Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Underrated Comedies - Ghetto Tim ""

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Favorite Underrated Comedies - Ghetto Tim

Ghetto Tim is a film loving dude who always makes interesting choices and has cool stuff to day about most any kind of movie: You can read him here: http://cinemasatori.wordpress.com/
 
Comedy is a very subjective beast. What may tickle the funny bone of one man may also dislocate that of another. It comes at us from all angles, and from varying perspectives, yet in the end succeeds in making us snicker, and sometimes laughing at the most inappropriate moments. While we can all share in laughter, we vary in the subjects that we find humorous. To some, a romantic comedy is about as funny as a prostate exam. Then there’s those who could never understand the comedic genius of Monty Python. To each their own, but at least a hope in the end that you find laughter in something.

1. The Castle (1997)-Rob Sitch
Here’s one that’s distinctly Australian, and buries all hackneyed notions of chugging Foster’s lager, and throwing that proverbial shrimp on the barbie. The Castle is a film about the little guy who stands up to the system, and believes he will prevail at the end of the day, regardless of the cost. The Kerrigan family live in a small house near the Melbourne airport, and are pressed by developers to uproot, and let the airport expand. Never to be one to comply, the family hires a cheapo lawyer to represent them against the developers. With the useless lawyer in tow, the Kerrigan’s go forward to plant a swift foot in the backside of big business, and keep their homestead. While the plot carries dramatic elements at its core, it is pure comedy to see simpleton Darryl Kerrigan and his brood stick it to the man, and plant a flag in the place they call home. This film is littered with memorable dialogue that’s up there alongside, ‘Withnail and I’. Despite being set in Australia, in the end it’s a universal story that will bring some solid belly laughs. Highly recommended.


2. Freaked (1993) – Alex Winter/Tom Stern
In the annals of film history there are those specific projects that some would dub, ‘miracle films’. It was a miracle that they found a budget. It was a miracle the cast signed on to it. It was a miracle they even made the damn thing to begin with. In 1993, just two years after completing the, ‘Bill and Ted’ sequel, Alex Winter, and writing partner Tom Stern directed one of the greatest, ‘miracle films’ of all time. Driven by the visual styling of big daddy Roth, and Basil Wolverton, and the zany insanity of Mad Magazine, Winter and Stern did the incredible, and spewed, their insane film ‘Freaked’ across the screen. While the idea of a major studio bankrolling an 11 million dollar film based on a circus sideshow of freaks led by Randy Quaid sounds ludicrous to begin with, it says nothing when compared to the cast. Brooke Shields, Bobcat Goldthwait as a sock puppet, Mr. T as a bearded woman, and Keanu Reeves in an un-credited role as ‘Ortiz’ the dog boy. The whole film comes across as a living comic book, and a kaleidoscopic glue sniffing tribute to Todd Browning’s legendary film, ‘Freaks’. This film not only has its tongue planted firmly in cheek, but also in its ear, and up its nose. If you’re the kind of person who would laugh watching a clown blow up balloon animals with his ass, then, ‘Freaked’ is for you. Must be seen to be believed.


3. The Magic Christian (1969) Joseph Mcgrath
Written in 1969 by Terry Southern (Screenwriter of Easy Rider, and Dr Strangelove), ‘The Magic Christian’ is an odd feather in the career of Peter Sellers, but a cult classic nonetheless. The main notions of the film play out as more cutting today than they did at the time of its release. Peter Sellers plays British millionaire, ‘Sir Guy Grand’, who adopts homeless vagabond Ringo Starr, as the heir to his fortune. Throughout the film Grand and his son play the role of, ‘Merry Pranksters’, and set out to ridicule and expose the vile and selfish nature of the capitalist elite. Through the guise of holding events and charities, Sellers sets up the gullible public to prove just how greedy and immoral they truly are. At one point he has people wade through filth like pigs in a pen, just to grab easy money. There’s no doubt that Terry Southern succeeded in writing one of the most scathing social diatribes set to film. On the other hand, ‘The Magic Christian’, also picks up a lot of influence from the Marx brothers, and the screwball comedies of the past that rolled from one gag into the next. A personal favorite, and a mandatory watch for Sellers fanatics.


4. Jabberwocky (1977) Terry Gilliam
While many felt that Python’s, ‘Holy Grail’ was the end all and be all of medieval comedies, Python alumnus Terry Gilliam set out to prove that there was more laughter to be mined out of the dark ages. Just two years after his directorial debut with ‘Grail’ Terry Gilliam tackled, ‘Jabberwocky’, a loose interpretation of the immortal Lewis Carrol poem. With Michael Palin as the lead as the bumbling Dennis Cooper, Gilliam presents an unlikely hero thrown amidst a shit caked filth ridden dark ages.
The biggest stumbling block with, ‘Jabberwocky’ is that it is too often eclipsed by, ‘Grail’, and is seen as an inferior film in comparison. Truth be told, while, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ was a film basically comprised of hilarious skits, ‘Jabberwocky’ is more of an actual tale, and shares it’s focus on humor, along with horror and fantasy. This is the film that let Gilliam unleash his fevered imagination, and he truly got into the muck and mire that he loves. While Python fanatics will generally still cling to, ‘Grail’, there’s a lot of humor to be found here that many still overlook.


5. Run Ronnie Run (2002) Troy Miller.
Leave it to David Cross, and Bob Odenkirk, the brains behind, ‘Mr Show’, to take a swipe at reality tv, and the cult of celebrity with, ‘Run Ronnie Run’. David Cross plays, ‘Ronnie Dobbs’, a trailer park waste case who gains media attention by being
arrested multiple times on a reality tv. police series. The, ‘Ronnie Dobbs’ character initially evolved from a skit on the, ‘Mr Show’ series, and Cross and Odenkirk do manage to expand on Ronnie’s exploits and his rise to Hollywood stardom, and his eventual fall. Bob Odenkirk is particularly funny playing, ‘Terry Twillstein’, Ronnie’s conniving British manager. One surprising aspect of the film is the staggering number of cameos throughout, ranging from Jeff Goldblum, and Mandy Patankin, to Jack Black doing a crass Mary Poppins musical number.
‘Run Ronnie Run’ is not a film everyone is going to appreciate, as the style of humor is geared towards those who loved, ‘Mr Show’, in the first place, but if you give it a chance, you’ll find that the film is packed with memorable quotes, and little nuggets of ‘so stupid it hurts’ humor. I’m not afraid to say I enjoyed this one, where many may find it a bit too low brow.

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