Comedy:
Evolution?

        What happened to comedies? With movies looking for a quick buck and marginal profit, the degree of thought put into parodies, spoofs, slapstick, and non-intellectual waste of an hour and a half is slim compared to what it used to be. Movies which make our stomachs hurt should be comedies which we will never forget because we laugh so, so hard. The great American comedy is quite nearly gone.

        Most movies now are spending high dollar amount on action-packed thrilling movies which involve a twenty-foot alien commanding an invasion. But the true evolution of our comedies lie in the characters in at which we laugh. For a long while, we laughed at a sweaty fat guy (Chris Farley), a witty black cop (Eddie Murphy), or a fumbling simple-minded Jew (Adam Sandler). We do not necessarily have the old type of comedy where we expect one thing and a magician pulls a pickle out of a hat instead. Now we have movies where we think something may happen and get it with a twist, such as magician pulling a twenty-foot tall talking rabbit out of a football helmet. Is there no real originality anymore? Who will lead the next group of comedy vaudeville? Or is the past where the best comedy lies?

        The best comedy in my mind which does not fit the new frame of mind is The Odd Couple. It is a movie where things go completely wrong; but everything is understandable, possible and, more importantly, practical. I miss the comedy of the realistic situation rather than screwball comedy, fish-out-of-water comedies, and especially the parody/spoof.

        The way my parents brought me up may have a large impact on the type of film I render a good comedy. The teen comedy never really was a type of movie I enjoyed watching due to large amount of stereotyping and insults, which were supposed to be "in good fun." Nor did I ever understand the love for movies such as Zoolander, where each scene has something completely absurd about it. In one scene, Zoolander cracks open a computer's monitor because someone was telling him, "The file is in the computer." On one hand, the scene is elementarily funny, however there was no thought behind trying to make me laugh; it was very straightforward and simple. And maybe that is what our comedies have come to, where we do not want to have to think about what is going on-screen to be able to smile and laugh.

        I have always been a fan of a movie which makes me think. There have been quite a few in the past, but there are not that many comedies which I can truly say I can continue to watch all the time. My favorite recent comedy is Thank You for Smoking. A film where the main character does nothing to be funny but the events which take place in situations he finds himself makes the action an amusing and awesome comedy. A good comedy must first be a well made movie then it will be a good laugh and able to enjoy the film over and over.

Eric Morris

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