Saturday, November 19, 2005

Movie Meme-ariffic Saturday!

by Tom Bozzo

Via Phantom Scribbler and a bunch of other people, tracing back in the linkiverse to John Scalzi, here's a "canon" of comedy movies, extracted by Scalzi from the Rough Guide to Comedy Movies. Films I've seen are in bold, ones I've never heard of are in italics, and asterisks mark those in my not very extensive collection.

All About Eve
Annie Hall
The Apartment (*)
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Blazing Saddles
Bringing Up Baby
Broadcast News
Le diner de con
Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (*)
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Duck Soup
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Four Weddings and a Funeral
The General
The Gold Rush
Good Morning Vietnam
The Graduate
Groundhog Day
A Hard Day's Night
His Girl Friday
Kind Hearts and Coronets
The Lady Killers
Local Hero
Monty Python's Life of Brian
National Lampoon's Animal House
The Odd Couple
The Producers
Raising Arizona
Shaun of the Dead
A Shot in the Dark
Some Like it Hot (*)
Strictly Ballroom
Sullivan's Travels
There's Something About Mary
This is Spinal Tap (*)
To Be or Not to Be
Toy Story
Les vacances de M. Hulot
When Harry Met Sally...
Withnail and I

Not much to argue with on the comedy list. I don't particularly care for Austin Powers, even after giving it a second chance at a friend's suggestion. I could also argue that it is really a derivative of the Mel Brooks genre farces and doesn't deserve a place in the canon, its commercial success notwithstanding.

I've seen suggestions that "Holy Grail" take the "Life of Brian" position, which I'll support as long as "Young Frankenstein" gets to take the "Blazing Saddles" slot. In each case, there's a case to be made for each. Blazing Saddles is hilarious, though I think it's meta-film ending represents a lack of a real ending, in contrast to Young Frankenstein's perfect ending. (If you don't know it, get to the video store NOW!!!!!)

I liked "Amelie" well enough, but not enough to displace "A Fish Called Wanda" or perhaps "Election" or "Flirting With Disaster" — the last could take the "Dodgeball" slot.

Other genres are covered, too, and Scalzi himself was responsible for this selection for the science fiction movie canon.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!
Alien (*)
Back to the Future
Blade Runner (*)
Bride of Frankenstein
Brother From Another Planet
A Clockwork Orange
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The Damned
Destination Moon
The Day The Earth Stood Still
Escape From New York
ET: The Extraterrestrial
Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (serial)
The Fly (1985 version)
Forbidden Planet
Ghost in the Shell
The Incredibles
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version)
Jurassic Park
Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior
The Matrix (*)
On the Beach
Planet of the Apes (1968 version)
Solaris (1972 version)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (*)
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Stepford Wives
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
The Thing From Another World
Things to Come
12 Monkeys
28 Days Later
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
2001: A Space Odyssey (*)
La Voyage Dans la Lune
War of the Worlds (1953 version)

Even less to argue with here. There are a few oldies that are too old to have made the "Dr. Shock" (think: real life Count Floyd from SCTV) sci-fi/horror movie slot on Philadelphia UHF TV, and a couple newies (e.g., 28 Days Later) that I haven't seen mainly because Suzanne couldn't watch 'em.
You need to specify (1967 version) for The Stepford Wives.

I would be inclined to argue against Delicatessen, which owes more to Sondheim than Harry Harrison.

And I bemoan the lack of either the UNCUT Dead Alive (Peter Jackson's greatest film, though an argument for Meet the Feebles would be fine) or Frankenhooker (the greatest film ever set in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ--legendary home of 3 Mustaphas 3).
With "Dead Alive," the question is how you draw the line between horror and SF, no? In that regards, it might be easier to make a case for "Feebles."
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