Top 50 Comedies of the 21st Century
I have a love/hate relationship with lists. The other day I had a blast doing a list of the 50 best NBA players in history, because it brings about fun debates. I did a list once of the 50 best villains in movie history and that was interesting because everyone has a gripe. Someone tried arguing with me that Hannibal Lecter shouldn’t be on the list because really, he only ate one person, and he was rather nice to Jodie Foster’s character. Their closing to that debate was “Buffalo Bill was the worse villain in Silence of the Lambs.” Yet I couldn’t just have a list of the worst villains based on the amount of people they killed, or it would be some character from a superhero movie that killed half the population.
The last list I did was the “100 best movies of the 21st Century” (you can read it here: http://fox5sandiego.com/2016/09/01/100-best-movies-of-the-21st-century-from-one-critic-in-san-diego/).
Rolling Stone recently did a list of the 50 best comedies of the 21st Century, and I was on a few different radio stations across the country talking about it (even though I had nothing to do with the creation of said list). Their list was so frustrating in parts, that it got me to create my own list (sort of). I didn’t have the motivation to sit and create my own list, so I thought I’d go the lazy route with this. I’d merely print their list and editorialize on what I liked/disliked about it.
I’ll start by saying I was disappointed that with so many movies to choose from, they didn’t have one of the best movies (comedy or drama) of the 21st Century — Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Other movies I was disappointed to see NOT make their list: (500) Days of Summer, Super, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Safety Not Guaranteed, A Somewhat Gentle Man, The Way Way Back, Wedding Crashers, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Easy A, 50/50, Funny People, Little Miss Sunshine, Hot Tub Time Machine, Game Night, Ted, Moonrise Kingdom, About a Boy, Little Children, Me, You and Everyone We Know, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
How can this list not have Napoleon Dynamite? And what’s the problem with Love Actually and My Big Fat Greek Wedding? They’re romantic comedies, but deserve to be on this. Did they not put Deadpool, Kingsman Secret Service and Guardians of the Galaxy because they’re superhero movies? I know Scott Pilgrim vs. the World tanked at the box office, but I’d put that, along with last years The Big Sick, Keanu, Don’t Think Twice, Neighbors, Chef, Argo, Adventureland, Juno, About Schmidt, Snatch, Old School, While We’re Young, and one of the best movies ever made — The Kids Are All Right.
There are some movies I don’t consider “comedies” but had a lot of funny stuff, like Beginners or Philomena. Yet their list had movies that I hardly consider “comedy.”
Since they had animated movies on their list, it made me wonder why they left off: Inside Out, Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3, Zootopia, ParaNorman, and Wreck-It Ralph.
So here’s their list, with my comments following each film.
50. ENOUGH SAID. I think it was the last James Gandolfini movie, with a great performance by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Nice way to start their list.
49. AMERICAN PSYCHO. Uh…it had some funny scenes, but is this really a “comedy”?
48. FANTASTIC MR. FOX. Good choice, but if this animated Wes Anderson movie is on the list, as well as other Anderson movies that shouldn’t be, why not his recent Isle of Dogs?
47. HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE. Great movie for a list like this. I was surprised at how much I laughed, thinking with a title like this, it was going to be as bad as Dude, Where’s My Car?
46. I HEART HUCKABEES. Never saw it, so I can’t complain about it.
45. LEGALLY BLONDE. Good place on the list.
44. THE WORLD’S END. I’m thrilled this is on the list, but it would probably make my Top 10. I saw it 5 times in the theatres, always taking different friends to see the comedic genius that is Nick Frost, Simon Peg, and director Edgar Wright (who recently did Baby Driver).
43. JACKASS: THE MOVIE. It would have never occured to me to put this on the list, but it does provide enough laughs to make it to the mid-40s.
42. KUNG FU HUSTLE. Never saw it. The title’s funny, though. My wife said it’s funny. I’ll take her word for it.
41. HAIL, CAESAR! This is an awful movie for the list. A few funny scenes (I’m looking at you, dancing Channing Tatum), but replace this with the Coen brothers Burn After Reading, which is criminally underrated.
40. FORCE MAJEURE. A good movie, but nothing about this is remotely funny.
39. SIDEWAYS. How did this not make the Top 20? It’s amazing.
38. WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER. I didn’t see this, perhaps because I thought it was a porno. Replace this summer flick with 500 Days of Summer.
37. KNOCKED UP. Good comedy, and a good place for it on the list. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
36. HIGH FIDELITY. This is a brilliant film and should be in the Top 10.
35. BAD SANTA. I might be the only person on the planet that doesn’t like this movie. I’ve spent hours arguing with every one of my friends and a handful of critics, that liked it.
34. ADAPTATION. Another one that should be in the Top 10. Ah, remember the good ol’ days when Nicolas Cage made good movies?
33. GHOST WORLD. I bought this DVD just so my wife could see it. She wasn’t impressed. I liked it a lot, but it’s probably not a comedy for everyone.
32. THE LOBSTER. I have a hard time calling this a comedy, despite it having a few darkly comedic moments and interesting satire. The second half of the movie is so disappointing. Unless it’s a list of favorite “lobster” things, put it behind the B-52s song and get it outta here.
31. THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS. I missed this because it was at a time when I was so burned out on Wes Anderson quirk. No comment.
30. HOT FUZZ. More Nick Frost/Simon Peg/Edgar Wright brilliance. It would make my Top twenty.
29. TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE. Great place on the list for this wacky comedy. The puppet sex scene alone would be enough to put it on the list.
28. SUPERBAD. I liked this movie so much more the second time I saw it. Great choice.
27. 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE. Never saw it, but really…Is it that funny? I can’t imagine it is.
26. FRANCES HA. Perfect place for the quirky Greta Gerwig (I would also throw in Mistress America) who would get her fame as director of Lady Bird. I was surprised my wife didn’t like this as much as I did.
25. SCHOOL OF ROCK. Just like Bad Santa, this is a movie I didn’t find that funny. A few funny scenes, great songs, and some touching scenes at the end, but…an average movie at best. And I love Jack Black.
24. LOVE & FRIENDSHIP. This period piece had two funny scenes, tops. It was boring. It wouldn’t even make a list of my favorite Jane Austen movies.
23. THE TRIP. When I wrote my review about how funny these Steve Coogan/Rob Brydon movies were, one radio host I do reviews for, said they’re his all-time favorite comedies. I wouldn’t give them that much praise, but I loved this. Perfect spot on the list.
22. The LEGO Movie. A fun Will Ferrell scene, and Liam Neeson as good cop/bad cop was cool, but overall…a disappointing movie that wouldn’t make my Top 100 comedies.
21. BORAT: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Come on, it deserves to be on the list for that title alone. A terrific, bizarre comedy from Sacha Baron Cohen. And to think, this guy was going to play Freddie Mercury.
20. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. What is it with their love of Wes Anderson? This movie had its moments, but was really disappointing.
19. MEAN GIRLS. Love it. It should be on the Top 10 (fun fact: Tina Fey wrote it).
18. TROPIC THUNDER. This would probably make my list, but a lot farther down.
17. WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS. More brilliance from Taika Waititi. It would be in my Top 5. A reality show about vampires, with some Flight of the Conchords dudes. Great stuff.
16. LADY BIRD. This was my favorite movie of the year, and would be in my Top 5.
15. A SERIOUS MAN. A solid Coen brothers comedy. It would probably be a bit lower on my list, though (still like Burn After Reading more).
14. EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! If it was my list of favorite Van Halen songs, it’s on my list. As a movie, Linklater has done so much better. This movie was overrated crap.
13. THE DEATH OF STALIN. I wanted to like this movie, but it wasn’t very good. The filmmakers had a great movie that made it higher on the list (spoiler alert: it’s In the Loop).
12. ANCHORMAN. Good spot for this on the list, despite it being an overrated comedy.
11. IN BRUGES. A good movie from the guy that did Three Billboards, but is it a comedy?
10. STATE AND MAIN. Okay film, but why so high on the list. Not sure it would crack my Top 25.
9. THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN. This would probably be my top pick for best of the 21st Century. A perfectly executed comedy.
8. SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Of the Cornetto trilogy (The World’s End, Hot Fuzz), this is my third favorite, but it’s still delicious. Everyone loves this.
7. TONI ERDMANN. They’re making an American version with Jack Nicholson. That’s good, because this German movie flat out sucked. The 10 friends of mine that have all seen it agree (all the critics I know, loved it; not sure why)
6. PUNCH DRUNK LOVE. This is the third movie on my list, that I bought the DVD of it so my wife could see it. She didn’t like it. Adam Sandler making a comedy list…in a P.T. Anderson movie…deserves to be here, but I’d have it around 25.
5. IDIOCRACY. Mike Judge has done better movies (Office Space, Extract), and better TV (Beavis & Butthead). A great concept, but not as funny as it should be. It’s getting a bigger run now that Trump is President.
4. STEP BROTHERS. The 4th movie I had my wife watch, that she didn’t like. I hate to admit, this Will Ferrell movie would be in my Top 5, too. I’ve seen it 20 times, and laugh just as hard each time. How many comedies can you say that about?
3. BRIDESMAIDS. My wife and I both agreed that Kristen Wiig wasn’t likeable enough. It was funny enough to make a Top 50 list, but probably closer to number 40.
2. IN THE LOOP. This is brilliant satire, and would be in my Top 5. Who would’ve thought James Gandolfini would be on the list twice?
- BEST IN SHOW. This Christopher Guest mockumentary is my mom’s favorite comedy, and it’s a classic. Sure, I like Spinal Tap more, but this and Waiting for Guffman are solid. This would also make my Top 10, which is nice, because as frustrating as this Top 50 is, at least they ended strong.