Last week, the BBC issued a list of the greatest comedy films ever made. Or at least the best ones listed by the hive mind of 253 film critics from 52 countries.
A lot of cinephiles disapprove of such lists, and I understand why. They’re an attempt to create an objective version of the entirely subjective act of artistic criticism. But such lists are useful. If you want to see a comedy you’ve never seen before, a list like this one would be a good place to start.
Some Like it Hot: Number 1 on the list
For instance, I haven’t seen Withnail and I, Anchorman, The Blues Brothers, Team America, or Step Brothers. Maybe, thanks to this list, I might catch them.
Inevitably, some of your favorite comedies aren’t on the list. I strongly felt the absence of Brazil, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, and Harold Lloyd’s The Kid Brother (the only Lloyd on the list was Safety Last.)
The Kid Brother: not on the list
But speaking about less-well-known silent movies, I was delighted to discover Buster Keaton’s Seven Chances on the list. Few feature films, if any, can match its laugh-to-minute ratio.
A few of the movies didn’t strike me as good enough to be on this list. The Party has some wonderful moments, but it gets out of hand near the end. And when I finally got around to seeing Shaun of the Dead, it disappointed me. Another one that disappointed me: Arsenic and Old Lace; I loved the stage play, but Frank Capra let his actors mug too much.
The King of Comedy: Tied with The Ladies Man for 100th place
Here’s something curious: The movies are overwhelmingly American. And remember that this was a British survey of international critics. I guess we’re funnier than other people.
Overall, this is an excellent list of comedies worth watching. Check it out.