Movies that made you laugh
so what makes you laugh? Not just "haha, that's funny," genteel amusement, but seriously unhinging, bust-a-gut laughing?
I'll start it off with Schlock and Blazing Saddles, and Dr. Strangelove.
The first two are linked, in my mind. Both came around at about the same time in the early 70's, after Hollywood had gotten very conventional in their comedies, most of which were like Bob Hope sitcoms. Both movies took an attitude that all bets were off. And both of them rejected every previous formula in their quest to make you laugh. Together, the two were like a one-two punch to the older Hollywood restraint.
Schlock isn't as well known as it deserves to be. It was the first film of John Landis and Rick Baker. Baker had built a "2001" ape suit, and they made a shaggy, hippie comedy about a missing-link apeman loose in the modern world. Seeing it again, it's really just so-so with sporadic flashes of genius, but it was so unlike the less imaginative comedies of the time, it completely snuck up on you. When I saw it in 1973, everyone laughed so hard we were having trouble breathing. It contained references and parodies of other movies, the first time I saw any filmmaker do that, ever.
Blazing Saddles needs no introduction. What isn't remembered now is how little the studio that made it thought of it until the audience discovered it. It opened with almost no advertising or buzz. Think of the success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but with a really good movie attached. And while Schlock could ignore the rules, being a very low-budget independent, Blazing Saddles was produced by a mainstream studio, and a known insider who'd been working in the field for almost twenty years.
Dr. Strangelove I'd heard about for years when I finally caught up with it at an old repertory cinema in Houston. I think I'd written it off as a dated satire of the time, something that hit the audience then as funny, but probably only mildly amusing now. I was unprepared for its utter savagery. And, despite its age, I connected with it completely.
So--what made you laugh?