Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels PosterGenre: Comedy
Director: Frank Oz
Screenwriters: Dale LaunerStanley ShapiroPaul Henning

Rating: 88%
Year: 1988
Length: 1h 52m

Summary: Two conmen who live off women battle it out for the right to a work a wealthy Riviera town.

Main Actors: Steve MartinMichael CaineGlenne Headly

Nice Bits

Two men who cheat rich women for a living are somehow made hilarious by two top comedy actors. They play totally opposite characters, which creates much of the comedy.

Steve Martin plays his usual over the top vulgar American with great effect, while Michael Caine’s polite genteel Englishman offers a lovely contrast, playing it straight. Watching their varied approaches to finding and conning women is just delightful!

But don’t feel sorry for the women, as they’re not all quite as helpless as they seem.

Nasty Bits

Nothing to report.

Cast and Crew: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095031/fullcredits

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ke-v0e3Cd4

Reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dirty_rotten_scoundrels

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I Love You to Death

I love you to Death PosterGenre: Dark Comedy Crime
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Screenwriter: John Kostmayer

Rating: 56%
Year: 1990
Length: 1h 37m

Summary: A betrayed wife tries to kill her cheating husband … again and again, and he doesn’t even notice.

Main Actors: Kevin KlineTracey UllmanJoan PlowrightRiver PhoenixWilliam HurtKeanu Reeves

Nice Bits

Kevin Kline manages to make the (anti)hero extremely likeable, even though he causes great pain for his wife. If you like your comedies dark, this is one of the best. Yet it also has touching moments now and then, with Tracy Ullman gently tugging at the heart strings.

Much of the humour comes from KK being totally unaware that his wife is trying to kill him. He can’t even imagine she could do such a thing, even though his behaviour would be difficult for any loving wife to handle.

More comedy comes from two drugged out losers who get involved, as their incompetence achieves very little, leading to even more desperate attempts to take care of business. All the time, KK believes they’re just friends visiting him!

A scheming mother in law adds to the melting pot, and his own mother isn’t exactly a rock of support either. It could easily be described as a comedy of errors. I have no idea why it’s rated so lowly by critics, as it’s a wonderfully funny film.

The ending is almost unbelievable, except that it really happened!

Nasty Bits

An incompetent shooting, a little blood, and repeated attempted murder.

Cast and Crew: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099819/fullcredits

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaI3G7tB_JE

Reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/i_love_you_to_death/


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Don Juan DeMarco

Don Juan DeMarco PosterGenre: Romance Comedy Drama Fantasy
Director: Jeremy Leven
Screenwriter: Jeremy Leven

Rating: 74%
Year: 1994
Length: 1h 30m

Summary: A young man is convinced he is the legendary lover Don Juan, so a psychologist has to talk him out of it. Instead, he starts believing that he might be right.

Main Actors: Marlon BrandoJohnny DeppFaye DunawayMarita Geraghty

Nice Bits

This is a real treat for lovers of all kinds. Johnny Depp plays the lead with such conviction that it’s hard to believe he’s not Don Juan. The woman around him are convinced, and he treats them all with such reverence and honour. No wonder they respond!

It’s an delight seeing him inhabit this role, and watch Marlon Brando try to talk him out of it, with the greatest of respect. It’s also deeply moving to see how Johnny Depp’s attitude to women rubs off on Brando, who takes it home to rejuvenate his stale marriage.

Some elements of the story are definitely fantasy, but at its heart, there’s a lot we men can learn about how to treat a woman. Depp adores them with such conviction that they cannot resist his love. While that might be a bit hard to achieve in real life, it’s amazing how effective honest appreciation and attention can be, for all of us!

There is gentle humour throughout the film, to add to the joy of experiencing it. Overall, this is an under appreciated treasure, and I’m surprised how few people know of it. Even many critics fail to see its charm, although I can’t see why. It’s a non stop delight.

Watch it and decide for yourself. Even better, watch it with your partner.

Nasty Bits

A sword fighting duel gets a little nasty, but not over the top.

Naughty Bits

There are a few short scenes of sexual activity now and then, but all done with great taste.

Cast and Crew: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112883/fullcredits

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymyo4e_sjwY

Reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/don-juan-demarco/

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Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest Poster Genre: Comedy Scifi
Director: Dean Parisot
Screenwriter: David Howard, Robert Gordon

Rating: 89%
Year: 1999
Length: 1h 42m

Summary: the washed out ex stars of a 70s scifi TV show are out of their depth when called upon to help real aliens.

Main Actors: Tim AllenSigourney WeaverAlan RickmanSam Rockwell

Nice Bits

If you’re a fan of Star Trek, or anything like it, this will be a treat! It makes fun of the entire fan boy/girl scene, as well as the aging ex stars, still making a living from the show years after it has been cancelled. Yet it’s a also a heartfelt love letter to the same things.

Scifi queen Sigourney Weaver is wonderful as the sole female actor, always relegated to a menial role, while the life expectancy of crew members wearing red shirts is also effectively mined for laughs. Not to mention oversized egos trying to rule the roost!

The visiting race of aliens is inherently funny by design, and their naive trust in the cynical group of actors is a beautiful and poignant contrast. The use of catchphrases is also played with to great effect.

Somehow at the same time, the whole story is strangely believable. Many scifi tropes are toyed with, and the climax is hilarious, and fits perfectly, given what’s come before.

Many Star Trek fans, including me, consider this one of the best Trek films ever made!

Nasty Bits

A few characters die in battle, which is surprisingly moving.

Cast and Crew: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0177789/fullcredits

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtHM77IRkus

Reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/galaxy_quest/

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A Fish Called Wanda

A Fish Called Wanda PosterGenre: Romance
Director: Charles Crichton
Screenwriter: John CleeseCharles Crichton.

Rating: 93%
Year: 1988
Length: 1h 38m

Summary: American jewel thieves in England con a stuffy barrister to help them find the hidden loot.

Main Actors: John CleeseJamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin

Nice Bits

The best of British and US comedy acting comes together for this riotous story. They play together so well that nobody gets outshined, as the two ex Pythons trade barbs with two very funny Americans. Secrets and lies as usual add greatly to the mayhem.

That said, Kevin Kline did manage to pick up an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor that year. He deserved it, too, as a very intelligent actor playing an extremely stupid person. That’s always a hard task, and he pulls it off with flair and delight.

There are some lovely running gags that reappear just where you don’t expect them, and as the stakes are raised, the laughs just keep on coming.

There’s a surprising appearance of more than one foreign language as an aphrodisiac, and John Cleese has a great time making fun of his own English background.

Overall, they combine just the right balance of action and comedy, and the stellar reputation of this film is well deserved, over 25 years later.

A final note: If you’ve got to go, then this might be the best way, when a viewer actually died laughing when watching the film. So this foursome join the English TV comedy trio The Goodies as the only comedians who’ve ever achieved this unusual feat.

Nasty Bits

A few gunshots, but they don’t hit anybody. Two small animals don’t survive the film, but as can be guessed, the whole process is done with great humour. I’m a huge animal lover, but even I couldn’t help cracking up during the sequence.

Naughty Bits

John Cleese again manages to get naked for his art, but covers up nicely in spite of it.

Cast and Crew: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095159/fullcredits

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWfHCO2Gv7Y

Reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/fish_called_wanda/

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Clockwise PosterGenre: Comedy
Director:  Christopher Morahan
Screenwriter: Michael Frayn

Rating: None Yet
Year: 1986
Length: 1h 36m

Summary: A punctuality obsessed high school principle is running late for the most important event of his life.

Main Actors: John CleesePenelope WiltonAlison SteadmanStephen Moore

Nice Bits

From one simple idea comes an increasingly funny story, one of John Cleese’s first successful films after the Pythons broke up. It’s played totally straight, and I struggle not to crack up as he tries and fails to keep it together, while things get worse and worse.

Much of the humour comes from people assuming the wrong thing about what’s happening, and our hero remains oblivious to most of it.

It brings back mixed memories from my time at school, and adds more humour when children are forced to behave like adults, and adults regress into childhood. This is definitely one of the best unknown comedies available!

Nasty Bits

None I can think of, it’s very tame.

Naughty Bits

The closest this gets to naughty is a few seconds of John Cleese naked, although only his upper half is visible.

Cast and Crew: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090852/fullcredits

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLgRNIGUU_4

Reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/clockwise/

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Love Actually

Love Actually Poster

Genre: Comedy Romance
Director: Richard Curtis
Screenwriter: Richard Curtis

Rating: 63%
Year: 2003
Length: 2h 15m

Summary: An uplifting collection of love stories show contrasting results, coming together at the end.

Main Actors: Hugh GrantLiam NeesonEmma ThompsonAlan RickmanBill NighyRowan Atkinson

Nice Bits

This is a lovely ensemble film, and I can’t imagine why the critics didn’t like it. Perhaps it was too sweet, too optimistic and too in love with love for them? Either way, I always find it an utter joy to sit down and watch the varied couples doing their thing.

There’s so much to like, such as Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister, behaving in a very un PM like manner, and Bill Nighy stealing his every scene as an outrageous aging rocker with a good heart. Colin Firth plays a bumbler as usual with great effect.

Even Rowan Atkinson appear in a delightful little cameo.

Each couple in love has their own story, their own mood, their own challenges, and not all have happy endings. Still, the overall feeling is one of joy, of hope, celebrating the wonders of love in all its myriad forms. A real winner!

Nasty Bits

None that I can recall.

Naughty Bits

One couple are involved in the pornography industry, but their story is one of the sweetest of all. Another actor appears in the buff, but again, nothing below the belt is visible.

Cast and Crew: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314331/fullcredits

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj4dHXsza0g

Reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/love_actually/

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Dave-movie-posterGenre: Comedy Romance
Director: Ivan Reitman
Screenwriter: Gary Ross

Rating: 95%
Year: 1993
Length: 1h 50m

Summary: a Presidential look alike has to pretend to be the President when the real one is laid low by a stroke.

Main Actors: Kevin KlineSigourney WeaverBen KingsleyVing Rhames

Nice Bits

I never thought I’d ever enjoy a film about politics, but this one is just so sweet, funny, and full of decency. Kevin Kline plays just the kind of man we’d all love to have running the country, when the real President has a stroke while having an affair.

While the President’s handlers try to keep him under control, he decides that while in the White House, he could actually try to do some good. A hilarious struggle evolves, as they can’t fire him without the public realising what’s going on.

At the same time, the President’s wife, who’s been estranged from him for years, realises what’s happened, and a beautiful connection develops between her and the imposter.

I found it incredibly moving to watch a decent man running the country, and somehow being able to do good for We the People. Kevin Kline plays it so beautifully, and with such honour and decency. Not to mention a sense of fun and play!

Maybe if more people saw this film, we’d attract the right kind of candidates into politics?

Nasty Bits

Apart from the film being set in the world of politics, I can’t think of anything to mention.

Cast and Crew: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106673/fullcredits

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTTe-rxTyh0

Reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dave/

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The Gods Must be Crazy

The Gods Must Be Crazy PosterGenre: Comedy Adventure Romance
Director: Jamie Uys
Screenwriter: Jamie Uys

Rating: 95%
Year: 1980
Length: 1h 49m

Summary: A Coke bottle drops from the sky in front of a Kalahari bushman, and it almost destroys his tribe.

Main Actors: Marius WeyersSandra PrinslooN!xauJamie Uys

Nice Bits

This is a hilarious comedy which gently pokes fun at our Western way of life, while contrasting it with how well the Kalahari bushmen live in harmony with nature. Strangely enough, it was accused of racism, which is hard to believe.

This film has two main stories, one about a quiet bushman dealing with the downside of an unexpected gift from the West, and another about a shy, bumbling scientist, who constantly embarrasses himself in front of a newly arrived female teacher.

At the same time, a laughable civil war rages between the government and rebel forces, luckily with neither side showing any competence with arms.

Gradually these threads come together, resulting in a delightful ending.

There’s so much humour here, often asking the question of who really is the civilised society, and who spends most of their time living a life they enjoy. It doesn’t preach, but gently contrasts the two, and the resulting humour is a delight.

The main thing that stays with me is the gentle dignity of the Kalahari bushman, whose sweetness carries this film. He’s the only character who comes off well throughout, even though from the story line, it really does appear that the Gods must be crazy.

Nasty Bits

There is a running sub plot involving incompetent rebels and government armies, but nothing realistic to upset the mood of this film.

Cast and Crew: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080801/fullcredits

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GorHLQ-jLRQ

Reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the-gods-must-be-crazy/

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Strictly Ballroom

SBGenre: Romantic Comedy Dance
Director: Baz Luhrman
Screenwriters: Baz Luhrmann and Andrew Bovell

Rating: 95%
Year: 1992
Length: 1h 34m

Summary: A talented dancer risks losing it all by dancing his own steps, instead of doing what he’s told.

Main Actors: Paul MercurioTara Morice, Bill Hunter, Barry Otto. Pat Thomson

Nice Bits

This is the first film from the genius that is Baz Lurhman. It almost converted me to Latin dance on the spot, such is the passion and energy that the film displays. But that’s only one of its attractions.

There’s a wonderful ugly duckling story mixed in, along with a heartfelt tale about the struggle to follow your own path, instead of being tied down by tradition.

As much as I love Baz’s work, I very much doubt he’ll ever do better than this. Is that sad? Definitely not, as hardly anybody has ever made a film anywhere near as good as this.

A lovely thread running through the film is one character who’s ignored and mistreated by everybody, but holds the key to the entire story. Profoundly moving!

I often cry while watching it, there are so many touching elements behind the riotous comedy and relentless drive towards the final showdown.

Sheer genius, in the top 5 feel good films ever made.

Nasty Bits

The worst you’ll see here is a slap across the face, or the odd dramatic punch.

Cast and Crew: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105488/fullcredits

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dtfxf3FFx4

Reviews: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1045568-strictly_ballroom/

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