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Does The Graduate make you laugh? Like the 9th best of all time laugh?


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I was going down the list of AFI all-time comedies, and they have The Graduate listed 9th. Now I like the movie, the music is great, it is sort of what many guys dream would happen. However, I am not sure if it is really that funny of a movie. As a drama it is great, but as a comedy I would rank a lot of movies over it.

 

Am I missing something? Is my sense of humor lost in space?

 

As a comparison, I see that TCM will be playing How To Murder Your Wife which is kind of the same type of movie, and i think that one is funnier. But it isn't even listed in the top 100!

 

As far as Dustin Hoffman goes i think Little Big Man is probably much funnier as well. That one is also not in the top 100.

 

So is The Graduate really a top 9 movie as far as comedies go or is this a joke?

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Personally, I think THE GRADUATE is one of the funniest movies of all time! Certainly funnier than SOME LIKE IT HOT, which I think is always ranked #1. Just some of the things I find hilarious:

 

1) Dustin Hoffman's half-out-of-step-with-the-rest-of the world line readings throughout the whole movie ("Do you happen to know ... just where ... the old makeout king is getting married?")

 

2) "I feel funny coming into a dark house" ... "But it's light in there"

 

3) The crazy POV shots of Hoffman inside that goofy scuba gear

 

4) The exchange about plastics? I mean, come on, that's the funniest dialogue exchange in movie history! ("Just how do you mean ... exactly?")

 

5) The jumbled montage on Ben in the pool and on top of Mrs. Robinson in bed ("Ben ... what are you doing?" you hear his father's voice, as if he's standing in the room while Ben is lying on top of Mrs. Robinson)

 

6) Everything in the hotel. Every second Buck Henry is on screen. The brief entrance into and withdrawal from the wedding party ("Say, I don't get it!). The bit where he holds the door open for seemingly eleven hundred people. The bit where he almost forgets to tell Mrs. Robinson the room number. And then later in the movie when he goes back with Elaine and three dozen people call him "Mr. Gladstone", except the one woman from BEWITCHED who calls him "Mr. Braniff".

 

7) "Mrs. Robinson, I think you are the most attractive of all my parents' friends"

 

8) Richard Dreyfuss' head suddenly emerging among the crowd of suspicious, clean-cut collegians peering warily into Ben's room! ("You want me to call the cops? I'll call the cops"). Oh my God!

 

9) The silent woman on the bus who finally turns and stares at Hoffman when he declares he'll go to the zoo with Elaine.

 

10) The jump cut of Ben standing in front of the closed classroom door, indicating he stood there unmoving for the entire class period.

 

I could go on and on ...

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I always thought of the movie as part comedy, and part something else.  Of course, to me, one of the funniest moments comes when Buck Henry asks a befuddled Benjy,"Are you here for the affair? "  And Ben not realizing at first that Henry was referring to the wedding.

 

Sepiatone

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I always thought of the movie as part comedy, and part something else.  Of course, to me, one of the funniest moments comes when Buck Henry asks a befuddled Benjy,"Are you here for the affair? "  And Ben not realizing at first that Henry was referring to the wedding.

 

Sepiatone

 

Yes, the film has some fine comic moments but I wouldn't classify it as a comedy.    Of course,  a common discussion around here is how to categories things or what do certain terms (classic),  mean.   If given only the choice of comedy or drama I would lean toward drama but at the end of the day it really doesn't matter.  

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I was going down the list of AFI all-time comedies, and they have The Graduate listed 9th. Now I like the movie, the music is great, it is sort of what many guys dream would happen. However, I am not sure if it is really that funny of a movie. As a drama it is great, but as a comedy I would rank a lot of movies over it.

 

IMO The Graduate is closer to 9th Most Cringeworthy than 9th Best anything, but then we all have different tastes in comedy, and who's to say I'm right and the critics (or you) are wrong?.  My taste in humor runs more along the lines of Bombshell and The Sheep Has Five Legs, but the larger point is that the AFI list is about as imaginative as a Hallmark Greeting Card.  Make up your own mind about what you think is funny or serious or stupid, and you'll sleep a lot better at night.

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I don't think there are "great" comedies simply because everybody has a different sense of humor. Also an AFI list is no different than a presidential election. The top ten are simply the ones with the most votes. Yet many voters contributing to such lists probably did not consider either THE GRADUATE or SOME LIKE IT HOT even funny and didn't choose them in their ballots.

 

To use an example on how comedy "yardsticks" are used...

 

Slapstick comedies of the 1920s often get highly rated more for the amount of effort that an actor like Buster Keaton puts into his performance rather than for the amount of "ha ha" involved. Also such landmark pioneering work influenced a great many. You can see Keaton in animated Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies.

 

Then again, I know some people who don't think Bugs Bunny is funny at all. Go figure. Yet I guess his voice annoys some.

 

What made me laugh about THE GRADUATE was that so much of its humor was different than what was popular before that time. There is a lot of cynicism here, which you see in many later seventies-and-beyond films and TV shows but rarely before. Dustin's Benjamin is a wide-eyed innocent who is misunderstood and misused by others.

 

Why would Norman Fell's character consider him an "agitator" when he looks so cleancut? The boy is in trouble the very moment he boards in that rooming house simply because something about him is... different. Richard Dreyfuss had his hilarious cameo chirping "shall I get the cops?" right on cue, because EVERYBODY does EVERYTHING the same in this very "plastic" movie environment and each has their "role" to make sure the "different ones" either tow the line or "get out!"

 

Of course, Benji's description of his affair with Mrs. Robinson to Mr. Robinson can hardly be compared to "just holding hands". Yet in his very innocent way, it is! He is clueless as to what is wrong with his statement. You could see Forrest Gump making the same statement.

 

One scene that always sticks out for me is Mrs. Robinson opening his room at the party, thinking it is the bathroom. Ha ha! She essentially uses him as some sort of... oh... I better not go THAT route! Yet the first shot is the door opening... through the fish bowl! This was years before JAWS gave us an added punchline to that scene. The predator lurking in the underwater shadows... ready to disrupt Ben's life.

 

Add more humor to top it off, she hurls the keys into the tank and fully expects him to get it... and he rolls ups his sleeves to do so! Also cleans his trash can after she simply tosses her cigarette into it. That kind of human behavior comedy never ages for me.

 

What is also so much fun about this movie, regardless of whether it is funny or not, are all of the cute "patterns" running throughout. We can barely see a plastic scuba diver in Ben's aquarium. The aquarium gives him so much peace (much as aquariums calm down patients waiting in the dentist's office). Later he is dressed in scuba gear against his will, yet enjoys the peace and quiet at the bottom of the pool!

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Personally, I think THE GRADUATE is one of the funniest movies of all time! Certainly funnier than SOME LIKE IT HOT, which I think is always ranked #1. Just some of the things I find hilarious:

 

1) Dustin Hoffman's half-out-of-step-with-the-rest-of the world line readings throughout the whole movie ("Do you happen to know ... just where ... the old makeout king is getting married?")

 

2) "I feel funny coming into a dark house" ... "But it's light in there"

 

3) The crazy POV shots of Hoffman inside that goofy scuba gear

 

4) The exchange about plastics? I mean, come on, that's the funniest dialogue exchange in movie history! ("Just how do you mean ... exactly?")

 

5) The jumbled montage on Ben in the pool and on top of Mrs. Robinson in bed ("Ben ... what are you doing?" you hear his father's voice, as if he's standing in the room while Ben is lying on top of Mrs. Robinson)

 

6) Everything in the hotel. Every second Buck Henry is on screen. The brief entrance into and withdrawal from the wedding party ("Say, I don't get it!). The bit where he holds the door open for seemingly eleven hundred people. The bit where he almost forgets to tell Mrs. Robinson the room number. And then later in the movie when he goes back with Elaine and three dozen people call him "Mr. Gladstone", except the one woman from BEWITCHED who calls him "Mr. Braniff".

 

7) "Mrs. Robinson, I think you are the most attractive of all my parents' friends"

 

8) Richard Dreyfuss' head suddenly emerging among the crowd of suspicious, clean-cut collegians peering warily into Ben's room! ("You want me to call the cops? I'll call the cops"). Oh my God!

 

9) The silent woman on the bus who finally turns and stares at Hoffman when he declares he'll go to the zoo with Elaine.

 

10) The jump cut of Ben standing in front of the closed classroom door, indicating he stood there unmoving for the entire class period.

 

I could go on and on ...

 

The reason I'm quoting seewhite's complete list is because every moment he's posted here that makes HIM laugh also make ME laugh.

 

Yes, I think THE GRADUATE deserves its ranking as one of the great comedy films, as I've always found it a very funny satire in the manner of a (Jonathan) Swiftian tale which wryly observes not only the American suburban mores of the 1960's but also the timeless and perennial generational conflicts inherent in society.

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The reason I'm quoting seewhite's complete list is because every moment he's posted here that makes HIM laugh also make ME laugh.

 

Yes, I think THE GRADUATE deserves its ranking as one of the great comedy films, as I've always found it a very funny satire in the manner of a (Jonathan) Swiftian tale which wryly observes not only the American suburban mores of the 1960's but also the timeless and perennial generational conflicts inherent in society.

Everything in the hotel lobby is absolutely hilarious.

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