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(The Atlantic)   The tragic, sad decline of Hollywood comedies. Note: Anything starring Adam Sandler is not a comedy; it is an atrocity   (theatlantic.com) divider line 98
    More: Sad, Hollywood, American Humor, Nomura, Adam Sandler, emerging economies, box offices, soft power  
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3749 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 06 Jul 2014 at 1:35 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-06 12:10:08 PM  
And yet Melissa McCarthy's  Fat Crazy Chick I Play In Every Movie, Part Infinity is #2 this weekend at the box office.

\seriously, how are that many people THAT bored?
 
2014-07-06 12:17:11 PM  

FriarReb98: And yet Melissa McCarthy's  Fat Crazy Chick I Play In Every Movie, Part Infinity is #2 this weekend at the box office.

\seriously, how are that many people THAT bored?


People didn't seem to have a problem with it when that was Chris Farley's shtick. And yet when a woman does it...
 
2014-07-06 12:20:25 PM  

kronicfeld: FriarReb98: And yet Melissa McCarthy's  Fat Crazy Chick I Play In Every Movie, Part Infinity is #2 this weekend at the box office.

\seriously, how are that many people THAT bored?

People didn't seem to have a problem with it when that was Chris Farley's shtick. And yet when a woman does it...


Personally, I never thought it was that good.  But then again, I'm just not a fan of that particular generation of comedy.
 
2014-07-06 01:21:24 PM  

FriarReb98: And yet Melissa McCarthy's  Fat Crazy Chick I Play In Every Movie, Part Infinity is #2 this weekend at the box office.

\seriously, how are that many people THAT bored?


I saw Tammy this weekend. It's very much not 'fat crazy chick I play in every movie.' It's not a great movie by far, but it's clearly a departure from her schtick. It's actually more in line with a Sandra Bullock chick flick.
And kronicfeld is right. The wacky funny fat guy routine has been a staple of 'guy' comedies, and no one objected when it was someone like Farley being fat funny obnoxious and gross.
My biggest objection to Tammy wasn't in McCarthy's performance, it was her husband's uneven direction. It was clearly a first-time director who didn't know how to get the best out of top notch talent like Susan Sarandon, Gary Cole and Kathy Bates.
 
2014-07-06 01:41:44 PM  
I think the last comedy I saw was Warm Bodies but that was more of a zombie romantic comedy.
 
2014-07-06 01:45:07 PM  
I thought I was literally the only person who could watch comedy after "comedy" and sit through it without even cracking a smile.

Jackass was funny and Caddyshack was funny, Tammy was so farking boring I almost fell asleep - the only comedian that is worse then that was anything Ben Stiller does.
 
2014-07-06 01:45:36 PM  
Problem with humor is that it does not generally translate well across cultures.  Different cultures find different things funny so to try and find something universally funny is near impossible.  As a result, Hollywood wants the most bang for buck and therefore do action/animated/etc.
 
2014-07-06 01:47:18 PM  
I like 50 first dates. There, I said it.
 
2014-07-06 01:48:17 PM  

texdent: I think the last comedy I saw was Warm Bodies but that was more of a zombie romantic comedy.


And it wasn't even the first, or best, zomromcom on the market. What a world we live in.
 
2014-07-06 01:58:28 PM  
propasaurus:  The wacky funny fat guy routine has been a staple of 'guy' comedies, and no one objected when it was someone like Farley being fat funny obnoxious and gross.

I definitely did. Tommy Boy and Black Sheep were crimes against humanity. Farley was funny for about 15 minutes' worth of SNL, and half of that was thanks to Patrick Swayze.
 
2014-07-06 02:02:27 PM  

epyonyx: Problem with humor is that it does not generally translate well across cultures.  Different cultures find different things funny so to try and find something universally funny is near impossible.  As a result, Hollywood wants the most bang for buck and therefore do action/animated/etc.


Slapstick. Slapstick is funny in any language. The only genre that does that pretty well these days are animated family stuff.
 
2014-07-06 02:04:34 PM  
The last good comedy I watched was Into Darkness and that was last year.
 
2014-07-06 02:06:42 PM  
I actually liked a few of Adam Sandler's earlier movies until I realized I was watching the same movie over and over.  Haven't bothered with his later works.  If you only see one Adam Sandler movie ever and it's one of his first half dozen, you could do a lot worse.

epyonyx: Problem with humor is that it does not generally translate well across cultures.

Language-based and cultural humor doesn't translate across cultures, but there are other forms and they do just fine.  However, the thing about humor is that it's actually hard.  The Hollywood guilds scoff at it and keep handing awards to formulaic drama, but everyone I've talked to who's done both (albeit at amateur level since I lost my stack of A-list business cards) finds comedy tougher.  It's incredibly difficult to be funny over an extended period of time without burning through an army of writers.

I don't know if things were different before, but in my experience, good comedy movies are either unlikely "how did that happen" upsets, indie projects or cash-outs where someone's been successful for years and finally got a greenlight before they ran out of ideas completely.  In short, they're made in spite of Hollywood, not thanks to it.  The design-by-committee slapsticks, rom-coms and teen movies are cash cows and baffle me for it.
 
2014-07-06 02:07:16 PM  

Trocadero: Slapstick. Slapstick is funny in any language. The only genre that does that pretty well these days are animated family stuff.


The problem with slapstick and its little brother, shiatting and farting, is that if that's the only thing the genre is providing anymore, it gets old quick. In an attempt to make comedy more translatable, Hollywood is just making comedy worse. Not that they aren't doing the same thing to other genres, but Baysplosions still make money, so there isn't the inherent death spiral that comedy is in.
 
2014-07-06 02:08:06 PM  

epyonyx: Problem with humor is that it does not generally translate well across cultures.  Different cultures find different things funny so to try and find something universally funny is near impossible.  As a result, Hollywood wants the most bang for buck and therefore do action/animated/etc.


True, but a successful comedy will do SERIOUS money for almost no spending. There's Something About Mary cost $23m and took $369m. Elf cost $33m and took $220m. Notting Hill cost $43m and took $363m. The Hangover cost £35 and took $467m. Bridesmaids cost $32m and took $288m. Almost nothing out there does that sort of ROI. Even films like Blades of Glory, Identity Thief, Baby Mama and Date Night that weren't exactly huge successes take nearly 3 times their cost as they cost so little.
 
2014-07-06 02:15:09 PM  

kronicfeld: FriarReb98: And yet Melissa McCarthy's  Fat Crazy Chick I Play In Every Movie, Part Infinity is #2 this weekend at the box office.

\seriously, how are that many people THAT bored?

People didn't seem to have a problem with it when that was Chris Farley's shtick. And yet when a woman does it...


Probably because Chris Farley's work while lowbrow, was counter cultural and poked fun at social conventions. Melissa McCarthy's movies are okay, but kind of vanilla.
 
2014-07-06 02:16:10 PM  
It seems the success of modern flicks has a lot to do with how much it makes overseas.  You don't have to translate Robot Jesus riding a dinosaur, but to try and translate American context humor into a dozen laguages is probably a biatch.
 
2014-07-06 02:18:13 PM  

kronicfeld: People didn't seem to have a problem with it when that was Chris Farley's shtick. And yet when a woman does it...


Farley headlined all of three films.  Two of the three of those were more buddy-pics with David Spade having the same billing.  Only in Beverly Hills Ninja did Farley go it alone.  All of them were within a million dollars of each other for total gross and none of them were huge hits.
 
2014-07-06 02:19:17 PM  

FriarReb98: And yet Melissa McCarthy's  Fat Crazy Chick I Play In Every Movie, Part Infinity is #2 this weekend at the box office.

\seriously, how are that many people THAT bored?


You mean "Melissa McCarthy's Watch Me Rip Off Chris Farley XXI"?
 
2014-07-06 02:20:37 PM  

Old Man Winter: It seems the success of modern flicks has a lot to do with how much it makes overseas.  You don't have to translate Robot Jesus riding a dinosaur, but to try and translate American context humor into a dozen laguages is probably a biatch.


I don't know if you need to translate the argument between James Franco and Danny McBride over the porno mag in This is the End. That is universal.
 
2014-07-06 02:20:48 PM  
2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-07-06 02:21:23 PM  

kronicfeld: FriarReb98: And yet Melissa McCarthy's  Fat Crazy Chick I Play In Every Movie, Part Infinity is #2 this weekend at the box office.

\seriously, how are that many people THAT bored?

People didn't seem to have a problem with it when that was Chris Farley's shtick. And yet when a woman does it...


You're right. It's not because she's blatantly ripping him off scene for scene and is clearly impersonating his mannerisms. It's only because she has a vagina. Anytime anyone criticizes a person with a vagina, it is because of said vagina.
 
2014-07-06 02:24:29 PM  
The last funny thing I saw was an episode of The IT Crowd.  "Bridesmaids" was hysterical. (Speaking of The IT Crowd)

Last winter we went to see a showing of Chaplin's The Gold Rush which was accompanied by an orchestra playing something close to Chaplin's score. The little kid behind us practically laughed herself sick. I don't think she had ever seen physical comedy done well.
 
2014-07-06 02:25:58 PM  

SacriliciousBeerSwiller: kronicfeld: FriarReb98: And yet Melissa McCarthy's  Fat Crazy Chick I Play In Every Movie, Part Infinity is #2 this weekend at the box office.

\seriously, how are that many people THAT bored?

People didn't seem to have a problem with it when that was Chris Farley's shtick. And yet when a woman does it...

You're right. It's not because she's blatantly ripping him off scene for scene and is clearly impersonating his mannerisms. It's only because she has a vagina. Anytime anyone criticizes a person with a vagina, it is because of said vagina.


You sound bitter.
 
2014-07-06 02:26:33 PM  
I don't know about that,  22 Jump street was freaking hilarious!

But I guess that doesn't count as a comedy?
 
2014-07-06 02:28:04 PM  
I think part of this reason is because comedy is very personal.  What is funny to me may no be funny to someone else; what is funny to an American audience may not translate into being funny elsewhere in the world.  Thus it is hard to turn a comedy into a megamillion international blockbuster.
 
2014-07-06 02:37:07 PM  
As someone who works in the production of American comedy, I am not getting a kick out of these replies.
 
2014-07-06 02:41:35 PM  

kronicfeld: FriarReb98: And yet Melissa McCarthy's  Fat Crazy Chick I Play In Every Movie, Part Infinity is #2 this weekend at the box office.

\seriously, how are that many people THAT bored?

People didn't seem to have a problem with it when that was Chris Farley's shtick. And yet when a woman does it...


I know somebody who considers Chris Farley to be one of the funniest guys who ever lived. However, whenever they show an ad for any movie with Melissa McCarthy, he actually starts screaming "you're not funny" at the TV set
 
2014-07-06 02:44:53 PM  
Well, duh.  Comedy doesn't translate across cultures as well as explosions do.  Taken to an extreme, we get movies like Battleship where the majority of the dialog is "uuuuuuuuuhhhh" and "wow!"

I sang some karaoke at a Korean place a few weeks ago and every video pretty much ended in a horrible car crash where someone dies.  I'm trying to figure out the cultural background for that.
 
2014-07-06 02:46:02 PM  

BumpInTheNight: The last good comedy I watched was Into Darkness and that was last year.


You.  I like you.
 
2014-07-06 02:47:00 PM  

mjbok: kronicfeld: People didn't seem to have a problem with it when that was Chris Farley's shtick. And yet when a woman does it...

Farley headlined all of three films.  Two of the three of those were more buddy-pics with David Spade having the same billing.  Only in Beverly Hills Ninja did Farley go it alone.  All of them were within a million dollars of each other for total gross and none of them were huge hits.


Spade was the key to Tommy Boy. A good straight guy is key.
 
2014-07-06 02:49:41 PM  
I dunno, I liked The Muppets (have not had a chance to see Muppets 2), but I imagine they're...not... really very representaive of the state of today's "Commedies".
 
2014-07-06 02:50:35 PM  
I rewatched Wayne's World on Netflix this weekend.  not as goods as I remembered it being, but I was 14 when it came out...  Still, it was apparently the 10th highest grossing film of 1992, bringing in about $122 million, at a cost of $14 million.
 
2014-07-06 02:53:36 PM  

EvilMonkeyBoy: As someone who works in the production of American comedy, I am not getting a kick out of these replies.

Not funny!
 
2014-07-06 02:54:14 PM  
One big problem is that so many comedies are designed for the lowest common denominator. They're so insipid that if you aren't dumb as a rock, you're not going to even waste the bandwidth to pirate the movie.
There needs to be more of a middleground between Wes Anderson and the _____ Movie series. Quirky-Funny movies are targeted to a niche audience. poorly written and acted "parody" films and Adam Sandler movies appeal to people who consider Three Stooges to be too cerebral. In the middle, tho, fewer and fewer movies are being made. For every Bridesmaids, Superbad, 21/22 Jump Street, movies that appeal to a broad audience, there are countless Grown Up 2, Parental Guidance, Kevin Hart, and Tyler Perry movies that make the movie-going crowd stay home and watch a classic on Netflix.
 
2014-07-06 02:56:41 PM  

Felgraf: I dunno, I liked The Muppets (have not had a chance to see Muppets 2), but I imagine they're...not... really very representaive of the state of today's "Commedies".


I enjoyed both of the Muppet movies. My wife had never seen anything with the Muppets before the the first one and she loved them also. The movies had jokes for all ages and was good clean fun.
 
2014-07-06 03:03:05 PM  
It's weird that Chris Farley was well liked for twenty years. Then, about two weeks ago someone compared Melissa McCarthy to him. And the Internet brain trust has jumped on board and continuously make that comparison as if it were their own original thought. So for no real reason we pretend Chris Farley wasn't hilarious is literally everything he ever did.

It's like when breaking bad ended, and all the pretend internet geniuses were educating us about what a denouement was and how smart they were for picking that up.
 
2014-07-06 03:04:14 PM  
I pretty enjoy any comedy directed by Judd Apatow as well as most the movies starring Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, Jason Segal, James Franco, etc.  That whole crew usually does funny stuff (I did say usually because I know they've all been in a few stinkers or non-comedies).

Most recently, 22 Jump Street was pretty awesome.
 
2014-07-06 03:12:35 PM  

dragonchild: Language-based and cultural humor doesn't translate across cultures, but there are other forms and they do just fine.


www.bubblews.com
 
2014-07-06 03:15:49 PM  
You cannot have comedy without drama or a good story, something that is lacking in today's movies.   Comedy does not succeed because it's a laugh-a-minute; it succeeds because it's an unexpected relief to the drama.  That's why Anne Frank jokes are so funny; it's too hideous to contemplate the drama of her life so we use laughter as the safety valve.

Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstien, etc) is an obvious exception to the rule but even his remake of To Be or Not To Be had strong elements of drama upon which he was able to juxtapose his comedy.
 
2014-07-06 03:16:00 PM  

Dumb-Ass-Monkey: One big problem is that so many comedies are designed for the lowest common denominator. They're so insipid that if you aren't dumb as a rock, you're not going to even waste the bandwidth to pirate the movie.
There needs to be more of a middleground between Wes Anderson and the _____ Movie series. Quirky-Funny movies are targeted to a niche audience. poorly written and acted "parody" films and Adam Sandler movies appeal to people who consider Three Stooges to be too cerebral. In the middle, tho, fewer and fewer movies are being made. For every Bridesmaids, Superbad, 21/22 Jump Street, movies that appeal to a broad audience, there are countless Grown Up 2, Parental Guidance, Kevin Hart, and Tyler Perry movies that make the movie-going crowd stay home and watch a classic on Netflix.


Have you seen "The Way Way Back" - quite a good movie. It is more of a dramedy than pure comedy but there are laughs in it.
 
2014-07-06 03:23:26 PM  

Rapmaster2000: Well, duh.  Comedy doesn't translate across cultures as well as explosions do.  Taken to an extreme, we get movies like Battleship where the majority of the dialog is "uuuuuuuuuhhhh" and "wow!"

I sang some karaoke at a Korean place a few weeks ago and every video pretty much ended in a horrible car crash where someone dies.  I'm trying to figure out the cultural background for that.


Big Smiths fans?
 
2014-07-06 03:26:07 PM  
Maybe I'm opening myself up to ridicule here - but I really thought Bachelorette (the Kirsten Dunst movie) was hilarious. I think I actually laughed at a lot of it...
 
2014-07-06 03:30:31 PM  
I wonder how foreign audiences do with black comedies like Fargo or Burn After Reading.
 
2014-07-06 03:33:06 PM  

Spanky McStupid: Comedy does not succeed because it's a laugh-a-minute; it succeeds because it's an unexpected relief to the drama.


The reason why romcoms suck today is that no-one gives a shiat about making a story, except for one about the couple and them getting together, splitting up and getting together again. With The African Queen and His Girl Friday, there's a drama in there that isn't much about the romance, but it comes through in the drama of the events pulling them together which is much more real.
 
2014-07-06 03:38:11 PM  
I went to see Schindler's List.
It wasn't funny.

- Steven Wright
 
2014-07-06 03:39:36 PM  
Give me Adam Sandler over Jenny McCarthy and Seth McFarlane any day.
 
2014-07-06 03:40:04 PM  

Rapmaster2000: Well, duh.  Comedy doesn't translate across cultures as well as explosions do.  Taken to an extreme, we get movies like Battleship where the majority of the dialog is "uuuuuuuuuhhhh" and "wow!"

I sang some karaoke at a Korean place a few weeks ago and every video pretty much ended in a horrible car crash where someone dies.  I'm trying to figure out the cultural background for that.


In almost every Korean romance drama, somone catches cancer.
 
2014-07-06 03:41:13 PM  

Triumph: I wonder how foreign audiences do with black comedies like Fargo or Burn After Reading.


Depends on the foreign audience in question. Germans probably think Fargo is a slapstick movie for children.
 
2014-07-06 03:44:55 PM  

kukukupo: Give me Adam Sandler over Jenny McCarthy and Seth McFarlane any day.


I liked A Million Ways. I also loved early Sandler. The Wedding Singer and Punch Drunk Love are underrated.
 
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