5 Hilarious Movies That Everyone Needs to Watch

Old, underground, forgotten — let’s rewatch these laugh-out-loud masterpieces.

Some movies hurt you bad; they make you cry, shudder, crawl under your weighted blanket with a bottle of scotch and wish the day had never started and you were still yesternight, innocent and unblemished by what you just watched.

Other movies make you laugh.

I love both kinds but, surprisingly enough, find myself watching the latter category a bit more often.

We tend to assume that humour is a concept deeply rooted in the zeitgeist. We may believe that comedies from far ago or far away will not make us laugh because of cultural differences or changes in our sensitivities. For the open mind, however, humour transcends time and place. It brings us together in laughing at the nonsensical nature of our life experience.

I don’t know about you, but I take immense pleasure in laughing in front of a 60-year-old movie, thinking that people born in the nineteenth century laughed at it too. It reminds me of how stable the human experience is across time, of how, even in the face of technological progress and social change, we keep on caring for the same topics and laughing at the same jokes. If you want the extreme of this experience, read Lysistrata, a comedy written in 411BC by the Greek playwright Aristophanes. I guarantee you’ll laugh out loud, 25 centuries onwards.

But I digress. Movies, funny ones, here’s the list!

1. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Marylin Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon star in this masterpiece of comedic writing. Some Like It Hot isn’t precisely an underground, unknown movie. It is #1 on the AFI 100 Years… 100 Laughs list and stars three of the most famous people of the decade. However, many would hesitate to watch it thinking that it is too old and too removed from today’s life to be funny. Many would discard the movie as a B&W bore.

They’d be wrong. They’d be exceedingly wrong.

SLIH is undoubtedly one of the funniest movies ever produced. The last scene is iconic; its last line cult beyond measure, but rest assured. The picture teems with lines and situations that will have you folded in half laughing.

The fact that critics considered the movie morally objectionable when it was released is a tasty bit of trivia that supports the modernity of the topic and how it is addressed.

2. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

Vampires are amongst us. Werewolves too, but we don’t let them in; you’ll understand why. This Kiwi comedy, written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, takes the mockumentary genre to a whole new level.

We follow four vampire housemates through their daily (nightly) lives in Wellington, New Zealand. One of them is 8,000 years old, and a bit grumpy; another is a Medieval Lord; the third, a Grand Siècle dandy; the last is the young, rebel one (he’s only 183, you see).

The writing is genuinely fresh and creative, bringing vampires to life in a way no one had ever done. Far from fearful monsters, their daily struggles with life, technology, and everyday chores remind us that, beyond the fangs, vampires are humans just like us.

3. Four Lions (2010)

If you thought vampires are not a sound basis for a comedy, what about terrorism? The movie Four Lions not only asks the question, “can we laugh about anything,” but also answers it with a resounding, brilliant “yes!”

We follow a group of young British Muslim men on their path to radicalisation. Their one life goal? To be suicide bombers. The premise is so blunt that one could fear a vulgar movie that tries to be witty and succeeds only in being indelicate and insulting. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Four Lions delivers excitingly dark humour with intelligence, finesse, and comedic timing that few directors can muster. That the protagonists talk about the Jihad with thick British accents and using slang adds another layer of décalage to the mix.

4. Love and Death (1975)

Perhaps a lesser-known Woody Allen feature, maybe forgotten due to its age and the prolific production of its author, Love and Death is nonetheless one of Allen’s funniest pictures.

Set in Napoleonic-era Russia, the movie is a satire of Russian literature, cinema classics, and philosophical debates. It is a concentrate of all the topics and references that imbue Allen’s films, from the Marx brothers to Bergman, from Tolstoy to Chekhov, from the fear of death to the dread of love.

It might sound a bit pedantic and over-intellectual, but the movie is rife with slapstick comedy. Keaton and Allen deliver outstanding performances, eliciting laughs with mere looks and expressions. They infuse their characters with life and comedic energy, allowing them to revel in their weirdness for our pleasure.

5. Idiocracy (2006)

Idiocracy has become a cult classic on the Internet, but its limited release prevented many from discovering it. The movie’s unabashed criticism of all-out capitalism and its direct, mocking references to international brands led to a case of near-censorship went it came out in 2006. It has since then gained a new life online.

The movie follows two ordinary people, Joe and Rita (the most average male in the force and a prostitute). They are frozen for an army experiment and forgotten once the experiment is abandoned due to a pimp-related bribery scandal involving the officer in charge. They wake up 500 years in the future to find that humans, far from evolving, have become dumb as bricks (it might be insulting for the bricks).

The President if the United States, Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Herbert Camacho, former Smackdown champion and porn superstar, hires Joe to solve all the world’s problems (since he’s so bright) and gives him one week to do it all.

Don’t get hung up on the ridiculousness of the plot summary. Idiocracy is a brilliant, satirical comedy that holds no punches in its criticism of our economic and political systems.

Unfortunately for the human race, Idiocracy feels more and more like a documentary as the years go by…

And you, what are your favourite comedies that we might not know about?

I write about politics, business, society and culture on Medium. For startup/business content, check my newsletter: fundraisedd.substack.com

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