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.
New York Times critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott have listed their favorite films of the 21st century so far, with some help from filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow, Guillermo del Toro, Ava DuVernay, Barry Jenkins, Richard Linklater, Robert Pattinson and Michelle Williams. Like any such list/ranking, it is best seen as a conversation-starter and Netflix-queue refresher rather than any kind of canon. Their list includes my favorite film of the 21st century (so far), “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” but also one of my least favorites, “Million Dollar Baby.” I was glad to see “Inside Out” on the list, and “Inside Llewyn Davis” and the underrated Steven Spielberg film, “Munich.” (And got a kick out of their admitted split over “A.I.” which provokes very mixed feelings in me.) As always from these critics, it is fun to read and think about because of its thoughtful assessments, a rare chance for critics to take a more distanced look at some of their favorites.
Happy Labor Day and many thanks to everyone who works. Some of my favorite movies about the workplace:
The Pajama Game He (John Riatt — Bonnie’s father) is the new boss at the pajama factory. She (Doris Day) represents the union. Can this relationship work? This tuneful treat features classics like “Hey There” and “Steam Heat.”
Norma Rae Sally Field won an Oscar for her performance in this fact-based story about the fight for the rights of textile workers.
9 to 5 Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton star in this story of three women in an office run by an lazy, corrupt, and sexist boss.
Office Space This cult classic about disaffected office workers has some sharp Dilbert-style observations about organizational inefficiency and unfairness.
Working Girl Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford star in this story of a secretary with ambition and her arrogant, selfish boss. Carly Simon won an Oscar for the theme song, “Let the River Run.”
The Apartment This Best Picture Oscar winner stars Jack Lemmon as an insurance company worker with a chance to advance his career by making his apartment available to executives for their assignations.
Made in Dagenham Sally Hawkins and Miranda Richardson star in this fact-based story of women fighting for equal pay at a Ford plant in England.
The Solid Gold Cadillac This witty 1956 comedy about corporate corruption and overpaid executives starring the brilliant Judy Holliday is still valid — if you add three zeroes to all the numbers.
The Closet This French comedy is about a nebbishy numbers guy who is laid off from his job. He lets the bosses think he is gay so that they will be afraid of a discrimination complaint and the attention it brings him teaches him some important lessons.
I loved the 80’s-throwback Netflix series “Stranger Things,” created by twin brothers Matt and Ross Duffer. And it made me think about the many other siblings working together to make movies.
The Russo brothers Joe and Anthony Russo directed the last two “Captain America” movies and are going to direct the next Avengers film. They also worked on one of my favorite television series, “Happy Endings,” and on cult favorite “Arrested Development.”
Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski are known for their striking visuals and mind-bending storylines in “The Matrix” trilogy, “Cloud Atlas,” and the underrated “Speed Racer,” and “Jupiter Ascending.”
Joel and Ethan Coen are known for critically acclaimed for films like “Fargo,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “True Grit,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Barton Fink,” and “Raising Arizona.”
Mark and Jay Duplass began with “mumblecore” indies like “The Puffy Chair” and “Jeff Who Lives at Home.” They both act, write, and direct. Jay appears in “Transparent” and Mark in “Togetherness.”
As Team Todd, producers Suzanne and Jennifer Todd are behind the franchise powerhouse “Austin Powers” and critic darling indies like “Celeste and Jesse Forever.”
Jenniphr and Greer Goodman worked together on “The Tao of Steve,” Jenniphr directing and Greer co-writing and starring. Their sister Dana also has a small role. I love that movie, and I hope to see more of their work some day soon.