The end of July in Austin means two things: 1) It’s 200 degrees outside and 2) I don’t ever go outside. Seriously, if our house somehow caught on fire and firefighters were in the cul-de-sac yelling, “Lady! Get out of the house!” I’d stand there with flames licking at my ankles and yell back, “But it’s way cooler in here! I have a cardigan on! See? Pretty! Let me know when the ‘feels like’ temp drops below 99!”
You’d think that being trapped inside the house with my family for weeks at a time would be a total party, but surprisingly, that’s not quite the case. In fact, here are some of the things that have been said just this past week—I’m not going to say by whom:
“Well, if you don’t like looking at my Target sweat shorts day after day, why don’t you just not look at my Target sweat shorts?”
“No, I don’t think it’s weird that I spent the night in our temperature controlled wine closet. I think you’re weird. Weirdo.”
“For the last time, I didn’t turn the thermostat down to 50! Go question the cats—those assholes are the ones covered in fur, Sherlock.”
And so on. My only excitement is seeing who cries the least while tiptoeing barefoot on the front walk to get the mail. (It’s our equivalent of a Tony Robbins hot coal experience.)
Thankfully I have my go-to list of favorite comedies to keep me sane in the summer. I’ve seen all of these tons of time and they never fail to make me laugh. (Also, most of them have something that I love in comedies and that’s one or two oddly hilarious minor or throw-away characters.) Maybe you’ve seen all of these before, maybe not. But if you’re losing your will to live like I am, add them to your list.
QUICK CHANGE – One of the funniest movies that never got the audience it deserved. Bill Murray is a bank robber clown trying to get out of town before the cops catch him. The classic NYC characters he meets on the way are played by Phil Hartman and Tony Shaloub, among others. I absolutely love this one. Best quote:
Bank Guard: What the Hell kind of clown are you?
Grimm: The crying on the inside kind, I guess.
WHAT’S UP DOC? – Written by Buck Henry, this screwball comedy set in San Francisco stars Ryan O’Neal and a very, very funny Barbra Streisand. And an even funnier Madeline Kahn. I first saw this when I was a teenager and fell in love with the eclectic characters. Best quote:
Judy: Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
Howard: That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.
CLUB PARADISE – Robin Williams, Peter O’Toole, Rick Moranis, Mary Gross, Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin—-OMG ANDREA MARTIN. I don’t even have to tell you what the plot is now, do I? I’ve seen this probably 50 times and it still cracks me up. Best quote:
Barry Steinberg: [Watching a pro diver take a spectacular cliff dive off a waterfall with small crowd] I could have done that dive if I didn’t have the diarrhea.
BOTTLE ROCKET – This is the movie that put Wes Anderson, Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson on the map. I remember seeing a screening of it at Warner Bros. before it came out and I was immediately charmed. Quirky, weird and really funny. And not quite as precious as Wes’ films are now. Best quote:
Dignan: Ka-kaw! Ka-kaw!
VOLUNTEERS – Tom Hanks met his wife Rita Wilson making this movie where they play Peace Corps. volunteers in Southeast Asia. Their co-stars are Gedde Watanabe and the sweetly hilarious John Candy as Tom Tuttle from Tacoma, Washington. And John Candy is never not funny. Best quote:
Pretty much anything about “Mike.”
ROMY AND MICHELLE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION – This is one of those movies that just gets more funny with time. I absolutely love Janeane Garofolo in this. And the scene where Romy and Michelle do an interpretive dance to “True Colors” is totally something I wish I’d done at my reunion. Best quote:
Michele: Did you lose weight?
Romy: Actually, I have been trying this new fat free diet I invented. All I’ve had to eat for the past six days are gummy bears, jelly beans, and candy corns.
Michele: God, I wish I had your discipline.
NIGHT SHIFT – The first big movie Ron Howard directed (after “Grand Theft Auto”), this stars Shelley Long as a hooker with a heart of gold and Henry Winkler and a hyper, hilarious Michael Keaton as two guys who run a prostitution business out of the city morgue. It’s much less polished and cynical than current comedies and I think that’s what makes it so odd and funny. (And of course Clint Howard makes an appearance.) Best quote:
Leonard: (watching The Flintstones) Oh, that Barney Rubble. What an actor.
Others on my list:
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS – See this just for Pat Morita. LOST IN AMERICA – My favorite Albert Brooks movie. “Say ‘I lost the nest egg.’ Just say it!” ROXANNE – Steve Martin is wonderful, but the firehouse scenes are what make this movie. REAL GENIUS – Val Kilmer when he was funny. Love the scene with the popcorn mountain and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” SPLASH – Screw the romance, just watch the John Candy and Eugene Levy scenes. “We’re not twins.” SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES – Screwball Neil Simon comedy starring Chevy, Goldie and a slow-burning Charles Grodin that’s almost as funny as FOUL PLAY – Chevy, Goldie and a creepily hilarious Dudley Moore. Plus the opening song is by Barry Manilow and what’s funnier than that?
What’s your favorite comedy? Please share it with me! And do it soon because today it’s my turn to get the mail.