Okay, I lied. I said you wouldn't have to wait more than two days for my next list. It's been more like 3 or 4. I am sorry, To attempt to make it up to you, I have made this list a top 10. I feel like this was such a huge undertaking, and I regret going this route. However, I felt I owed it to you. I will get to work on my next list as soon as my brother and his wife return from their vacation and take their three kids away from my house. I love them, but I have not been able to work on my lists. You understand.
Sometimes I feel as if it is my obligation in life to help people find and watch good movies. I cannot tell you the hundreds and hundreds of dollars I have spent over the course of my life to buy, rent, or otherwise pay to see a movie multiple times simply to ensure someone else sees it. This strange quality I possess is what motivated me to write this list.
Please enjoy the list, and send me your suggestions for movies that I may have missed as well.
10. Coupe de Ville (1990, $716 THOUSAND) – This was a tough one, but I wanted to put it out there for sentimental reasons. You see, my aunt was a driver on the set of this film. She relayed the following information to me. Arye Gross was one of the sweetest actors she was ever around (and she worked on many movie sets), Daniel Stern was funny, Alan Arkin was hilarious, and Patrick Dempsey was very weird. He and his girlfriend shared a trailer, and had many cans of cat food in their trash cans…and they did not have a pet of any kind! True story!
Anyhow, the movie is about a dad who asks his three sons, who do not see or talk to each other regularly, to get together and drive his classic Coupe de Ville cross country. Of course, there are laughs, tears, and plenty of hi-jinx. It’s a good one to watch with…well, your dad.
In all fairness, Coupe de Ville is on this list because I wanted something that was more than just funny. Most of the movies on the list won’t make you shed any tears, and I am not saying this one will, but perhaps it might.
9. She’s the One (1996, $9.5 million) – Ed Burns earned major points with me for his romantic comedy that follows the romantic relationships of a man, his brother, and their father. Jennifer Anniston, Cameron Diaz, and John Mahoney co-star in this funny film. It was the first time I saw Jennifer Anniston and said “when “Friends” is over, she will still do well.”
8. Nick of Time (1995, $8.2 million) – Christopher Walken is funny. He can be such a bad, bad man, and still make you laugh without even trying. He’s not trying to be funny in “Nick of Time.” He does, however, kidnap Johnny Depp’s daughter in order to force him to assassinate a major political figure. Depp, of course, is wonderful as the desperate father who will do anything to save his daughter. It’s funny how so many movies that unfold over the course of a very, very short period of time are always so good (Nick of Time, The Breakfast Club, Vantage Point, etc.). Anyway, see “Nick of Time,” and be sure to look for Charles S. Dutton doing his usual bang-up job himself. Sheesh! Come to think of it, where is Charles S. Dutton? He’s good. I haven’t seen him since his guest appearance during the second season of ‘My Names is Earl.”
7. Daddy and Them (2001 Box Office Gross UNKNOWN) – Please people. Please understand that there are some movies you need to see that have never made big box office dollars. They are funny. They are insightful. They are creative. This movie is hilarious. One of two movies on this list with Billy Bob Thornton, who is so freakin’ funny when he wants to be, this movie has all sorts of recognizable faces. It’s only 7 on this list because like so many comedies, it does plateau about halfway through, and the last third is not as funny as the first two-thirds. However, it’s still a hilarious film, and you should watch it if you don’t mind lots of swearing. I will tell you this: it’s worth watching just to hear Andy Griffith.
6. My Date With Drew (2005 $181 THOUSAND) – Some of you L.A. people have actually heard of this movie, but I still say most people haven’t. You can say all you want about “Blair Witch” makers, “El Mariachi” makers, and even “King of Kong” makers, but this guy is my hero! $1,100, a great idea, and a camera he bought at Circuit City that he knows he must return within 30 days to get his refund. He made a very entertaining film. I cheered hard for this guy to get his date with Drew. I won’t tell you whether or not he did. Just see the movie. Thankfully, I have actually seen it in video stores.
5. 20 Dates (1999, $541 THOUSAND) – One night several years ago, I walked into the den to find my brother watching what looked like a documentary. He said it was about this guy who wanted to make a great movie about love. He had no money to do this, so he decided to film himself falling in love. In order to fall in love, he had to date girls. His plan was to film himself going on 20 dates, and by that time, he had to fall in love. Truly, this movie is not for real. It’s just really funny, a great idea. I laughed pretty hard during much of the film. Check it out if you get the chance.
4. Waking Up in Reno (2002, $267 THOUSAND) – You’ve just got to see this one. Patrick Swayzee, Billy Bob Thornton, Charlize Theron, and Natasha Richardson play four small-town simple folks who are taking a vacation to “the biggest little city in the world,” Reno, Nevada. It’s one of the only road trip movies I can think of that does not have the main characters having horrible things constantly happening to them. This is one you need to see.
3. Noises Off (1992, $2.3 million) – Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, Christopher Reeve, Marilu Henner, John Ritter, and more recognizable faces make this screen adaptation of the famous play of the same name a hilarious look behind-the-scenes of a touring British farce. I have seen the play. It was good. I saw the movie. It was better. If you watch it, the first 35 minutes or so are moderately funny while the play gets set up. Once they start touring the show, it’s arguably the funniest hour of a movie I have ever seen.
2. Diggstown (1992, $4.8 million) – James Woods is a wonderful actor. I am thrilled he has found great success on his television series “Shark.” 16 years ago, Woods played con man Gabriel Caine in the movie “Diggstown” alongside, of all people, Louis Gossett Jr.
Caine is setting up a huge scam that involves Gossett’s character, never-was boxer “Honey” Roy Palmer fighting (and beating) ten men who reside in Diggstown…in one day!
Bruce Dern plays the part of villain John Gillon to near perfection, and the cast also includes Oliver Platt, who is almost as talented as he is underrated.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and if you don’t become emotionally involved, you must be dead inside. “Diggstown” is awesome.
1. Let it Ride (1989, $5 million) A friend of mine turned me onto this movie sometime between 1994-1996 (thanks, Mike). Richard Dreyfuss plays Jay Trotter, a cab driver that spends too much time losing money at the track, a lifestyle that has landed him on the verge of seeing his marriage end as sadly as some of the races on which he bets. However, after making a sincere vow to swear off the horse betting, he receives a tip on a horse. Justifying that he is not really gambling if it is a sure thing, he takes his last $50 dollars and heads to the track one last time.
Very often in comedies, it seems filmmakers take a somewhat plain story and keep us interested with jokes. “Let it Ride” is a comedy that has a funny story by itself. The laughs are found in the characters living the story. And most importantly, Dreyfuss plays a loveable loser you are genuinely rooting for. I cannot believe more people do not know about this movie. Please see it as soon as possible. It does not have the one-liners you will find in an “Old School,” or a “Meet the Parents,” but the story is very good and the characters are truly funny without constant punch lines to make them appear funny.
Long Gone (1987, Made for TV) – I didn’t think it fair to include a movie like this on my list because as far as I know it is not available on DVD, and it took a long time for me to track down the VHS copy myself. In addition, I have never seen it on cable or any movie channel since it was first released. I don’t like obscure references in lists that look like the writer included them to seem much cooler or more sophisticated than the readers. It’s like, hey, here’s a movie I have seen and you probably won’t be able to because it’s so rare. Sheesh! Give me a break. However, if you can find this nice little story about a minor league baseball team (the Tampico Stogies) striving to win their league title, it is a good movie. Plus, you get to see William Petersen before his “CSI” days.
Eulogy (2004, $75,076) – Ensemble comedy. Old guys dies. Dysfunctional family gets together for the funeral. See it! It’s funnier than most movies you have seen in the last five years.
Well, there you have it. This was a rare attempt at a top 10 list. They take a lot out of me, so I hope you do not have to wait too long before my next list.
Until next time, please try and see one or more of these films. Don’t forget to e-mail me if you do at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bye for now,