I just found out that not only can you not wear white after Labor Day…you also cannot wear seersucker. SEERSUCKER. I mean, what kind of country is this?? Who are you to tell me I can’t let the September leaves fall upon a perfectly tailored, pastel suit that’s delightfully textured to the touch?
Labor Day can be a tough weekend because it supposedly symbolizes the end of sweet summer. Some people have “plans,” but most of us just want to lounge around for an extra day and watch movies. I’m here to help you make the most of the last lazy weekend. Time to take on the fun project of expanding your comedy horizons.
Here’s a list of my favorite funny films you may not have seen or heard of. Take a gamble!
On the record, I do not advocate illegal downloading. Off the record…I dunno. It’s yo thang, do what ya wanna do.
Nutshell: Macbeth, set in a 1970s diner, with a darkly comedic tone and a scorching-cool Bad Company soundtrack.
Why it’s a treat: The three fates are played by stoners who hang out on a Ferris wheel (including Andy Dick!). James LeGros (who would later play a chunky creepy dad on Girls) is a sensitive and tasty Macbeth. King Duncan is murdered by hot french fry oil (SPOILER!) Also, Christopher Walken.
Nutshell: A bunch of high school seniors sort out their emotions, love lives, and indie-rock persuasions over one summer day in their place of work, a hip but failing record store.
Why it’s a treat: It’s an alternative spin on teenage movie fun at its finest. Liv Taylor is simply SMOKIN’ as a Harvard-bound girl next door, and Renee Zellweger is a punky slut who sings a riot-grrl musical number titled “Sugar High.” It’s so endearingly 90s. There are also pot brownies and a hilarious subplot involving a British pop star.
Girls Will Be Girls
Nutshell: A searingly inappropriate spoof of All About Eve, with every female part (including the extras) played by drag queens. Need I say more.
Why it’s a treat: First, re-read the above. If you can handle abortion humor and general line-crossing, take the plunge. The script is a work of dry, bitchy genius. “My mother always said, ‘Feelings are like treasures, so bury them.'”
It Happened One Night
Nutshell: Prissy heiress runs away from home and is abetted by a dashing reporter. He starts out just looking for a scoop, but they end up falling in love. D’AWWWWW.
Why it’s a treat: You’d never know this film was made in the ’30s. It’s a clever and fast-paced script, and the chemistry between Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable is both adorable and comedically electric. An absolute classic. If you love a good rom-com, watch this movie; it defined the genre.
Nutshell: After he loses his job, girlfriend, and apartment, a depressed city schlub convinces his best friend to join the army with him. Their penchant for sarcasm and hijinks get them both way in over their heads in matters of national security.
Why it’s a treat: I firmly defend this movie as the funniest thing Bill Murray has ever made. He is NOTE-PERFECT here, all skeptical eyes and deadpan mumbles. Also, Harold Ramis is a national treasure, one of the most gifted comedic writers and directors you’ve never heard of, and this film proves that he is a flawless foil. The basic training dance routine is timeless gold. Watch for John Candy and Judge Reinhold, too!
Bullets Over Broadway
Nutshell: An arrogant young playwright, forced to cast a mobster’s girlfriend in his new play, discovers to his chagrin that the mobster has better ideas than his own. He struggles with theater politics while trying to pass off the plagiarized work.
Why it’s a treat: One of Woody Allen’s forgotten gems. It’s such a unique and rich concept, mined to perfection by a stellar cast: John Cusack! Dianne Wiest! Chazz Palmintieri! Jennifer Tilly! The list goes on. It’s lightning-fast, a heady mix of highbrow and lowbrow jokes, with some of the most committed physical comedy I’ve ever seen. A period film that never, ever gets old, with so many innuendos it’s almost impossible to watch once.
Let me know if you explore any of these obscure delights! And if you have some of your own, let me know. Always willing to take some chances. Especially when it’s mimosa-o-clock for 3 days straight. Happy long weekend, everyone!