WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

The Original BJ
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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:19 pm

OscarGuy wrote:It's also probable that many of these screenwriters would rather be successful like Akiva Goldsman, Damon Lindelof or Paul Haggis rather than writing quality screenplays like Billy Wilder, the Epsteins or Orson Welles.


I'm not entirely sure what this means. I have no doubt that Goldsman, Lindelof, and Haggis are trying to write the best scripts they can, just like Wilder, the Epsteins, and Welles were, and just like any of us trying to make a living at this are. I don't really see a lot of writers trying to pursue "success" at the expense of "good writing," simply because if it were that easy to become an Oscar or Emmy-winning writer, everyone would be doing it. Some writers are obviously more talented than others, some writers have wildly different tastes than others, but most people are just trying to make a living writing the kinds of things they themselves would want to see. I always try to caution people against thinking the average screenwriter's motivation is much more cynical than that.

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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby OscarGuy » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:02 pm

It's also probable that many of these screenwriters would rather be successful like Akiva Goldsman, Damon Lindelof or Paul Haggis rather than writing quality screenplays like Billy Wilder, the Epsteins or Orson Welles.
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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:24 pm

Well, technically the list is English-language, not specifically American, so all of those British films Uri pointed out were indeed eligible.

I voted for It Happened One Night, but passed on All About Eve simply because, while I love the movie, I don't think of it as anything especially hilarious. (It's worth noting that Eve did place within the top five of the WGA's Greatest Screenplays list a few years ago, though.)

It's important to remember -- as clearly evidenced by this list -- that members of the WGA are NOT cineastes. They're current working writers in film and tv, and most of them have minimal interest in movies made pre-1970. (It's telling that the 1980s was the decade most represented on the list, because those were the movies released during the formative years of your average fortysomething screenwriter.) So it goes without saying that there will be a good handful of not-stellar entries on a list like this -- I'd wager to bet that a decent number of people attending this event had no idea who Preston Sturges was.

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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:46 am

It's a matter of taste. Personally I'll take dry, acerbic wit over food fights, fat jokes and gross-outs every day of the week. The sad thing about the placements on this list is that there are apparently more members of the WGA who aspire to creating the next Animal House, Bridesmaids and Borat than there are in attempting to come up with the next All About Eve, Sullivan's Travels or The Apartment.
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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby FilmFan720 » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:29 am

OscarGuy wrote:They really should have specified American films, but it is the Writers Guild of AMERICA after all.

What disturbs me is that films like All About Eve and It Happened One Night, two of the all-time great comedies, low-key as the may be, are so far down the list as to be inconsequential.


Except it is FUNNIEST, not BEST. While those are great screenplays, I don't think either of them are thought of us laugh-riots. Their strengths are more in their structure and character.
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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby ITALIANO » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:15 am

But then is All About Eve a comedy? In some ways, maybe, but I'd never consider it a "funny" script...

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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby OscarGuy » Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:14 am

They really should have specified American films, but it is the Writers Guild of AMERICA after all.

What disturbs me is that films like All About Eve and It Happened One Night, two of the all-time great comedies, low-key as the may be, are so far down the list as to be inconsequential.
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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby Uri » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:42 am

Well, a list of English (ENGLISH!) speaking comedies and all you could find room for is the Monty Python franchise and Hugh Grant's hair.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_British_comedy_films

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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby ksrymy » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:00 am

I could talk about many things, but, honestly, I'm mostly just excited that Mean Girls made the list. Such an excellent film.
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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby Greg » Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:06 pm

1: I would have rated What's Up, Doc? and Moonstruck higher.

2: I would have rated The Jerk and Caddyshack lower.

3: I did find Beverly Hills Cop funny at all.
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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:56 am

I attended the tribute event this evening, hosted by a very funny Rob Reiner (who was very proud that Spinal Tap came in at...wait for it...number 11), with numerous panels featuring some of the selected writers -- Alexander Payne, Peter Bogdanovich, the Zucker brothers, the Farrelly brothers, Buck Henry, Carl Gottlieb, and many others. It was a very nice, pleasantly low-key affair.

Anyway, the winners:

1. Annie Hall (1977)
2. Some Like It Hot (1959)
3. Groundhog Day (1993)
4. Airplane! (1980)
5. Tootsie (1982)
6. Young Frankenstein (1974)
7. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
8. Blazing Saddles (1974)
9. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
10. National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)
11. This is Spinal Tap (1984)
12. The Producers (1967)
13. The Big Lebowski (1998)
14. Ghostbusters (1984)
15. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
16. Bridesmaids (2011)
17. Duck Soup (1933)
18. There's Something About Mary (1998)
19. The Jerk (1979)
20. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
21. His Girl Friday (1940)
22. The Princess Bride (1987)
23. Raising Arizona (1987)
24. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
25. Caddyshack (1980)
26. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
27. The Graduate (1967)
28. The Apartment (1960)
29. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
30. The Hangover (2009)
31. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
32. The Lady Eve (1941)
33. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
(tie) Trading Places (1983)
35. Sullivan's Travels (1941)
36. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
37. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
38. A Night at the Opera (1935)
39. Rushmore (1998)
40. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
41. The Odd Couple (1968)
42. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
43. Office Space (1999)
44. Big (1988)
45. National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
46. Midnight Run (1988)
47. It Happened One Night (1934)
48. M*A*S*H (1970)
49. Harold and Maude (1971)
50. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
51. Broadcast News (1987)
52. Arthur (1981)
53. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
54. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
(tie) Dumb and Dumber (1994)
56. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
57. The General (1926)
58. What's Up, Doc? (1972)
59. Wedding Crashers (2005)
60. Sleeper (1973)
61. Galaxy Quest (1999)
62. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
63. Best in Show (2000)
64. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
65. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
66. Being There (1979)
67. Back to the Future (1985)
68. Superbad (2007)
69. Bananas (1971)
70. Moonstruck (1987)
71. Clueless (1995)
72. The Palm Beach Story (1942)
73. The Pink Panther (1963)
74. The Blues Brothers (1980)
75. Coming to America (1988)
76. Take the Money and Run (1969)
77. Election (1999)
78. Love and Death (1975)
79. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
(tie) Lost in America (1985)
81. Manhattan (1979)
82. Modern Times (1936)
83. My Cousin Vinny (1992)
84. Mean Girls (2004)
85. Meet the Parents (2000)
86. Fargo (1996)
87. My Favorite Year (1982)
88. Stripes (1981)
89. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
90. City Lights (1931)
91. Sideways (2004)
92. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
93. Swingers (1996)
94. The Gold Rush (1925)
95. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)
96. All About Eve (1950)
97. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
98. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
99. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
100. Flirting With Disaster (1996)
101. Shakespeare in Love (1998)

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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby Heksagon » Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:27 am

As usual, I started thinking about this too late to have any influence.

Picking the funniest films is really difficult, for several reasons. First of all, (for me at least) being in the right mood to watch a comedy is really important, if you want it to have the best impact. Secondly, the best comedy is not always the funniest one. There's films like Duck Soup and Airplane! with the jokes flying fast, but there's also films that take longer to build up the joke, and that also spend more time on developing the characters. The jokes are more sparse, but when delivered, they have more impact. I'm inclined to think that the former is often funnier while the latter may still be better.

I excluded silent films, because I just found it too hard to compare the style in the silent comedies to comedies with dialogue.


Duck Soup
The Awful Truth
His Girl Friday
The Lady Eve
Some Like It Hot
The Apartment
Dr. Strangelove
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Annie Hall
Life of Brian
Airplane!
This Is Spinal Tap
The Naked Gun
Ed Wood
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut


E: Oops, had to fix one omission.

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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:25 am

My ballot, listed chronologically:

It Happened One Night
His Girl Friday
Sullivan's Travels
Some Like It Hot
The Apartment
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
The Graduate
Annie Hall
Manhattan
Tootsie
Toy Story
Being John Malkovich
Almost Famous
Ghost World
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This was a lot more difficult to whittle down than I'd anticipated, given that we had only 15 slots and the entire history of film from which to choose. My biggest regret about my own list is that I completely excluded the silent era -- a great period for film comedy -- but when push came to shove, I found that the silent titles I was considering just couldn't compete as SCREENPLAYS with my favorite dialogue-driven comedies.

I tried to come up with a list of scripts that really meant something to ME -- I didn't want to exclude more contemporary titles just because they weren't official classics (yet), but nor did I want to exclude some obvious choices even though I knew for sure they'd be listed by many others if I loved them just the same.

Lastly, I got a lot of flack from some of my compatriots for this list -- in the minds of many I shared it with, I apparently included way too many movies that shouldn't even be considered comedies at all. (One writer friend even criticized me because "all of the movies on this list are actually good," as if somehow quality filmmaking and humor were naturally diametrically opposed). But all I can say is, I respond a lot more to wit and irony than broad comedy, and though I could just as easily have swapped out many of these movies with equally deserving alternates, I know for sure that these are fifteen movies I think are splendidly written and tremendously funny, and I hope every one of them makes the final list!

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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:03 pm

Leaving out such great comedy/dramas as Dinner at Eight, Stage Door, All About Eve, The Apartment and The Family Way, and screenplays dependent on the talents of a specific performer or performers such as Mae West and the Marx Brothers, I would list:

It Happened One Night
The Awful Truth
The Philadelphia Story
Ball of Fire
To Be or Not to Be
The Palm Beach Story
The More the Merrier
Christmas in Connecticut
Adam's Rib
Auntie Mame
Some Like It Hot
One, Two, Three
Victor/Victoria
Tootsie
The Wedding Banquet
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Re: WGA's 100 Funniest Screenplays

Postby CalWilliam » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:56 pm

I remind you three titles you should take in consideration for your choices (I definitely would in your position):

Singin' in the rain
What's up, Doc?
Bullets over Broadway
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