BBC’s Top 25 Funniest Movies

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The BBC surveyed critics to come up with the top 25 funniest movies of all time. Of course there’s a lot of overlap with the AFI list. And some of the movies are just what you might guess: “Some Like it Hot,” “Airplane,” “Blazing Saddles.” If by any chance you’ve overlooked any of these, please try to find them. If you’ve seen them, watch them again!

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Trailer: “The Wilde Wedding” with Patrick Stewart, Glenn Close, and John Malkovich

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This looks delightful!  And yes, that’s Patrick Stewart in a wig.

Now-retired film star Eve Wilde (Glenn Close) prepares for her wedding to husband number four, renowned English writer Harold Alcott (Patrick Stewart), after a whirlwind courtship. At her upstate New York home – in the presence of both Wilde’s first husband, celebrated stage actor Laurence Darling (John Malkovich), and their collective families (Minnie Driver, Jack Davenport, Yael Stone, Peter Facinelli, Noah Emmerich, Grace Van Patten) – the long summer weekend offers the opportunity for everyone to get to know each other a bit more intimately. As sexual sparks begin to fly, there are unforeseen consequences abound.

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Indiewire: Best Comedies since 2000

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Indiewire has put together a list of the best movie comedies of the 21st century — so far.

Of course, lists are just the way to start a conversation/argument, not definitive, and it’s debatable whether some of these even count as comedies, but it’s a good reminder as you look over the possibilities on streaming services.

The obligatory complaint about one left out:

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The Big Sick

B +

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Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references
Profanity: Strong and explicit language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Alcohol
Violence/ Scariness: Very serious illness
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Date Released to Theaters: June 24, 2017
Date Released to DVD: September 25, 2017
Copyright Amazon 2017

The more specific the story, the more universal. This is a very specific story. Indeed, you are unlikely ever again to see a romantic comedy with one of the pair spending half of the film in a coma. And that is not the couple’s biggest obstacle. Kumail Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley”), plays a character named Kumail Nanjiani in a story based on his relationship to Emily V. Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan and called Emily Gardiner in the film), who is now his wife and the co-screenwriter of the smart, touching, heartfelt and very funny film. It is beautifully directed by Michael Showalter, as always unsurpassed in meticulous casting of even the smallest roles.

Real-life Nanjiani and his movie alter ego are Pakistani immigrants from traditional families. Every time he visits his parents for dinner, an unmarried Pakistani woman “happens to drop in.” They have made it very clear that they expect him to marry a woman who is Pakistani and Muslim. Gordon is neither; she is white and from North Carolina. Just after they break up because he could not say that they could have a future together, she suddenly becomes critically ill and is placed in a medically induced coma.  He gets the call when she is hospitalized and has to be the one to call her parents. He meets them for the first time in the hospital waiting room, where they are understandably frosty (he broke their daughter’s heart) and preoccupied (she’s in a coma).

They would rather that he not be there. And his parents find out that he has not been honest with them and they tell him they cannot accept his feelings for Emily. So, in the second half of the movie there is another kind of love story, about the love between parents and their children and the partners their children choose.

It is also a story about a man learning to be honest with himself about who he is and what he wants. What lifts this out of the recent glut of arrested development movies is its compassion for all parties (the film nicely acknowledges that Nanjiani’s brother has a very successful and satisfying marriage arranged the traditional way and presents as one of the candidates a woman so seemingly perfect for him that we almost root for her) and Nanjiani’s thoughtful, self-deprecating but confident performance. The best stand-up comics mine their own lives for material, with observations that make us see our own lives, and especially our follies and irrationalities, in sharper relief — that’s relief in both senses of the word.

Best of all, the movie itself is proof that they lived happily ever after.

Parents should know that this movie includes strong language, sexual references and non-explicit situations, family conflict, and very serious illness.

Family discussion: Why didn’t Kumail tell Emily about his family’s concerns? How should you decide what traditions to keep and which ones to leave behind?

If you like this, try: “Ruby Sparks” (also with Kazan, who wrote the screenplay) and “50-50” with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, also based on a true story

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Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude sexual content, brief nudity, and language throughout
Profanity: Very strong and crude language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking and drunkenness, drug references
Violence/ Scariness: Extended action-style comic peril and violence with some disturbing and grisly images, characters injured and killed, graphic medical procedure
Diversity Issues: Stereotyped portrayal of South Americans
Date Released to Theaters: May 12, 2017

Copyright 2017 20th Century Fox
Copyright 2017 20th Century Fox
Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer), pulls an old scrapbook out of the closet in her childhood home and leafs through old photos of her mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn). Like Emily, those images bring back memories of happier times and remind her how much she misses her once-adventuresome mom. Unfortunately, they also bring back our memories of better movies and how much we have missed Hawn’s irresistible effervescence in the 15 years since her last film. Schumer has been everywhere talking about how much she adores Hawn and how thrilled she was to get a chance to co-star with her in “Snatched,” directed by Jonathan Levine (“50-50,” “The Wackness,” “The Night Before”), and written by Katie Dippold (“The Heat,” “Ghostbusters”). It is too bad she relegated her to the dreary role of the risk-averse mother. And it is too bad that Schumer continues to relegate herself to the almost-as-dreary role of the immature, millennial.

Emily gets both fired and dumped (both for good reason) just as she is about to take a vacation in Ecuador, so she retreats to her childhood home, where her agoraphobic brother (Ike Barinholtz) still lives with her divorcee mother, whose character traits come straight out of the cliche drawer: she sips white wine, loves her cats, has four locks on her front door, does not know the difference between a private message and posting on a Facebook wall and needs help unlocking the CAPS key. And Schumer’s Linda is the same self-centered and childish but raunchy character we’ve seen Schumer play too many times already. Emily is too careless. Linda is too careful. Got it? The opening crawl warns us that the movie will feature “violence, mayhem, and a reckless disregard for human life…the kidnappers did bad stuff, too.” So, another “Hangover” variation in the jungles of South America (but filmed in Hawaii).

How does Emily persuade the hyper-cautious Linda to go to Ecuador with her? Wheedling and guilt don’t work, but the magic word is “nonrefundable ticket.” (“Put the ‘fun’ in ‘nonrefundable!'”) So the next thing they know, they are at an elegant resort, where, just to make sure we did not miss the point, Emily lounges by the pool in a bikini and Linda comes out dressed, as Emily points out, like the sun-sensitive character in “Powder” — or a beekeeper. And she slathers sun block on Emily like she’s a toddler.

Emily and Linda get kidnapped for ransom, bicker, escape, get captured again, bicker, escape, etc. Pretty much every South American is a servant or a criminal. The State Department is useless. There are pratfalls and shoot-outs and one very disgusting medical procedure. Various encounters along the way are funny in the usual raunchy comedy mode, especially Christopher Meloni as a khaki-wearing guide who is up for adventure but maybe not up to it, and the invaluable Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack as American tourists with some special ops skills. The movie would have been better if it was about them.

Parents should know that this film includes very explicit sexual references and crude humor, very strong language, brief nudity, graphic medical treatment, extended peril and violence, some humor about mental illness and disability, characters injured and killed (played for comedy), and some graphic and disturbing images.

Family discussion: Who changes more on the trip, Linda or Emily? Why is it hard for Emily to be nice to her mother?

If you like this, try: “Trainwreck” and “Inside Amy Schumer”

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