Comedy cinema as a genre is a reservoir of various different styles and forms. With slapstick, dark humour, satire or just regular old sitcoms, comedy has gone through a huge amount of evolution since its introduction with the short silent film, L'Arroseur Arrosé released in 1895, to when Charlie Chaplin made himself a household name. But, few comedies delve into deeper, and sometimes, darker subjects.
Here's a list of comedy movies that had messages beyond their jokes.
1. The Great Dictator (1940)
Written, directed, produced and starred by the great Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator is perhaps one of Chaplin's most notable works. The movie is as hilarious as it could get, and is based in the turbulent time during the then rising rule of the fascist Nazi regime. You might remember this movie by that flagstaff speech Chaplin gives at the end.
2. Life Is Beautiful (1997)
Life Is Beautiful is an Italian tragicomedy drama film depicting the life of a family imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. Now, before you can picture imagining how this would make for a comedy film, the movie does a splendid job of balancing between laughs and tragedy. The climax of the film will hit you right in them feels.
3. Monty Python Series
Pretty much each one of the five Monty Python films, were pioneering and ahead of their time when it came to creating hilarious spoofs. Whether it's The Holy Grail about the Arthurian Holy Grail legend, or Life of Brian that threw religious groups into a frenzy over its mockery of the New Testament, Monty Python movies are a hoot and usually based on some extremely complex idea. Check them all out.
4. Being There (1979)
A comedy drama film adapted by the 1970 novel, Being There is a satire basically centred around the idea that if you look important and have the right friends, you can be successful no matter how dumb you are. The film is an excellent adaptation of the book, and hilarious, save for the phrase at the climax of the movie that turns the movie into a philosophical dialogue about consciousness.
5. The Invention Of Lying (2009)
Directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson, The Invention Of Lying is a hilarious telling of the life of humans in a world where everyone has the inability to lie and a banker becomes the fist person in the world to gain the ability. What happens next? He creates religion, and becomes immensely rich and successful. As funny as that sounds, the undertone of the plot is dark and dystopian.
6. Dogma (1999)
Directed by Kevin Smith, Dogma is another comical movie following the journey of a woman assigned the task to stop two fallen angels from re-entering heaven, in order to save all existence. Simple enough; the movie showcases an amazing take on religion and Christian faith. Don't watch this if you get easily offended.
7. Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Kubrick's comedy directorial, Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a satire based on the Nuclear arms race during the Cold War. It might not seem like much of sensitive subject now, but back during its initial release, the film drew a lot of cock-eyed stares for its choice of subject matter.
8. The Interview (2014)
This Seth Rogen and James Franco starrer doesn't require an introduction, considering the fact that it was hilarious and extremely well received by audiences around the world, except for an obvious few. A political satire comedy based on the North Korean dictator, it wouldn't have been much of surprise if the movie had caused an actual war to break out in the East.
9. Patch Adams (1998)
A semi-biographical comedy drama film based on the true story of Dr. Hunter "Patch" Adams and his book, Gesundheit: Good Health is a Laughing Matter, Patch Adams is a fairly popular movie that most of you have probably already checked out. Starring the late Robin Williams, this film is an amazing comedy film that will leave you with tears by the time it finishes.
10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
This drama film directed by Miloš Forman and starring Jack Nicholson is primarily remembered by audiences as a comedy film. Following the story of the a convict trying to break out of prison by faking a mental illness, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is littered with hilarious slapstick moments. Although, without giving too much, the climax of the movie will punch you in the gut.
11. Clerks (1994)
Clerks is an all out comedy movie following the story of two convenience store clerks, who like annoying customers and generally just slacking off. The movie is fairly old school and to the point with its comedy, but it's the climax to the story that leaves one with a fairly depressed feeling, in retrospect. Check out the original climax.
12. Sideways (2004)
Sideways is a comedy drama directed by Alexander Payne, about two middle-aged best friends who take trip to the wine country before one of them is to be hitched. This flick seamlessly pans between funny, and more serious and existential, set pieces. Check it out for sure.
13. 50/50 (2011)
Now, 50/50 finds a spot for itself on this list because of the basic premise of the story being the journey of a young man diagnosed with spinal cancer. His journey towards realising the value of friendship and love as he battles the disease is hilarious. But then, it's cancer!
14. I Heart Huckabees (2004)
This one might not be completely easy to watch, I Heart Huckabees requires one to sieve through its philosophical and existential cinematic conversation to truly be able to experience the comedy. The movie is directed by David O Russell about a man who hires two 'existential detectives' to spy on his everyday activities.
15. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Little Miss Sunshine is an American black comedy about a family's road trip across the country to help the daughter participate in a beauty pageant. Things take a turn for the worse, and the flick does a splendid job of tweaking context just enough to make things funny. But, if you were to remove the funny, the movie would be one very dark series of events.
It's all right. Laugh it off.
Masthead Source: sky.com