more stars than in the heavens

not in our stars, but in ourselves

no laughing matter, man

Me reading their listicle

Me reading their listicle

I was going to write a real post today.  Honest, I was.  But I have been mad and red and nude online since about 11:00 this morning, and I need to get it off my chest: apparently The A.V. Club’s contributors and editors are morons.  Why have I reached that conclusion today, specifically?  Because today, they saw fit to publish a ranked list of the “best” comedies released since 2000.  Go look at the list and their justifications, but here are the films themselves:

50. Four Lions (2010)
49. Songs From The Second Floor (2000)
48. Josie And The Pussycats (2001)
47. Force Majeure (2014)
46. Bad Santa (2003)
45. 12:08 East Of Bucharest (2006)
44. The Color Wheel (2011)
43. State And Main (2000)
42. Knocked Up (2007)
41. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
40. Zoolander (2001)
39. Offside (2006)
38. I Heart Huckabees (2004)
37. School Of Rock (2003)
36. A Mighty Wind (2003)
35. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
34. Black Dynamite (2009)
33. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
32. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
31. The World’s End (2013)
30. Young Adult (2011)
29. The Informant! (2009)
28. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
27. Idiocracy (2006)
26. Ghost World (2001)
25. What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
24. Obvious Child (2014)
23. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
22. Burn After Reading (2008)
21. Step Brothers (2008)
20. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
19. The Lobster (2015)
18. Mean Girls (2004)
17. In Bruges (2008)
16. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
15. Team America: World Police (2004)
14. Bridesmaids (2011)
13. Hot Fuzz (2007)
12. Adaptation. (2002)
11. Superbad (2007)
10. Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan (2006)
9. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)
8. High Fidelity (2000)
7. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004)
6. Frances Ha (2012)
5. Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
4. Best In Show (2000)
3. In The Loop (2009)
2. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
1. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Now, I grant you: I am at a bit of a disadvantage, because – true to my old-fashioned, fuddy-duddy self – I haven’t seen all of these.  I will refrain from judging those films, even if I find some of them to be curious fits.  Here’s the list of only films I’ve seen, still in their A.V. Club order:

41. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
38. I Heart Huckabees (2004)
35. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
34. Black Dynamite (2009)
28. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
23. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
22. Burn After Reading (2008)
21. Step Brothers (2008)
20. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
19. The Lobster (2015)
18. Mean Girls (2004)
17. In Bruges (2008)
16. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
14. Bridesmaids (2011)
13. Hot Fuzz (2007)
12. Adaptation. (2002)
11. Superbad (2007)
9. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)
7. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004)
4. Best In Show (2000)
3. In The Loop (2009)
2. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
1. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Sure, there’s some great stuff in that list – but look at the order.  Look at the rankings.  It blows my mind.  Here’s what they have to say for themselves, regarding how they settled on these films in this order:

When The A.V. Club decided to count down its favorite comedies since the turn of the century, polling a couple dozen of our staffers and contributors, some ground rules had to be established. For one, eligible films could mix genres, but they had to be predominately laugh-driven, which means that quite a few dramedies (HerLost In Translation) and horror-comedies (The Cabin In The Woods) were ruled out immediately. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, we wouldn’t be ranking the funniest films since 2000. Comedy is subjective, and what makes one person chuckle may leave another stone-faced. Pure laugh count is an unreliable barometer of whether a comedy—a very flexible genre, as evidenced by the sheer variety of movies listed below—is worth your time.

Okay.  Okay.  I’m trying to remain calm.  It seems to me that a comedy’s funniness should be the most heavily weighted factor in determining how successful it is as a comedy, but I can certainly allow for the distinction between a movie that’s overall better than another that might be funnier; a friend of mine pointed out that even though Blazing Saddles is packed wall-to-wall with jokes, Young Frankenstein is a better movie.  This is true.  This is fine.  But, like, Young Frankenstein is still REALLY funny.  It’s not some subtle art-house movie: it’s a loving send-up of Universal horror flicks, as seen through the prism that is Mel Brooks’s sense of humor. (Which is, I hope you agree, a damn good prism.)

putting_on_the_ritz

And so: what the everlasting fuck is Royal Tenenbaums doing ANYWHERE on this list, let alone at #2?  What committee of fucking morons would decide that Wes Anderson’s twee celebration of navel-gazing and quirk-for-quirkiness’s-sake was a better comedy than In the Loop?  Or better than Walk Hard, for that matter?  I’m struggling to remember a single laugh from Tenenbaums.  On the other hand, In the LoopWalk HardStep BrothersBridesmaidsBurn After Reading, all make me laugh out loud any time I remember a scene or a line.  Again – it’s fine if a comedy isn’t a wall of jokes, but I think it’s an important factor to consider.  Therefore, I hereby whittle the list down as follows:

38. I Heart Huckabees (2004)
35. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
34. Black Dynamite (2009)
28. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
23. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
22. Burn After Reading (2008)
21. Step Brothers (2008)
20. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
18. Mean Girls (2004)
17. In Bruges (2008)
14. Bridesmaids (2011)
13. Hot Fuzz (2007)
11. Superbad (2007)
7. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004)
4. Best In Show (2000)
3. In The Loop (2009)
1. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

(Apologies to The Lobster and The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I really do enjoy, but they’re dramedies, in my not-at-all humble opinion.  They’ve got some good laughs, but they’re ultimately much sadder than most comedies can reasonably get away with.) I would also add The Heat and Inside Llewyn Davis, because they are both excellent and very funny, and would rank the top 10 thus:

10. Mean Girls
9. The Heat
8. Wet Hot American Summer
7. Inside Llewyn Davis
6. Black Dynamite
5. Kung Fu Hustle
4. Bridesmaids
3. Step Brothers
2. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
1. In the Loop

If you insist on not adding any, you could swap Burn After Reading for Llewyn and Anchorman for The Heat.  But anyway, humor does actually matter in a comedy.  You can argue that Step Brothers, despite being guaranteed to make me weep with laughter, isn’t as good of a movie as Wet Hot American Summer, and we can agree to disagree – but keep that twee shit out of my comedy genre.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

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This entry was posted on July 11, 2016 by and tagged , , .
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