romantic comedies along with Woody Allen continuing to produce some great films and the underrated Albert Brooks.
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Broadway Danny Rose
Woody Allen’s nostalgic look at the the lower levels of New York’s show business community that he knew so well from his early days as a writer and standup comedian. Here is my complete review.
The late director Harold Ramis always reflected a healthy disrespect for the establishment whether it be the military (Stripes), science (Ghostbusters) or golf (Caddyshack). In Caddyshack, directed and co-written by Ramis, he brought together the old, Rodney Dangerfield, who was experiencing a resurgence in his career and the new, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, alumni of a relatively still new and fresh Saturday Night Live, Caddyshack captured the irrelevance, free-spirited and anti-establishment attitude of the youth generation. While Chevy Chase got top billing, it was Bill Murray’s goofball groundskeeper, Carl Spackler, who steals the film.
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is classic Steve Martin as well as a loving and affectionate tribute to classic film noir. Read my complete review here.
Hannah and Her Sisters
Lost in America
Like Harold Lloyd who always remained number 3 in the ranks for best silent comic behind Chaplin and Keaton, Albert Brooks always lagged behind Woody Allen and Mel Brooks in the 70’s and 80’s. Brooks humor may be more off-beat, but nevertheless funny. Check out the film and read my review.
An outrageously funny comedy filled just the right amount of sophistication and sophomoric Animal House style humor (well it was directed by John Landis after all!). A breezy satire that hits at the financial shenanigans of the Reagan era (and are no different today). Sure it’s contrived, but the writing is good and Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd are scene stealers at the top of their game. On top of that, it’s takes place at Christmas time and there is Jamie Lee Curtis.
When Harry Met Sally
Billy Crystal as Harry says it all here – “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” Along with Annie Hall, it’s one of the great modern day romantic comedies
This is Chevy Chase at his best. There’s a throwaway kind of craziness to the film that, while way off the wall, many may find familiar in their own family vacations gone wrong. The Griswald’s have become an American treasure of sorts with a series of sequels, but this film remains the best