What is your funniest movie?
Boston.com started a poll this week to determine the “funniest movie ever.” This, of course, is a highly subjective matter relying on taste, discrimination and at least a touch of insanity. I am preparing the Cobb Manor ballot for submission.
Naturally, I will omit anything with Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller (one exception) and Sacha Cohen. Not funny, not funny, not funny and… not funny. “Spinal Tap” and “Napoleon Dynamite” do not make the cut either. Not funny and not funny.
I suspect you must be under the influence of something mind altering to laugh at these presentations, but I am 70. What do I know?
On the Cobb Manor ballot, anything by the Marx Brothers will lead the list. (I told you I was old.) Second will be anything by Mel Brooks. I saw “Blazing Saddles” in a Rockland movie theater in 1974 and am still laughing. It is almost impossible to take any western seriously after that devastating attack. That will have to lead my list. Right behind it will be “Young Frankenstein,” another Brooks effort. He should have his own stamp. While digging up a grave to fetch an “Abby Normal” brain, Marty Feldman says “Could be worse. Could be raining.” Guess what happens? Gets me every time. I use that line at least once a month when things are going very badly.
There is no funnier movie moment than in “The Producers,” when the chorus breaks into “Springtime for Hitler in Germany.” Top that, Ferrell.
The other movie quoted almost daily around Cobb Manor is “Airplane” from 1980. As a confirmed white-knuckle flyer, I found the “Airplane” shtick to be surely hilarious, and don’t call me Shirley. You can watch “Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein” and “Airplane” once a month and still laugh out loud. Well, I can, anyway.
Boston.com’s own ballot had “Animal House” as number one and there is little to argue with here. Belushi makes me laugh, no matter what he does. They have “The Jerk” as No. 2. That is a stretch. It’s a funny movie, all right, but not a No. 2. (Best line: “I don’t miss the money. I miss the stuff!”)
Here comes the old man again. They have “Dumb and Dumber” at No. 3. I would not have that one in my top 50. “Caddyshack” comes in at No. 4 and, once again, I would rate that much, much higher although for the first time I can watch Bill Murray without leaving the theater or changing the channel. Naturally, Monty Python has to appear in this poll and Boston.com had “Holy Grail” in at No. 5. I won’t argue with that. (“It’s just a flesh wound.”)
The more I think of it, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” could be No. 1.
I cannot remember “the Big Lebowski” (it is in my Netflix queue) so I can’t place in my top 10, like Boston.com does. But I will heartily include “Some Like it Hot,” one of my all-time favorites. Not only for the scene when Tony Curtis seduces Marilyn Monroe into seducing him, but for the final scene when Jack Lemmon confesses he is dressed like a woman, but is really a man. “Well, no one is perfect,” says the still-amorous Bert Lahr.
Closing their top 10 is “Doctor Strangelove” which is a very funny movie, but one you don’t laugh at. You gasp at it.
A sleeper one they have rated at 19 is “Tootsie,” a very clever movie with another cross-dresser (maybe I am giving away too much here). When elegantly gowned Dustin Hoffman has his leading man follow him home, Hoffman’s shocked roommate (Bill Murray again) just says “you slut.” There is no more attractive woman on film than Jessica Lange in this soap opera spoof. Lange is a Cobb Manor favorite who made death almost appealing in “All That Jazz.” But that is another story.
And another column.
Please prepare your own “funniest” ballot and forward to Boston.com. For heaven sake, omit any Will Ferrell movie. Or you will only encourage him.
Send complaints and compliments to Emmet Meara at firstname.lastname@example.org.