Editorial by Flaco Jones

Top Ten Cult Comedies

Top Ten Cult Comedies

Here on VOG there is a definite focus on the sci-fi and fantasy genres in film. And why shouldn't there be? It's the geek bread and butter after all. But I wanted to shift the spotlight a bit, and focus on what I believe to be the most difficult genre to pull off and have universal appeal: the comedy. What’s great about comedies though is they can take place in any setting, be it a fantasy world, outer space, or even a convenience store. 


For this list, I'm going to specifically focus on cult comedies. A few of these films were box office hits, many found life on home video, but they all attracted a cult following of die-hard fans and most, if not all of them, can be seen as midnight movies somewhere in the country. I also wanted to focus on intentional comedies. Unintentional comedies could form a list all their own with Showgirls and The Room fighting for the top slot. 

 
I had to whittle the list down to my ten favorites and you the VOG readers will have a chance to rank them as well. I avoided repeating filmmakers' other movies, but you can definitely add your voice in the comments below as to why I should have picked one cult comedy over another from the same filmmaker. 


#10 Spaceballs


 

A man ahead of his time, Mel Brooks took on the Star Wars franchise in 1987 with his trademark parody treatment. He made fun of the ridiculously huge ships (and helmets), the mystical force-like powers of "The Schwartz" and guys who hang out with giant hairy sidekicks while rescuing princesses. The movie was not received well by critics, probably for its silly sophomoric humor but compare it to most parody films that come out these days, and I think those critics would all gladly re-watch Spaceballs instead.

#9 This Is Spinal Tap


 

The mockumentary that started it all back in 1984. Not only does this movie have a cult following all its own, but it also spawned more films featuring the same actors, such as Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, but without director Rob Reiner returning. I feel like this movie also went a long way to inspire many of the documentary style TV shows that have been big hits with that style such as The Office (UK & US) and Modern Family. Nothing beats that tiny Stonehenge though.

#8 Wet Hot American Summer


 

This 2001 satire comedy directed by The State’s David Wain and starring a slew of future comedy all-stars barely screened at theaters, a massive failure both commercially and critically. However as the years went by, the cult status of the film grew, culminating in tenth anniversary celebrations and midnight screenings across the country. All this new buzz coupled with the rise to stardom of the many people involved and there may be a sequel in the works. I have a feeling it won’t compare to the original.

#7 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World


 

Debuting in 2010, it's one of the latest entries into the cult canon. Despite being a box office flop, it has garnered a large cult following. Just go to any convention and you will see multiple versions of Scott and Ramona running around. Sure it didn't get the good reviews and box office success (in relation to the budget) of director Edgar Wright's other films Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, but I think its unique vision of a world where video game rules are a reality vaults it slightly above those great parody films.

#6 Office Space


 

The mother of all workplace comedies from animator turned live action film director Mike Judge is another of those quotable classics. And like many films on the list, it too found its audience on home video after its poor theatrical release in 1999. I actually like Judge's Idiocracy a little more, but Office Space is just a better put together film, and I'm pretty sure it has many more followers so it gets the spot on this list.

#5 Army of Darkness


 

While I don't think it's the best movie in Sam Raimi's Evil Dead Trilogy, it's the only one that’s a comedy by design. Most of the horror is pushed aside for gags, and it still works. Since he’s not constrained to a tiny cabin in the woods, Bruce Campbell's Ash gets more to do, and thus more to work with, in this 1992 movie that truly cemented his status as a cult icon.

#4 Clerks


 

Clerks is gritty and dirty but, most appropriately, funny. It's quotable as long as you don't mind being a potty mouth and it launched the career of Kevin Smith and was at the forefront of a boom of 90's independent filmmaking when it was released in 1994. I may have watched this movie once a month during my high school years. Does it still hold up? Maybe not as well as it should have, but I still remember it for what it was: a groundbreaking film about nothing really. Just guys hanging out and talking, yet it’s still one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen.

#3 Clue


 

You wouldn’t think that adapting a board game to film would work, and if big screen adaptations continue to end up like the recent Battleship film then you’re probably correct. But in 1985 this Jonathan Lynn film debuted with a script by John Landis and featured a stellar comic cast lead by Tim Curry. I think going the comedy route really helped give this film a longevity it wouldn’t have had as a more straightforward adaptation. Plus the addition of all the ending scenes to the home video release helped elevate the film beyond its so-so box office performance.

#2 Monty Python and the Holy Grail


 

In 1975 the popular British comedy group released their first feature film consisting of entirely new material. While it still is technically a series of sketches, the Holy Grail plotline ties everything together in a very cohesive way as it transitions from one sketch to the next. The other Python films were good, but in my opinion this one was the best, from all the classic quotable dialogue to even the animation by director Terry Gilliam.

#1 The Big Lebowski


 

I know this is probably a controversial pick, but I have watched this 1998 Coen Brothers movie more than any other, and I still laugh every time. And as a cult film it really has spawned a huge following. There is Lebowski Fest, a travelling festival dedicated to all things Lebowski, Big Lebowski parties at bowling allies and even special 4/20 screenings in theaters across the country every year. All this from a film that followed up one of the Coen’s biggest critical and commercial successes in Fargo. I feel like instead of caving to the pressure to follow up a classic like that with something similar, they instead decided to just have fun and make the movie they wanted to make, creating an entirely different type of classic in the process.



Those are my picks, now it’s your turn. Rank these ten movies in the order you think they should have been ranked. If I left out something notable, let me know in the comments and I’ll explain why I left it off the list or simply hang my head in shame if I truly forgot.

Flaco Jones is a former film school grad and current professional A/V nerd. You can follow him @flaco_jones on Twitter.

Editorial by - 5/29/2013 7:16 AM13344 views

Your Ranking

How would you rank these cult comedy classics?

You've seen how Flaco ordered these 10 cult comedy classics, but did he get the order right? Rank these comedies in the order that YOU would put them in. (If you think Flaco missed some movies, be sure to leave a comment!)

Based on 14 Participants

  1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    (Average Rank: 3.50)

  2. The Big Lebowski
    (Average Rank: 4.21)

  3. Clerks
    (Average Rank: 4.21)

  4. Clue
    (Average Rank: 5.00)

  5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
    (Average Rank: 5.07)

  6. Army of Darkness
    (Average Rank: 5.35)

  7. Spaceballs
    (Average Rank: 5.35)

  8. Office Space
    (Average Rank: 6.07)

  9. This Is Spinal Tap
    (Average Rank: 7.71)

  10. Wet Hot American Summer
    (Average Rank: 8.50)

Registered Participants can rank these choices, and are eligible to receive Points during the article's first week of publication! Why not sign up and start playing today?

Comments

Bobby Blackwolf
Bobby Blackwolf
5/29/2013 12:02 PM

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It looks like we all agree that Wet Hot American Summer was not funny.
Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
5/29/2013 12:14 PM

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Fine then, I'm taking my Wet Hot American Summer DVD back and going home to watch Childrens Hospital episodes by myself. /cry
Xtofer
Xtofer
5/29/2013 4:55 PM

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No we most certainly all do not agree with that.
Bobby Blackwolf
Bobby Blackwolf
5/29/2013 5:29 PM

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The VOG Poll says differently!
Bronzethumb
Bronzethumb
5/29/2013 7:40 AM

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But you left off "Withnail & I"! How dare you! How DARE you! How DARE you call ME inhumane!
Bronzethumb
Bronzethumb
5/29/2013 7:41 AM

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(I used to call it "the best multi-Doctor story ever", but now I think it's really the Great Intelligence's nefarious attempt to kill the Eighth Doctor via alcohol poisoning.)
Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
5/29/2013 4:45 PM

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Here is a great example of me hanging my head in shame. I've never actually seen it. Hopefully Hulu still has the Criterion Collection because after looking it up it definitely sounds like something I would like.
Bronzethumb
Bronzethumb
5/29/2013 7:24 PM

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Settle in with a bottle of wine and be prepared to watch it a couple of times. There's so much detail and subtelty, you'll wanna revisit it.
Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
5/29/2013 9:43 PM

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The Criterion version wasn't on Hulu but it is streaming on Netflix. I added it to the queue, thanks for the recommendation.
skie
skie
5/29/2013 8:41 AM

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one cult comedy i love that flaco left off is "Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion" .... granted this is probably more camp than comedy, but there's so many great one liners, and featured some amazing female comedic talent in Lisa Kudrow, Mira Sorvino, Janeane Garofalo & Camryn Manheim.

Similar movies that are more camp, but highly quoteable:

Drop Dead Gorgeous
Bring it On
Xtofer
Xtofer
5/29/2013 4:56 PM

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If we had a "Gay movie list" those movies would have made it, Rob.
Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
5/29/2013 9:22 AM

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I strongly considered Romy & Michelle but I like the other 10 movies just a bit more. My wife was upset about that one. She also pressed hard for The Jerk, which I also love but could only choose 10.
Bochikawa
Bochikawa
5/29/2013 10:34 AM

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As much as i would want to rank these by how much i enjoyed the movies, what really makes a cult movie is its following.

That being said... princess bride would be one of my top suggestions (something i end up quoteing least once a week)
Another one may be Super troopers. I may just be trying to give props to broken lizard, or it may be all the stoner circles i hang with *shrug*

Mahaps we should do like a top 100 or 500 movies that we at VOG feel ppl need to enjoy... then do this little polly thingy to get a good list of our top movies... just a random thought
Degenerate Johnny
Degenerate Johnny
5/29/2013 11:04 AM

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Whoops! That was not meant to be blank :)

Anyways, I'm surprised that Super troopers didn't make the list. Or Old School. "Blue your my boy!"
Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
5/29/2013 11:19 AM

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Super Troopers definitely has a great following but I'm not personally a big fan. Old School was a pretty mainstream hit, so I'm not sure it really has or needs a cult following. I left one of my personal favorites, Anchorman off the list for the same reason. I don't think any of the films on my list were hits in their initial runs.
Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
5/29/2013 11:11 AM

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I did have Princess Bride on the list in my first draft but got bumped later on because I started watching it again and I just wasn't laughing as much as I remember. Still top 20 for sure.

As much fun as it would be to make a top 500, that seems more appropriate for a book than an article on the site. At least the comments section is here to point out all the other great movies as well.
Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
5/29/2013 11:13 AM

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This was a reply to Bochikawa but my fat finger must have clicked the cancel reply link.
DarkTetsuya
DarkTetsuya
5/29/2013 12:48 PM

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Indeed the only one I don't remember ever seeing was Wet Hot American Summer... well that ans Spinal Tap, I mean I'd heard of it just never actually seen it all the way through.

Other than those I think I liked every movie on this list!
TigerClaw
TigerClaw
5/29/2013 5:46 PM

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Interesting list, Of all the movies that are listed, The ones I only seen were Army of Darkness, Clue, Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Spaceballs, Never seen the others. But the ones I have seen were great in my book. :)
ssj100matt
ssj100matt
5/30/2013 8:53 PM

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You're missing out. You owe it to yourself to watch the rest on the list.
ssj100matt
ssj100matt
5/30/2013 9:32 PM

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Tough to argue with this list. All deserve to be in except maybe Scott Pilgrim (needs to stand the test of time a little bit in my mind to be considered a true cult classic).

A few honorable mentions in my mind to add:

- Rushmore (One of my favorite movies of all time. Comedy is well done and a lot of people connect with the protagonist)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxCNDpvGyss

- Pink Flamingos (The John Waters classic. I know Rob would agree with me on this one. This is a beyond strange movie but pretty enjoyable. I still wonder why my dad made me watch it as a kid) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RKgmEw6xZE

- Dazed and Confused: An All Star cast (Ben Afleck, Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Milla Jovovich and many more) with a great soundtrack and a funny coming of age story
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvj4Ng6yinA

- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: One of the few movies that i remember that is not only a movie cult classic but also a literary one as well. Johnny Depp at his best and Terry Gilliams unique view makes this a real trip. Pun intended
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm7r491n-8o

- The Goonies: Enough said
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