Ten Black Comedies That Work (For Me)

The black comedy. What a delicious combination. Fargo. Shaun of the Dead. Death at a FuneralSo I Married an Axe Murderer.

Yes, So I Married an Axe Murderer. What can I say? I was young and impressionable and it stuck like spinach between my teeth. Plus, you’ve got to give a bump in watchability to any movie that incorporates slam poetry.

This past week, I settled down to watch God Bless America, Bobcat Goldthwait’s 2011 entry into the genre, expecting to be absolutely moved by the experience. I’d heard that it was like Falling Down, which is sometimes referred to as a black comedy, though not in my book. Aside from the kid teaching Michael Douglas how to use a rocket launcher, which is totally classic, there’s not a lot of funny to find.

As much as I agreed with the politics and overall sentiments in God Bless America… for the most part… they were a bit heavy-handed. Kind of like the last fifteen minutes of Happy Feet. So, in honor of this week’s disappointment, here are ten black comedies that really bring it home for mama.

1 – Seven Psychopaths

My second most recent black comedy viewing experience went considerably better than the last. The movie is every bit as good as the attention it has received. A little better even. The pivotal twist isn’t much of a surprise, but the twists along the way make it hard to care.

Best Scene: Sam Rockwell (as Billy)’s dramatic telling of the movie ending they are about to write. Including his hat.

2 – Drool

Laura Elena Harring’s finest-ever performance, a parody of Mary Kay, and some of the funniest lines ever put to film. Roll your eyes through the utterly ridiculous added drama of what daddy is going through at work – I did – and enjoy the funny bits.

Best Scene: “What does your husband do?” / “He don’t do nothin’. He dead.” / “Oh, must be nice.”

3 – 8 Women

This movie is so bizarre, I wouldn’t know where to begin. There’s a dead guy, eight possible killers – all sporting lady parts, obviously – clandestine relationships and songs.

Best Scene: I don’t know if it’s the best or the most irritating, but the damn song “Papa t’es plus dans l’coup” is like a parasite that lives in my ear for days every time I hear it.

4 – Hard Luck

At first blush, this movie looks like it’s going to be straight-up Wesley Snipes action. Then the Mexican wrestling masks come out. And they go to the porn producer for help. And Redhead (as a brunette) gets psycho-‘napped. And it turns out, this movie really is straight-up. Straight-up bizarre.

Best Scene: Captain Davis delivering his orders as he circles his subordinate on a bicycle. For no explicable reason.

5 – Il Mostro

At some point while watching this gut-busting and wholly perverse film, you might think to yourself, “Isn’t this the guy from Life is Beautiful? This is so many shades of wrong.” If nothing else, the physical comedy is worth the watch.

Best Scene: The flashlight erection. <– I can’t believe I just wrote that.

6 – Hot Fuzz

It’s hard to live up to Shaun of the Dead. Hot Fuzz did.

Best Scene: “That’s what I’m talkin’ about.”

7 – Stranger Than Fiction

Not to be confused with the Will Ferrell/Emma Thompson movie, this Stranger Than Fiction came first and was better. And I like the Ferrell/Thompson movie. There are no bodies piling up in humorous ways in that Stranger Than Fiction, though. Or “dead” coming back to life.

Best Scene: The guy running the impound lot thinks he’s gonna negotiate.

8 – Wild Target

The chemistry between Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt and Rupert Grint, so so nice. Never underestimate the danger in a sweet pair of boots.

Best Scene: Their first “meeting” in the parking garage.

9 – Shoot ‘Em Up

This movie opens with the main badass giving it as good as he gets it (better actually) in a shootout, while simultaneously delivering a baby.

Best Scene: That’s nothing compared to the movie’s sex scene.

10 – The Chumscrubber

A black comedy through and through, this movie is also a light-handed (hooray!) social commentary.

Best Scene: Dean gets the call that they’ve kidnapped his brother. And sees him sitting in the next room.

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