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You know what? We're done with crying.
We spent the last few episodes on some heavy emotional (Bleep).
Tugging hearts, jerking tears, but now we think it's time to slap some knees.
These are our picks for the top ten funniest movie moments of all time.
How do you break down humor?
It's something we all experience,
but most of us probably couldn't explain it if our life depended on it.
I mean give it a try.
What makes something funny?
E.B. White probably put it best when he said that analyzing humour is
like dissecting a frog.
Few people are interested and the frog dies.
But we're in the business of frog murder here at Cinefix,
so get your lab gloves on.
Because we're going in.
The first of three prominent theories of humor is called relief theory, and
it comes to us mostly by way of our favorite phallic symbol smoking German
psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud.
In it he slots humor into his existing theories of repression and
psychic energy as a release valve.
According to Freud and his ilk we've got all this pent up energy from clenching out
buttholes, repressing our sexual and aggressive urges, and humor lets us
blow off some much needed steam about it without letting go of those defenses.
A joke then is something that looks like it's going to take even more
energy to repress our urges, maintaining our emotional or cognitive stasis.
But it veers away at the last second and we laugh at the relief.
Think 'Blazing Saddles'' sheriffs Self hostage situation.
- The next man makes a move, the (Sound) gets it.
- Where a clever back dooring theoretically allows us to revel
in racial aggression in a scenario where the actual social stakes are rendered
artificially low.
Or Dr. Strangelove's famous outburst,
where the psychological tension involved with having to explain why the Doctor has
suddenly stood up out of his chair is instead quickly waved off as a miracle.
- What a relief, we don't have to
resolve that conflict it's Buster Keaton and Steamboat Bill Jr. miracousley
threading the needle through a window as the house falls sparing him from harm.
And our emotional shock that might have had to go with it.
And it's little Ms. Sunshine when Olive's family get's on the stage with her and
spares us the immense discomfort of her embarrassment.
But for our first pick,
we're going with the infamous diner scene reveal from 'When Harry Met Sally'.
- Most women, at one time or another, have faked it.
- Well, they haven't faked it with me.
- How do you know? - Because I know.
- It's just that all men are sure it never happened to them.
And most women, at one time or another have done it, so you do the math.
- You don't think that I could tell the difference?
- No.
- Get out of here.
- Are you okay?
- (Sound) God.
(Sound) God.
- Now the most famous part of this scene is obviously the end.
- I'll have what she's having.
- And that seems to function as a social awkwardness relief too.
But we want to talk about the moment when Harry first realizes what's going on,
because it's pretty perfectly Freudian.
We're already laughing and having a good time from Harry and
Sally's fake orgasm banter, where there's clearly some awkwardness and
repression that goes unreleased.
- How do you know that they're really - And released.
- What are you saying that they fake orgasm.
- When "Sally" starts acting strange.
And here he is first concerned about her health.
Is she okay, is she choking?
He doesn't quite know what's going on and we don't either.
But then it becomes clear, no, she's not choking.
She's faking an orgasm.
It's a near miss.
It looks like we're heading towards danger until we veer off towards sex land.
And this back doors Harry and us into a sexual experience.
In this context, the whole scene is really a release valve for their sexual tension.
They get to use humor to express the feelings they're repressing without
committing to them.
It's funny because it allows us to get our metaphorical rocks off without the actual
stakes, which sounds a whole a whole lot like flirting to me.
Of course, the relief theory isn't exactly perfect.
It's pretty obvious that everything relieving doesn't end in laughter, and
it doesn't seem like it's capable of explaining all jokes either.
Enter 'Superiority Theory', the idea behind the 'Superiority Theory' of humor
originating all the way back with "Plato" and "Aristotle" is that we laugh because
we get an opportunity to experience our own superiority over another.
This is the classic pratfall, why tripping can be funny.
Our superiority can be physical, intellectual, certainly social or
even emotional.
We see someone else behaving like a fool, and
our laughter is joy at our own not foolness.
Think the can scene from The Jerk.
- Stay away from the cans!
- The cinema line from Annie Hall.
- What I wouldn't give for a large sock with horse manure in it.
- Most of the discreet charm of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.
- (Foreign) - It's schadenfreude on screen like
Jackass' golf course 'Pineapple Express'" chase and 'Something About Mary's' zipper.
A superiority theorist would say 'When Harry Met Sally' is actually funny because
we know what's happening before Harry does and we're identifying with Sally by
the time she proves she's more orgasmically knowledgable than he is.
But for our number nine pick, we think that The Princess Bride's
battle of the wits is an example as perfect and hilarious as they come.
- You've beaten my giant, which means you're exceptionally strong.
So, you could've put the poison in your own goblet,
trusting on your strength to save you.
So, I could clearly not choose the wine in front of you.
But you've also bested my Spaniard, which means you must have studied.
And in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so
you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible.
So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
- Your trying to trick me into giving away something.
It won't work.
- It has worked, you've given everything away.
I know where the poison is.
- Then make your choice.
- I will, and I choose, what in the world could that be?
- What? Where?
I don't see anything - I could have sworn I saw something.
No matter.
- What's so funny?
- I'll tell you in a minute.
First, let's drink.
Me from my glass and you from yours.
- You guessed wrong.
- You only think I guessed wrong.
That's what's so funny.
I switched glasses when your back was turned.
(Laugh) - So
the big punchline is pretty obvious here.
Vizzini is convinced he's outsmarted Westley, our hero,
until he falls over dead.
Pretty obviously wrong.
And who doesn't want to feel superior to the blithering, bragging,
boasting, self-proclaimed genius?
We just want Westley to shove his own words back down his smug throat.
So when he does boy, is that a big kick of superiority humor.
And sure, it's also a relief.
But it gets even better for superiority.
What is he doing right before he croaks?
Laughing, and why is he laughing?
Because he think he's bested "Wesley".
That's right, we got some meta superiority humor up in this (Bleep), classic.
Superiority isn't quite a catch all, either.
Who were we feeling superior to with this joke?
- The Supremes were to hit the top of the charts with this really
big one in the 60's.
- we're not sure.
And why are we laughing at this poor, sad sap?
Not sure either.
So next up we got incongruity theory, the reigning humor theory king,
championed by those famous comedians Kant, Schopenhauer, and Hagel.
It suggests that humor comes from the realization of incongruity,
a mismatch between our expectations and reality.
In comic terms,
the setup creates in us an expectation while the punchline subverts it.
And the humor lies in the moment of realization.
The instant of collapse between the imagined and the actual.
This is Young Frankenstein's, "Putting on the Ritz."
- If you're blue and
you don't know where to go to, why don't you go to where fashion sits?
- Putting on the Ritz.
- Or in "Glorious Bastards," Italian where the infiltrating bastards are far worse
than the german they are trying to fool.
- It's puppet sex, or an accidental "Hitler" speech.
Or an awkward skinny, dorky boy named "Mclovin".
Incongruity theory would tell you that 'The Princess Bride' moment is funny
more because of "Vissini's" proclamations of his own intelligence are so wildly out
of whack with reality, than because we like how smart he makes us feel.
It's almost every single joke that you'd look at and call ridiculous or absurd.
However, for our number eight pick,
there's no incongruity more delightful than the 'Black Knight's' refusal to
acknowledge his obvious defeat from 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'.
- (Sound) - "Victory is mine"!
"We thank thee Lord that in thy-" - (Sound)
- "Come on, then".
- "What"?
- "Have at you".
- "You are indeed brave, sir knight, but the fight is mine".
- " had enough, ey"?
- "Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left".
- "Yes, I have, look, just a flesh wound".
- (Sound) As the duel proceeds,
we are continuously confronted with the 'Black Knight's' denial.
Each time he gets a limb chopped off, he downplays its importance.
But each time he has one less limb, so the incongruence is much worse and
the laughs much better.
So it heightens and it heightens the absurdity of the bit,
turning what was a possible comeback into a hilarious farce.
And yet he persists, and
we love it all the more because it's such a human kind of denial with machismo and
pride so tragically misplaced as to be hysterical rather than grating.
It's a brilliant, shameless inconsistency between his reality and his proclamations.
And for that very reason, it's impossible not to love him.
(Sound) But we're a bit in the weeds here with the theory.
We've got seven more slots and we want to spend them looking more at
the technique of humor than the philosophy of it.
And the good news is that cinema has a ton of different ways to tell a joke.
And probably the best one to start off with is dialogue.
In a nutshell, it's word play where the text, itself, contains the humor.
The relief, the superiority, the incongruity,
they're imbedded in the language.
Think 'Life of Brian's- Biggus Dickus'.
- Wait till "Biggus Dickus" hears of this.
- Or 'Ghostbusters' dickless.
- Yes, it's true.
This man has no dick.
- 'Airplane's' jive.
- "What it is big momma, my momma didn't raise no dummies.
I dug her rap".
- 'Blazing Saddle's' harumph, 'Naked Gun's' fireworks, and
how could we not mention the all time class, 'Who's on First'.
But, if it's clever verbal banter you want our preference goes to the now and
then insanity of 'Spaceballs' video review.
- What the hell am I looking at?
When does this happen in the movie?
- Now, you're looking at now,
sir everything that happens now is happening now.
- What happened to then?
- We passed it.
- When? - Just now.
We're at now, now.
- Go back to then.
- When? - Now.
- Now? - Now.
- I can't. - Why?
- We missed it. - When?
- Just now.
- And the same way that a pun is funny because it's a word used for
an incongruous meaning, with the language choice conflicts with normal expectations,
here, they're doing something similar with the words now and then.
They use each word to mean multiple different things.
Sometimes now means at this moment on the tape, and
at other times it means at this moment in reality.
And then, they never use them in the same way at the same time,
such that their use is always incongruous.
And then, they repeat it over and over and over rapid fire like 80 times in a row,
constantly shifting the meanings back and forth, never on the same page,
until everyone's in stitches and no one knows what time it is.
(Sound) Of course, sometimes it's not about the words they're saying so
much as the underlying silliness behind it.
Switch up the language and the punch lines still land.
That's because our number six is not wordplay, it's situation comedy.
The silliness lies in the core conflict.
Some improv comics call this the game of the scene.
The fundamental funny thing about what's driving the action.
The incongruity isn't in words and meaning.
It's in wants and worldviews.
This is life 'Life of Brian's' gang of men playing women pretending to be men so
they can stone to death anyone who so much as dares to say "Jehovah".
- 'Sorry (Inaudible) - 'We started.'
- It's 'Django Unchained's KKK' mask
- 'No, nobody brought an extra bag.
- Or 'Super Trooper's' cat game.
- All right, meow.
- Or 'Naked Gun's' baseball pat down.
- Strike two!
- It's any scene where the description of the scene itself is hysterical.
For our number six pick,
we're going with 'His Girl Friday's' introduction of "Bruce Baldwin".
- Well, I can see right away my wife picked out the right husband for herself.
How do you do sir?
- Must be some mistake, I'm already married.
- Already married?
(Sound) Yeah, you should have told me.
Congratulations again "Mr Baldwin".
- No my name is- - Excuse me, will you.
I'm terribly busy, just leave your card a with the boy.
What did you say "Mr Baldwin"?
- My name is- - Some other time,
I'm busy with "Mr Boost Baldwin" here.
I didn't hear what you said.
- I was going to say that my name is- - Now, look what is it with you?
Do you mind?
Can't you see that- - You're Bruce Baldwin.
- Yes.
- Who is he?
Who are you?
- My name's "P Davis".
- Well, "Mr Davis", is this any concern of yours?
- No. - Well, from now on I'd like you to keep
your nose out of my affairs.
- The underlying game here is that "Carrie Grant's",
"Walter" has mistaken his ex-wife's new fiance for a very old man and he's so
fixated on impressing this wrong "Bruce" that he keeps brushing off the right one.
And while the dialogue is great, it's not what's on display here,
instead it's the three way case of mistaken identity playing out first and
dirty right in front of our eyes.
Is there incongruently?
You bet you.
Even relief theory would point to the final biggest punchline as a relief in
avoidance of the emotional toll of apologizing to the old man.
But, the three leading theories of humor had damn well better be able to
look at one of the funniest scenes ever shot on film and
declare it what audiences around the world already have.
God damn right!
(Sound) Some comedy scenes are just a okay in the dialogue and structural sense.
But then along comes a brilliant comic actor,
who delivers a performance that seemingly turns a basic into a home run.
It's not what they said or what they're doing, it's how they said or did it that
offer to some of that comic relieving, superior, or incongruence madness.
Think of "Will Ferrel" in 'Anchorman'.
- I'm in a glass case of emotion!
- And his telephone booth scene is a funny idea, and it's got some clever lines, but
could you imagine anyone getting as big of a laugh out of his delivery as him?
What about "Jim Carey" in the 'rhino', in "Ace Ventura"?
- (Sound) - "Bill Murray" telling his "Dalai Lama"
tale in 'Caddyshack'?
- (Foreign) - "Christopher Guess" naming nuts in 'Best
of Show.' - Peanut, hazelnut, cashew nut.
- It's moments of "Jeff Bridges", "Lebowski", "Steve Carell's" '40-Year-Old
Virgin', "Joe Brown" and "Jack Lemmon" at the end of 'Some Like it Hot'.
They're all funny scenes elevated by absolutely magical performances.
But, the best of all has to go to 'Peter Sellers',
"President Merkin Muffley" on the phone with "Soviet Premier Dimitri Kissoff" and
"Dr Strangelove" or 'How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'.
- Well now what happened is, one of our base commanders,
he had a sort of, Well he went a little funny in the head.
Just a little funny.
And he went and did a silly thing.
Well, I'll tell you what he did.
He ordered his planes, To attack your country.
Well, let me finish "Dimitri".
Let me finish "Dimitri".
Well, listen how do think I feel about it?
- We consider picking this scene in the last category,
because it's such a brilliant idea on its own.
But, there's something extra magical about "Seller's" performance that takes it
to the next level.
The incongruity is clear, what if two heads of state,
actually chatted on the phone like a married couple?
Plan it in a giant officious underground war room and the contrast is even clearer.
But the shy, hesitant, tentative sensitivity of "Muffley" just flies so
far in the face of everything we think of as presidential that we
can't help ourselves from laughing.
"Sellers" plays him like a waspy soccer dad who'd be uncomfortable running a 'PTO
meeting', much less a country with an uncomfortable whine and
just a hint of stutter.
And it absolutely makes the scene.
(Sound) While dialog, structure, and performance are all tools that give us
humor driven primarily by the characters, that's not the only way to make a joke.
Because, while most movies don't have actual voiceover narration,
they're narrated nonetheless.
The camera, the editing, the sound, the music.
These are all the voice of the cinematic narrator.
They're just visual and sonic rather than verbal, and
the narrator can make jokes too.
One of our favorite ways a narrator can make a joke,
is through cleaver use of the camera.
Punchline isn't just what's happening, but how it's being shown to us.
The trick.
Is in the telling.
Think psych acts, like 'Top Secret's' boots, 'High Anxiety's' crashing dolly,
and 'Austin Powers'' nudit.
There's 'A Knight's Tales'' feet, 'Dodgeball's' sign, and
'Men in Black's' chaotic background.
Samberg falling through a serene frame in 'Hot Rod' gets us every time,
as does '21 Jump Street's' tripping balls.
And pretty much everything made by "Edgar Wright" but for our favorite psych act we
think that 'This Is Spinal Tap', "Stonehenge" is just to (Bleep) much.
- When we get the actual set,
when we get the piece it'll follow exactly these specifications.
I mean even these contours and everything.
- I don't understanding.
- That I mean. - Wasn't it the actual piece.
- Well when we, I mean when, when you build the actual piece.
- This is what you asked for, isn't it?
At daybreak, I come too soon.
- What a perfectly silly camera angle.
Sure, the punchline is embedded in the scenario.
But it's the camera that delivers it, mischievously framing the miniature as it
lowers hesitantly over Christopher Guest's unsuspecting shoulder.
We're superior because it makes a fool out of Guest.
It's incongruous with his expectations.
And are we getting any relief?
I suppose it's relieving the emotional investment that would come
with a big epic set piece.
But however you wanna interpret it,
it's excellent visual comedy which is enough to make this slot on our list.
But it doesn't just have to be the camera that makes the visual jokes,
editing can do it to.
Could you imagine a better engine for incongruity than the uniquely cinematic
instant juxtaposing machine that is the edit.
Is there anything more perfect for smashing together the unexpected for
a sudden laugh?
It's the classic smash cut.
Someone says I'm not ever doing that, and then boom, they're already there.
- Man, what am I supposed to tell the press?
- Training exercises, isn't that the usual BS?
It's not that simple.
(Sound) - An unfortunate training exercise.
- But it can also be as simple as a reaction shot, as in 'The Producers's'
'Springtime for Hitler', or '22 Jump Street's', 'Ice Cube's' daughter reveal.
'Zoolander' builds jokes out of a walk-off montage.
'Austin Powers' combines editing with dialog for double entendre.
And 'Monty Python and
the Holy Grail' mucks about hilariously with a castle charge.
However, for our number three pick, I don't think we've ever laughed harder at
a cut than in 'Bruce Almighty's' broadcast sabotage.
- "A potential scandal with
the Buffalo PD surfaced
today when the mayor (Sound).
(Cough) (Sound) (Cough) (Sound) "
(Cough) (Noise) (Noise) - Okay, at first glance you
might want to throw this in with performance or scenario for its humor.
We definitely did too.
But our test involved paying attention to ourselves as we watched,
noticing when we laughed hardest, and then asking why.
And for us, we laugh hardest here, the astonishingly perfect lip-syncing
of Jim Carrey's mouth with Steve Carell's gibberish just kills us.
And here we are again, looking at an obvious basic incongruity.
Jim Carrey's mouth is moving but Steve Carell is talking.
And far more than the superiority of the "Bruce" "Evan" relationship of this scene,
we react to the incongruity of cause and effect of movement and sound.
And that punchline?
That's right there in how it's cut, between picture and picture and
between picture and sound.
(Sound) If you're not suspecting it from our last pick already,
in addition to visuals, audio can contain our punch lines, too.
And nowhere is this more obvious than in the score.
Whether it's 'Sean of the Dead's' 'Don't Stop Me Now,' 'Dr.
Strangelove's' 'We'll Meet Again,' every music cue in 'Team America World Police,'
'Uncle Fucker' in the South Park movie, or the 'Big Lebowski's' 'Intro to Jesus'.
However, for our number 3 pick,
we've gotta go with the Office Printer Massacre from 'Office Space.'
If you haven't already gotten tired of us sucking all the fun out of funny scenes by
analyzing them to death like our frog,
you can probably pretty easily identify the pattern of silliness here.
It's hilarious, because of the mismatch between the music and
the scene itself, incongruity style.
And this is a pretty common music trope.
This playing against the scene, but
it's interesting to note that it's not always funny when it happens.
Compare Office Space to this.
- (Sound)
Not the same vibe.
So, what gives?
Not to keep harping on these different models, but
it seems like the relief theory has a pretty clear answer.
'Office Space's' scene is funny because the action provides us a silly
relief from the aggression of the music.
Whereas, there's no such relief in the torture of 'The Girl With
the Dragon Tattoo',
which maybe reveals something deeper about these three competing theories.
Maybe they're not really competing at all.
Both these scenes pass an incongruity test, but only 'Office Space' passes
a relief one, while 'Dragon Tattoo' fails with flying colors.
So maybe the truth of humor is that while you may only need to secure an A+ in
either the relief, the superiority, or the incongruity,
you can't just flunk a whole category and still expect to graduate to laughter.
And finally, arriving at number 1, we've reserved this slot for
perhaps the gee source of cinematic comedy.
Originated largely in 16th century Italian theater,
we're talking about physical comedy.
Think Slapstick.
Think 'Charlie Chaplin' and 'Buster Keaton' and 'Jackie Chan'.
It's the Pink Panther and Wallace & Gromit.
It's Lebowski's door, ' Brother's' fall and 'Young Frankenstein's' priest.
Our second favorite runner up here is Kung Fu Hustle's knife scene.
- (Foreign) - But, for our number one pick,
we've got to give it to the 'Marx Brothers' mirror routine from 'Duck Soup'.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know we're big film hipsters for
picking a comedy scene that's older than your grandma for our top slot.
But did you watch it?
It's (Bleep) Hysterical.
Look at them work their craft, it's absolutely incredible the amount of work,
precision, and choreography that went into this sequence.
And it's so long.
It has its own narrative arc.
It's not just one joke, but one after another, after another, nonstop.
It's got relief, superiority, and, in our favorite part,
a serious dose of incongruity, all without a single word or phrase.
And, most of all, above the technical, philosophical jibber-jabber
of dissecting our frogs, it absolutely slays us more than 80 years later.
Which is why it's our pick for the funniest movie moment of all time.
So what do you think?
What's your favorite comedy moment?
Do you disagree with any of our picks?
Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe for
more Cinefix MovieLists.


電影十個有趣的時刻 (Top 10 Funniest Movie Moments)

691 分類 收藏
Pedroli Li 發佈於 2019 年 1 月 29 日
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