Nothing gets folks worked up like a list, especially one focusing on movies -- a subject everyone has strong opinions on. The latest is a ranking of the "50 Greatest Comedies of All Time," according to the readers of The Guardian. First, let's look at their Top Ten: 1) Monty Python's Life of Brian, 2) Airplane!, 3) This is Spinal Tap, 4) Some Like It Hot, 5) Withnail and I, 6) Blazing Saddles, 7) The Big Lebowski, 8) Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 9) Duck Soup, 10) Young Frankenstein. Not perfect, but a pretty solid bunch. Keep in mind The Guardian is a British publication, which explains the abundance of Python and the high ranking of the funny-but-certainly-not-6th-greatest-comedy-of-all-time Withnail. I must say, I don't know anyone who would put Life of Brian at #1. I don't even think it's the funniest Python movie, that honor would go to Holy Grail. Great to see Young Frankenstein, Airplane! and Lebowski in particular ranked so high, though.
Looking at the rest of the list, I was glad to see that a lot of my personal favorites made the cut -- Planes Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck (I love me some Candy), Raising Arizona, Anchorman, Kingpin, The Naked Gun, The Blues Brothers, I could go on. I've got some quibbles -- where's Broadcast News? Office Space? Ferris Bueller's Day Off? Animal House? Vacation? -- but only a few of their choices really stood out to me as undeserving. For example, I did a triple take when I saw Meet the Fockers on there. People! Meet the Parents (which didn't even make the cut) sure, but Fockers? What the Fock? Oh well.
Comedy is highly subjective, so a list on this subject is never going to please everyone. A comedy list is extra difficult because it's hard to decide if you're supposed to choose based on number of laughs or quality of the film. (Although, since it's comedy, shouldn't those be one and the same? It seems most don't think so, especially judging by comedy's constant neglect at the Academy Awards). Plus there's the whole generational issue. With some exceptions, what was funny 80 years ago might not hold up laugh-wise today. I'll just come right out and say it -- The General is an important part of film history, sure, but it ain't funny. What would you remove from the Guardian list? And what'd they forget?