Archives For Film

Your Top 5 Comedy Movies…

November 21, 2011 — 24 Comments

A warning to any person who interviews to work with me.

I ask a lot of questions but to be honest assuming I have done my research on you and know your work ethic, I want to a few simple things.

I will learn more about you from asking this question than fifty others.

What are your top fives movie comedies?

Over the years I love asking people what their Top 5 (fill in the blank) as it keeps great conversation and I do learn more about that person in the process.  If you have read the book or watched the movie High Fidelity (2000), you will get the glimpse of the power of identifying your  “Top 5″ of anything; your top 5 breakup songs, Top 5 places to live, Top 5 embarrassments in life, Top 5 songs about death, Top 5 _____.  There is a great line in High Fidelity and I don’t completely agree with it but the idea always amuses me.

“I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like… Books, records, films – these things matter. Call me shallow but it’s the (expletive) truth.”

Ultimately I do care “who” you are but this sometimes can be more fun.

So let’s have fun.

Here is my rule for identifying your top 5 comedies:  The comedy must be at least 5 years old so you can test if it has “staying power.”  If you don’t understand, there is a possibility for The Hangover to eclipse this list.  You will notice that all of these movies are incredibly quotable.

Tommy Boy: Pure dumb and clean humor.

“Brothers don’t shake hands. Brothers gotta hug.”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The finest of English “humour” to hit this side of the pond.

“I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”

Wedding Crashers: The classic buddy movie…never leave your brother behind.
“Never walk away from a crasher in a funny jacket! Rule #115!”
The Big Lebowski: Crass it may be but it is the most quotable movie…ever.
“At least I’m housebroken.”
Caddyshack: I grew up on this movie and being a golfer, it makes that much more special.
“Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!”
The Fringe list: The Hangover, Airplane, Anchorman, Old School, Animal House, Strange Brew, Top Secret, High Fidelity, and National Lampoon’s Vacation (and Christmas Vacation of course).

When I need the best laugh, I simply press play to watch The Big Lebowksi. Any Lebowski fan will love this line,

“Obviously you’re not a golfer.”

So have you thought about your top 5?

Would you believe there is a “help” website to find your top five?  Check it out here.

Comedy likes are so personal and can have tremendous variety.  Take a look at these.

College Humor’s Top 100 Comedies

Only these guys would come up with a countdown to awesomeness like The 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad, Anchorman, The Hangover, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Glorious top 5.  I want these guys running the country. No wait…the world.

Time Out London’s Top 100 Comedies

How typical that the English would come up with two Monty Pythons in the top 5 and This is Spinal Tap.  I guess they need to represent their homeland best.  I do appreciate their Zucker brother humor by keeping Airplane as #2.

AFI’s 100 Years, a Hundred Laughs

The irony of their top two is that Some Like It Hot and Tootsie both feature cross dressing.  Although I love AFI and these two movies are they the top two comedies of all times?  Hmm…

So…

What are your top 5 comedies and why? 

I’ve not met many people who do not absolutely love the spring season.

Have you?

Spring offers far superior hope compared to a New Year’s resolution.  It is beautiful.  Spring represents rebirth of God’s creation here on earth.  Color explodes.  We leave our homes and head outside.  The house is empty.  It is glorious.

This past weekend, my oldest daughter (turning three this week) and I journeyed into our yard admiring the daffodils while giggling and chasing the chipmunks.  Almost everything is new to my daughter.  Her sense of being “alive to nature” perked me up.  It was a wonderful weekend to venture out.  Reality set in and Monday came.  I had to head back to work knowing that I was going to be stuck in an office.  While driving into work I passed by a field of beautiful yellow daffodils.  I couldn’t help but remember this amazing scene from the movie Big Fish where Edward Bloom declares his love for his future wife amidst a sea of daffodils.

Big Fish is among my top 5 movies of all time.  Here is why.

It is about “living the dream.”

We throw that phrase around sarcastically much too often and it becomes a throw away line.  In life, we get stuck in the day to day reality so often that it hinders us from taking that odyssey or stepping into the sea of daffodils.  Now we need to acknowledge reality but not be tamed by it.  For Edward Bloom, the main character, it was about the drama of this adventure that he told so eloquently.  He even got lost in the stories but the spirit of adventure was always there.

“A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal.”-Will Bloom (Edward’s son)

Life is the adventure.  Embrace it.  Live it.

Get. Out. There. Now.

Ignore the excuses because life is too short.  Whatever is holding you back, let go.  Find a way.  Ask for help.  God made you creative so you can do it.

A friend and author I work with Phil Cooke posted this recently on twitter/facebook:

“Bob Dylan couldn’t sing. Picasso wasn’t good with color. T.S. Eliot had a day job. That didn’t stop them. What’s stopping you?”

It is Spring.  It’s our chance.  Let’s run out into the daffodils, Big Fish style and dive in.

What’s stopping you? Who’s in?

The Circus Rollercoaster

January 28, 2011 — 7 Comments

A great friend from college called me this week.  We talk from time to time and he brought up how much life has changed since we lived in a house together in college.  We’ve each had difference paths with ups and downs.  He’s single and been trying to figure out his “vocation” at the moment.  I filled him in on how my wife and our two kids were doing.  Our family had recently been to the circus when it came through town.

If you haven’t been to the circus before then you should go just to see the amount of stressed out parents.  Yes, my wife and I were two of them.  Despite the chaos, it was so much fun. We smiled.  We laughed.  We ate snow cones out of animal-shaped cups.  We felt a little queasy.  The kids wanted to be held.  They ran in circles while we chased.  We were exhausted but what an unforgetable experience.

Our time at the circus reminded me of the film, Parenthood directed by Ron Howard and starred Steve Martin.  Pay close attention to this short exchange.

I think of that scene often because I relate so much to Steve Martin’s character.  I react. I freak out. I over-analyze.  I can be loud.  I blame others. I even run away like a Monty Python and the Holy Grail character.

In life we are not guaranteed perfection.  We strive to achieve some height we cannot attain here on earth.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013 photo credit

“Then he (Jesus) said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must first deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV)

I’ve always been challenged by Jesus’ calling for us in life because ultimately he does not promise us an easy life but one filled with many challenges.  Ultimately there is “hope” by following him even when I feel the emotions of the circus or a rollercoaster.

As I thought about the circus and watched the rollercoaster scene again, they have become reminders…

-To lighten up.

-To laugh more.

-Keep going back to the circus and ride a rollercoaster

-That ultimately in life we will be fine.

Life is a Circus-Rollercoaster. It feels cliché but it’s true.

Enjoy the ride.

Who cares about a bunch of rich, white, prep school kids from New England in 1959?

Well, I went to public high school so this was as far off of an experience as I can imagine.  Yet there is something inside of us that associates with each student in the classic movie, Dead Poet’s Society.

This is the movie that inserted the Latin phrase “Carpe Diem” into pop culture. In an era that gave us inspiring movies like Rudy and Say Anything, Dead Poet’s Society became the essential “must experience” movie for youth in the same way as classic books like The Catcher in the Rye or A Separate Peace did as literature.

One of my favorites, Peter Weir directed this brilliant film.  Robin Williams delivered an Oscar worthy performance and stars like Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard emerged as tremendous young actors.  The soundtrack is mesmerizing. The film ages like a fine wine.

You haven’t lived unless you’ve seen Dead Poet’s Society.

When you are stuck in a rut of your life, or your job, watch it.

When you are so immersed by the process and routine of life, watch it.  You will come alive.

When you are raising your kids, make sure they watch this at the appropriate age.  They will thank you later.

If you are  teacher, take note on how to inspire your students.

It’s never too late to pursue your dreams, live life to its fullest and be the person God intended you to be.  That is the message of Dead Poet’s Society.

I’ll leave you with this.

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

What will your verse be?