The other day I had one of many episodes of puppy antics that ended up in me laughing for twenty minutes straight, then continue to giggle throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening. I felt so good after that great big laugh that it reminded me of the importance of laughter and fun for the health and well being of our bodies, minds and spirits.
I don’t know if you have noticed, but lately there are a lot of dark (psychologically or otherwise) and heavy movies coming out. My movie theatre attendance has dropped dramatically over the last couple of years, and not just because I have Apple TV and Netflix with movies that are available for rent or purchase sooner than ever. There is just not that much out there that I care to see, even with actors that I love.
So, along the lines of let’s keep our spirits up, I thought I would share my favorite comedy movies with you. Most I am sure you know, others maybe you don’t, but they are all light and fun and will have you laughing away the cortisol from your system. Just so you know: I am a sucker for British comedies, and you will find quite a few in this list.
The first three movies are my long time favorites, and they never cease to entertain me. I cannot really tell which one would come first, as I love them all equally. Most of these movies are available as instant streaming through various sources (do check Netflix), but just in case they are not, if you click on the titles you will be taken to the relevant Amazon page.
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With brilliantly hilarious performances by Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Diane Wiest and Hank Azaria.
“A gay cabaret owner and his drag queen companion agree to put up a false straight front so that their son can introduce them to his fiancée’s right-wing moralistic parents.” – from IMDb
A classic! I have seen it so many times that certain names, songs and words trigger images of Jack Lemmon in various moments of his performance as Jerry/Daphne, alongside equally brilliant Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis.
“When two musicians witness a mob hit in Chicago, they flee the state in an all female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.” – from IMDb
There are not many Italian movies I enjoy, but the ones by actor/director Leonardo Pieraccioni I love! If you understand Italian at all, this movie will keep you in stitches: the characters, the actors, the scenes, the storyline and the Tuscan accent.
Levante (Pieraccioni) lives an uncomplicated life as a bookkeeper in a small town outside of Florence. Until a bus with six Spanish flamenco dancers runs out of gas outside his family’s home, bringing excitement and unexpected twists in everybody’s life.
Pieraccioni’s team of talented and hilarious actors play some of the other characters: Barbara Enrichi, Massimo Ceccherini, Sergio Forconi, Tosca D’Aquino and Alessandro Haber. Lorena Forteza and Natalia Estrada co-star.
Unfortunately, I have not found this movie available in English, or even in US standard dvd. I wish!
A classic of British comedy movies, this film never ceases to entertain me.
Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell lead a fabulous cast (Simon Callow, John Hannah, Kristin Scott Thomas among others) through a series of hilarious situations at four weddings and, sadly, one funeral, though which a sworn bachelor (Grant) may have to admit that he has, after all, found true love.
Not a classic yet, but it will be. Hilarious is so many obvious and subtle ways as only great actors like Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski can pull off. And don’t you just love the bakery that Meryl Streep’s character owns? If you know where that is, please let me in on it.
The story takes you through the complications of a divorced couple that experience a new spark while at their son’s college graduation.
Another, more recent, fun British comedy with a stellar cast: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup and Celia Imrie among others.
The movie follows a group of British retirees as they relocate to what they believe is a beautiful and exotic hotel in India. Upon arrival, they discover that things are not quite what they were advertised to be, but India and the Marigold Hotel still manage to work their charm on the group.
I am looking forward to more of the same in movie number two, which I missed in theaters.
Kevin Kline plays Howard Brackett, an English teacher in a midwestern small town who, on the eve of his wedding to his long time sweetheart (Joan Cusack) questions his sexuality after a former student (Matt Dillon) makes a comment about him being gay at the televised Academy Awards.
Debbie Reynolds, Tom Selleck, Bob Newhart and Wilford Brimley co-star.
I am often asked what is the difference between Northern and Southern Italy. Since this movie, I have a ready answer: it’s like between New York and Alabama.
Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas and Patrick Dempsey show you how funny it can get when these two worlds come together. Candice Bergen, Mary Kay Place, Fred Ward, Jean Smart, Ethan Embri and Melanie Lynskey co-star.
Helen Mirren and Julie Walters are part of a brilliant cast of actors & characters that tell this true story of a group of women from Northern England who come to the awkward decision to pose nude for a calendar in order to raise funds for the local hospital.
Another one of my favorite British comedies, though with a little drama thrown in. But such is life.
Yep, another hilarious British comedy led by American Brittany Murphy. Murphy plays Jacks, an American intern at Vogue UK who loves everything Audrey Hepburn and who tries to help her friends find love, while being oblivious to it herself.
In the cast: Matthew Rhys, Catherine Tate, Santiago Cabrera, Elliot Cowan and Stephanie Beacham.
If you haven’t seen this movie I have to wonder if you have just come in from another planet. *wink-wink*
In one of his most famous parts, Robin Williams transforms himself into an old English housekeeper-nanny in order to trick his soon-to-be-ex-wife Miranda (Sally Field) into letting him spend time with his children. Pierce Brosnan costars as Stu, Miranda’s new boyfriend.
“All of our dogs are adoptable… Except THAT ONE!”
Disney usually doesn’t fail to deliver, and many of their movies have layers of comedy (like Brother Bear, which I also suggest). But Lilo & Stitch is particularly hilarious, especially to those of us who live or have lived a long time in Hawai’i.
I also cannot help thinking that whoever wrote the story must have read some of the same books I have. Enjoy this fun romp in Paradise!
How funny can things get when a long-divorced couple pretends to still be married as their extended family gets together for a wedding? Really funny! Especially with actors like these: Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Topher Grace, Ben Barnes and Christine Ebersole.
Just go along for the ride and enjoy this 2013 comedy.
Another classic of British comedy that includes American Julia Roberts. Oh come on, you have seen this one, right? The one in which Hugh Grant plays the part of a simple travel bookshop owner whose emotional life gets turned upside down when he bumps (literally) into the most famous movie star in the world (Roberts).
Rhys Ifans is unforgettable as Spike the roommate. The actor is brilliantly chameleonic, something you really notice when you realize that he plays the lead in Anonymous, a part that could not be more different.
You did not expect me to leave this movie out of this list, did you? Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are just hilarious in this movie as they are when they get grumpier in the follow up. A brilliant Ann-Margret holds them in check, and Sophia Loren joins the team in movie 2.
I happened to watch this comedy not long after seeing Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock (totally recommended) I thought I was in a time warp, as PL&M picks up on the theme more than forty years after the historic concert happened.
Catherine Keener plays an uptight NYC lawyer who, surprised with a divorce request from her husband (Kyle MacLachlan), escapes the city for the weekend with her teenage children to visit her estranged hippy mother (Jane Fonda) in Woodstock, NY. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chace Crawford and Elizabeth Olsen costar.
Cameron Diaz is delightfully funny all the time. Put her together with Christina Applegate and Selma Blair and you have some serious funny stuff. These talented actors really love to let their funny side loose.
An advocate for “Mr. Right Now”, Christina (Diaz) meets Mr. Right while the girls are out on the town to try to ease their roommate’s heartbreak. But things have to get a little complicated first, don’t they.
Mitch (Billy Crystal), Phil (Daniel Stern) and Ed (Bruno Kirby) get to live their dream of being true cowboys during an alternative type of vacation. Until true cowboy and trail boss Curly (Jack Palance) comes along to show them they are just city slickers. Just as funny is the follow up, which sees the actors looking for Curly’s Gold.
One of Bill Murray’s best and funniest performances in what is now a classic comedy. Groundhog Day is a time-warp story in which weatherman Phil (Murray) has to repeat the same day until he gets it right. And MacDowell and Chris Elliott costar.
This one is not a movie, but a TV series (currently entering its 5th season) so funny I could not leave it out. The story starts when NYC surgeon Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) accepts an offer to work with a G.P. from Bluebell, Alabama. Things get both complicated, seriously funny and, on occasion, borderline ridiculous. Just to give you a taste: the Town Major (Cress Williams) has a pet crocodile called Burt Reynolds, and the bar where just about everybody meets is called the Rammer Jammer.
The amazing cast also includes: Jaime King, Wilson Bethel, Cress Williams, Scott Porter, Tim Matheson, Kaitlyn Black and Ross Philips among many others.
The whole series is laced with an amazing country & bluegrass soundtrack.
I don’t know about you but now I feel like getting some snacks and drinks and chilling out in front of one of these movies.
I am sure you know many if not most of these movies, but I would love to know if my list pointed you out to new ones and if and how you enjoyed them. I know the list could be longer, but these are my top twenty favorites. Also, some other movies I might have included really belong in another category, so I will list them there at another time. If you have more suggestions I would love to hear about them in the comments.
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