There are so many different aspects to why filmmaking is the greatest art form in the world. A great movie can make you cry or question your place in the world. Every once in a while you have to turn your brain down and smile, scream, or let loose. When done correctly, a truly great piece of popcorn entertainment is just as important as a serious drama. Here are my top 10 best ‘Fun’ movies of all time. Included are films from all genres and walks of life. Overall classic value is not important, this is about enjoying yourself with friends on a Friday evening.
10. “The Big Lebowski” (1998):
How does a list such as this not start out with ‘The Dude’? “The Big Lebowski” was initially a bomb and has since become one of the greatest cult hits of all time. It is one of the legendary Coen Brothers best films. The plot is not simple, it’s freaking insane! Lebowski aka The Dude (Jeff Bridges) is a stoner whose favorite beverage is a White Russian. He is also an avid bowler with his two best friends, Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi). Walter is a nut case and Donny is a recluse Walter loves to yell at. Still with me? One day The Dude is mistaken by a group of wannabe gangsters looking for the rich man with the name Lebowski. They piss on his favorite rug and from there the chaos ensues. There are so many classic lines here, most notably “Nobody fucks with the Jesus” or “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FUCK A STRANGER IN THE ASS!” What makes this movie so much fun is the little things. When the dude goes to the rich Lebowski’s house for a new rug and he is told to go to hell then walks out and tells Lebowski’s assistant “Yeah, he said to just take any rug in the house” is perhaps my favorite little joke. There is a reason why ‘Lebowski Fest’ takes place in Kentucky every year since 2002.
9. “Some Like it Hot” (1959):
The ultimate cross-dressing classic, director Billy Wilder’s infamous “Some Like it Hot” is the perfect example of how to be ridiculous. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play two screw up musicians struggling for work. When they witness a mob shooting it suddenly comes time to go on the lamb. The duo decides to dress up as women, as one does, and join an all girls band headed for Florida. Things get complicated when they meet the lead, Sugar, played by one of America’s greatest sex symbols – Marilyn Monroe. Both men are infatuated in finding ways to impress her as they must also keep the “we are just one of the girls” facade. Things get even more complicated when a millionaire gets the hots for Jack Lemmon’s character, resulting in one of the best closing lines in movie history. “Some Like it Hot” is not complicated, yet it will have you laughing from start to finish.
8. “John Wick” (2014):
Definitely a hard call in picking a Keanu Reeves flick here. “The Matrix” and “Speed” are both action classics. But when it comes to pure turn off your brain fun it’s hard to beat “John Wick”. The best action movies are about two things; revenge and simplicity. A pack of rich Russian mobsters invade ex-assassin John Wick’s home and kill his dog. Turns out they messed with the wrong badass. The group had no idea they were poking the wrong bear and Wick is back in the game. Admittedly “John Wick” is a bro-ish kind of movie. The difference from say a “Fast and Furious” is that it is meticulously well shot and uses its strengths in all of the right ways. A perfect tail for the animal rescue community, do not kill a badasses’ dog!
7. “Ghostbusters” (1984):
What crazy person came up with “Ghostbusters”? A couple of nerdy dudes and a B.S. artist in Bill Murray are going to open a business fighting supernatural beings. Really? Fortunately they got the green light and a comedy classic was born. The original Ivan Reitman directed film is a blast from the beginning, featuring a spirit haunting a library. Bill Murray getting slimed in the hotel is awesome. The ending is a bit cheesy until they go with the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man. Who thought of that idea? The sequels and eventual cartoon TV show are garbage, but the first one is so ridiculous you can’t help but smile. If there’s something strange in the neighborhood, who ya gonna call…
6. “Tampopo” (1985):
Never heard of “Tampopo”? Yeah, neither had I until my dear friend Scott, a fellow film fanatic, introduced me to it. A classic in Japanese movie culture, “Tampopo” is one of the most energetic movies you will ever see. Writer/Director Juzo Itami, admittedly a one hit wonder, tells the story of a traveling truck driver stumbling upon a small, family owned noodle shop. He decides to help the family keep business going as they are struggling. Intertwined are various stories of people who love food in general in their own crazy ways. Critics have called “Tampopo” a noodle western or a farce about food. I call it a damn good time that any culture can understand.
5: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015):
On the surface, “Mad Max: Fury Road” appears to be a collection of chaos. That’s the point. After things get started, “Fury Road” never lets up. In a post-apocalyptic world, all bets are off. Charlize Theron plays Furiosa, a soldier with a fake arm, who is determined to get several ladies away from the community dictator Immortan Joe, a man who has used the group as basic sex toys. Max, played by Tom Hardy, gets mixed up by accident and the car battle is afoot. Unbelievable stunt work, most of which they are genuinely doing in real time, is combined with one of the craziest car chases you could imagine. And it does not stop! Hold your breathe and enjoy the rollercoaster with this masterpiece.
4. “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” (1987):
Let’s face it, life is annoying. People are annoying. We can all be annoying. That is what “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” looks at straight-up while also shedding light on how ridiculous a journey can be. Arguably the best of John Hughes’s run in the 80’s, “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” has a lot of heart, and even more laughs. Steve Martin plays Neal, a marketing executive trying to finalize a deal in New York City before returning home for Thanksgiving. While at the airport, he runs into Del (John Candy). Del is a bumbling idiot and shower ring salesman, but he means well. It becomes a journey of two people that are completely different yet can still teach each other a thing or two when it comes to life. Tons of laughs ensue, particularly the f-bomb bonanza by Martin while trying to rent a car, but “Trains” teaches us that in the end we are all in the same boat.
3. “The Thing” (1982):
Fun is not complete without some horror stuff. Director John Carpenter had a field day with the idea of isolationism with his classic “The Thing”. An alien creature frozen in ice for thousands of years is suddenly awoken with the ability to take over the likeness of anyone around it. Not the best place to be for a U.S. stationed group in Antartica. Paranoia sets in and the crew begins to turn on one another. Kurt Russell as MacReady is in charge as he slowly sees his crew both become infected by the alien as well as fight each other. With the spot on score by the great Ennio Morricone and the excellent monster effects (yes, it is dated, but it is still awesome because they really built that stuff) “The Thing” remains one of the most tension filled experiences you could have.
2. “The Blues Brothers” (1980):
How does one present themselves in any way better than the phrase, “We’re on a mission from God”? That is exactly what Dan Akroyd and the late great John Belushi are all about here when they took their fun SNL sketch to the big screen. No punches were pulled and a collection of musical legends were brought in to tell the story of Jake and Elwood Blues trying to save their church from when they were kids as it is being attacked by landlords. Ridiculous car chases ensue, including my personal favorite line; as the two are destroying a mall by literally driving through it with cops in pursuit, Jake Blues looks right and says “The New Oldsmobiles are coming in early this year”. Neo-Natzi’s become involved. A chase involving hundreds of police cars goes down. The Chicago swat team is chasing. Who cares, these are “The Blues Brothers”.
1. “Jurrassic Park” (1993):
What an adventure. I can remember the moment I was in the theater as a child and being scared shitless as well as being captivated. The ultimate adventure, “Jurassic Park” is like riding a rollercoaster for the first time. Younger generations will not quite get this, understandably, but the moment that T-Rex comes out of his cage is insane when you see it. Picture the Captain America quote when he says “Avengers Assemble!” From beginning to end, “Jurassic Park” is an all-time thrill ride that families of all races and ages can enjoy together. Just don’t mess with those sneaky Raptors.