Thursday, August 31, 2017

We've Got The Power

Now that the Game Of Thrones season is over, I've been watching Marvel's The Defenders on Netflix.  It's about four heroes--Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil and Iron Fist--getting together to defeat The Hand, an evil organization.

I wasn't that interested, but I'd seen the Jessica Jones series so I thought I'd watch for her.  The other characters had their own shows, but I'd missed them.  Apparently The Defenders takes up where they left off.

The show is okay, but what fascinates me is how do you decide how much power each character has?  There are lots of fights between the good and the bad guys (often the worst part of the show), but they're usually fought to a standstill.

Based on the show alone, and no outside information I know about from Marvel, here's what the characters can do.

Jessica Jones--has superstrength, but can be hurt (though she can take a lot and recover fast) and, I believe, could be killed by chopping off her head or a bullet to the brain. (She also drinks a lot, so maybe she has a superliver.)

Luke Cage--perhaps has superstrength.  At the least he's very strong. But he can be hurt.  His main power is skin that can't be pierced. But you could kill him with, say, poison gas.

Iron Fist--seems to have normal human strength, but has had special training which makes him a great fighter.  And, when he can work himself up to it, has got his iron fist, which seems to be a uniquely powerful force

Daredevil--seems to have normal human strength, but is very well trained so can defeat almost any normal fighter.  He's blind, but it's almost not worth mentioning, since his other sense are heightened to such a degree that I think we can call this a superpower.

The bad guys include the five members of the Hand, who seem to have special powers, though it's never clear when and how they'll use them.  However, they're not invulnerable.  Their heads can be chopped off and their bodies pierced just like anyone's. (Though perhaps they're at low ebb in the series.  They've existed for millennia thanks to a special substance, but they're running out.)

Then there's Black Sky.  She used to be Daredevil's love Elektra, but was killed in a previous series.  Now the Hand, using the substance, has brought her back to life and trained her to be the greatest fighter of all.

There are numerous friends of the good guys, most of whom are normals who wouldn't last long in a fight. Though there's also Stick, an old guy who's the last of an army that fought the Hand, and there's Colleen, a friend of Iron Fist and well-trained in combat.

The bad guys have numerous henchmen, and though they are tough fighters by normal standards, they're really just red shirts.

This long introduction is just to set up a simple question. Who would really win in a fight?  The point is, the fights we do see seem fairly arbitrary in how they work out. And if either side wanted to kill each other, would it be that hard?  (Whenever the Hand shoots bullets, the only guy who gets shot is Luke Cage--the sole good guy who can take it.)

The Hand is supposed to be this fearsome organization that's been behind everything throughout history, but if you get up close to them, how hard is it to chop of a head?

Wow, that was a long post for a very little point.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It Isn't The Same

A number of evangelical leaders have released what they call The Nashville Statement.  It's a statement of their faith that affirms marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman.  They also affirm that homosexuality is morally wrong (if I'm reading them right).

Needless to say, they're being condemned by people and groups across the country.

This is the bind that religion can put people in.  They claim to have the truth for all time, but times change, and yesterday's truth, even what seemed central in moral matters, isn't always today's truth.

So what do you do?  Well, the generation that believes deeply in something eventually dies out, and their replacements may believe differently. It isn't that hard to reinterpret something (and claim it's not really a reinterpretation).

In fact, the Statement gets a bit squishy here and there when it discusses homosexuals, as if it didn't want to sound too harsh.  I wonder if they would have put things the same way fifty years ago.

Not that long ago--but long enough ago that same-sex marriage was highly controversial--I predicted that we'd never have another Dem candidate for President who didn't support gay marriage, and that we may not have another Republican candidate who doesn't support it either.

Will evangelicals ever change their mind?  If they do, it'll probably be a slower process.  But it's hard to stand against the majority for long. (Or you can have something that may be worse--a religion lots of people profess but don't really practice.)

And as a related question, how does a religion respond when the society around them starts punishing them for not keeping up with the times?  Look at how the Mormons changed their views on civil rights overnight when things were heating up.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Projections

Here's a local scandal.  You've probably not heard about it, but it's affecting me personally, so I thought I'd write about it.

The scandal is about Cinefamily.  This is the Los Angeles film society (of which I have a membership card) that shows rare films, old and new.  It's located at the old Silent Movie Theatre* on Fairfax.

Turns out its leader, who often introduces the movies, is accused of sexual harassment.  And a vice president of the board of directors seem to have done something worse.  They've both left Cinefamily.

They also have suspended all activities.  I hope they resolve their issues and start programming again soon.  Until then, I'll probably hang out more at the New Beverly, just down the block.  It's owned by Quentin Tarantino and mostly shows old films (only on film, no video).

*Back when they showed Silent Movies, the guy who ran the place was shot dead by his lover at the theatre.  I was going to attend that night but was too busy.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Endgame

So Game Of Thrones ends its seventh season with "The Dragon And The Wolf," its longest episode ever and one of its weakest.  It wasn't bad--GOT at its worst is still fun--but it did little that was unexpected, and didn't get us very far.

It's very exciting at the start.  We get both sides meeting for truce talks in King's Landing. I don't think, even in the first season when everything was tight, that we've ever had so many main characters all in one place--some of them seeing each other for the first time in years, some for the first time ever.  We've got Grey Worm (actually, he's outside with the troops--who knew he was back already?), Bronn, Jaime, Cersei, Qyburn, the Mountain, Euron, Tyrion, Jon Snow, Varys, Davos, Missandei, the Hound, Ser Jorah, Theon, Pod and Brienne.  Now that's a call sheet.

They all meet in the dragon pit.  To the surprise of absolutely no one, Dany flies in.  Was this a good idea?  She's already lost one of her dragons, and she knows Cersei has some sort of dragon harpoon. In fact, I'm surprised Cersei didn't send her a message saying "don't you dare come with a dragon, or we'll shoot it down."

There are lots of reunions, such as the Hound and Brienne, the Hound and the Mountain, and some without the Hound.  These are enjoyable, but overall the feeling is serious (as opposed to last week where they were doing regular comedy routines as they walked beyond the Wall).

The plan, remember, was to capture a wight to show Cersei how real the war is.  It's a crazy plan, but they've committed, and here it is.  Sure enough, the zombie is impressive.  (Or is it?  They show how easy it is to kill them--fire will do, which isn't that hard.  And Dragonglass works as well.)  Euron is a scaredy-cat and says he's leaving to hide in the Iron Islands.  That's not like him at all.

In maneuvering that made no sense to me, Cersei says she'll go along if Snow promises to maintain a truce in the North.  Snow, who's too honest for his own good, explains he just bent a knee (is that what they're calling it now) to Dany?  This blows things up for some reason, and Cersei walks off.  Everyone stays behind to lick their wounds (and wait for Cersei's troops to kill them if they hang around long enough?).  Tyrion decides he'll walk into the lioness's den and talk some sense into her.

The two have always had good scenes, and they have a long, emotional talk about what they wanted and what they now want.  She's promised to kill him, and he's willing to die, but she won't give the nod to the Mountain. (Does she really need the Mountain?  Can't she take the Imp herself?)

Snow and Dany moon around, wondering what happened, when Tyrion returns, soon followed by Cersei who announces she'll work with them and send her troops up north to fight the real war (and after that they can continue the squabble over Westeros). This was a surprise move--who knew Cersei had it in her?

At Winterfell, it seems Littlefinger is still playing Sansa, driving the wedge deeper between her and her sister.  This whole plot has never worked.  It's hard enough to but the two Stark lasses would do anything but love each other, but to be ready to kill each other?  Come on.  Even if Bran couldn't tell them what really happened, this is hard to buy.  I usually don't give away anything, but many viewers expected Arya and Sansa were playing Littlefinger (even in scenes only between them that Littlefinger couldn't know about, so they're also playing the audience) and it will soon turn out to be true.

Back at Dragonstone, the gang is planning their trek up north.  Dany makes sure she'll sail with Snow.  We can guess what that means.  Before they go, Snow and Theon have a talk.  Goofus and Gallant.  The two were both raised by Ned, but were both outsiders at Winterfell.  Theon is inspired to do the right thing.

I like the character of Theon.  Tremendously flawed, he presumably has big things ahead.  Alas, he goes outside and decides to tell the other Iron Islanders they need to save Yara, not hide from the zombies.  This is followed by a big fight where he proves how serious he is.  I want Theon to do something for the bigger cause that's better than saving Yara.  I hope the next season doesn't spend too much time on this.

At Winterfell, Sansa has Arya brought to the Great Hall. Bran is also there, to sit in judgment or whatever, man.  And the one who was behind it all, Littlefinger, looks on, suppressing his grin.  And then--exactly as we expected--it turns into Littlefinger's trial.  Sansa has seen up close what he does. And Bran can fill in the rest. (When he speaks out at the trial, I'm sure Littlefinger is thinking "great, this kid never says anything and he finally pipes up just so he can screw me over--thanks, Bran.")

I was hoping the character would at least last until the final season.  A lot of fans were thrilled to see him go, but if she show ended in chaos with only Littlefinger left alive, it would have been fine with me.  Though, to be honest, they've misused the character in the last few seasons, where he seemed a lot less surefooted than the early Littlefinger.  Maybe it was when they went past the books, but the clever manipulator made one bad step after another (and the viewers hated him too much, seemed to me).

Anyway, when Sansa is the Lady of Winterfell, we discover the one who passes the sentence doesn't swing the sword. No, Arya does the deed, and it's with Littlefinger's dagger, of course.

In the map room at King's Landing, Jaime is planning his troops' movement up north.  Cersei enters and stops him. We're not doing that.  We're going to let everyone else go and tear each other to bits. Jaime explains that he's already made promises, and then no matter what happens, they're doomed if they don't help.  Cersei says she's already rented the services of the Golden Company (remember all that stuff earlier this season with the banker?) and that Euron isn't hiding, he's going to fetch them and ferry them over.  While it's nice to have the old Cersei back, this also shows that both her character and Euron are doing exactly what we expect of them--the only two surprises in the show so far didn't happen.

Jaime, who has both a sense of honor and strategy, won't give in, and Cersei threatens to kill him.  Would they do it?  Jaime, as we know, is one of the five leads who gets $500,000 an episode.  So, for the second time in the episode, Cersei won't kill her brother. (Not unlike Cersei and Littlefinger in the first season.  Cersei may be the nastiest, most murderous person in the show, but it took the Stark sisters to finish that guy off.) Jaime, as has been expected all season, finally leaves Cersei. Will he go off to fight the White Walkers? Will he finally shack up with Brienne? What would Tormund and the Hound say about that?

Back at Winterfell, Samwell Tarly arrives.  So he wasn't going back to stately Tarly manor (where he'd be in charge--though he doesn't know that). He went all the way up to north.  He meets with Bran (who's not the greatest conversationalist--wouldn't Sansa make more sense)?

Bran is more talkative than usual, and finally tells someone about Jon's parentage. (I didn't think there was any doubt about it, but they really drive it home as if there is.) So Bran, who could have told Sansa or Arya, or even sent a raven to Jon, when he does tell someone picks a person who doesn't really need to know.

Dramatically this makes no sense, unless Bran is about to die, or....Samwell by pure coincidence has some information he can add, such as what Gilly told him (and what Sam did end up knowing, though he blew her off)--that Rhaegar and Lyanna got married, and Jon isn't a bastard--he's the Dragon and the Wolf, get it? In fact, he's bloody Aegon Targaryen, rightful heir to the throne (maybe) and nephew to Daenerys (definitely).  And right at that moment, of course, Snow and Dany are on the ship, doing it.  This is Westeros, and as long as their not brother and sister, does anyone care?  Guess we'll find out next season.

Next we see Arya and Sansa talking about their relationship. I like the two characters, but there's not much going on here.  I wonder if they'll join in on the fighting at the Wall, or will they stay in  Winterfell?  (Or will the war come to them?  They're the first major rest stop on the way.)

Finally we're at the Wall at Eastwatch.  (Is anyone minding the Fort at Castle Black?) As absolutely everyone predicted, the Night King comes flying over on his newly-acquired zombie dragon, which breathes blue flame and burns down the Wall, allowing (finally) the Army of the Dead to cross over. (We're not entirely sure of what happens to Tormund or Beric, but I'm guessing they're okay or they would have let us know). The Dead have been literally ten feet away from the Wall since the first ten minutes of Game Of Thrones, so there's been very little progress over seven seasons, but we're finally ready.

So some fun in the show, but no surprises, and little forward progress.  The chess pieces have been moved into place for the final war (to be followed by the final, final war).  I enjoyed the season, but--even though some complained of its headlong rush forward--not much really happened.  It started with Dany in Westeros ready for a war, Cersei at King's Landing ready for a war, and Snow up north ready for a war. We're still pretty much there.

A year to wait.  Six more episodes left. RIP, Littlefinger.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

But not better grammarians, apparently

From the blogfather: "TO BE FAIR, WE’RE BASICALLY BETTER AT EVERYTHING. SEXIER, TOO. Lawyers Make Better CEOs Than MBAs."

Do Re Mi

Some interesting lists in Variety telling us how much top-line entertainers make on TV.

To go over some of the highlights:

The top per episode fee in a drama is $775,000 for Robert De Niro in an upcoming project for Amazon.  Not surprising, since he's such a big name (and in recent years quite mercenary), so luring him into a series would take serious cash.  Even if people don't watch, or the show isn't good, people will take notice.

The next highest is Mark Harmon on NCIS, at $525,000  I've never watched an episode, but this is to be expected--the star of a long-running, top-rated title.

The next biggest are the five main leads of Game Of Thrones (Dany, Jaime, Tyrion, Cersei, Jon) at $500,000.  It makes sense, in that they're the mainstay of maybe the world's biggest hit.  Still, they only do ten episodes a year, or less for seasons seven and eight. (And yet, in some episodes, they barely appear.)   Don't know what the rest of the gigantic cast receive, though those who have been around since the start must be doing okay.  Still, if they compare themselves to movie stars (and GOT people hope to have movie careers) it's probably less money per day of work.

Kevin Costner also makes half a million per episode for his upcoming project.  Movie stars don't come cheap.  And Kevin Spacey makes as much for House Of Cards--a fairly big name in a long-running show.

And so on down the list (though The Walking Dead isn't included--I wonder how much they make.  In that case, except for lead Andrew Lincoln, they can kill off any character which would keep salary demands down.)  Claire Danes and Ellen Pompeo at 450 (gonna drop the dollar sign and the last three digits), Anthony Hopkins and James Spader at 300, Elisabeth Moss at 200, Bob Odenkirk at 150, Jonathan Banks at 100.

Then we get to stars on a new hit. This Is Us, the biggest thing of last year, features Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia at 85, Sterling K. Brown at 75, and Justin Hartley and Chrissy Metz at 40.  I don't know how long their contracts are for, but the show will probably last and they will renegotiate for significantly more.

Comedy is ruled by The Big Bang Theory, the biggest hit comedy, and the longest-running.  Its five leads now all get 900 per episode.  And note this is for a full season, not six or ten or thirteen episodes.  Actually, the five were getting a cool million each week, but agreed to take 100 less so their costars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch could make 500.

A bit below, but still doing well, are the adult leads of Modern Family, the other long-running huge comedy hit.  There are six of them and they all get half a million per episode.

In between in major movie star Dwayne Johnson getting 650 for Ballers.  It's a bit of a drop to Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent at 275.  The show has done reasonably well, and Tambor is a TV veteran who's won an Emmy for his role.

After that, there are some interesting comebacks.  Roseanne Barr and John Goodman are both getting 250 for the Roseanne revival.  I'm sure when the show originally aired, Roseanne get a lot more money.  But since then, she's done little in show biz while Goodman has become everyone's favorite character actor.  And the four leads are getting the same 250 in the Will & Grace revival.

Who else makes 250?  TV veterans Patricia Heaton and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  They've both been starring in their shows (The Middle and Veep) for quite a while, Louis-Dreyfus has won numerous Emmys, while The Middle, on a broadcast network, probably gets considerably more viewers. (With so many platforms it's harder to count viewers than it used to be.)

Meanwhile, old TV stars returning to network TV, Kevin James and Matt LeBlanc (who also stars for an unknown sum on Showtime's Episodes) make 200.  If they can have long runs, they may get close to what they used to make.

And TV stars trying something new--Craig Robinson, Adam Scott and Sela Ward--are making 125.

But the big money is in hosting a reality, news or game show.  Of course, you doing four or five new shows a week all year 'round, so it makes sense.  And if it's syndicated and you own a piece, the sky's the limit. Thus, Ellen DeGeneres makes 50 million a year.  Judge Judy 47 million.  Those are two stars who have proven themselves over the years.  A big drop, but still a nice neighborhood, is 25 million for Matt Lauer, as well as Katy Perry on American Idol.

Kelly Ripa gets 22 million, which I can understand. Megyn Kelly gets 18 million, and I'm sure the bidding war helped.

On late night, the big three are Jimmy Fallon at 16 million and Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel at 15 million.  Fallon wins easily in the demos, so I'm a bit surprised he isn't paid more (relatively speaking).  Maybe Lorne Michaels controls the salaries at NBC.

Some other numbers:  George Stephanopoulos at 15 million.  There's a lot of money in politics, I guess.  Anderson Cooper gets 12 million.  David Letterman just promised to do six shows for Netlifx, I think, and he's getting 12 million.  They must have money to spare.

Poor Conan O'Brien, only 12 million for his talk show.  Three big names who have agreed to host game shows are each getting 3 million for the season--Alec Baldwin, Jamie Foxx and (in disguise) Mike Myers.

Of course, these are the gross amounts.  The government gets about half and various agents, managers, etc. can be getting 20%.  Though these people might also get more income in other ways--for instance, living expenses, or relatives on the payroll.  And some may own a piece of their show.  In any case, no one is worried about them making ends meet.  It's the guest stars who are living hand to mouth.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Wake Up Call

I was playing something on YouTube--"Relaxing Summer Jazz & Bossa Nova Music--Happy Jazz Instrumental Music for Studying, Sleep, Work." Not the sort of thing I usually listen to, but I had it on in the background and forgot about it.



Suddenly, an ugly, raspy voice took over.  It turned out to be a commercial. I understand they interrupt lengthy videos with ads, but this one was of a smoker who'd lost her vocal cords.

I'm trying to imagine someone who's truly into relaxing jazz.  Maybe doing housework, maybe about to take a nap.  That rasp would certainly wake them up.

Maybe that's the point, but couldn't they choose a commercial not quite so disconcerting?  And if they have to put the ad somewhere, let me suggest amidst someone like Louis Armstrong.

Rittle croser, rittle croser

The question of course is, who's on top?

Kasich, Hickenlooper eye joint 2020 bid

Listen to the Force, John, listen to the Force. Become the Democrat you want to be.  

I'd love to hear Clapper's comments on Kasich. Is the man competent to tie his shoes, or are they Velcro?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ha, A Hundred Times

I get the feeling this is going to be a long post.

The BBC polled 253 critics to find the top 100 comedies of all time.  The list is below, with my comments.

100. (tie) The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1982)
100. The Ladies Man (Jerry Lewis, 1961)

Interesting tie--two Jerry Lewis movies.  However, I don't consider The King Of Comedy to be a comedy, so I don't know why it's on the list.  The Ladies Man is not Lewis's best, but it's one of his most interesting, formally speaking.

99. The Jerk (Carl Reiner, 1979)

Fun, but no classic.

98. The Hangover (Todd Phillips, 2009)

A modern classic.  Should maybe be higher.

97. The Music Box (James Parrott, 1932)

A short, but Laurel and Hardy should definitely be on this list, and their best work was done in shorts, such as this one.

96. Born Yesterday (George Cukor, 1950)

Decent, but no classic.

95. Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984)

Should maybe be higher.

94. Rushmore (Wes Anderson, 1998)

Generally speaking, an overrated film,  Interesting, but flawed, and not that funny.

93. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Trey Parker, 1999)

Pretty funny film.  Should it be on this list?  Probably not.

92. The Exterminating Angel (Luis Buñuel, 1962)

A fascinating film, but far from Bunuel's best.

91. What's Up, Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich, 1972)

A vague remake of Bringing Up Baby. Pretty good, but probably shouldn't be on this list.

90. A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971)

An often forgotten gem.  Good to see it here (even if Elaine May has disowned it due to reediting).

89. Daisies (Vera Chytilová, 1966)

An interesting surrealist film, but hardly a classic comedy. (The critics were from around the world--I wonder how many Czechs were included.)

88. Zoolander (Ben Stiller, 2001)

What is this doing here, polluting this list?

87. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953)

Not anywhere near Hawks' greatest comedies.

86. Kind Hearts and Coronets (Robert Hamer, 1949)

A good film, but regularly overrated.

85. Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973)

Not bad, but Fellini's done better.

84. Waiting for Guffman (Christopher Guest, 1996)

Maybe the best of the Christopher Guest comedies.

83. Safety Last! (Fred C Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, 1923)

A classic silent comedy--a genre that should represent about a quarter of this list, by the way.

82. Top Secret! (Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, 1984)

It was considered a disappointment in its day, but a worthy follow-up to Airplane!. Has it become a cult classic?

81. There's Something About Mary (Bobby and Peter Farrelly, 1998)

The greatest comedy of the past quarter century.  Should be ranked higher.

80. Office Space (Mike Judge, 1999)

A fun if seriously flawed film.  Doubt it should be on the list.

79. The Dinner Game (Francis Veber, 1998)

A decent film, but since most of the films on this list are in English, it's odd that this is one that represent France.

78. The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987)

His first three movies are all superior (as comedies and as films) to this overrated, over-loved work.

77. Divorce Italian Style (Pietro Germi, 1961)

Pretty good. I suppose there's room for it on the list.

76. Design for Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933)

I love Lubitsch, and there are three comedies of his that absolutely deserve to make this list, but not this one.

75. The Palm Beach Story (Preston Sturges, 1942)

Good, but overrated Sturges.

74. Trading Places (John Landis, 1983)

A fun film, still holds up.  Top 100 material?  Hard to say.

73. The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis, 1963)

If Lewis has a classic, this is it.

72. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (David Zucker, 1988)

A good job, though maybe not deserving enough to be on the list.

71. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)

Another overrated Wes Anderson film.  Not bad, but not a classic (and not that funny).

70. In the Loop (Armando Iannucci, 2009)

Well done (and led to Veep), but maybe not top 100.

69. Love and Death (Woody Allen, 1975)

A classic.  Should be higher.

68. Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939)

A fine Lubitsch film. Happy to see it on the list, but not in his top three.

67. Sons of the Desert (William A Seiter, 1933)

Probably the best L&H feature (along with Way Out West).  Good to have it, though as mentioned earlier, their best work is in shorts.

66. Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright, 2007)

I'm confused by this film's reputation.

65. Caddyshack (Harold Ramis, 1980)

I don't get why this film is considered a classic when it's not even that good.

64. Step Brothers (Adam McKay, 2008)

What is this film doing here?

63. Arsenic and Old Lace (Frank Capra, 1944)

Fun, but no classic, and far from Capra's best.

62. What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, 2014)

A well-done comedy, though let's wait a few more year to see if it should make this list.

61. Team America: World Police (Trey Parker, 2004)

Another good job by the South Park boys.  But should it be on the list?

60. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)

A good film. (A lot better than Hot Fuzz.)  Not sure if it should be on the list.

59. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)

Way too new, but more important, not that great.

58. Zelig (Woody Allen, 1983)

A fine Woody Allen comedy, but he's done much better.

57. Mean Girls (Mark Waters, 2004)

Has held up pretty well.

56. Broadcast News (James L Brooks, 1987)

While flawed, a well-done comedy.

55. Best in Show (Christopher Guest, 2000)

Another decent Christopher Guest mockumentary.

54. Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971)

A cult classic that isn't an actual classic.

53. The Blues Brothers (John Landis, 1980)

Has its moments, but is not particularly good.

52. My Man Godfrey (Gregory La Cava, 1936)

One of the great screwball comedies.  Should be higher.

51. Seven Chances (Buster Keaton, 1925)

A solid choice from Buster, but I'm not sure if I'd place it in his top five.

50. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, 1988)

I like Almodover, but I don't think this is his best, and I'm not sure if any of his films should make this list.

49. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972)

A Bunuel classic.

48. Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)

Definitely should be on the list.  Maybe higher.

47. Animal House (John Landis, 1978)

A classic.  Maybe should be even higher.

46. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)

A classic film.  I'm glad to see it treated as a comedy, because it's very funny.

45. Big Deal on Madonna Street (Mario Monicelli, 1958)

Certainly one of the most memorable Italian comedies.

44. Bridesmaids (Paul Feig, 2011)

What is this doing here?

43. M*A*S*H (Robert Altman, 1970)

A classic.

42. The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937)

A fine screwball comedy (though not as good as My Man Godfrey).

41. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles, 2006)

Not bad, but I question if it should make the list.

40. The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1967)

This won't be the highest-ranked Mel Brooks film, but maybe it should be.

39. A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood and Edmund Goulding, 1935)

Among the Marx Brothers best.  Should probably be higher.

38. The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940)

A classic romantic comedy. Maybe should be ranked higher.

37. Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941)

Good to see here, even though it's almost as much drama as comedy.

36. A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton and John Cleese, 1988)

A good film, but rated too high.

35. Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)

Maybe the greatest musical of all.  And since it's a musical comedy, why not?

34. Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995)

Decent film, but shouldn't be on this list.

33. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Adam McKay, 2004)

Overrated.

32. Raising Arizona (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1987)

Probably the Coen's greatest comedy.

31. Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982)

Perhaps should be ranked higher.

30. Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (Jacques Tati, 1953)

Good to see Tati, but is this too high?

29. When Harry Met Sally... (Rob Reiner, 1989)

Still holds up.

28. It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934)

Started the screwball craze, and may be the best one still.  Should be ranked higher.

27. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)

A decent film, but overrated Wilder.

26. Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati, 1958)

Like Hulot's Holiday, a fine film, though ranked a bit high here.

25. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)

Should be top ten.

24. Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)

A tough film.  Probably shouldn't make the list.

23. The Party (Blake Edwards, 1968)

A fun cult classic, but nowhere near top fifty.  Probably not top hundred.

22. Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks, 1974)

A decent film, even though Brooks can be overrated.

21. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)

Should be top ten.

20. Blazing Saddles (Mel Brooks, 1974)

See Young Frankenstein.

19. The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)

One of Sturges best, so why not? (Though others are missing, especially Hail The Conquering Hero.)

18. Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton, 1924)

One of Keaton's best, so why not? (They left out too much Keaton, in fact.)

17. Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)

A great screwball comedy, so why not make it top twenty.

16. The Great Dictator (Charlie Chaplin, 1940)

A big hit, but not a great comedy.

15. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975)

Good to see Monty Python here.

14. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

Good to see lots of Hawks.

13. To Be or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)

Deserves to be near the top.  Though I see they've left out his best, The Shop Around The Corner.

12. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)

Maybe too low.

11. The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998)

A huge cult classic, but it's ridiculous to rate it this high.

10. The General (Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton, 1926)

Gotta have some Keaton in the top ten, so why not this one. (Though where's The Cameraman or Steamboat Bill, Jr.?)

9. This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984)

A great comedy, though ranked too high.

8. Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)

I'm surprised to see it ranked so high, but this is Tati's masterpiece.

7. Airplane! (Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, 1980)

As far as pure laughs, one of the best.

6. Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979)

Ranked maybe a bit high (and above The Holy Grail).

5. Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)

Really you could throw in all five Marx Brothers Paramount films--they're as funny as any films ever made.

4. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)

Probably shouldn't be on this list. And I'm not even sure if it's a comedy.

3. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)

Woody's best.  If it were #1 it would fit.

2. Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)

Could also be #1.

1. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)

Hard to complain too much about this choice.  Wilder's best, and an all-time classic comedy.

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