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Movies Not for the Humor Challenged


CaveGirl
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It is hard to believe that some people just don't get it, but they don't.

That would be humor and knowing how to play along with a joke. It's as if they were born in a cave and raised by wolves, but we should pity them and try to carry on, even though the humor challenged can be challenging to be around.

You ask...what is humor challenged in this sense? I'm talking about people that don't catch on, to things and ruin every bit of fun, by spilling the beans or continually asking silly questions like this one I heard while sitting in a revival of the original film by John Waters, "Hairspray".

If you remember, Tracy Turnblad [as played by Ricki Lake] has become a favorite on the American Bandstand type teenybopper dance program, and its stud muffin, Link Larkin as played by the moody pretty boy, Michael St. Gerard is now intrigued and has dumped his blond bimbo girlfriend. Now Tracy was a bit rotund at this time and his former chick was quite svelte, to be sure, but Tracy was the better dancer. As this is occurring on the screen, a lady in front of me says out loud to no one in particular "I cannot believe he would pick that fat girl over his cute girlfriend."

Well, now...it was hard to not guffaw out loud, or just tap her on the shoulder and say "Have you thought about having a humor transplant?" but of course, that is not acceptable. We live in a world where the humor challenged have every right to continue on, day after day, driving us crazy with illogical statements that we are to take seriously or they ruin things by not getting the joke, like you say to someone you've just met "Oh, hi..yes I just was released from a maximum security prison and am looking for a new job making designer license plates" and some nescient has to pipe up and say "What are you talking about, you were never in prison." Yep, very disconcerting and again, always ruining the fun of living, but I digress.

So my question is, if you do have a sense of humor, what movies do you think one without a sense of humor, would never, ever in a millions years, understand are meant to be comedic.

Those who are deficient in understanding tongue in cheek remarks and ribaldry, are doomed to forever not know when to laugh sadly.

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Without a second's hesitation I submit "THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL".

The subtleties, nuances, even mere movements and gestures were genius in their cerebral humor. So different. So novel. Wes Anderson created and brought to life an entire world of genuinely unique, intelligent, unbelievably clever, charming, humourous-without-intending-to-be characters.  Feinnes, Goldblum, Abraham, DeFoe & Tony Revolori as Zero & many others left an indelible imprint on me. I can't remember when I've so thoroughly enjoyed a movie that didn't fell it had to slap me in the face with attempts at humor, but allowed me to figure it out.

And yet...I know quite a few others who just didn't get it.  Some even walked out of the theater. Acccckkkk!!  After several torn out hairs and dope slaps upside my head, I just don't broach the subject anymore with them. It saves on Valiums, too.

 

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My favorite story of how the New Kids just aren't as hip as their parents were:  B)

Back in the early-early-early days of Blu-ray, nobody owned a player, so most of the home-theater Blu-vs.-HDDVD Internet discussions came down to gamer wars between the Playstation and X-Box owners. ("Casino Royale!"  "Peter Jackson's King Kong, dood!")  The good part was, if a classic came out on Blu, Playstation gamers would greedily snap it up never having heard of it, and Millennial film discussions would start over anything they'd discovered....I'd actually forgotten the last time I'd had to debate the ending of "2001".

There weren't many classics, since Sony spent most of its time releasing action movies and gamer-friendly guy comedies, but Warner trotted out all of its 4K-restored classics:  One time, on our birth-of-Blu forum, the thread started, "What's the funniest comedy currently on Blu-ray?"  To a "man", all of the posters answered "Superbad", while a few were generous to include "Pineapple Express" as well.  As the senior veteran, I pointed out that Warner had, ahem, already released "Blazing Saddles" on Blu, and half the posters, predictably, had never heard of it.

They must have rushed out to see it, since the reactions were later shocked protests of "Heyyy, they're using the N-word, that's not funny!"

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On 7/31/2018 at 10:53 PM, Zea said:

Without a second's hesitation I submit "THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL".

The subtleties, nuances, even mere movements and gestures were genius in their cerebral humor. So different. So novel. Wes Anderson created and brought to life an entire world of genuinely unique, intelligent, unbelievably clever, charming, humourous-without-intending-to-be characters.  Feinnes, Goldblum, Abraham, DeFoe & Tony Revolori as Zero & many others left an indelible imprint on me. I can't remember when I've so thoroughly enjoyed a movie that didn't fell it had to slap me in the face with attempts at humor, but allowed me to figure it out.

And yet...I know quite a few others who just didn't get it.  Some even walked out of the theater. Acccckkkk!!  After several torn out hairs and dope slaps upside my head, I just don't broach the subject anymore with them. It saves on Valiums, too.

 

And you didn't even mention Edward Norton! Boy I never would have guessed that actor, whom I'd previously been ready to dismiss as really self-important, could be so funny, until he met Wes Anderson. Also check him out in Moonrise Kingdom.

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23 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

And you didn't even mention Edward Norton! Boy I never would have guessed that actor, whom I'd previously been ready to dismiss as really self-important, could be so funny, until he met Wes Anderson. Also check him out in Moonrise Kingdom.

Oh my goodness! You're so right. Norton was dead-pan hilarious! And how could I have also forgotten the evil genius, pseudo-Nazi,"Dimitri", portrayed by Adrian Brody.

 

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On 7/31/2018 at 11:53 PM, Zea said:

Without a second's hesitation I submit "THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL".

The subtleties, nuances, even mere movements and gestures were genius in their cerebral humor. So different. So novel. Wes Anderson created and brought to life an entire world of genuinely unique, intelligent, unbelievably clever, charming, humourous-without-intending-to-be characters.  Feinnes, Goldblum, Abraham, DeFoe & Tony Revolori as Zero & many others left an indelible imprint on me. I can't remember when I've so thoroughly enjoyed a movie that didn't fell it had to slap me in the face with attempts at humor, but allowed me to figure it out.

And yet...I know quite a few others who just didn't get it.  Some even walked out of the theater. Acccckkkk!!  After several torn out hairs and dope slaps upside my head, I just don't broach the subject anymore with them. It saves on Valiums, too.

Most, if not all, of Wes Anderson's movies would fit in this category. From his debut Bottle Rocket, followed by his big breakthrough in Rushmore, to The Royal TenenbaumsThe Life Aquatic with Steve ZissouThe Darjeeling LimitedMoonrise Kingdom, and the animated Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs, his stuff has generally been love it or hate it. I personally consider him one of the great filmmakers of our time, a very unique voice telling intelligent, nuanced tales in a light and humorous manner, even when they touch on profound subjects. I would argue that The Grand Budapest Hotel may be his best film, as it's both very accessible and densely packed with visual and narrative information. 

I can recall still working at a video store back when Bottle Rocket came out and having several customers return it having not cared for it, with one guy saying "that's a bunch of that college humor." I've heard friends and family denigrate one or more of the movies listed above, but I've liked them all.

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Lost in America from 1985 was a very amusing film and satirical study of the yuppies, but I can imagine some not getting its humor.

That being said though, sometimes even films that play it loose in their humor are misunderstood by some. 1988's Married to the Mob was an absolute hoot of a film, flashy, broad, cheerfully skewering mob culture and tacky 80s decor, had a fascinating new-wave, alternative rock soundtrack, and was accentuated by delightful acting all around, especially the spry Michelle Pfeiffer and the comically insane Mercedes Ruehl. But while it got great reviews, the reception from audiences was very patchy, and it bewilders me, because I think that it is one of the great 80s comedies.

And speaking of mob dark comedies, there is the case of Prizzi's Honor. Now a particular shot in the film was gratuitous and morbid and the film had a few lulls. But much of the way, it was a wry, smartly handled film with a sense of humor. Not everyone got it. I've seen people love it,but others literally despise it.

Another one, much more recent, with that polarizing effect was 2013's American Hustle,another crime film with humor. The film tickled me, I was roaring with laughter at its jokes much of the way and appreciated the effortless way it obtained that brash, nutty, eccentric feel of 70s comedies, but its reception is a lot like Prizzi.

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On 7/31/2018 at 6:00 PM, NickAndNora34 said:

Personally, I feel like I know a lot of people who wouldn't be entertained or at the very least, mildly amused, by the Coen Brothers' "Big Lebowski." I find it to be hilarious; it's just a different type of humor. 

Although I haven't seen nearly all of the Coen Brothers' movies, I've enjoyed every one that I've seen: LebowskiInside Llewyn DavisO Brother Where Art Thou?Barton FinkIntolerable Cruelty, and Hail Caesar!  (Yes, I know there are other good ones that I should see!)  A big part of what I like about their movies is the humor. 

I noticed that Hail Caesar! in particular seemed to baffle some viewers.  When it was in theaters, I recall some co-workers talking about how un-funny they thought the movie was.  I think my co-workers and probably many other viewers just didn't get the classic Hollywood-related humor or appreciate the story itself, which were most accessible to those who know something about film history. 

To cite one example, the film studio where some of the story took place had a Wallace Beery memorial conference room, with a large portrait of the man himself overlooking the conference table.  I found that small detail absolutely hilarious, but I guarantee you that my co-workers who were lamenting the film had never heard of Beery, let alone seeing how funny it was to have a conference room named after that big old roughneck actor.  I really like Beery, but he's not exactly the kind of person a film studio would probably name something after -- like MGM naming its administration building after executive producer Irving Thalberg after his untimely death.

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THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984)

WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (1996) and pretty much all of Christopher Guests films since GUFFMAN.  I feel GUFFMAN is still the best.  I also feel that if you go in order since GUFFMAN you can rank his films.  I think BEST IN SHOW (2000) and A MIGHTY WIND (2003) are pretty close in quality with a slight edge to BEST IN SHOW (2000).  I would also say that maybe MASCOTS (2016) has a slight edge in humor over FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (2006), but CONSIDERATION is possibly a smarter kind of humor.  And I am leaving ALMOST HEROES (1998) and some of the TV stuff out of contention.  I like ALMOST HEROES (1998), but it is not really in the same category as those others.

 

So ....

WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (1996)

BEST IN SHOW (2000)

A MIGHTY WIND (2003)

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (2006)

MASCOTS (2016)

These are all films I feel the comedic-ally challenged would find problematic. :D  (And no I am not saying Guest Directed THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984).  He was just brilliant in it. )

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On 7/31/2018 at 6:00 PM, NickAndNora34 said:

Personally, I feel like I know a lot of people who wouldn't be entertained or at the very least, mildly amused, by the Coen Brothers' "Big Lebowski." I find it to be hilarious; it's just a different type of humor. 

Right on, N&N!

That one has its own special audience. I love it too!

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1 hour ago, BingFan said:

Although I haven't seen nearly all of the Coen Brothers' movies, I've enjoyed every one that I've seen: LebowskiInside Llewyn DavisO Brother Where Art Thou?Barton FinkIntolerable Cruelty, and Hail Caesar!  (Yes, I know there are other good ones that I should see!)  A big part of what I like about their movies is the humor. 

I noticed that Hail Caesar! in particular seemed to baffle some viewers.  When it was in theaters, I recall some co-workers talking about how un-funny they thought the movie was.  I think my co-workers and probably many other viewers just didn't get the classic Hollywood-related humor or appreciate the story itself, which were most accessible to those who know something about film history. 

To cite one example, the film studio where some of the story took place had a Wallace Beery memorial conference room, with a large portrait of the man himself overlooking the conference table.  I found that small detail absolutely hilarious, but I guarantee you that my co-workers who were lamenting the film had never heard of Beery, let alone seeing how funny it was to have a conference room named after that big old roughneck actor.  I really like Beery, but he's not exactly the kind of person a film studio would probably name something after -- like MGM naming its administration building after executive producer Irving Thalberg after his untimely death.

I remember Hail, Caesar!. It ran out of steam a bit before the end, and the film felt like a collection of loosely related skits, but I found it to be delightful overall, and I for one picked up on most of the classic film references. I think you have to love classic film to like the film.

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On 7/31/2018 at 10:43 PM, Bethluvsfilms said:

DR. STRANGELOVE has been known to go over quite a few heads, but to most viewers who weren't born in the Cold War era they probably wouldn't be able to get most of the dark satire of the film.

I always liked the line, which went something like "You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!" Also the bits about not shooting out the Coke machinem even for a world emergency needed dime, are hilarious as is Sellers' off the wall take on Henry Kissinger. Seeing people like Sterling Hayden be dead serious as Jack D. Ripper, while talking about bodily fluids also makes things so much funnier. Fab choice, Beth!

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1 hour ago, Looney said:

THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984)

WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (1996) and pretty much all of Christopher Guests films since GUFFMAN.  I feel GUFFMAN is still the best.  I also feel that if you go in order since GUFFMAN you can rank his films.  I think BEST IN SHOW (2000) and A MIGHTY WIND (2003) are pretty close in quality with a slight edge to BEST IN SHOW (2000).  I would also say that maybe MASCOTS (2016) has a slight edge in humor over FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (2006), but CONSIDERATION is possibly a smarter kind of humor.  And I am leaving ALMOST HEROES (1998) and some of the TV stuff out of contention.  I like ALMOST HEROES (1998), but it is not really in the same category as those others.

 

So ....

WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (1996)

BEST IN SHOW (2000)

A MIGHTY WIND (2003)

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (2006)

MASCOTS (2016)

These are all films I feel the comedic-ally challenged would find problematic. :D  (And no I am not saying Guest Directed THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984).  He was just brilliant in it. )

Looney, what an incredible list of incredible films you've chosen reflecting on the talents of Christopher Guest. Now starting with TIST, it still amuses me that some people thought the Tap were a real group, but that is a testament to their actual musical talents too maybe. The scene where Michael St.Hubbins girlfriend, Janine [sp?] come up with new looks for all the band members, based on a sorta Kiss style facial look, is so darn funny to this day. And of course the inches high, instead of feet high Stonehenge still works too. But other works like "Best in Show", "A Might Wind" and the others definitely are not for the humor challenged since the wit is subtle and only detectable by one with a humor quotient of some standing. Now supposedly "Waiting for Guffman" has antecedents based on things to do with famed comedian, Harry Langdon, as in some of the locations shot, which I find interesting since I love his very unusual comedic style. Thanks for a fascinating and well written post!

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1 hour ago, CaveGirl said:

Jimmy, I've not seen that one but shall give it a try!

RV is a wonderful movie. I have never traveled in an RV, but I'm sure watching the movie is a prerequisite to renting one, let alone, actually buying one.

So, according to my notes, that is two movies Jimmy says you must watch.

(1) RV - (2) The Muppet Movie.

Should you be in the market some day for a home on wheels, Jimmy will explain 'dry' bath versus 'wet' bath.

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2 hours ago, Looney said:

So ....

WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (1996)

BEST IN SHOW (2000)

A MIGHTY WIND (2003)

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (2006)

MASCOTS (2016)

These are all films I feel the comedic-ally challenged would find problematic. :D  (And no I am not saying Guest Directed THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984).  He was just brilliant in it. )

I'm hanging my head in shame for also not listing Guest's movies (starring & directing). Guest's brilliance is only matched by the ensemble of players he enlists in his films. I wonder how many people realize that his films are mostly improvisational. He writes basic outline of script & scenes and, obviously because he trusts the talents of his fellow castmates, he just lets them loose, so to speak. It's hard for me to pick favorites. I find myself picking favorite bits in each and have watched them over and over and over and.....

Thanks for listing this. ?

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42 minutes ago, jimmymac21 said:

RV is a wonderful movie. I have never traveled in an RV, but I'm sure watching the movie is a prerequisite to renting one, let alone, actually buying one.

So, according to my notes, that is two movies Jimmy says you must watch.

(1) RV - (2) The Muppet Movie.

Should you be in the market some day for a home on wheels, Jimmy will explain 'dry' bath versus 'wet' bath.

I do not think I can watch any Muppet movie, Jimmy because their wraparound mouths remind me too much of Alanis Morrisette.

Good try though...

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Zea said:

I'm hanging my head in shame for also not listing Guest's movies (starring & directing). Guest's brilliance is only matched by the ensemble of players he enlists in his films. I wonder how many people realize that his films are mostly improvisational. He writes basic outline of script & scenes and, obviously because he trusts the talents of his fellow castmates, he just lets them loose, so to speak. It's hard for me to pick favorites. I find myself picking favorite bits in each and have watched them over and over and over and.....

Thanks for listing this. ?

Would you like to join my movement to make Nigel Tufnel as our next president, Zea?

He can marry me and get naturalized!

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45 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:

Would you like to join my movement to make Nigel Tufnel as our next president, Zea?

He can marry me and get naturalized!

Only if Corky Sinclair gets to dance at the inauguration

 

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10 minutes ago, Zea said:

Only if Corky Sinclair gets to dance at the inauguration

 

Zea, if you can get John "Stumpy" Pepus to play drums with the White House House band, I'm there!

Gotta love that bowl haircut. Ya know, Guest looks a lot like Gary Cole in that photo, doncha think?

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