It’s been a few years since we had any comedy movies worth bragging about, but this year there’s a few to be excited about. This years offerings include two strong documentaries covering very different subjects, a critically beloved rom com that took the festival circuit by storm, a mainstream comedy that launched the career of a comic to a new level, a based-on-a-true-story film about beloved cult figure, a record breaking and genre bending hit that will change how movies are made, a comedy film getting buzz as one of the best films of the year, and some very strong offerings in the indie arena. This year there were great comedy movies that didn’t even get nominated so make sure you check out all the movies on our list. Have to give honorable mention to a really interesting movie that didn’t make the cut, but is truly one of the more innovative and strange movies we saw this year, and that’s Collossal. Don’t read about, don’t try to understand it, just let it roll.
Now it’s your turn to vote for the #1 comedy movie of 2017.
In 2014, Wes Anderson’s gorgeous Grand Budapest Hotel took the honors in this category. In 2015, it was Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck that got your vote. And in 2016, Deadpool was your favorite movie. Who takes the trophy in 2017?
Netflix produced this documentary using 100 hours of footage from the set of Man on the Moon, the 1999 Andy Kaufman biopic that starred Jim Carrey in the lead role. In JIM & ANDY: THE GREAT BEYOND, filmmaker Chris Smith uses that archival footage to explore the strange transformation Carrey underwent for the film. Carrey narrates the film looking back at his portrayal that, if you believe the doc, bordered on possession as Carrey claims he completely lost himself in the role not only of playing Kaufman, but also Kaufman’s alter ego Tony Clifton. You may love or hate Carrey, admire him or consider him a narcissist, buy into his claims that he became Kaufman or not, but regardless of how you feel about Carrey, the film is an irresistible look into the mad psyche of at least one comedy legend, maybe two.
Directed by: Chris Smith Starring: Jim Carrey
The Big Sick is a heartfelt, comedic love story, that like all the best romcoms, turns issues of life and death into comedy. The film shot out like a rocket at Sundance this year, selling to Amazon Studios for $12 million, promising to be one of the best and most talked about romantic comedies released this year. And The Big Sick delivered on that promise, winning over critics and audiences for its authentic depiction of a Pakastaini-American family on screen, its tremendous on screen talent, emotionally cathartic story, and its and big laughs.The movie is based on the real-life courtship between writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, and tells the story of a Pakistan-born aspiring comedian who connects with a grad student after one of his stand up sets. What they thought would be just a one-night stand becomes something more, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry, who he’s never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart. Comedy star maker Judd Apatow produced the film. Michael Showalter directed, and the cast is a dream cast starring Kumail as himself, Zoe Kazan as Emily, and and as her parents.
Directed By: Michael Showalter Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano,
Written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
Every year needs at least one great comedy movie- a film that isn’t looking to win awards, or reveal deep truths about the human condition- its just supposed to make you laugh out loud. This year’s pure comedy sensation GIRLS TRIP, contained the breakout performance of the year by comedian Tiffany Haddish. We haven’t seen a breakout comedy performance this exciting since seeing Melissa McCarthy light up the screen in Bridesmaids. The movie itself is a solid comedy, but Haddish’s performance elevates it to top ten material. Girls Trip stars Regina Hall, Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifa as old friends who are all living seperate and less-than-whole lives. One of the girls, a rising celebrity motivational speaker who appears to be living a perfect life brings her former besties along on a working vacation to New Orleans. The crew includes an uptight single mother and nurse, a failing gossip columnist, and an impulsive unemployed party girl. The story is predictable, it’s The Hangover, it’s Bridesmaids and plenty of others. But lack of new ground aside, it’s great fun.
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee Starring Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifa
Lady Bird is a coming of age story of a high school senior that is getting rave reviews everywhere you turn. This bittersweet tale of a girl’s rocky relationship with her mother, and her attempts to navigate her way through romantic relationships and friendships in high school, actually broke the Rotten Tomatos record for best movie ever by recieving 170 positive reviews, and zero negative ones. Greta Gerwig wrote and directed the film which stars Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, that is heartwrenching without being cliche, but simultaneously smartly funny. That’s all you’ll want ot know about it before seeing the film for yourself. Expect to see Lady Bird continue raking in award nominations.
Written and Directed by: Greta Gerwig Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges.
You don’t have to have seen Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic movie The Room to enjoy The Disaster Artist, but Wiseau’s fans will enjoy this one on an added level. The Disaster Artist tells the true story of Wiseau as an eccentric filmmaker who much like Ed Wood had a love and passion for the art, but questionable skills. Wiseau created The Room, which has since become known as the greatest bad movie ever made. The Disaster Artist is both fun and really really funny, and its wonderful to have movies to see this year that can be both. It’s also thoughtful and sweet with great performances all around.
Directed by and starring James Franco. Also Starring Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Alison Brie, Megan Mullally, Hannibal Buress, Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer, Andrew Santino, Jerrod Carmichael, Casey Wilson.
Hailing from the mind, the camera and the persistence of director Neil Berkeley, comes GILBERT: A GILBERT GOTTFRIED STORY, the surprising new documentary about the comedian we would have imagined to be least likely to be the subject of a documentary. Notoriously guarded and private, has spent his career as a character of sorts on stage and has kept his persona so undercover that even hardcore fans and some colleagues had never heard his real voice, and didn’t know much about him. Gilbert, which includes candid footage of the comic in his home and on the road, and interviews with his wife and kids, changes all of that. The film covers Gilbert’s unusual quirks and compulsions and it’s all fascinating. But the most compelling parts of the film center on Gilbert’s close relationship with his sister, a talented semi-pro photographer and singer who is undergoing treatments for stage four breast cancer, with her brother at her side lending quiet support. Everything about Gilbert is quiet, in fact, in stark contrast to his stage persona. Gilbert is a tremendous portrait of a fascinating performer.
Directed by: Neil Berkeley Starring: Gilbert Gottfried
If you love a quirky, sweet, indie film, this is definitely your year, and Brigsby Bear is going to be a favorite. Kyle Mooney co-wrote the film, and stars as a child who grew up obsessed with his favorite television show, Brigsby Bear. A set of unlikely circumstances lead to some harsh realizations including finding out that he is the only person who has ever watched the show. He sets out to make a movie about the character that occupied his entire childhood. Mark Hamill co-stars. That’s all you want to know going into this oddball indie except that Mooney is probably the only person who could have played this role this well. It’s a beautifully odd film, and one of the year’s best.
Directed by David McCary Written by Kyle Mooney with Kevin Costello Starring Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Beck Bennet, Clair Danes, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut shocked and awed the twin worlds of comedy and horror fans with this thriller about a black man who is in for some surprises when he visits with his white girlfriend’s family. GET OUT premiered at Sundance. Get Out ended the year as the highest ranked movie of 2017 on Rotten Tomatoes (beating out record setter The Big Sick) with a 99% rating from critics and 87% from fans. The combination of camp, horror, comedy and thrill should appeal to any audience, and Jordan Peele has an exciting new career as filmmaker ahead of him.
Directed and Written By: Jordan Peele Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Lil Rel, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener.
Snatched did not enjoy a run of stellar reviews, but it was a solid family comedy that will likely stand the test of time and will ultimately be remembered as a better movie than it was received as in 2017. How could it not be? Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer are well matched, and while there’s nothing unexpected in the storyline, it’s a classic action comedy with plenty of laughs.
Directed By: Jonathan Levine Written By: Katie Dippold Starring: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack.
Indie fans, and fans of Jenny Slate will love this family tale about infidelity, compromise, and complicated shades of gray that upset the applecart of traditional family values. The cast is incredible. Jenny Slate shines in everything she does, and newer comer Abby Quinn who plays Slate’s younger sister proves a worthy co-star for the young comedienne. Add in Edie Falco, and John Turturro as the heads of this household, and you’ve got yourself a highly worthy endeavor.
Directed by Gillian Robespierre, Starring Jenny Slate, Abby Quinn, John Turturro and Edie Falco