I don’t think many realize how exhausted a teacher is by the time Friday rolls around. Believe me, your teachers looked forward to the weekend much more than you ever did! And after a long week, there is something soothing about grabbing a snack, plopping on the couch, and putting on that go-to comedy. “Laughter is the best medicine.” Isn’t that what they say?
Here I share my medicinal cinema choices by giving my three go-to comedies with a breakdown of three factors: the Tale , my favorite moment, and the deciding factor that helps these movies make the cut on my favorite comedy list, the It.
Let’s get to it.
1. Nacho Libre (2006) starring Jack Black
The Tale: Nacho serves faithfully as a monastery cook spending his days preparing meals for orphans in a dusty, rural village of southern Mexico. Though Nacho claims he wants more “priestly duties”, his true heart lies in the wrestling ring where he hopes to become famous like the great and powerful Ramses.
However through a wilderness experience of sorts and turning to desperate measures that include drinking the raw yolk of an eagle egg for legendary “Eagle Powers”, Nacho with the help of his unkempt (and maybe homeless) partner Esqueleto stumbles upon the realization that maybe God would prefer he use his wrestling gifts for a greater purpose.
My Favorite Moment: After getting ejected from a pro-only party, Nacho and Esqueleto walk back to their motorized bicycle only to find two street thugs vandalizing their ride. There they stand like two pairs of tag team wrestlers waiting the inevitable fight with one of the vandals wielding a knife.
Suddenly, Esqueleto launches his corn covered in mayonnaise straight to one of the vandals’ eyes like a dart, and the distraction helps Nacho and friend escape unharmed.
The It: Nacho Libre has the rare cinematic quality becoming more enjoyable with each watching. Dry humor is woven throughout with odd characters and classic one-liners like “beneath the clothes, we find the man. And inside the man, we find his… nucleous.”
2. Dan in Real Life (2007) starring Steve Carell and Dane Cook
The Tale: Dan Burns, an advice columnist and widower, takes his three teenage daughters to a family retreat at his parent’s cabin where he meets up with his entire family including his brothers and their families. Dan tries to be the perfect father, but it is clear that he suffers from loneliness.
While in town picking up some essentials, Dan meets Marie, a smart and attractive woman and the first woman that has really caught his attention since his former wife’s death. They flirt for awhile, and Dan eventually returns to his cabin enamored. A few hours pass, and his last brother arrives with his new girlfriend… Marie.
From then on, Dan struggles with getting over the only girl that he wants while she is staying in the exact same house, participating in various family activities, and dropping hints that she is also attracted to Dan.
My Favorite Moment: Because the house is full, Dan has to sleep in the laundry room. His parents, concerned that Dan is down and lonely enter in the morning to talk to him. As they carry the conversation, more people enter the room. It is the laundry room after all.
Before long, everyone in the house including Marie are there together participating in this awkward conversation that Dan does not want to hear in the first place.
The It: Dan in Real Life is an often overlooked gem. The rich character development of the family makes you feel like part of the family while the smartly written humor keeps you laughing the whole way through. Be prepared, though, to feel some emotion as a father teams up with his teenage daughters to help move on into his next phase of life.
3. Kicking and Screaming (2005) starring Will Ferrell
The Tale: Phil Weston spitefully becomes the coach of his son’s little league soccer team after his father cuts his son from the roster of the best team in the league, the Gladiators. Phil’s team, the Tigers, is made up of a motley roster of… well, they’re not the best athletes.
However with the addition to two Italian soccer prodigies and assistant coach Mike Ditka, the Tigers become the hot team, and as their number of W’s increases, Phil becomes more and more maniacal in his coaching. Guzzling coffee by the gallon and screaming at children, Phil almost loses his sanity but repents of his ways once he sees the monster he has become.
My Favorite Moment: Any scene with Mike Ditka is gold. The man is a comedic genius.
The It: Like most of Will Ferrell’s movies, Kicking and Screaming is just fun and shallow humor. However, paired with heart-warming sentiment of most children’s sports movie, this movie is one you can watch over and over.