Throwback Thursday is a new series here at The Nerds Templar where we take an old article written for the site (or we’ve personally written for previous sites that no longer exist) and update it with new information or selections that make sense to the article now. A “Best of” list that adds some new movies that were released after the original article was written for example. Up first in the series is Throwback Thursday: Underrated Comedies.
Anyone can quote The Hangover, Step Brothers, Happy Gilmore or Caddyshack, but I‘m a film nerd. I watch more movies in a week than most people see in a year. I love comedies and somehow there are still some comedies out there that are underrated in my book. The following is a list of the majorly underrated comedies that make me laugh and that I probably shouldn’t admit to liking!
Oh Norm MacDonald, you never quite got your due being around guys like Spade, Sandler, Rock and the rest of the SNL crew. But this 1998 comedy has always been a personal favorite. Coming in at 82 minutes, it had Norm in a starring role as a man hired to get revenge on people for other people. Directed by Full House’s Bob Saget, it was also one of the last times we would ever see the late, great Chris Farley.
Son in Law
In the early 1990s Pauly Shore couldn’t do any wrong. Encino Man and Bio Dome might be the most referenced Shore films, but it’s this cute, fish-out-of-water comedy that was always my favorite. A pre-Spy Kids Carla Gugino and Saved By the Bell’s Tiffani-Amber Thiessen added the hotness. A city boy on a farm surely brought the funny!
I can’t tell you what it is about this movie, but I have loved it from day one. At the time Barry Watson was more known for 7th Heaven and Michael Rosenbaum for Smallville, but when you add in Harland Williams of course you get a movie with a dildo swordfight. There’s cross dressing and outrageousness, but it also has the heart that The House Bunny would later use. A movie that could not get made in today’s world.
An absolute dud at the box office, the Allen Covert starring Happy Madison comedy picked up a new life on DVD and cable. You can find it on Comedy Central pretty often plus streaming, but do yourself a favor and get the Unrated DVD with a little Frankenstein weed! Pre-skinny-ish Jonah Hill and the always awesome Nick Swardson also star.
Just like Pauly Shore, Tom Green was at one time HUGE. This film disappointed at the box office as well despite having some really big names in the cast like Leslie Mann, Megan Mullally, and Dennis Farina. Plus it co-starred one of my favorite guys Jason Lee. Lee should have been a big star and I’m still painfully pissed off that My Name is Earl never got to finish its run properly!
Maybe the most popular film on the list, the movie certainly has a weed cult following. A pre-Chappelle Show Dave Chappelle co-stars with Jim Breur, Guillermo Díaz and the always awesome Harland Williams (who makes the list for a second time). For anyone who’s ever quit their job and wanted to tell off their co-workers, Half Baked has the scene for you! Plus cameo appearances from Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and Steven Wright as the guy on the couch.
Most likely the film that Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner would like you to forget, you have no idea how many times I watched this movie back in the day. The movie came out over a decade BEFORE The Hurt Locker and has Renner playing a stoner high school kid. Max Headroom, sorry Matt Frewer, also stars with Tommy Chong and The Kids in the Hall’s Kevin McDonald. Plus voiceover goddess Tara Strong!
Those were some picks from the original article I wrote years back so now for some newer ones!
Anna and The Apocalypse
A zombie musical Christmas flick that has no right working as well as it does, the film is simply glorious. I’m not really a fan of musicals, but Ella Hunt and the cast are fantastic singing, dancing and killing zombies. If you liked the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or really like Shaun and his friends killing zombies to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now in Shaun of the Dead then this is right up your alley. The only film on the list that doesn’t have any huge names (yet) in it. I expect Hunt to be a star for years to come though.
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
There is a movie out there that stars Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Bibb, Tyler Labine, Nick Kroll, Lake Bell, Angela Sarafyan, Martin Starr, Will Forte and others and you probably haven’t seen it. I’ve been praising A Good Old Fashioned Orgy since I saw it almost a decade ago because it’s funny, captures a certain time of your life and well I also love Tyler Labine. Think The Big Chill meets Seeing Other People.
Another movie I’ve been praising since I first saw it, Nick Frost is absolutely lovable in this off-beat comedy. Chris O’Dowd has mastered the D-bag nemesis role and Rashida Jones is always great and easy to see why guys might fight over. I love Frost and most people know him for his Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg projects, but he shines in this solo project.
When someone says dark comedy starring Brendan Gleeson, the first film mentioned is usually In Bruges (and deservedly so, that movie is amazing). That was written/directed by Martin McDonagh, but it’s his brother John Michael McDonagh who wrote and directed this Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle film. Gleeson plays an Irish cop partnered with Cheadle’s American FBI agent to tackle a drug smuggling ring. If you like In Bruges and haven’t seen this, remedy that.
The Five-Year Engagement
The movie came out in 2012 when Jason Segel was pretty big from I Love You, Man, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and How I Met Your Mother. Alison Brie was known for Community but Emily Blunt and Chris Pratt certainly weren’t the superstars they are now. It’s a romantic comedy that works for all audiences with plenty of laughs and touching moments. I think it’s one of the better Judd Apatow productions and I think it’s way better than Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It also features some big names (now) in smaller roles like Kevin Hart, Dakota Johnson and Mindy Kaling.
Goon/Goon: Last of the Enforcers
I’ll end the list on a double header, Goon and its sequel Goon: Last of the Enforcers. Hockey is my favorite sport and Jay Baruchel made the best hockey comedies since Slapshot (sorry Mighty Ducks). He wrote both films and also directed the sequel. Seann William Scott stars as Doug Glatt who’s not the best hockey player in the world, but the man can throw a punch and take one. With Liev Schreiber as the first film’s antagonist and the always awesome Kim Coates as the coach, each film has a great cast and are must sees for hockey fans.
Honorable Mentions (Films that did bigger at the box office than I first thought, are more popular than they seem or just didn’t make the cut for whatever reason)
Accepted, Waiting, Our Idiot Brother, Tucker & Dale vs Evil, God Bless America, Outside Providence, Super, PCU, The Tao of Steve, Friends with Kids,Game Night, Tag, Vacation, The New Guy