Saturday, June 30, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: R-Rated Comedies

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we thought we'd work off what "Ted" has to offer this weekend, and take a look at some of our other favorite R-Rated Comedies. In 1966 when Valenti took over as President of the MPAA, he proposed new rating criteria, replacing the out-of-date Hays Code. With Valenti's new proposals, four brackets would be created for films: G (General Audiences), M (Mature Audiences - Parental Digression Advised), R (Restricted - No One Under 16 Allowed), and X (People Under 18 Not Admitted). Over the years, many of the details of the rating system has changed, but the R-rating is one that's stayed pretty steady since it's creation.


Guidelines have also varied from generation to generation, but overall, it's always been pretty regulated. For instance, once drugs or alcohol is referenced in your film, it's an automatic PG-13 at minimum. If it's done recreationally or repetitively, that will bump you up to an R-rating right away. You can have sexual content OR brief nudity and still get away with a PG-13 rating, but once the two are combined, it's a certified R. And then of course there's the language. Different words have taken stronger or weaker connotations over the years, but the "F-Word" has generally always remained the apex of it all. In today's films, your movie can reference the word twice to still get away with a PG-13 rating. Once it comes out that third time though, it's the surest train to Rated-R town you'll ever find.

Obviously there are many other aspects that can determine the rating of your film, but those are generally looked at as the "big three". So without further ado, hit the jump for a listing of all our favorite films that go over the top with one or all of the above referenced items!


Alex Schopp -
I really tried to make sure that each of these movies actually made me laugh. There are tons of great films that you could classify as comedies, but I really wanted to try and focus on actual laughs. Also, I barely care about ranking comedies. These are mostly ranked by nostalgia; otherwise, you could shuffle these up anyway you'd like and I wouldn't care. These are an overall solid five though.

     1. National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

A staple of film in general. Chevy Chase is fantastic and the greatest straight funnyman I've ever watched. This is my favorite comedy ever, ratings aside.
     2. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
This is the first real "new" comedy that I loved. I still wasn't a big movie aficionado at this point, but when I stumbled across this little gem, I just couldn't get enough of it. I bought it right away and have spent the past 11 years making sure that anyone who might have overlooked it sees it.
     3. Caddyshack (1980)
As you know, bonus points for the sports theme. But again, Chevy Chase steals the show! The entire cast is fantastic, but it's his that gives me the most laughs.
     4. Superbad (2007)
As is common with most modern comedies, I didn't care much about this film in my first viewing. It slowly grew on me, and I piggyback on what Ben has to say below - probably the best comedy to come out in the past decade.
     5. Role Models (2008)
Two David Wain films on the same list? Yep, that happened. This could have been a plethora of different films though, but I took a flier on this one. The concept of this film was great, and the mixture of Paul Rudd, Ken Marino and role-play sword fighting is fantastic! Plenty of great laughs here.

Ben Foutch -
This list is heavily influenced on nostalgia. Sorry if you were looking for some newer films here, you'll just have to deal with it. If you haven't seen some of these, they are all priority level watches.

     1. Porky's (1982)

This is one of the ultimate teen comedies. It is a little dated, but still funny as hell.
     2. Stripes (1981)
Bill Murray is a god of comedy. Plus, what an all-around great cast.
     3. National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
I've seen this so many frickin' times. Yet, it never gets old.
     4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
One of the best comedies of the 80's, and like all of the films on this list, still funny as hell.
     5. Superbad (2007)
I started to realize that nostalgia was taking over this list, so this got tacked on down here. This is easily one of the best comedies released from 2000-2012.

Derek Clem -
I tried to make sure that comedy was the major impetus leading my choices. I realize I deviate from that a bit with my first selection as there's a heavy dose of sentiment involved in the flick, but I just couldn't justify omitting it.

     1. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

I miss John Candy so so so much. I watch this every Thanksgiving.
     2. National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
The wild family dynamics that exist here are quite hilarious, especially when Randy Quaid's character is introduced. Clark Griswold is one the the ultimate cinematic patriarchs.
     3. Caddyshack (1980)
When I was a child, the gopher was my favorite part of this movie. Now that I'm older and understand all the comedic genius the movie has to offer, I hardly remember the gopher is even it.
     4. Stripes (1981)
Bill Murray challenges authority in the funniest ways.
     5. Police Academy (1984)
It's fun watching this hilarious group of misfits train to become police officers. I only wish Bobcat Goldthwait was in this one.

Nathan Hinds -
I felt like there was a chance that there might be some movie that might be left off since this was such a large list to take from, so I narrowed my choices to films that came out from 2005 to 2008m the years I worked at a movie theater.

     1. Borat (2006)

If it weren't for the nostalgic value I give to "Dumb and Dumber", this would be my favorite comedy ever. I've never laughed as hard in a movie as I did the first time I watched this. I would go into every showing of this at the theater I worked at just to hear how hard people were laughing. Plus I love how many people went and saw this not knowing what it was about and got so offended that they left the theater.
     2. Superbad (2007)
I could give almost the exact same description for this as I did "Borat".
     3. Jackass 2 (2006)
I mention seeing all these in theaters because comedies are the one genre I prefer to see in a sold out theater, because the more other people are laughing the more you do.
     4. Pineapple Express (2008)
Danny McBride's role in this movie is one of the greatest sort of side roles ever in a comedy. Picturing how many times he got shot/blown-up and still didn't die has me cracking up as I'm typing this. I remember thinking as I was watching this, wait a second hasn't he been shot like 6 times, why isn't he dead? I love how subtle they made it.
     5. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Any movie that makes a Lord of the Rings reference in the first 5 minutes of the movie is gonna get brownie points with me. This film launched the careers of two of the bigger names in comedies out there right now.

Andy Schopp -
First off, I need to say something: It's nearly impossible for me to rate comedies. Some make me laugh a bit more and some I remember a bit more, but it's difficult for me to choose which is ultimately better than the other. I like my fair share of funny movies, don't misquote me here, it's just that there is a certain plateau comedies hit for me and almost none of them rise above that. So I'll be giving a list of a few great must-see comedy movies that shaped my movie-going experiences growing up, in alphabetical order. Just don't be upset when some of the "greats" aren't found here.

     1. American Pie (1999)

Unforgettable tale of high school and being a teenager.
     2. National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
Chevy Chase makes this movie amazing! And also so does every other character in the movie!
     3. Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
The movie I have always thought of as the better version of "Animal House". Feel free to disagree.
     4. Scary Movie (2000)
Great blend of some staple 90's slashers with a ridiculous amount of well...ridiculous-ness.
     5. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
If you can watch this movie without laughing at the stupidity then you are either not human or you have less of a sense of humor than a pile of dirt.

There we have it. Lots of great stuff listed above, so let's gets get right to the overall totals. First off, always interesting to note, but all five lists featured a different number one selection. You always know you're in for a good, diverse collection of films when that happens. Interestingly, there was a pretty even distribution of films from the 2000's and films from the 1980's. 11 different films were selected from the 2000's while 13 were from the 1980's. Oddly, only one film, "American Pie", with one selection, represented the 1990's. Even though you'd probably call that the defining era for each of us here, it was barely represented at all in this post.

Overall, National Lampoon's "Vacation" was the most selected film, appearing on four of the five lists. Pure comedy staple in general. If by chance you've never given this one a watch, definitely do so. Only one film, "Superbad" had three selections. As a couple of us stated, we find this film to be one of the best comedies of the past decade or so. I don't doubt that everyone reading this has already seen the film, but if you haven't given it a watch for a while, you might want to do so. Plenty of great laughs in there.

Otherwise, there were just three other films that hit on multiple lists: "Wet Hot American Summer", "Stripes", and "Caddyshack", each with two. All three pretty definitive staples of the vast genre, so if you're up-to-date on the two previously noted films, these are also great places to start when taking in the rest of the films on these lists.

As always, we hope that each of these selections can help you to expand your knowledge and appreciation of some of the best films this genre has to offer, and guide you to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!