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“The Best Comedy of the Year!” 1990s

As I indicated in my previous post and in the comments section that came with it, I went into this project fully expecting to prefer the film comedies I would have to choose from as I moved back into my younger days. Is this a bias based on personal tastes? Is it a generational bias that we would see repeated reliably if we polled thousands of people of different ages? Or are there really certain eras for different art forms that are simply of a higher quality than others?

As we roll back into my young adulthood in the 1990s, my guess is that it’s a little bit of all of the above.

1990 – Joe Versus the Volcano

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Here I’ve gone and spouted off about how much better comedies were in my youth, and my first choice for best comedy of the year is kind of weak. I like Joe Versus the Volcano, but it’s more in the line of having genuine affection for it than any belief that it is either brilliantly made or fall down funny. It definitely has its moments. “I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?” “Brain cloud…” and of course any appearance by Abe Vigoda that’s not in a film like The Godfather has intrinsic comedic value. Meg Ryan gives a charming and versatile performance in multiple roles. Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks. It’s a magically goofy movie.

Other 1990 comedies: There were actually plenty of good comedies in 1990, and on another day I might have chosen any one of them to represent the year. I Love You to Death, The Freshman, and Quick Change all have their own qualities which make them worthy for a lazy look if you run across them on a rainy day. Unfortunately, not one of them really crosses over into greatness.

1991 – Soapdish

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Soapdish, on the other hand, is worth a look every time I see that it is on. A good college friend of mine was very turned off by the self-involved characters, but I’ve gotta say that I laugh out loud at it consistently. The pure wacky genius of the script and unfettered performances are exactly what I want from a comedy sometimes. It trods the line so finely between reality and over-the-top silliness. The fact that so many of these actors are just as versed in drama is also very appealing to me. Sally Field and Kevin Kline star as former soap opera co-stars and lovers who are brought back together by a scheming suit (Robert Downey Jr) who wants the popular leading lady off his show. Downey and Kline in particular give wonderfully well-timed and unhinged turns and are supported well by Elisabeth Shue, Cathy Moriarty, and Whoopi Goldberg. Then Garry Marshall shows up just to put the cherry on the sundae. One favorite sight gag: The neon sign outside the place where Kline’s character is performing in Death of a Salesman that alternately flashes – “Steakhouse”-“Playhouse”-“Steakhouse”-“Playhouse.” Also, Kline’s adept character analysis: “He’s seen things…European things…Maybe an accent!”

Other 1991 comedies:  I had a hard time picking Soapdish over Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep in Defending Your Life, but when it came down to it, I laugh more during Soapdish. City Slickers, What About Bob? and L.A. Story are all also appealing comedies. Look what a good year 1991 was!

1992 – My Cousin Vinny

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My Cousin Vinny is a comedy which has gained steadily over the years. I saw it in the movie theater when it came out and enjoyed it, but didn’t really think it was anything special. Follow-up viewings, however, have succeeded in making it a real favorite. Joe Pesci stars as the title character, a Yankee lawyer with little experience who needed several attempts before he finally passed the bar. On top of learning the ropes as a trial lawyer on the fly, he’s a pretty severe fish out of water in the small Southern town where his cousin (Ralph Macchio) and friend have been accused of murder. He rolls into town with his equally ostentatious fiancée, played by Marisa Tomei in the role that won her an Oscar. The fact that we know Macchio and friend are innocent and that Vinny, while rough around the edges, is no dummy and is actually trying to succeed serve to invest us in how he fares, and it is great fun to see him outsmart his tormentors and gradually learn the stuff that every first-time trial lawyer has to figure out. They honestly do not teach most of this stuff in law school.

Other 1992 comedies: Wayne’s World & Noises Off. This was a pretty easy victory for Vinny.

1993 – Groundhog Day

This is another of those movie comedies that runs quite a lot on cable and continues to reward repeat watching. The great Bill Murray is at his smarmy best early on and reaches nihilistic heights as his character’s plight progresses. The script’s concept and construction makes ample use of the comedic tool of repetition, bringing laughs as small changes sneak into familiar situations. You see, Murray’s character is trapped in some kind of time warp which leaves him repeating the same day (Groundhog Day) over and over and over again, with nobody else around him remembering the dozens of previous tries they’ve had at it. Every morning the alarm goes off in his hotel room and Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” annoys him to consciousness. No matter what he does, he ends up back in that bed listening to Sonny and Cher and it’s February 2nd. The solution to the problem is a little namby-pamby and not as funny as the set-up, but by then it really doesn’t matter much. The movie as a whole has been such a pleasure that we swallow it happily. Apparently, director Harold Ramis also considered Tom Hanks and Steve Martin for the main role, but thought that both were “too nice.” For example:

Other 1993 comedies: So I Married an Axe Murderer and Dave are both good comedies, but this is another easy win.

1994 – Bullets Over Broadway

 

Perhaps due in part to some off-camera difficulties which would have hit too close to home with the material here, Woody Allen demured from appearing in Bullets Over Broadway, and I think the film was better for it. A piece about the blurry line between art and ethics did not need Woody Allen’s face on it at that moment. The film boasts an impressive cast anyway, with John Cusack and Rob Reiner taking the two “Woody” roles, and Dianne Wiest, Chazz Palminteri, Jack Warden, Jennifer Tilly, Tracey Ullman and Jim Broadbent fleshing out 1920’s era New York. I know I’m in the minority here, but I think Bullets Over Broadway is every bit as good as any of Allen’s “classic” comedies. He has made no secret of the fact that he is a big fan of the period and location, but he never leans on these obsessions, delivering a tight, sharp, and funny script with no inappropriate fat on it. While the “Don’t speak” moment got overplayed, there are gobs of great lines and scenes. “Gene O’Niell is here. He’s heard your play is morbid and depressing and he’s Dying to meet you!” “The world will open to you like a magnificent vagina.” “I don’t think her spinal cord touches her brain.” and..

“Olive, I think you should know this…You’re a horrible actress.” >BANG< (SPLASH)

Other 1994 comedies: Ed Wood, Dumb & Dumber, Clerks, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The parade of idiots appears to have started in 1994. Of the films listed here, I far prefer Ed Wood.

1995 – Get Shorty

 

Although Quentin Tarantino’s films are often very funny, most people would never call many of them comedies. For those people, there is 1995’s Get Shorty, based on a novel by Elmore Leonard (a hard-boiled genre writer championed by Tarantino) and starring John Travolta, who made a big comeback in Pulp Fiction the previous year. It’s hard to imagine this movie getting made just a few years earlier. The film follows a traditional fish out of water theme, with Travolta’s gangster “Chili” Palmer becoming a power player in Hollywood using the same tactics which had served him well in the criminal underground. Danny DeVito, Rene Russo, Dennis Farina, and Bette Midler all give enjoyable turns, but Gene Hackman gives what is probably the funniest performance of his career. His B-movie producer was widely rumored to be based on a couple of real life Hollywood power brokers. If it wasn’t, then it was a particularly clever and risky characterization. But then Hackman has never been accused of being timid.

Other 1995 comedies: To Die For & While You Were Sleeping

1996 – The Birdcage

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The very next year, Hackman returned again to comedy, this time in the Hollywood version of the classic French play and film La Cage aux Folles. The Birdcage stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as a homosexual couple whose son Val brings home his new fiancée and her right-wing parents as played by Hackman and Dianne Wiest. The two act structure is no surprise, given the story’s origin on stage, and it serves this film version well. The tension created by Val’s announcement and preparations for the coming in-laws to be explodes into a wild disaster of a dinner party featuring obscene dinnerware and confused identities. Lane shines as the emotionally fragile Albert and Williams does some of his most substantial and nuanced character work to date. Meanwhile, both Hackman and Wiest do a good job of bringing depth and empathy to what could’ve been square cardboard monsters. Due to its subject matter and point of view, The Birdcage won’t be for everyone, but my own rather traditional and conservative mother went to see it at the movie theater and reported having had a great time!

Other 1996 comedies: Swingers & Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy. This was a close call between The Birdcage and Swingers, but the latter is more tied to its time and place and feels a little dated just 17 years (!!!) later.

1997 – Waiting For Guffman

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After a short gap of 13 years, Christopher Guest returned to the improvisational ensemble form which helped make This is Spinal Tap a favorite of comedy and music fans alike. This time he takes on regional theatre as Corky Sherwood in the savage but affectionate Waiting for Guffman. The very fact that this film about a band of small town amateur drama enthusiasts is in part named after a masterpiece of modern existentialist theatre is just one of the sly and silly bits of humor contained therein. There is so much good material here that there are fall-down funny scenes that didn’t even make the cut and ended up in the DVD’s bonus features. Since Guffman, Guest and crew have returned several times with comedies like Best in Show, Mighty Wind, and  For Your Consideration, but none of these matches Corky and company’s deluded group. Now if I could just find that “My Dinner with Andre” action figure set.

Other 1997 comedies: As Good As It Gets, Chasing Amy, Wag the Dog. All of these are great in their own right, but none is as giggle-inducing as Waiting For Guffman.

1998 – The Big Lebowski

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What can you say about a comedy film that has spawned so much obsessive fandom? There are festivals and bowling tournaments dedicated to The Dude and his way of life. People seriously model their free time (hopefully just their free time) after the characters in this movie. Some observers have declared Big Lebowski fans as second in obsessiveness to only fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s not hard to see why this movie is so endearing to so many. First off, the cast is top-notch. Jeff Bridges (The Fabulous Baker Boys), John Goodman (Raising Arizona), Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs), Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights), Sam Elliot (Tombstone), John Turturro (Quiz Show), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), David Huddleston (Blazing Saddles), Peter Stormare (Fargo), Tara Reid (American Pie), etc, etc, etc,…heck, beloved rock musicians Aimee Mann and Flea even make appearances. You could spend most of a viewing just saying, “hey, that’s that guy from _______.” But then you’d miss a piece of fun dialogue or idiosyncratic behavior. The Cohen brothers created the world of The Big Lebowski by combining some eccentric real life people they knew with a Raymond Chandler type story and filling in as many random bits as they could. I particularly like the way characters hear somebody else use a saying or word in one scene and then use it themselves in a future scene. Also, there’s this:

Other 1998 comedies: Rushmore & There’s Something About Mary. Either of these might’ve won in another year, but they were no competition for The Dude.

1999 – Office Space

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If The Big Lebowski is a 90’s ode to Los Angeles slackerdom, then Office Space is indicative of an equally slummy instinct amongst the cubicle set just about anywhere in the country. It was shot mostly in creator Mike Judge’s home town of Austin, Texas, but could have just as easily been filmed here where I live in the RTP (Research Triangle Park) section of North Carolina. Plenty of other people probably feel like it recreates their home town as well, and this universality has been a strength for Office Space as it has carved a place out on cable and in DVD sales. Despite initially barely making back its expenses, its status as a cult favorite has slowly boosted its profits for everyone involved. Aside from Jennifer Aniston and maybe John C. McGinley, it is probably the most recognizable role of each performer’s career. Despite Stephen Root’s varied work in TV (News Radio, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire) and film (Dodgeball, The Conspirator, J. Edgar) fans will always ask to hear one simple phrase from him:

Other 1999 comedies: Galaxy Quest, Bowfinger, Election, Fight Club, Dogma, Shakespeare in Love. Wow! 1999 was a great year for comedy on film! Just like above, any of these might have won out in a weaker year.

So that’s the 90’s-

Notice how seldom I’m mentioning films that aren’t clearly comedies? Notice how deep some years are? It will be interesting to see if this trend continues backwards into the 80’s.

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Posted on February 19, 2013, in Movies, reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Probably no surprise that I am much more enthusiastic about your list from th 90s than I was about the 2000’s. If there is a generational bias, I share it.

    Before I delve into your list, I had a thought about what has happened with comedy in recent years. I was watching a rerun of Arrested Development and I realized that a lot of the better comedy had moved to TV. Yes, you still have banal sitcoms. But there’s a lot of sophisticated stuff like Modern Family. Or Louie. When you start getting into the cable channels, there’s a lot of great comedy on the small screen.

    Okay, on to the list:

    1990 – You know I love Joe Vs. the Volcano. In 1990, I fell head over heels for it. There are so many great, quirky bits. I don’t know why, but the sight gag of the islanders carrying giant cans of orange soda cracks me up. And saying “bubaru” is just funny. I think the episodic structure and the gentle, clever humor loses some audiences. Not to mention the existentialism. I agree that it is a magically goofy movie. And as I always say, criminally underrated.

    I Love You to Death was a big disappointment to me. So much talent, so few laughs. I recently rewatched it for the Heather Graham article (she has a bit role). My opinion remains unchanged. It’s a great missed opportunity. I think I like The Freshman more than you did. It may not achieve greatness, but I think it borders on greatness. I love Joe Vs. the Volcano more, but The Freshman may be the better of the two. The bank heist segment of Quick Change is great. But the movie sags after that. I recently rewatched it for the Geena Davis article and it failed to live up to my memories.

    1991 – Soapdish is another movie I have championed for years and years. I actually saw it before it opened and I was sure it would be a huge hit. I was expecting it do be as popular as A Fish Called Wanda. I think a lot of the jokes were too “actorly” for general audiences. Plus, as you point out, the characters aren’t very likable (but neither were the characters in Wanda). Like Joe Vs the Volcano, most people who I convince to watch it tell me they enjoyed Soapdish.

    91 really was a good year! Defending Your Life was a good one. City Slickers hasn’t aged especially well for me, but I liked it a lot back then. What About Bob? is slight, but has some great laughs. And LA Story is borderline greatness.

    1992 – My Cousin Vinny is a decent pick. Tomei steals the show. It has kind of worn out its welcome with me. I think I would actually give Wayne’s World the nod. But they are both funny movies. Noises Off just didn’t work on film. It wasn’t bad, but that kind of comedy doesn’t translate as well to the screen.

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    • 1993 – Groundhog Day is a classic. Dave and So I Married an Axe Murderer are both decent movies, but nothing touches the brilliance of Groundhog Day.

      1994 – Wow. Another great year full of worthy contenders. I can’t pick! I like Bullets Over Broadway quite a bit. Maybe not as much as you do. I divide Allen’s career into “classic” and “everything else”. Manhattan is where I draw the line. Bullets ranks high among the post-Manhattan movies.

      I like Ed Wood an awful lot too. I would probably choose Ed Wood over Bullets for the relationship between Depp and Landau. But that’s more of a dramatic element. Bullets is a funnier movie. Dumb and Dumber is the funniest of the bunch. For belly laughs, it;s tough to beat.

      1995 – Get Shorty is just a great movie all around. But I fell pretty hard for To Die For. While You Were Sleeping… not so much. 😉

      1996 – Was The Birdcage the last time Robin Williams was funny on the big screen? If not, it had to be close to the last time. I remember enjoying the movie. But I don’t think I’d care to rewatch it. In 96, I would have preferred Swingers. But you are right that it hasn’t aged well. In my 20s, I related to the movie more than I care to admit. Today, it’s still funny. But I enjoy it more for nostalgia than anything.

      1997 – Guffman for the win! Of all the movies on both your lists, I think I laughed hardest at Guffman. No Austin Powers? I adored the first Austin Powers although it definitely hasn’t aged well. I enjoyed the other three movies you mentioned. Especially As Good As it Gets. But Guffman and Austin Powers were the funniest.

      You name-checked Clerks and Chasing Amy but skipped over Mallrats. I am down on Kevin Smith these days, but I laughed my head off at Mallrats back in the day.

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      • 1998 – This is where I am going to get hated on. I like The Big Lebowski. But it’s not a favorite of mine. I don’t know why. The mix just doesn’t gel for me. I’ll go into hiding now. Something About Mary would have to be my pick.

        1999 – Office Space is another cult film I like, but I’m not part of the cult. The first hour is great stuff. But the last half hour feels pretty weak to me. There are bits I love, but I don’t really want to sit through the whole movie. Great year for comedy though. I would take any of those also-rans. Well, maybe not Dogma. If I have to pick, I’ll go with Bowfinger. I like Fight Club more, but Bowfinger is more of a pure comedy. Galaxy Quest is also a lot of fun.

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  2. You are right about Noises Off losing a lot traveling from the stage to film. Some of this is just the nature of the material, but I think Peter Bogdonovich failed to understand the comic construction of the script. Part of what makes the stage version work so well is the repetition which is built into the concept and then subverted. The first act establishes the characters and introduces the play they are doing to the audience and the problems they are having with it. By the time the curtain comes up on the second act backstage your audience knows where actors are supposed to be making their entrances and what they are supposed to be saying. It is by taking advantage of this knowledge that the script distinguishes itself and creates comedy gold. Bogdonovich could have easily latched onto this by repeating his camera angles and shots. That said, there are enough real laughs and fun performances there for me to give it a mention in what is a so-so year for comedy.

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  3. big lebowski is one of my favorite jeff bridges movies besides blown away tron 1 and 2, fabulous baker boys, true grit, heaven’s gate, mirror has 2 faces, starman, men who stare at goats, k pax, iron man and simpatico. my cousin vinny best joe pesci film besides goodfellas, home alone, etc. groundhog day good film from harold ramis besides multiplicity, analyze this and that, caddyshck, national lampoon’s vacation,etc. get shorty great comedy for travolta besides michael, etc. 90s had great films same with the 80s. better than 2010 and 2000’s crappy films like the hangover.

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  4. What can I add to this list? Well, in the 90’s I was a child, so here ar my childhood memories

    Pretty Woman
    Fried Green Tomatoes (if you consider it a comedy)
    Mrs Doubtfire
    Death Becomes Her
    Sister Act
    Sleepless in Seattle
    Four Weddings and a Funeral
    Everyone Says I Love You
    The Full Monty
    My Best Friend’s Wedding
    You’ve Got Mail
    Notting Hill
    Liar Liar
    In & Out
    Adams Family

    About Italian Cinema, well

    Mediterraneo
    Puerto Escondido
    Johnny Stecchino->Yes there was a time when Benigni was funny

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  5. whoa does this bring back memories of early 90s moviegoing. Groundhog Day is so popular that I do watch from time to time when it’s on TV, but I’m in the minority that is more irritated by it as opposed to being a lasting fan of that style of comedy. For my money, I thought Dave was both more intelligent and a LOT more humorous even with the miscasting of Kevin Kline in the lead role. Neither Kevin Kline nor Bill Murray have ever seemed leading man material to me, more supporting players maybe. But the 90s were a weird decade with the ups and downs, the hits and misses with actors in general. Anyway, “Dave” was good, Kline did not ruin it, but maybe they couldn’t get Tom Hanks… AND….here’s what I think was glaringly left out; Michael Douglas went one better with “The American President” in the early to mid 90s. Sometimes I like MD and sometimes not but in this one, he and Annette Bening just knocked it out of the park. Totally excellent, one of my fave comedies of that decade.

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  6. Coming to this list after the 2000s one.

    1990-Can’t argue with Joe. It may not be the greatest comedy ever. But it’s one movie that’s not like most romantic comedies and is easily the best Hanks-Ryan collaboration. Others: House Party would be the main competition and so it’s the lead runner-up. Also love The Freshman.

    1991-City Slicers would probably take the top spot for me. Others: Hot Shots I liked at the time. But it hasn’t aged particularly well. The Naked Gun 2 !/2 is hit and miss with more misses overall (the series should’ve stopped after the first one). But it still has enough to make ti worth a watch.

    1992-No argument on Vinny, even as I find myself reflecting it’s funny more in terms of individual parts and memorable dialogue rather than as a cohesive whole. Others: Wayne’s World and Bob Roberts.

    1993-Again no arguments. Groundhog Day earns its modern classic status. Others: Dazed And Confused I love. But it’s more of a dramedy and not enough laugh-out loud funny moments to make it a contender.

    1994-Clerks takes the top spot for me. It still holds up, way better than a lot of the other “slacker” comedies from the same era (Reality Bites). Others: Ed Wood definitely. I was never a fan of Ace Ventura. But I do like The Mask.

    1995-Agreed again. Get Shorty is easily the smartest and best comedy of the year. Others: Friday of course. To Die For is an excellent dark comedy/satire. Maybe Clueless and Empire Records on a guilty pleasure level.

    1996-I’d go for Flirting With Disaster. The underrated sophomore effort from David O Russell (later to helm Three Kings and Silver Linings Playbook and gain a reputation as major league tyrant) features Ben Stiller as a man in search of his biological parents. Hilarious with plenty of heart. Others: I’d definitely count The Birdcage as a runner-up.

    1997-Wag The Dog takes top honors for that year. A brilliantly subversive satire. Others: Austin Powers of course. Chasing Amy.

    1998-Another one where I’m in absolute 100% agreement. Others: There’s Something About Mary. Bulworth.

    1999-A few possibilities for this one. I’d consider Three Kings for the top spot. But it’s more of a hybrid comedy/drama. Dame for Fight Club. I’ll go for Election. Others: Dogma, Office Space, Go, Bowfinger.

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  7. Of all the movies mentioned here “Ed Wood” is the one I truly love. The “Naked Gun” movies are all laugh a minute but “Ed Wood” has heart and soul. I have watched “The Big Lewbowski” a few times and find some scenes amusing but I don’t see whats so great about it.

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  8. As we go back in time, some of these movies are hazier in memory, and I sometimes have to wonder whether I saw a movie or not. I also haven’t seen many of them in a long while, and don’t know how they’d hold up; I can’t even be sure whether my memory of my impression is accurate. But these are my picks, keeping in mind that I’ve seen fewer movies than a movie buff like the author. I’ll be terser than I was for the 2000s.

    1990

    Pretty Woman – Julia Roberts’ charisma sells the popular, feel-good hit
    Tremors – fun and clever action-comedy that’s a close runner-up
    Back to the Future Part III – liked; liked but didn’t love the original, but that’s for the 80s article
    Pump Up the Volume – liked, but not strongly
    Home Alone – amusing for what it is
    The Freshman – remember liking while watching it, but obviously not memorable
    Dick Tracy – not sure if I’ve seen the whole thing or not, no strong impression
    The Witches – for kiddies

    1991

    City Slickers
    Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
    Soapdish

    Pretty much a tie between these three vaguely-remembered movies, though I’ll go with that order for now. Interesting that Bogus Journey, which had a cult following at the time, doesn’t seem to have persisted in the culture.

    He Said, She Said – ok to liked

    Rest of the years to follow…

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  9. 1990 – METROPOLITAN
    1991 – CITY SLICKERS
    1992 – ALADDIN
    1993 – GROUNDHOG DAY
    1994 – ED WOOD
    1995 – GET SHORTY
    1996 – FARGO
    1997 – WAITING FOR GUFFMAN
    1998 – THE BIG LEBOWSKI
    1999 – OFFICE SPACE

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  10. 1992

    Diggstown – a clear winner in this bunch
    Lethal Weapon 3 – weakest of the series, something I should perhaps take to the sequel article (particularly since it’s the action side that falters)
    Mr. Baseball – fresh sports comedy that doesn’t resort to cliches like having the hero fall for the coach’s daughter… oh. Still ok.
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer -the part I like is Kristy Swanson as a buff Buffy kicking ass, the comedy not so much
    Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – more of the same

    1993

    Fear of a Black Hat – I suspect this is a rap homage to Spinal Tap, which I’ve never seen, but I enjoyed its rap song parodies
    Groundhog Day – I certainly liked it, but I’m not rapturous about it, I don’t remember thinking that it was particularly fresh or inventive or clever
    Even Cowgirls Get the Blues – I remember enjoying this one
    Last Action Hero – not entirely successful, but I still liked it
    Sleepless in Seattle – Meg Ryan is a stalker, and that kid who sabotages his dad’s dates is a brat! Not awful, but I clearly don’t “get” its charm.

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  11. 1994

    Pulp Fiction – I will go with Tarantino, despite the debate over whether his movies are comedies. I think Pulp Fiction has more comedy than many of his movies, and besides, I didn’t watch many other comedies from 1994.

    Holy Matrimony was so-so at best, though it was interesting to have a movie feature the Hutterites.

    And that’s basically it. I’m not sure if I saw City Slickers II or not. Some consider Fear of a Black Hat and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues to be 1994 movies, since they apparently only played film festivals in 1993, and didn’t hit theaters until the following year.

    1995

    I enjoyed two 1995 comedies:

    The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain
    Toy Story

    Then there’s the rest.

    Hackers – ridiculous portrayal of hacking
    Tank Girl – didn’t seem so bad until the Cole Porter scene, that’s where the movie lost me
    Major Payne – promises dumb laughs, but at least it delivers them. I don’t think I’ve seen the last part yet, but I don’t expect I’d see anything that would change my basic opinion.

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  12. 1996

    A dark and violent year in comedy, with Fargo and 2 Days in the Valley. Now, I know which one of these I’m supposed to prefer. “Everyone” agrees that Fargo is an original masterpiece, while 2 Days is a derivative imitator of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and The Usual Suspects. And I certainly got a kick out of watching William H. Macy’s hapless scheming.

    But the truth is, I’ve never seen Reservoir Dogs, I likely hadn’t seen Pulp Fiction yet, I’ve only seen The Usual Suspects in the past couple of years, its storytelling tricks thus seemed clever, I liked 2 Days at least as much as Fargo, and I’ve seen it again recently so I know I still like it.

    1997

    Addicted to Love wins by default, but although it’s not a “great” film, I liked how they reveal that the French chef, who initially seems like the villain, turns out to be the sanest one.

    I’ve seen large chunks of Liar Liar, and been amused by what I saw, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the whole thing.

    1998

    Feels like a rerun of the bracket game!

    The Truman Show
    Rush Hour
    Antz
    The Wedding Singer – when an ad for this came on and I saw Angela Featherstone’s name in the credits, I hoped it was a sign she was going to break out
    You’ve Got Mail
    Primary Colors – so-so
    The Last Days of Disco – a lot to like here, but the anachronisms are grating, and the budget was too small to recreate Studio 54

    1999

    10 Things I Hate About You – smarter and funnier than the average teen comedy
    Galaxy Quest – not as enthusiastic about it as others, though
    Runaway Bride
    She’s All That – not smart, but still ok to mild like
    Holy Smoke – didn’t like, nor the idea of kidnapping people because you don’t like their religion

    Besides these, I’ve seen the last parts of Election and Teaching Mrs. Tingle, and liked what I saw enough to want to see the whole film sometime.

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