Sunday, September 16, 2007


This Is Spinal Tap - Dr. Strangelove - Gimme Shelter
Animal House - Shaun Of The Dead - Blue Velvet


1984 (R)- Directed by Rob Reiner
Starring: Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer
This is Spinal Tap is not only the funniest film about Rock and Roll ever made, it is one of the funniest films ever made. This mockumentary follows legendary british rock act Spinal Tap on their tour of the U.S. in support of their LP Smell The Glove. Anything that could go wrong for them does go wrong, and the tour collapses into a hilarious mess. Along the way we learn about their history, as well as encounter several familiar faces that also pop up in many of Christopher Guest's recent films like Best In Show, Waiting For Guffman, and A Mighty Wind. This Is Spinal Tap is 29th on AFI's list of the top 100 all time comedies.


1964 (PG)- Directed by Stanely Kubrick
Starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens
This cold war comedy details the fallout from a "military commander gone mad"'s decision to start a war with Russia over their alleged plot to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids. Peter Sellers is masterful as he tackles three key roles, and George C. Scott's portrayal of General 'Buck' Turgison is equally hilarious. Dr. Strangelove succeeds at lampooning the paranoia of the cold war era, as well as illustrating how absurd military posturing can be. AFI ranks Dr. Strangelove at #3 on it's list of 100 funniest comedies.


1970 (R) - Directed by The Maysles Brothers, Charlotte Zwerin
Starring The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones' free concert at Altamont, along with the Manson Murders, is often pointed to as the end of the Hippie Dream. Gimme Shelter follows The Stones on their 1969 tour of the U.S. in support of their album Let It Bleed. The tour itself was a triumph, and The Stones wanted to end it with their own personal Woodstock, a free show held at the Altamont Speedway in Northern California. The concert, however, turned nightmarish, ultimately descending into chaos and murder at the hands of The Hells Angels, who were running security for the show. This is a film you will not soon forget.


1978 (R) - Directed by John Landis
Starring John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Karen Allen, Donald Sutherland
National Lampoon's Animal House, the brain child of Lampoon editor Doug Kenney, is still one of the most profitable films ever made. It is often lumped in with the inferior college sex comedies it spawned, but Animal House stands out for its originality, quality, and vulgarity. The situations that the loveable loser fraternity Delta House manages to get itself into still provoke uncontrollable belly laughs over thirty years later. Animal House is ranked 36th on AFI's list of top 100 funniest comedies.


2004 (R) - Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost
Easily the funniest zombie romantic comedy (or rom zom com, as the filmmakers call it) ever made. Even George Romero, the undisputed king of zombie films and an outspoken critic of the genre, adores this film. Shaun Of The Dead stands as both a loving tribute to the genre, as well as along side the titans of said genre (Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead) with its criticism of contemporary culture. Romero loved the film so much he gave Pegg and Frost a cameo in his own recent film Land Of The Dead. Wright, Pegg, and Frost went on to produce the 2007 cop comedy Hot Fuzz.


1986 (R) - Directed by David Lynch
Starring Dennis Hopper, Isabella Rossellini, Kyle McLachlan, Laura Dern
Blue Velvet is beautiful and brutal, funny and frightening, and is the kind of film that only a director like David Lynch could produce. It takes place in the all american community of Lumberton, NC, which is depicted as an almost parody of wholesomeness. It doesn't take long, however, before the seedy underbelly of the town is exposed, and the darkness revealed is shocking, violent, and revolting. Roger Ebert was rightfully horrified by the treatment Rossellini's character was subjected to. Watch Siskel and Ebert's review of the film to get an idea of how polarizing this film can be for its audience.

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