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October 24, 2008

About a Movie

A couple of weeks ago, all I wanted to do was watch a couple of real side-splittingly funny movies -- but two movies later, instead of laughing I was having a major hissy fit. 

My husband had rented two from the comedy section. After 15 minutes of the first movie I left the room. The next evening we started to watch the second one--and that's when I really lost it. 

The movie was Definitely, Maybe, which was heavy with political garbage, but the worst thing for me was to see how the director, producer, and actors involved children in their sexually suggestive movie. 

After my emotional diatribe and angst over wasted money, I'm "definitely" leery about renting other comedies. However, I just picked up a copy of Accidental Husband because of an intriguing review by Damaris co-founder Nick Pollard.

I'd be interested in hearing from you Pointers for a list of good movies--and not just comedies.

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Pick up the Blackadder series if you haven't already. While I wouldn't say they espouse particularly high values, I don't recall the historical humor ever being particularly nasty or offensive, but it has been a while since I watched them.

I don't watch much comedy, as a whole, but the BBC's Vicar of Dibley was extremely funny, from what of it I've seen. Neither of these are movies, they are TV shows, but I actually find watching a series on DVD a little more rewarding since they last longer.


You're a girl and I'm a girl. Let's talk Jane Austen movies. =) I think I own them all. I love anything period. Well, I didn't care for The Other Boleyn Girl. I lurve Eric Bana, but something about him being so impatient and cruel just turned me off. Hee.

But I have purchased the Masterpiece Theatre productions of Jane Austen's novels. I highly recommend them. In fact, I prefer their Persuasion to the one with Ciaran Hinds (Rupert Penry-Jones is a much more believeable Capt. Wentworth.) And their Sense & Sensibility is much closer to the original novel than the Emma Thompson one.

Penelope is a great chick-flick. It stars Christina Ricci and James McAvoy. Also, I recently purchased a BBC set called Shakespeare Retold. The MacBeth one is pretty dark but Much Ado About Nothing and Taming of the Shrew are worth the money!


Anything by Pixar.

Wallace and Gromit, if you can understand British humor. "Chicken Run" is by the same people, and contains a scene at which I actually laughed out loud in the theater. (I agree, Kim, with your assessment of the state of Hollywood comedy, alas.) "Curse of the Were-Rabbit" only works for die-hard fans and is a bit dodgy here and there. But the original short features are hilarious.

Other than that, about the only comedies I consider to be worthwhile are black-and-white: Charlie Chaplin, "His Gal Friday", "Bringing Up Baby" and the like. Surprisingly, even those push the envelope at times - mildly by today's standards, of course, but still.

I like extremely intense dramas, such as "Das Boot", "The Fugitive" and the like, so I won't recommend any. (I've seen "The Passion of the Christ" several times. You get the idea.) Maybe the original "Twelve Angry Men" with Henry Fonda, but then I like almost any courtroom drama.

Other than that, I watch movies to study their worldview, rather than for enjoyment. That gets me through them without my own meltdown.


I'm sure you've seen it but I have to recommend it anyway - "The Princess Bride". I've seen it innumerable times and laugh every time!

And, when Christmas is a bit closer, another classic - "A Christmas Story". Yes, you've probably seen it too, but that doesn't make it any less good!

Shannon K

I've given up on modern comedy because of too many bad experiences like the ones Kim mentioned. I'm second LeeQuod on the greatness of old movies! "His Girl Friday" is hilarious, though my favorite Cary Grant movie is "The Talk of the Town," an unlikely mixture of screwball comedy and criminal justice that turns out quite funny. Of the silent comedians, Buster Keaton is my favorite -- he comes up with the most unpredictable gags I've ever seen -- though Chaplin's feature-length films are more interesting plot-wise.

Old radio shows are also great for laughs! In honor of the upcoming elections, I've been listening to George Burns and Gracie Allen's broadcasts during Gracie's 1940 presidential campaign. Her talking points ("This used to be a government of checks and balances. Now it's all checks and no balances" and the like) are quite witty and, sadly, sometimes applicable to our current situation...

Gina Dalfonzo

"Blackadder" is hilarious, but it does get racy.

Of course, there's always MST3K . . .



There's two comedy movies that top my list of "family friendly."

"Undercover Blues" is about two undercover agents who retire after getting married and having a baby. Only one major swear word in the whole thing, and it gets reprimanded by the father, played by Dennis Quaid!

"What's Up Doc" is another humorous one, though it does undermine a family...

And if you're going to go older, you can rarely been Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, or Three Stooges. High brow humor like Three Stooges might be beyond modern sensibilities, though... :)


I just thought of my favorite miniseries that needs to be mentioned, though it's a bit difficult to get one's hands on. BBC's "North and South", starring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe is what I always wished Jane Austen was; a story about love across the social divide of industrializing England, that raises some difficult questions about honesty, justice, faith, true friendship, the value of wealth, integrity, pride, and family, that even has a happy ending. I can think of virtually nothing to object to in the film, there might be some mild profanity (I don't recall any), except that some of the characters lie, a few people die non-violently mostly from health problems, and there is a small amount of unarmed violence (a riot, two fist-fights).

Armitage's Mr. Thornton, the prosperous but troubled owner of a cotton mill in northern England, makes Mr. Darcy look like an emo naer-do-well. It's one of my favorite historical performances ever, and Daniela Denby-Ashe plays the sweet, kind-spirited, but naive Margaret Hale almost like an idealistic Alice in an industrial Wonderland. It's by far my favorite period piece.

Robert Van de Water

There is an excellent series of mystery shows called Foyle's War which is available on DVD. I have enjoyed them a great deal.


I so empathize with your being repulsed by filmmakers exploiting children. I hate it when they put obscenities in a child's mouth. What kinda parent...ah, nevermind...

I second anything with Cary Grant. I am also fond of those Myrna Loy/William Powell "Thin Man" movies, and I love musicals. I like Doris Day movies, but given her innocent persona, a surprising lot of those are actually about sex.

I can't stand romantic comedies generally, but Enchanted had some funny moments despite having the standard sort of plot.

Older movies: What about Raising Arizona? What about What About Bob and Groundhog Day? Guess I'm stuck in a rut, film-wise.


Oh! Jeeves and Wooster!

Kim Moreland

I cannot wait to rent some of the movies you all suggested. I'm making a list...

If you haven't seen it, Steve Martin's Pink Panther is pretty funny.

Jason Taylor

The Cockleshell Heros is a fine one about commaraderie, and the process of team-building.

Third Man on the Mountain is a minor gem. It is a Disney coming-of-age movie set in a Swiss mountain-climbing villiage.

The Man Who Never Was is a nice movie about a famous scam pulled off by the British intelligence. It has a gruesome premise(those who are familiar with the incident will know what I mean), but far less bad then a modern crime show.

The Chosen is based on a simplified version of the book. It is worth the watching.

Chris Clukey

For a great comedy, watch "Ghostbusters." Still hilarious, and only rated PG.

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