It is my firm belief that only a parent who has had to choose between children can truly understand what it means to pick a favorite movie. But inevitably, that’s where the conversation turned last night when my wife and I were deciding what to watch with an out-of-town friend. I demanded that we narrow the options down to one category–comedy–and since it’s my children we’re talking about, I further demanded that I get at least three choices.
So there I was–three choices and a mountain of responsibility on my shoulders! To give myself a bit of direction, I decided to set up a few parameters. For example, at least one of my favorite comedies would have to have some kind of romance. (Don’t roll your eyes at me! I was choosing movies for two women, and plus, I’m a sucker for happy endings). One would have to be a bit more sophisticated, dare I say, “intellectual.” And one would have to be a no-holds-barred, go-to-hell-if-you-don’t-like-me, unabashedly funny, funny movie.
After much sweating, heading shaking and tears, I finally came to the following choices:
Best romantic comedy:
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) kicks off with the spectacularly pathetic Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) languishing in a pool of tears and self-pity because his hot TV-Star girlfriend has dumped him for another man. Like any self-respecting, struggling musician faced with heartache and a dead-end career, Peter heads off to Hawaii for a fresh start. Things are looking up for Peter when who should arrive at his resort? None other than his recent ex, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) and her new rockstar boyfriend (Russell Brand).
A little raunchier than your typical romantic comedy, but I only had three choices, so don’t expect typical from this list! Go see it if you haven’t!
Best intellectual comedy:
Amelie (2001) is easily one of the most benevolent and creative movies ever made. Third person narration provides fast and quirky character sketches and allows the film to jump through time without causing confusion. We are thus given a surprisingly deep view of Amelie’s character (Audrey Tautou), without sacrificing a plot that is both touching, and delightfully humorous. Amelie finds love, but first she must solve the problems of those around her. A must see movie for sure!
Best no-holds-barred comedy:
Superbad (2007) is an unapologetically irreverent comedy about two high school students on the verge of graduation facing the prospect of separation for the first time. Incredible awkwardness mixed with a few authentic moments of friendship are masterfully conveyed by Michael Cera and Jonah Hill. And what about that half-hour non sequitur in which cops drive around drunkenly, shooting their guns off in parking lot? Who knows, but it’s hilarious!
Be warned: if you are easily offended, stick with Amelie!
So there you have it: my three children. Just don’t ask me to pick my favorite…