150 Essential Comedy Movies To Watch Now

What makes a comedy a classic? Something that floats on the changing tides of time and taste, remaining relevant – and hilarious? It probably takes more than a football to the groin or a juiced-up fart on the audio track. (Though we’re not not saying those can sometimes be the pinnacle of professional-grade jokes.) We don’t have the answer, but with our Essential list assembling 150 of the best comedies ever made, we’re getting closer to laugh-out-loud enlightenment than humanly thought possible. We’re melting minds, splitting sides, and slapping knees here.

To that end, we’ve included all forms of the comedy movie. From slapstick (Dumb & Dumber, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) to silent (The General, Modern Times). Rom-coms (Moonstruck, Annie Hall) to screwball (It Happened One Night, Bringing Up Baby). Parody (Airplane!, Scary Movie) to postmodern (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Galaxy Quest). These 150 movies will take you to college (Animal House), past some fan favorites (Step Brothers, Super Troopers), and all around the globe (Kung Fu Hustle, Amelie).

There’s no minimum review count for this list. We opened it up to movies of yesteryear, which typically don’t get as many reviews as their modern comedy rivals. Many of these inducted films have high Tomatometer scores and are Certified Fresh, but the Tomatometer was not our only guide. Some comedies that stand the test of time did not necessarily pass the critical test on release, and we’re honoring those here. These are not the best-reviewed comedy films ever released, but they are the essential comedies, movies that broke the Laugh-O-Meter – we’ll totally trademark that soon, so dibs – shaped the genre, molded generations, and which audiences return to time and again, to lift the spirits.

And with our most recent updates, we’ve added the latest and greatest in new funny movies (Booksmart, Blockers, Game Night), and some more comedy classics that have definitely earned their place in the pantheon of guffaws (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Harold & Maude).

Ready to whip out your funny bone and bash it violently on the nearest flat surface? Then you’re ready for our list of the best comedy movies ever: Rotten Tomatoes’ 150 Essential Comedies!

#150

Hot Rod (2007)
39%

#150
Adjusted Score: 43221%
Critics Consensus: Hot Rod has brazen silliness and a few humorous set pieces on its side, but it's far too inconsistent to satisfy all but the least demanding slapstick lovers.
Synopsis: For Rod Kimball (Andy Samberg), performing stunts is a way of life, even though he is rather accident-prone. Poor Rod... [More]
Directed By: Akiva Schaffer

#149

Game Night (2018)
85%

#149
Adjusted Score: 99576%
Critics Consensus: With a talented cast turned loose on a loaded premise -- and a sharp script loaded with dark comedy and unexpected twists -- Game Night might be more fun than the real thing.
Synopsis: Max and Annie's weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party... [More]

#148
#148
Adjusted Score: 53540%
Critics Consensus: First Wives Club is headlined by a trio of comedic dynamos, but the script lets them down with tepid plotting and a fatal lack of satirical bite.
Synopsis: Despondent over the marriage of her ex-husband to a younger woman, a middle-aged divorcée plunges to her death from her... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Wilson

#147

Scary Movie (2000)
52%

#147
Adjusted Score: 56184%
Critics Consensus: Critics say Scary Movie overloads on crudity and grossness to get its laughs.
Synopsis: Defying the very notion of good taste, Scary Movie out-parodies the pop culture parodies with a no-holds barred assault on... [More]
Directed By: Keenen Ivory Wayans

#146

Blockers (2018)
84%

#146
Adjusted Score: 96703%
Critics Consensus: Blockers puts a gender-swapped spin on the teen sex comedy -- one elevated by strong performances, a smartly funny script, and a surprisingly enlightened perspective.
Synopsis: Julie, Kayla and Sam are three high school seniors who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night.... [More]
Directed By: Kay Cannon

#145

The Bank Dick (1940)
100%

#145
Adjusted Score: 102073%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Egbert Sousé (W.C. Fields) becomes an unexpected hero when a bank robber falls over a bench he's occupying. Now considered... [More]
Directed By: Edward F. Cline

#144

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
72%

#144
Adjusted Score: 75546%
Critics Consensus: On paper, Mrs. Doubtfire might seem excessively broad or sentimental, but Robin Williams shines so brightly in the title role that the end result is difficult to resist.
Synopsis: Troubled that he has little access to his children, divorced Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) hatches an elaborate plan. With help... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#143

Pitch Perfect (2012)
81%

#143
Adjusted Score: 86241%
Critics Consensus: Pitch Perfect's plot is formulaic, but the performances are excellent and the musical numbers are toe-tapping as well.
Synopsis: College student Beca (Anna Kendrick) knows she does not want to be part of a clique, but that's exactly where... [More]
Directed By: Jason Moore

#142

Four Lions (2009)
83%

#142
Adjusted Score: 87101%
Critics Consensus: Its premise suggests brazenly tasteless humor, but Four Lions is actually a smart, pitch-black comedy that carries the unmistakable ring of truth.
Synopsis: A group of young Muslim men living in Sheffield decide to wage jihad, and they hatch an inept plan to... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Morris

#141

Safety Last (1923)
97%

#141
Adjusted Score: 102844%
Critics Consensus: Persuasive enough to give audiences acrophobia when they aren't laughing at Harold Lloyd's antics, Safety Last! is a marvel of visual effects and slapstick comedy.
Synopsis: A boy (Harold Lloyd) moves to New York City to make enough money to support his loving girlfriend (Mildred Davis),... [More]

#140

Big (1988)
97%

#140
Adjusted Score: 103369%
Critics Consensus: Refreshingly sweet and undeniably funny, Big is a showcase for Tom Hanks, who dives into his role and infuses it with charm and surprising poignancy.
Synopsis: After a wish turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) into a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks), he heads to New York... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#139
#139
Adjusted Score: 40409%
Critics Consensus: Wet Hot American Summer's incredibly talented cast is too often outmatched by a deeply silly script that misses its targets at least as often as it skewers them.
Synopsis: Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, "Wet Hot American Summer" follows a group... [More]
Directed By: David Wain

#138

Barbershop (2002)
83%

#138
Adjusted Score: 85777%
Critics Consensus: Besides bringing on the laughs, Barbershop displays a big heart and demonstrates the value of community.
Synopsis: A smart comedy about a day in the life of a barbershop on the south side of Chicago. Calvin (Ice... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story

#137
#137
Adjusted Score: 96005%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Synopsis: This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#136
#136
Adjusted Score: 53409%
Critics Consensus: Jim Carrey's twitchy antics and gross-out humor are on full, bombastic display in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which is great news for fans of his particular brand of comedy but likely unsatisfying for anyone else.
Synopsis: When the dolphin mascot of Miami's NFL team is abducted, Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey), a zany private investigator who specializes... [More]
Directed By: Tom Shadyac

#135

Idiocracy (2006)
73%

#135
Adjusted Score: 73430%
Critics Consensus: Frustratingly uneven yet enjoyable overall, Idiocracy skewers society's devolution with an amiably goofy yet deceptively barbed wit.
Synopsis: In 2005, average in every way private Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) is selected to take part in a secret military... [More]
Directed By: Mike Judge

#134
#134
Adjusted Score: 83258%
Critics Consensus: Team America will either offend you or leave you in stitches. It'll probably do both.
Synopsis: When North Korean ruler Kim Jong-il (Trey Parker) orchestrates a global terrorist plot, it's up to the heavily armed marionettes... [More]
Directed By: Trey Parker, Matt Stone

#133
#133
Adjusted Score: 86587%
Critics Consensus: A trite but refreshing and comical spin on nature of love.
Synopsis: Jessica (Jennifer Westfeldt) is at the end of her emotional rope. She happens upon an intriguing personal ad, whose only... [More]

#132

Trainwreck (2015)
84%

#132
Adjusted Score: 94990%
Critics Consensus: Trainwreck drags commitment out of all but the most rom-com-phobic filmgoers with sharp humor, relatable characters, and hilarious work from Amy Schumer.
Synopsis: Ever since her father drilled into her head that monogamy isn't realistic, magazine writer Amy (Amy Schumer) has made promiscuity... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

#131
#131
Adjusted Score: 89483%
Critics Consensus: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure brings Paul Reubens' famous character to the big screen intact, along with enough inspired silliness to dazzle children of all ages.
Synopsis: Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens), an eccentric child-like man, loves his red bicycle and will not sell it to his envious... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#130

Tommy Boy (1995)
42%

#130
Adjusted Score: 43339%
Critics Consensus: Though it benefits from the comic charms of its two leads, Tommy Boy too often feels like a familiar sketch stretched thin.
Synopsis: After his beloved father (Brian Dennehy) dies, dimwitted Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory in Sandusky,... [More]
Directed By: Peter Segal

#129

Life (1999)
51%

#129
Adjusted Score: 51907%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining if not over-the-top humor from a solid comic duo provides plenty of laughs.
Synopsis: During Prohibition, loudmouth Harlem grifter Ray (Eddie Murphy) and the no-nonsense Claude (Martin Lawrence) team up on a bootlegging mission... [More]
Directed By: Ted Demme

#128

Zoolander (2001)
64%

#128
Adjusted Score: 69209%
Critics Consensus: A wacky satire on the fashion industry, Zoolander is one of those deliberately dumb comedies that can deliver genuine laughs.
Synopsis: Propelled to the top of the fashion world by a photogenic gaze he calls "Blue Steel," dimwitted male model Derek... [More]
Directed By: Ben Stiller

#127

Super Troopers (2001)
35%

#127
Adjusted Score: 36511%
Critics Consensus: A more-miss -than-hit affair, Super Troopers will most likely appeal to those looking for something silly.
Synopsis: Always looking for action, five over-enthusiastic but under-stimulated Vermont State Troopers raise hell on the highway, keeping motorists anxiously looking... [More]
Directed By: Jay Chandrasekhar

#126

Happy Gilmore (1996)
61%

#126
Adjusted Score: 63865%
Critics Consensus: Those who enjoy Adam Sandler's schtick will find plenty to love in this gleefully juvenile take on professional golf; those who don't, however, will find it unfunny and forgettable.
Synopsis: All Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) has ever wanted is to be a professional hockey player. But he soon discovers he... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan

#125

21 Jump Street (2012)
85%

#125
Adjusted Score: 94467%
Critics Consensus: A smart, affectionate satire of '80s nostalgia and teen movie tropes, 21 Jump Street offers rowdy mainstream comedy with a surprisingly satisfying bite.
Synopsis: When cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) join the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances... [More]

#124
Adjusted Score: 85237%
Critics Consensus: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are just charming, goofy, and silly enough to make this fluffy time-travel Adventure work.
Synopsis: Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school buddies starting a band. However, they are about to fail... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#123

Broadcast News (1987)
98%

#123
Adjusted Score: 102328%
Critics Consensus: Blockbuster dramatist James L. Brooks delivers with Broadcast News, fully entertaining with deft, deep characterization.
Synopsis: Intelligent satire of American television news. A highly strung news producer finds herself strangely attracted to a vapid anchorman even... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#122

Lost in America (1985)
97%

#122
Adjusted Score: 99582%
Critics Consensus: A satire of the American fantasy of leaving it all behind, Lost in America features some of Albert Brooks' best, most consistent writing and cultural jabs.
Synopsis: After being snubbed at his advertising job, Los Angeles yuppie David Howard (Albert Brooks) convinces his wife, Linda (Julie Hagerty),... [More]
Directed By: Albert Brooks

#121

In the Loop (2009)
94%

#121
Adjusted Score: 99598%
Critics Consensus: In the Loop is an uncommonly funny political satire that blends Dr. Strangelove with Spinal Tap for the Iraq war era.
Synopsis: During an interview, British Cabinet Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) delivers an off-the-cuff remark that war in the Middle East... [More]
Directed By: Armando Iannucci

#120
#120
Adjusted Score: 112580%
Critics Consensus: With a terrific cast and a surfeit of visual razzle dazzle, Crazy Rich Asians takes a satisfying step forward for screen representation while deftly drawing inspiration from the classic -- and still effective -- rom-com formula.
Synopsis: Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. She's also surprised... [More]
Directed By: Jon M. Chu

#119

Shaolin Soccer (2001)
90%

#119
Adjusted Score: 93194%
Critics Consensus: The plot is utterly ridiculous, and the soccer in the movie is unlike any ever played anywhere on Earth, but watching Shaolin Soccer, you will probably find it impossible to care.
Synopsis: All his life, an ordinary young man (Stephen Chow) has been treated like dirt. Still, he's never given up believing... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chow, Lik-Chi Lee

#118

Top Five (2014)
86%

#118
Adjusted Score: 92783%
Critics Consensus: As smart, funny, and trenchant as writer-director-star Chris Rock's best standup work, Top Five is a career highlight for its creator -- and one of the comedy standouts of 2014.
Synopsis: Though he began in stand-up comedy, Andre Allen (Chris Rock) hit the big-time as the star of a trilogy of... [More]
Directed By: Chris Rock

#117

Road to Morocco (1942)
86%

#117
Adjusted Score: 85879%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Starving vagabond Jeff (Bing Crosby) sells best friend Orville (Bob Hope) into slavery in a Moroccan marketplace to buy food.... [More]
Directed By: David Butler

#116

Up in Smoke (1978)
47%

#116
Adjusted Score: 48204%
Critics Consensus: Oft-quoted but undeniably flawed, Up In Smoke is a seminal piece of stoner cinema thanks to the likability of its two counterculture icons.
Synopsis: An unemployed pot-smoking slacker and amateur drummer, Anthony Stoner (Tommy Chong) ditches his strict parents and hits the road, eventually... [More]
Directed By: Lou Adler

#115
#115
Adjusted Score: 92447%
Critics Consensus: Steve Carell's first star turn scores big with a tender treatment of its titular underdog, using raunchy but realistically funny comedy to connect with adult audiences.
Synopsis: Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is an amiable single guy who works at a big-box store. Living alone, 40-year-old Andy spends... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

#114
#114
Adjusted Score: 104697%
Critics Consensus: Typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful, The Grand Budapest Hotel finds Wes Anderson once again using ornate visual environments to explore deeply emotional ideas.
Synopsis: In the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular European ski resort, presided over by concierge Gustave H. (Ralph... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#113

In Bruges (2008)
84%

#113
Adjusted Score: 91012%
Critics Consensus: Featuring witty dialogue and deft performances, In Bruges is an effective mix of dark comedy and crime thriller elements.
Synopsis: After a particularly difficult job, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to Belgium to hide out... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#112

American Pie (1999)
61%

#112
Adjusted Score: 66633%
Critics Consensus: So embarrassing it's believable, American Pie succeeds in bringing back the teen movie genre.
Synopsis: A riotous and raunchy exploration of the most eagerly anticipated -- and most humiliating -- rite of adulthood, known as... [More]
Directed By: Paul Weitz

#111
#111
Adjusted Score: 101054%
Critics Consensus: Almodovar weaves together a magnificent tapestry of femininity with an affectionate wink to classics of theater and cinema in this poignant story of love, loss and compassion.
Synopsis: A Greek saying states that only women who have washed their eyes with tears can see clearly. This saying does... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#110
#110
Adjusted Score: 89908%
Critics Consensus: With Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers have crafted another clever comedy/thriller with an outlandish plot and memorable characters.
Synopsis: When a disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst (John Malkovich) falls into the hands of Linda Litzke (Frances... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#109

Legally Blonde (2001)
70%

#109
Adjusted Score: 75639%
Critics Consensus: Though the material is predictable and formulaic, Reese Witherspoon's funny, nuanced performance makes this movie better than it would have been otherwise.
Synopsis: Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has it all. She wants nothing more than to be Mrs. Warner Huntington III. But there... [More]
Directed By: Robert Luketic

#108

Pride (2014)
92%

#108
Adjusted Score: 98186%
Critics Consensus: Earnest without being didactic and uplifting without stooping to sentimentality, Pride is a joyous crowd-pleaser that genuinely works.
Synopsis: Realizing that they share common foes in Margaret Thatcher, the police and the conservative press, London-based gays and lesbians lend... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Warchus

#107
Adjusted Score: 73376%
Critics Consensus: It's long, frantic, and stuffed to the gills with comic actors and set pieces -- and that's exactly its charm.
Synopsis: The story begins during a massive traffic jam, caused by reckless driver Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante), who, before kicking the... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kramer

#106

Beetlejuice (1988)
85%

#106
Adjusted Score: 89914%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly bizarre and overflowing with ideas, Beetlejuice offers some of Michael Keaton's most deliciously manic work - and creepy, funny fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#105

House Party (1990)
93%

#105
Adjusted Score: 94796%
Critics Consensus: House Party is a light, entertaining teen comedy with an infectious energy.
Synopsis: Play's parents are out of town, and he's planning the house party to end all house parties. His best friend,... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#104

The Birdcage (1996)
81%

#104
Adjusted Score: 84022%
Critics Consensus: Mike Nichols wrangles agreeably amusing performances from Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in this fun, if not quite essential, remake of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles.
Synopsis: In this remake of the classic French farce "La Cage aux Folles," engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#103

City Slickers (1991)
91%

#103
Adjusted Score: 93194%
Critics Consensus: With a supremely talented cast and just enough midlife drama to add weight to its wildly silly overtones, City Slickers uses universal themes to earn big laughs.
Synopsis: Every year, three friends take a vacation away from their wives. This year, henpecked Phil (Daniel Stern), newly married Ed... [More]
Directed By: Ron Underwood

#102

Stripes (1981)
88%

#102
Adjusted Score: 89921%
Critics Consensus: A raucous military comedy that features Bill Murray and his merry cohorts approaching the peak of their talents.
Synopsis: Hard-luck cabbie John Winger (Bill Murray) -- directionless after being fired from his job and dumped by his girlfriend --... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#101
Adjusted Score: 92019%
Critics Consensus: A zany horror spoof that plays up and then plays into the best of Universal horror cliches.
Synopsis: In the first of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's horror vehicles for Universal Pictures, the inimitable comic duo star as... [More]
Directed By: Charles Barton

#100

Clue (1985)
68%

#100
Adjusted Score: 69314%
Critics Consensus: A robust ensemble of game actors elevate Clue above its schematic source material, but this farce's reliance on novelty over organic wit makes its entertainment value a roll of the dice.
Synopsis: Based on the popular board game, this comedy begins at a dinner party hosted by Mr. Boddy, where he admits... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Lynn

#99

Spy (2015)
95%

#99
Adjusted Score: 104613%
Critics Consensus: Simultaneously broad and progressive, Spy offers further proof that Melissa McCarthy and writer-director Paul Feig bring out the best in one another -- and delivers scores of belly laughs along the way.
Synopsis: Despite having solid field training, CIA analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) has spent her entire career as a desk jockey,... [More]
Directed By: Paul Feig

#98
#98
Adjusted Score: 70537%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Chino (Jon Seda) isn't the best husband to Lisette (Lauren Vélez). His job as a bicycle messenger can barely support... [More]
Directed By: Darnell Martin

#97
#97
Adjusted Score: 86333%
Critics Consensus: Though there was controversy over the choice of casting, Zellweger's Bridget Jones is a sympathetic, likable, funny character, giving this romantic comedy a lot of charm.
Synopsis: At the start of the New Year, 32-year-old Bridget (Renée Zellweger) decides it's time to take control of her life... [More]
Directed By: Sharon Maguire

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: 97892%
Critics Consensus: Black's exuberant, gleeful performance turns School of Rock into a hilarious, rocking good time.
Synopsis: Overly enthusiastic guitarist Dewey Finn (Jack Black) gets thrown out of his bar band and finds himself in desperate need... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#95

Moonstruck (1987)
94%

#95
Adjusted Score: 98239%
Critics Consensus: Led by energetic performances from Nicolas Cage and Cher, Moonstruck is an exuberantly funny tribute to love and one of the decade's most appealing comedies.
Synopsis: No sooner does Italian-American widow Loretta (Cher) accept a marriage proposal from her doltish boyfriend, Johnny (Danny Aiello), than she... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#94

The In-Laws (1979)
88%

#94
Adjusted Score: 88444%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Mild-mannered dentist Sheldon Kornpett (Alan Arkin) is uncomfortable with his daughter's marriage after meeting her future father-in-law, Vincent Ricardo (Peter... [More]
Directed By: Arthur Hiller

#93

The Ladykillers (1955)
100%

#93
Adjusted Score: 102462%
Critics Consensus: The Ladykillers is a macabre slow-burn with quirky performances of even quirkier characters.
Synopsis: Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) likes to report suspicious behavior to the police. Unaware of her reputation, the dapper thief Professor... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Mackendrick

#92
#92
Adjusted Score: 85383%
Critics Consensus: Sentimental and light, but still thoroughly charming, A League of Their Own is buoyed by solid performances from a wonderful cast.
Synopsis: As America's stock of athletic young men is depleted during World War II, a professional all-female baseball league springs up... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#91
#91
Adjusted Score: 90821%
Critics Consensus: A buoyant, clever update of the conman flick Bedtime Story, with plenty of comedic jousting resulting from a winning chemistry between Michael Caine and Steve Martin.
Synopsis: Con artist Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine) is a longtime resident of a luxurious coastal resort, where he enjoys the fruits... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 93129%
Critics Consensus: A well-calibrated blend of manic comedy and poignant drama, Good Morning, Vietnam offers a captivating look at a wide range of Robin Williams' cinematic gifts.
Synopsis: Radio funny man Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams) is sent to Vietnam to bring a little comedy back into the lives... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#89

M*A*S*H (1970)
84%

#89
Adjusted Score: 88751%
Critics Consensus: Bold, timely, subversive, and above all funny, M*A*S*H remains a high point in Robert Altman's distinguished filmography.
Synopsis: Based on the novel by Richard Hooker, "M*A*S*H" follows a group of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital officers at they perform... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 96269%
Critics Consensus: Rob Reiner's touching, funny film set a new standard for romantic comedies, and he was ably abetted by the sharp interplay between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.
Synopsis: In 1977, college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) share a contentious car ride from Chicago... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#87
Adjusted Score: 79212%
Critics Consensus: The likable leads and subversion of racial stereotypes elevate Harold and Kumar above the typical stoner comedy.
Synopsis: Nerdy accountant Harold (John Cho) and his irrepressible friend, Kumar (Kal Penn), get stoned watching television and find themselves utterly... [More]
Directed By: Danny Leiner

#86
#86
Adjusted Score: 78600%
Critics Consensus: A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.
Synopsis: In small-town Preston, Idaho, awkward teen Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) has trouble fitting in. After his grandmother is injured in... [More]
Directed By: Jared Hess

#85

Arthur (1981)
88%

#85
Adjusted Score: 90250%
Critics Consensus: Dudley Moore brings a boozy charm to Arthur, a coming of age tale for a wayward millionaire that deploys energetic cast chemistry and spiffy humor to jovial effect.
Synopsis: Wealthy New York City playboy Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) is perpetually drunk and completely rudderless. Dutifully supported by his sharp-tongued... [More]
Directed By: Steve Gordon

#84

Tootsie (1982)
90%

#84
Adjusted Score: 94471%
Critics Consensus: Tootsie doesn't squander its high-concept comedy premise with fine dialogue and sympathetic treatment of the characters.
Synopsis: New York actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a talented perfectionist who is so hard on himself and others that... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#83

Best in Show (2000)
93%

#83
Adjusted Score: 97831%
Critics Consensus: A fine example of writer-director-star Christopher Guest's gift for improv comedy, Best in Show boasts an appealingly quirky premise and a brilliantly talented cast.
Synopsis: The tension is palpable, the excitement is mounting and the heady scent of competition is in the air as hundreds... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Guest

#82
Adjusted Score: 97562%
Critics Consensus: While its premise is ripe for comedy -- and it certainly delivers its fair share of laughs -- Priscilla is also a surprisingly tender and thoughtful road movie with some outstanding performances.
Synopsis: When drag queen Anthony (Hugo Weaving) agrees to take his act on the road, he invites fellow cross-dresser Adam (Guy... [More]
Directed By: Stephan Elliott

#81

Mean Girls (2004)
84%

#81
Adjusted Score: 90854%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by a brilliant screenplay and outstanding ensemble cast, Mean Girls finds fresh, female-fronted humor in the high school experience.
Synopsis: Teenage Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) was educated in Africa by her scientist parents. When her family moves to the suburbs... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#80

Spaceballs (1987)
56%

#80
Adjusted Score: 58323%
Critics Consensus: There's fine spoofery and amusing characters in Spaceballs, though it's a far cry from Mel Brooks' peak era.
Synopsis: In a distant galaxy, planet Spaceball has depleted its air supply, leaving its citizens reliant on a product called "Perri-Air."... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#79

Sister Act (1992)
74%

#79
Adjusted Score: 75616%
Critics Consensus: Looking for a sweet musical comedy about a witness to a crime hiding out from killers in a convent? There's nun better than Sister Act.
Synopsis: When lively lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) sees her mobster beau, Vince LaRocca (Harvey Keitel), commit murder, she... [More]
Directed By: Emile Ardolino

#78

Step Brothers (2008)
55%

#78
Adjusted Score: 63191%
Critics Consensus: Step Brothers indulges in a cheerfully relentless immaturity that will quickly turn off viewers unamused by Ferrell and Reilly -- and delight those who find their antics hilarious.
Synopsis: Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) have one thing in common: they are both lazy, unemployed... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#77

UHF (1989)
61%

#77
Adjusted Score: 61410%
Critics Consensus: UHF is bizarre, freewheeling, and spotty, though its anarchic spirit cannot be denied.
Synopsis: After losing yet another job, George (Weird Al Yankovic) wonders if there is any career that can handle his outrageous... [More]
Directed By: Jay Levey

#76
Adjusted Score: 97281%
Critics Consensus: Blessed by a brilliantly befuddled star turn from Chevy Chase, National Lampoon's Vacation is one of the more consistent -- and thoroughly quotable -- screwball comedies of the 1980s.
Synopsis: Accompanied by their children (Dana Barron, Anthony Michael Hall), Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his wife, Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), are... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#75

Galaxy Quest (1999)
90%

#75
Adjusted Score: 94479%
Critics Consensus: Intelligent and humorous satire with an excellent cast -- no previous Trekkie knowledge needed to enjoy this one.
Synopsis: The stars of a 1970s sci-fi show - now scraping a living through re-runs and sci-fi conventions - are beamed... [More]
Directed By: Dean Parisot

#74

Harold and Maude (1971)
85%

#74
Adjusted Score: 89694%
Critics Consensus: Hal Ashby's comedy is too dark and twisted for some, and occasionally oversteps its bounds, but there's no denying the film's warm humor and big heart.
Synopsis: Cult classic pairs Cort as a dead-pan disillusioned 20-year-old obsessed with suicide and a loveable Gordon as a fun-loving 80-year-old... [More]
Directed By: Hal Ashby

#73

Meet the Parents (2000)
84%

#73
Adjusted Score: 88602%
Critics Consensus: Despite sometimes sitcom-like execution, Meet the Parents is a hilarious look at familial relationships that works mostly because the chemistry between its two leads is so effective.
Synopsis: Everything that can possibly go wrong for groom-to-be Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) does. The problems begin with Greg's disastrous first... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#72

Girls Trip (2017)
92%

#72
Adjusted Score: 103938%
Critics Consensus: Girls Trip is the rare R-rated comedy that pushes boundaries to truly comedic effect -- and anchors its laughs in compelling characters brought to life by a brilliantly assembled cast.
Synopsis: Best friends Ryan, Sasha, Lisa and Dina are in for the adventure of a lifetime when they travel to New... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#71

Being There (1979)
95%

#71
Adjusted Score: 98802%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sophisticated, and refreshingly subtle, Being There soars behind sensitive direction from Hal Ashby and a stellar Peter Sellers performance.
Synopsis: Simple-minded Chance (Peter Sellers), a gardener who has resided in the Washington, D.C., townhouse of his wealthy employer for his... [More]
Directed By: Hal Ashby

#70

Wayne's World (1992)
79%

#70
Adjusted Score: 85671%
Critics Consensus: An oddball comedy that revels in its silliness and memorable catch phrases, Wayne's World is also fondly regarded because of its endearing characters.
Synopsis: A big screen spin-off of the "Saturday Night Live" skit. Rob Lowe plays a producer that wants to take the... [More]
Directed By: Penelope Spheeris

#69
Adjusted Score: 83140%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
Synopsis: Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend,... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#68
#68
Adjusted Score: 85756%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Writer and notorious marriage detractor Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) falls for girl-next-door Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), and they tie the... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

#67

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
91%

#67
Adjusted Score: 97488%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Hustle blends special effects, martial arts, and the Looney Toons to hilarious effect.
Synopsis: When the hapless Sing (Stephen Chow) and his dim-witted pal, Bone (Feng Xiaogang), try to scam the residents of Pig... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chow

#66

Booksmart (2019)
96%

#66
Adjusted Score: 119724%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy.
Synopsis: Academic overachievers Amy and Molly thought keeping their noses to the grindstone gave them a leg up on their high... [More]
Directed By: Olivia Wilde

#65

Heathers (1989)
93%

#65
Adjusted Score: 96383%
Critics Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.
Synopsis: Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lehmann

#64

Playtime (1967)
98%

#64
Adjusted Score: 104497%
Critics Consensus: A remarkable achievement, Playtime's packs every scene with sight gags and characters that both celebrates and satirizes the urbanization of modern life.
Synopsis: Clumsy Monsieur Hulot (Jacques Tati) finds himself perplexed by the intimidating complexity of a gadget-filled Paris. He attempts to meet... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tati

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 87475%
Critics Consensus: The buddy cop movie continues its evolution unabated with this Eddie Murphy vehicle that's fast, furious, and funny.
Synopsis: After his childhood buddy is murdered while visiting Detroit, rebellious cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) follows the leads to Beverly... [More]
Directed By: Martin Brest

#62

Office Space (1999)
80%

#62
Adjusted Score: 84246%
Critics Consensus: Mike Judge lampoons the office grind with its inspired mix of sharp dialogue and witty one-liners.
Synopsis: Corporate drone Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) hates his soul-killing job at software company Initech. While undergoing hypnotherapy, Peter is left... [More]
Directed By: Mike Judge

#61
Adjusted Score: 99929%
Critics Consensus: While frothy to a fault, Four Weddings and a Funeral features irresistibly breezy humor, and winsome performances from Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell.
Synopsis: Lovable Englishman Charles (Hugh Grant) and his group of friends seem to be unlucky in love. When Charles meets a... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#60

The Graduate (1967)
87%

#60
Adjusted Score: 94165%
Critics Consensus: The music, the performances, the precision in capturing the post-college malaise -- The Graduate's coming-of-age story is indeed one for the ages.
Synopsis: Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has just finished college and, back at his parents' house, he's trying to avoid the one... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#59
#59
Adjusted Score: 88021%
Critics Consensus: Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.
Synopsis: Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) has an uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away with it. Intending to make one... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#58
Adjusted Score: 87388%
Critics Consensus: There's Something About Mary proves that unrelentingly, unabashedly peurile humor doesn't necessarily come at the expense of a film's heart.
Synopsis: Ted's (Ben Stiller) dream prom date with Mary (Cameron Diaz) never happens due to an embarrassing injury at her home.... [More]

#57
Adjusted Score: 100021%
Critics Consensus: Part satire, part shockumentary,Borat gets high-fives almost all-around for being offensive in the funniest possible way. Jagshemash!
Synopsis: Outrageous situations occur when Borat, a popular reporter (Sacha Baron Cohen) from Kazakhstan, comes to the United States to film... [More]
Directed By: Larry Charles

#56

Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
92%

#56
Adjusted Score: 95576%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A kindly movie projectionist (Buster Keaton) longs to be a detective. When his fiancée (Kathryn McGuire) is robbed by a... [More]
Directed By: Buster Keaton

#55

Friday (1995)
78%

#55
Adjusted Score: 78303%
Critics Consensus: What Friday might lack in taut construction or directorial flair, it more than makes up with its vibrant (albeit consistently crass) humor and the charming, energetic performances of its leads.
Synopsis: It's Friday and Craig Jones (Ice Cube) has just gotten fired for stealing cardboard boxes. To make matters worse, rent... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#54

Superbad (2007)
88%

#54
Adjusted Score: 97117%
Critics Consensus: Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience.
Synopsis: High-school seniors Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) have high hopes for a graduation party: The co-dependent teens plan... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola

#53

Hot Fuzz (2007)
91%

#53
Adjusted Score: 99761%
Critics Consensus: The brilliant minds behind Shaun of the Dead successfully take a shot at the buddy cop genre with Hot Fuzz. The result is a bitingly satiric and hugely entertaining parody.
Synopsis: As a former London constable, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) finds if difficult to adapt to his new assignment in the... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#52

The Hangover (2009)
78%

#52
Adjusted Score: 87951%
Critics Consensus: With a clever script and hilarious interplay among the cast, The Hangover nails just the right tone of raunchy humor, and the non-stop laughs overshadow any flaw.
Synopsis: Two days before his wedding, Doug (Justin Bartha) and three friends (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis) drive to Las... [More]
Directed By: Todd Phillips

#51

Elf (2003)
85%

#51
Adjusted Score: 91985%
Critics Consensus: A movie full of Yuletide cheer, Elf is a spirited, good-natured family comedy, and it benefits greatly from Will Ferrell's funny and charming performance as one of Santa's biggest helpers.
Synopsis: Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa's elves.... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#50
Adjusted Score: 96233%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the impeccable chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy, as well as a deft mix of humor and heart, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a hilarious, heartfelt holiday classic.
Synopsis: Easily excitable Neal Page (Steve Martin) is somewhat of a control freak. Trying to get home to Chicago to spend... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#49
#49
Adjusted Score: 100471%
Critics Consensus: Smartly written, smoothly directed, and solidly cast, A Fish Called Wanda offers a classic example of a brainy comedy with widespread appeal.
Synopsis: British gangster George Thomason (Tom Georgeson) and his hapless aide, Ken Pile (Michael Palin), draft a pair of arrogant Americans,... [More]

#48
Adjusted Score: 73351%
Critics Consensus: Filled with inspired silliness and quotable lines, Anchorman isn't the most consistent comedy in the world, but Will Ferrell's buffoonish central performance helps keep this portrait of a clueless newsman from going off the rails.
Synopsis: Hotshot television anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) welcomes upstart reporter Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) into the male-dominated world of 1970s... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#47

Ghostbusters (1984)
97%

#47
Adjusted Score: 102961%
Critics Consensus: An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray's hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns.
Synopsis: After the members of a team of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#46
Adjusted Score: 75934%
Critics Consensus: A light and goofy comedy which provides laughs, largely due to performances and screenwriting by Myers.
Synopsis: A world-class playboy and part-time special agent, Powers is defrosted after 30 years in a cryogenic freeze to match wits... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#45

Dumb & Dumber (1994)
68%

#45
Adjusted Score: 70654%
Critics Consensus: A relentlessly stupid comedy elevated by its main actors: Jim Carrey goes bonkers and Jeff Daniels carries himself admirably in an against-type performance.
Synopsis: Imbecilic best friends Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) stumble across a suitcase full of money left... [More]

#44

The Odd Couple (1968)
97%

#44
Adjusted Score: 101012%
Critics Consensus: Enlivening Neil Simon's crackerjack script with their harmonious rapport, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are a perfect pairing as The Odd Couple.
Synopsis: When fussy Felix (Jack Lemmon) becomes suicidal over his impending divorce, he accepts an offer to move in with his... [More]
Directed By: Gene Saks

#43

The Producers (1968)
90%

#43
Adjusted Score: 98628%
Critics Consensus: A hilarious satire of the business side of Hollywood, The Producers is one of Mel Brooks' finest, as well as funniest films, featuring standout performances by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.
Synopsis: Down and out producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel), who was once the toast of Broadway, trades sexual favors with old... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#42

Clerks (1994)
89%

#42
Adjusted Score: 92512%
Critics Consensus: With its quirky characters and clever, quotable dialogue, Clerks is the ultimate clarion call for slackers everywhere to unite and, uh, do something we guess?
Synopsis: Dante (Brian O'Halloran) is called in to cover a shift at his New Jersey convenience store on his day off.... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 103470%
Critics Consensus: Smarter, fresher, and funnier than a modern vampire movie has any right to be, What We Do in the Shadows is bloody good fun.
Synopsis: Vampire housemates (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh) try to cope with the complexities of modern life and show a... [More]

#40

The Lady Eve (1941)
100%

#40
Adjusted Score: 106003%
Critics Consensus: A career highlight for Preston Sturges, The Lady Eve benefits from Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda's sparkling chemistry -- and a script that inspired countless battle-of-the-sexes comedies.
Synopsis: It's no accident when wealthy Charles (Henry Fonda) falls for Jean (Barbara Stanwyck). Jean is a con artist with her... [More]
Directed By: Preston Sturges

#39

What's Up, Doc? (1972)
89%

#39
Adjusted Score: 92565%
Critics Consensus: Barbra Streisand was never more likable than in this energetic, often hilarious screwball farce from director Peter Bogdanovich.
Synopsis: Two researchers have come to San Francisco to compete for a research grant in music. The man seems a bit... [More]
Directed By: Peter Bogdanovich

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 110495%
Critics Consensus: Watermelons may go out of season, but in A Night at the Opera, the Marx Brothers' daffy laughs are never anything less than uproariously fresh.
Synopsis: The Marx Brothers run amuck in the world of opera when Otis B. Driftwood (Groucho Marx) meets aspiring singer Ricardo... [More]
Directed By: Sam Wood

#37

Adam's Rib (1949)
96%

#37
Adjusted Score: 99919%
Critics Consensus: Matched by Garson Kanin's witty, sophisticated screenplay, George Cukor, Spencer Tracy, and Katherine Hepburn are all in top form in the classic comedy Adam's Rib.
Synopsis: A courtroom rivalry finds its way into the household when prosecuting lawyer Adam Bonner (Spencer Tracy) faces off against his... [More]
Directed By: George Cukor

#36

Sullivan's Travels (1941)
100%

#36
Adjusted Score: 103922%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Successful movie director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea), convinced he won't be able to film his ambitious masterpiece until he... [More]
Directed By: Preston Sturges

#35

Caddyshack (1980)
73%

#35
Adjusted Score: 77445%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly crude and juvenile, Caddyshack nevertheless scores with its classic slapstick, unforgettable characters, and endlessly quotable dialogue.
Synopsis: Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe), a teen down on his luck, works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 99670%
Critics Consensus: Charlie Chaplin demonstrates that his comedic voice is undiminished by dialogue in this rousing satire of tyranny, which may be more distinguished by its uplifting humanism than its gags.
Synopsis: After dedicated service in the Great War, a Jewish barber (Charles Chaplin) spends years in an army hospital recovering from... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 112862%
Critics Consensus: Offering a wonderfully witty script, spotless direction from George Cukor, and typically excellent lead performances, The Philadelphia Story is an unqualified classic.
Synopsis: This classic romantic comedy focuses on Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn), a Philadelphia socialite who has split from her husband, C.K.... [More]
Directed By: George Cukor

#32

Raising Arizona (1987)
91%

#32
Adjusted Score: 95570%
Critics Consensus: A terrifically original, eccentric screwball comedy, Raising Arizona may not be the Coens' most disciplined movie, but it's one of their most purely entertaining.
Synopsis: An ex-con and an ex-cop meet, marry and long for a child of their own. When it is discovered that... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#31

Clueless (1995)
81%

#31
Adjusted Score: 89305%
Critics Consensus: A funny and clever reshaping of Emma, Clueless offers a soft satire that pokes as much fun at teen films as it does at the Beverly Hills glitterati.
Synopsis: Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking scale.... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#30

Annie Hall (1977)
96%

#30
Adjusted Score: 104280%
Critics Consensus: Filled with poignant performances and devastating humor, Annie Hall represents a quantum leap for Woody Allen and remains an American classic.
Synopsis: Comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) examines the rise and fall of his relationship with struggling nightclub singer Annie Hall (Diane... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#29

His Girl Friday (1940)
99%

#29
Adjusted Score: 112567%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by stellar performances from Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, His Girl Friday is possibly the definitive screwball romantic comedy.
Synopsis: When hard-charging New York newspaper editor Walter Burns discovers that his ex-wife, investigative reporter Hildy Johnson, has gotten engaged to... [More]
Directed By: Howard Hawks

#28

Withnail and I (1987)
94%

#28
Adjusted Score: 94623%
Critics Consensus: Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann prove irresistibly hilarious as two misanthropic slackers in Withnail and I, a biting examination of artists living on the fringes of prosperity and good taste.
Synopsis: Two out-of-work actors -- the anxious, luckless Marwood (Paul McGann) and his acerbic, alcoholic friend, Withnail (Richard E. Grant) --... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Robinson

#27

Trading Places (1983)
88%

#27
Adjusted Score: 89071%
Critics Consensus: Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire.
Synopsis: Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#26

Bridesmaids (2011)
90%

#26
Adjusted Score: 103078%
Critics Consensus: A marriage of genuine characters, gross out gags, and pathos, Bridesmaids is a female-driven comedy that refuses to be boxed in as Kristen Wiig emerges as a real star.
Synopsis: Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a single woman whose own life is a mess, but when she learns that her lifelong... [More]
Directed By: Paul Feig

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 101911%
Critics Consensus: Made with obvious affection for the original, Young Frankenstein is a riotously silly spoof featuring a fantastic performance by Gene Wilder.
Synopsis: Respected medical lecturer Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) learns that he has inherited his infamous grandfather's estate in Transylvania. Arriving... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 100666%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store,... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#23

The Naked Gun (1988)
88%

#23
Adjusted Score: 91212%
Critics Consensus: The Naked Gun is loaded chock full of gags that are goofy, unapologetically crass, and ultimately hilarious.
Synopsis: Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen), a rather clueless police detective, tries to foil a plot to turn innocent people into assassins... [More]
Directed By: David Zucker

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 81820%
Critics Consensus: Too over the top for its own good, but ultimately rescued by the cast's charm, director John Landis' grace, and several soul-stirring musical numbers.
Synopsis: After his release from prison, Jake (John Belushi) reunites with his brother, Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) -- collectively known as the... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 75954%
Critics Consensus: Eddie Murphy was in full control at this point, starkly evident in Coming to America's John Landis' coasting direction.
Synopsis: Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#20

Life of Brian (1979)
95%

#20
Adjusted Score: 101444%
Critics Consensus: One of the more cutting-edge films of the 1970s, this religious farce from the classic comedy troupe is as poignant as it is funny and satirical.
Synopsis: Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman) is an average young Jewish man, but through a series of ridiculous events, he gains a... [More]
Directed By: Terry Jones

#19

The Jerk (1979)
83%

#19
Adjusted Score: 85173%
Critics Consensus: Crude, crass, and oh so quotable, The Jerk is nothing short of an all-out comedic showcase for Steve Martin.
Synopsis: Navin (Steve Martin) believes he was born a poor black child in Mississippi. He is, however, actually white. Upon figuring... [More]
Directed By: Carl Reiner

#18

The General (1926)
92%

#18
Adjusted Score: 97203%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly filmed and fueled with classic physical comedy, The General captures Buster Keaton at his timeless best.
Synopsis: One of the most revered comedies of the silent era, this film finds hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Buster... [More]

#17

The Thin Man (1934)
98%

#17
Adjusted Score: 104467%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an involving mystery and sparkling repartee between William Powell and Myrna Loy, The Thin Man is an endlessly charming romp.
Synopsis: The recently divorced Clyde Wynant discovers that his new girlfriend has stolen $50,000 and is carrying on with other men.... [More]
Directed By: W. S. Van Dyke

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 100271%
Critics Consensus: Smartly directed, brilliantly acted, and packed with endlessly quotable moments, This Is Spinal Tap is an all-time comedy classic.
Synopsis: "This Is Spinal Tap" shines a light on the self-contained universe of a metal band struggling to get back on... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#15
Adjusted Score: 95402%
Critics Consensus: The talents of director John Landis and Saturday Night Live's irrepressible John Belushi conspired to create a rambunctious, subversive college comedy that continues to resonate.
Synopsis: When they arrive at college, socially inept freshmen Larry (Thomas Hulce) and Kent (Stephen Furst) attempt to pledge the snooty... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#14

Blazing Saddles (1974)
88%

#14
Adjusted Score: 94068%
Critics Consensus: Daring, provocative, and laugh-out-loud funny, Blazing Saddles is a gleefully vulgar spoof of Westerns that marks a high point in Mel Brooks' storied career.
Synopsis: In this satirical take on Westerns, crafty railroad worker Bart (Cleavon Little) becomes the first black sheriff of Rock Ridge,... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#13

Bringing Up Baby (1938)
94%

#13
Adjusted Score: 103633%
Critics Consensus: With Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant at their effervescent best, Bringing Up Baby is a seamlessly assembled comedy with enduring appeal.
Synopsis: Harried paleontologist David Huxley (Cary Grant) has to make a good impression on society matron Mrs. Random (May Robson), who... [More]
Directed By: Howard Hawks

#12

Modern Times (1936)
98%

#12
Adjusted Score: 116439%
Critics Consensus: A slapstick skewering of industrialized America, Modern Times is as politically incisive as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Synopsis: This comedic masterpiece finds the iconic Little Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) employed at a state-of-the-art factory where the inescapable machinery completely... [More]
Directed By: Charlie Chaplin

#11

The Apartment (1960)
93%

#11
Adjusted Score: 101914%
Critics Consensus: Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos.
Synopsis: Insurance worker C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lends his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs.... [More]
Directed By: Billy Wilder

#10

Groundhog Day (1993)
97%

#10
Adjusted Score: 104067%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sweet, and inventive, Groundhog Day highlights Murray's dramatic gifts while still leaving plenty of room for laughs.
Synopsis: Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 104033%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#8
Adjusted Score: 106024%
Critics Consensus: Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Cold War satire remains as funny and razor-sharp today as it was in 1964.
Synopsis: A film about what could happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button -- and it played the situation... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#7

Duck Soup (1933)
91%

#7
Adjusted Score: 98391%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by inspired silliness and blessed with some of the Marx brothers' most brilliant work, Duck Soup is one of its -- or any -- era's finest comedies.
Synopsis: When the tiny nation of Freedonia goes bankrupt, its wealthy benefactor, Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont), insists that the wacky Rufus... [More]
Directed By: Leo McCarey

#6

The Big Lebowski (1998)
83%

#6
Adjusted Score: 89049%
Critics Consensus: Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.
Synopsis: Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski who insists on being called "the Dude," a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 116297%
Critics Consensus: Capturing its stars and director at their finest, It Happened One Night remains unsurpassed by the countless romantic comedies it has inspired.
Synopsis: In Frank Capra's acclaimed romantic comedy, spoiled heiress Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) impetuously marries the scheming King Westley, leading her... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

#4

Some Like It Hot (1959)
94%

#4
Adjusted Score: 99160%
Critics Consensus: Some Like It Hot: A spry, quick-witted farce that never drags.
Synopsis: After witnessing a Mafia murder, slick saxophone player Joe (Tony Curtis) and his long-suffering buddy, Jerry (Jack Lemmon), improvise a... [More]
Directed By: Billy Wilder

#3
Adjusted Score: 105786%
Critics Consensus: A cult classic as gut-bustingly hilarious as it is blithely ridiculous, Monty Python and the Holy Grail has lost none of its exceedingly silly charm.
Synopsis: A comedic send-up of the grim circumstances of the Middle Ages as told through the story of King Arthur and... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones

#2

Airplane! (1980)
97%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103487%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly juvenile and silly, Airplane! is nevertheless an uproarious spoof comedy full of quotable lines and slapstick gags that endure to this day.
Synopsis: This spoof comedy takes shots at the slew of disaster movies that were released in the 70s. When the passengers... [More]

#1

City Lights (1931)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 103109%
Critics Consensus: One of the best underdog romance movies ever, with an ending that will light up any heart.
Synopsis: A hapless but resilient tramp (Charlie Chaplin) falls in love with a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill) on the tough... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

Rich Fury/Getty Images

(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Australian pop singer Troye Sivan appears this month in Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased, the star-studded awards contender that goes behind the scenes of the controversial and mystery-shrouded practice of conversion therapy. The film is an adaptation of Garrard Conley’s memoir of the same name, which reflects on the time that the author’s religious parents – played by Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe – forced him into conversation therapy after he came out to them. Sivan plays Gary, a teenager in therapy with Jared (the Conley character, played by Lucas Hedges), and who is one of the few kids to see through the practice and the man in charge of it.

Sivan, who came out in a YouTube video in his late teens, told Rotten Tomatoes he hopes parents see the movie – “like every parent in the world.” He added, “What’s so nice about this movie is that no one is a villain in it, and it’s a real genuine conversation and exploration of parents who love their kids and who are worried for their kids and do what they think is right for their kids – the movie explores how wrong that can go. I think the thing that’s missing is education. I’m hoping that the movie really is a part of that education for parents to kind of guide them in what I think is the right way to handle an LGBT child.”

Ahead of the film’s opening in limited release, Sivan shared his Five Favorite Films with Rotten Tomatoes.


Moulin Rouge (2001) 76%

The first film is Moulin Rouge! — weird because I’m seeing Nicole Kidman later today, not to brag. I’m pretty stoked about that. I first saw it at a family friend’s house and they put it on for me because they thought I’d like it, they knew that I liked music. But the first 10 minutes of that movie are absolute chaos, like full-fledged chaos. So, I was like, I hate this, I don’t know what this is. I gave it a second try and watched it through the first 10 minutes and then the story started to come together and it became my favorite movie.

I love that movie so much. I love the visuals, love the music in it, and just yeah, it spoke to my little gay heart when I was a kid.

Inglourious Basterds (2009) 89%

For me it’s a classic, and any time that I get to kind of live a fantasy of – it sounds awful – but of Nazis getting what they deserve, I am down with it.

Are you a big Tarantino fan?

I’m not not a fan. I just haven’t seen all of his movies, but I should because I love that movie so much. It’s just one of those movies that I feel like I can watch any time and enjoy it. And it’s weird as well, because I’m Jewish and really sensitive to a lot of Holocaust [material] and World War II stuff, and so I try to steer clear of those movies. But I think maybe because it’s fantastical enough and because of the alternative ending, that movie has always been okay for me to watch and doesn’t upset me too much.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) 92%

Grand Budapest Hotel is probably my favorite movie ever. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel so safe, and anytime I’m even remotely stressed, I’ll put on that movie and I feel like it transports me to another universe. It was the first Wes Anderson movie that I ever saw.

The thing that sticks out to me the most is the humor. I find the movie really, really, really funny. And then of course the set design and the way that it’s shot – everything is so gorgeous. But for me it’s just one of those movies that keeps you on your toes. You never really know [what’s going to happen]. It’s a simple, classic, good story that’s just told so beautifully, that it feels so artful and considered, and I just really appreciate that.

This list makes me realize that I really appreciate a director with real perspective, and the films are very stylized. That’s my vibe, and I think the Grand Budapest is an impeccable example of that.

Juno (2007) 94%

That movie for me was quirky done right. I feel like a lot of the time for me quirky is cringe-y, and it’s easy to mess up; Juno felt genuinely quirky and just cute, and the soundtrack is really inspiring to me because it’s got such a vision and perspective and such a sound to it. I love that movie. I think it’s really heartwarming.

Up in the Air (2009) 90%

I used to be really homesick as a kid. I never had sleepovers or anything like that with my friends ever, because I would have panic attacks and wanna go home. And then I watched Up In the Air, and watching George Clooney pack his suitcase so neatly and hop on the plane and just be so organized made me wanna travel by myself and made me love hotels and stuff like that. And I just love the movie as well. It gave me the courage to travel by myself for the first time and leave home.

The thing that kinda sucks is that I have a feeling that if I was to rewatch it now, it would be depressing. At the time that I watched it for the first time, it was ambitious – I wanted to travel all the time like that and I thought it was so cool. And then, as you know, the movie gets kind of dark and sad and it’s like, “What are you running from?” At the time that didn’t apply to me, but now I wonder if I would watch it back and be like, “Oh god, this is really too real.”


Boy Erased is in limited release Friday November 2. 

(Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

For decades, prolific character actor J.K. Simmons was a familiar face in supporting roles on television and film, showing up for a handful of scenes and stealing every single one of them with his effortless charisma and trademark baritone. His gradual rise to fame has included a number of milestones; HBO’s prison drama Oz, NBC’s Law & Order, the TNT drama The Closer, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, and Jason Reitman’s Oscar-winning Juno all served to showcase Simmons’ versatility, and he made the most of every opportunity. If audiences had some trouble naming the actor early in his career, that all changed when he took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2014 for his portrayal of ruthless jazz instructor Terence Fletcher in Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash.

Simmons’ relentless work ethic is on display again this week, as he appears in two films opening on Friday: the indie dramedy The Bachelors and the serial killer thriller The Snowman. He spoke with RT on the phone about his Five Favorite Films, noting that these were only five of his favorite films, “because I prefer not to be definitive or rank things.” Fair enough. He also talked about his experiences on Juno and Whiplash, discussed the progression of his career, and told us what he could about his role in the upcoming Justice League. Read on for the full interview.


To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) 93%

The first two that jump to mind are both from my formative years. One is To Kill a Mockingbird and the other was Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, both of which are films that I saw at a young age. Obviously To Kill a Mockingbird is, you know, one of the great novels of the 20th century, and a beautiful film adaptation of that that I think did a great job of… I mean, this is from a current perspective, having read the book a couple of times and read the book to my kids and seen the movie. But, at the time — I don’t know how old I was, if I was nine or eleven or twelve — but I was sort of viewing it from the perspective of the kids. The whole story is told from Scout’s perspective and the other kids, and like most kids growing up, I sort of saw Gregory Peck as the film version of my dad in the good guy standing up for what’s right and doing the right thing. Yeah, just a really well-made film with characters that I think are relatable to a really wide range of people, as all great storytelling is, whether it’s a film or a novel, or whatever it is. Something that’s accessible for a variety of ages and demographics and is something that speaks to a lot of people.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) 72%

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was the first sort of grown-up movie that I remember seeing with my parents, and if I’m not mistaken, I think it was at a drive-in theater, which half your audience doesn’t even know what that is. And that was like an odd movie for the drive-in.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) 94%

Another all-time favorite would be Cuckoo’s Nest, which was particularly interesting from my perspective because a year or so before the film came out, I had seen the play. I was in college, and I was studying music. I wasn’t into acting or theater or any of that at the time, but a friend of mine was in the play, in a little black box production of the play at the theater department at the University of Montana where I studied music. And I went to see it, and it was, in many ways, an interestingly cast production, but it was brilliant. It was one of the first pieces of theater I saw that had that, you know, that real raw kind of Steppenwolf vibe that really blew me away. So when the movie came out, I kinda felt like, “You know, I don’t think I want to see this movie,” because the play was really so well done. But then I saw the movie, and obviously, [director Milos] Forman and the entire cast, down to people that didn’t even speak on camera, that movie was just so wonderfully done.

Juno (2007) 94%

My last two are gonna be Whiplash and Juno, for obvious reasons. [laughsJuno came along, what is that, 10 years ago now? That came along when I had a nicely established career going and was paying my mortgage and putting my kids through their outrageous L.A. private school. We’d moved out from New York to L.A. two or three years before that, and I’d met Jason. I’d done Jason Reitman’s first feature, Thank You For Smoking, which is also an underrated film, by the way.

Actually, he joined our semi-regular poker game when I was playing it at the time. And he quickly became, from a guy who basically barely knew what beats what in poker, he quickly became one of the best players at the table just because he’s such a smart guy. But we were playing at my friend’s house, and Jason showed up and he just handed me this paper script and he said, “Hey, I’m gonna be working on this,” or, “I just got this,” or something sort of vague, and he said, “You gotta read this. This is so good. It’s by this writer nobody ever heard of.”

That night or the next day, I read the script, and of course immediately fell in love with the part of Juno’s dad, Mac MacGuff. You know, [Reitman] hadn’t said anything to me. He hadn’t said, “Look at this part,” or, “Look at that part.” So, I’m thinking, you know, maybe he wants me to play the drugstore guy in the first scene, or maybe he just wanted to share it with me because we’re pals now. I don’t know. It wasn’t until days later — and I wasn’t gonna say, “Hey, I wanna play this part” — it wasn’t until days later that he said, “Oh, God, of course, J.K. I want you to play the dad. Of course I do.” And he said, “I got the whole movie cast already in my head. I hope we get everybody I want.”

Of course, the people financing the movie wanted him to get some famous pop star to play Juno, and they wanted to get some very well-known actor to play Juno’s dad. There were lists of guys that were way more famous than I was, but they kept throwing at Jason saying, “Look, if you want to get this movie made and get the budget that you want to have, these are the kind of guys that you need to play Juno’s dad.” For both Ellen Page and for me — and really for most of the characters, for Michael Cera, for Allison Janney — you know, these were all the people that he had in mind as soon as he read the script, but he knew he wanted the cast in the movie. He went to bat for all of us, and Ellen and I actually had to do a full on screen test that he set up with film, on actual film, at a sound stage. Jason had us do a couple scenes from the movie to convince the money people that we were the actors that were gonna help make the movie the best it could be.

So that was a really nice vote of confidence from Jason, who, by the way, I just emailed five minutes before you called, because I’m gonna be doing his next movie, The Front Runner, which we start shooting in like less than two weeks.

Whiplash (2014) 94%

A little Whiplash anecdote is, of course, like everybody else, I had no idea who Damien Chazelle was. Jason Reitman was the one who sent me the script, in an email, for Whiplash. He sent me both the short and the feature script and just said, “Read this,” and obviously it’s from Jason so I’m gonna read it. It was again, obviously, probably one of the most brilliant scripts I had ever read and one of the best fits in terms of the character that I really immediately understood and felt like I could wrap my brain around and pull off.

They said, “The writer-director would love to meet you,” and we set up a lunch, and Damien and I sat down and immediately basically agreed on everything, except he didn’t know that I had a musical background, so he was talking about how we’d have body doubles and we’d have somebody coaching me on how to wave my arms around like a conductor. And I said, “Hey, we don’t need that because actually, that’s one of the arrows I have in my quiver.” That was one of those moments where it felt like kismet, that Damien was like, “Oh, my God.” He said, “When Jason and Helen suggested you for this part, I immediately thought that’s a great idea, but I had no idea that you actually had those kinds of abilities.” And also, he didn’t write the script for me, but he wrote it with Miles Teller in mind from the beginning, and didn’t know that Miles had been playing drums since he was 15 years old.


Ryan Fujitani for Rotten Tomatoes: I want to stick with Whiplash for a second. You’ve been one of the most reliable character actors for decades, and you’re always so good in everything. Just speaking personally, whenever you appear on screen, I almost always wish the scenes were longer. In that sense, seeing you in Whiplash was kind of like wish fulfillment for me, and I’m wondering, did you find it particularity gratifying to win the Oscar and be recognized specifically for a larger performance like that?

J.K. Simmons: Yeah, I mean, it was definitely gratifying to get all that attention that I got from that film and all the awards, culminating in the Oscar. That had never been sort of my raison d’etre as an actor. It was just a very nice, sort of, benefit of having the opportunity to play a brilliantly written role in a brilliantly written and executed movie and have it take off the way it did. And it felt like I was just kind of along for the ride that whole time, and all of a sudden I found myself walking red carpets and making acceptance speeches every other week. Yeah, it was a great ride. I’m glad it happened to me when I was 60, or pushing 60, instead of when I was young.

RT: Why is that?

Simmons: Well, my career arc has obviously been pretty gradual. I did nothing but theater for 20 years and in the first 10 or 12 years of that, I was doing little regional stuff that dozens of people were seeing. And then, when I started doing on camera acting, it was bit parts here and there. I didn’t really start making a comfortable living until, coincidentally, about the time I was grown-up enough to be getting married and having kids, which wasn’t until my early 40s.

I’ve worked with a lot of guys, a lot of young guys, who get a lot of attention. These guys or women who get a lot of attention are just famous when they’re young, and I think it’s an incredibly challenging thing for anybody to deal with. Whether it’s an actor, or an athlete, or a musician, or whatever, people who are such celebrities at such a young age, it kind of alters your perception — or it can alter your perception — of what life is about.

By the time all the attention came my way for Whiplash, I was already grown-up enough to know that it didn’t mean I was the center of the universe. It just meant I’d put in a lot of years doing some solid work, and I’d gotten the part that really drew a lot of attention. It almost felt like it was 75% an award, or awards, for my work in Whiplash and 25% kind of a “lifetime achievement, this guy’s been around a long time, let’s throw him some trophies” kind of award.

(Photo by Daniel McFadden/Sony Pictures Classics)

RT: I’ve read that you said you made a conscious decision to go into screen acting because theater just wasn’t paying the bills at the time. I’m wondering what the first role was that you landed that really felt like it was going to take you somewhere?

Simmons: Well, really, the screen acting transition, it was partly about money, but it was also partly because I’d kind of gotten to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for a theater guy, which was doing Broadway and being in long-running Broadway hit shows. Yeah, part of it was that it wasn’t making me rich, but more importantly it was kind of like doing the same show eight times a week, month after month after month. It just got to be tedious at times.

The last Broadway show I did was Laughter on the 23rd Floor, a Neil Simon play, and a lot of the cast was people who did both theater and screen acting, TV and film — Mark Linn-Baker, John Slattery, Nathan Lane. As I got to know them and hear their stories, I thought, “What? I’d like to be one of those guys.” So yeah, once in a while you walk out to the mailbox and get a surprise residual check, which you don’t get for theater, but also, you get opportunities to play different kinds of things and not have to repeat yourself 400+ times a year playing the same character.

RT: Early in your career, you were doing Law & Order at the same time that you were doing Oz, and the two characters you portrayed were like diametric opposites. I’m wondering if you think that that helped to raise your profile — not just the fact that they were two big shows, but that, together, they were sort of able to showcase your versatility.

Simmons: Yeah, the timing of those two different characters was one of the many, many, many fortunate breaks that I look back on and the career that’s gotten me to where I am now. Really, my first sort of big on-camera thing was a guest-starring role on Homicide: Life on the Street, the Tom Fontana show, and it was the first time that Homicide was doing a crossover episode with Law & Order. I had just started auditioning for TV and movies, and I had told my agent, “I’m not gonna do another play. I want to try and make this work for a while.” I had been in a week or two earlier for a nice guest-starring part on Law & Order and they didn’t hire me.

When they were casting this guy on Homicide, Ed Sherin — sweet, wonderful, Ed Sherin who passed away recently, and to whom I owe a lot, based on this one thing — they were talking about casting for this big crossover episode that was gonna get a lot of attention, and he said, “Hey, we just saw this guy his name is Simmons.” He said, “I think he’d be really good in this,” playing this, you know, bad guy, neo-Nazi bastard. And Fontana, he didn’t know who I was, and they talked about it, and they just offered me the part. I didn’t even have to go in and read for it. The next day I was on a train to Baltimore to go shoot this part, and it was a great, great part. It was almost like doing a play, because it was a big interrogation scene with Andre Braugher and Kyle Secor, like a 10-page scene, and it was challenging and beautifully written.

That’s what, within the next year, led to both Oz, and then a few months after Oz started, Law & Order called again and asked me to play the recurring shrink part, which was the perfect complement to playing Vern Schillinger on Oz, because once Oz started, half the calls my agent got were to play the Nazi bastard of the week on some TV show. And I was like, “Look, I know I’m new at this and beggars can’t be choosers,” but I said, “I am not gonna play that character for the rest of my life.” So I passed on all those kinds of parts, and then Law & Order started airing, and, you know, audiences saw this same guy playing the psycho and the psychiatrist, and it really helped me not get typecast for the next decade.

J.K. Simmons in Oz (Photo by HBO)

RT: Clearly, the decision not to go ahead with those other roles was the smart move.

Simmons: Yeah, and honestly, a lot of the time, people talk about, for an actor, all the smart choices of roles that you do, but oftentimes it’s as important, if not more important, the smart choices of the roles that you don’t do. Even when I was doing theater and kind of waiting tables in between gigs and barely paying my rent on my sublet in Hell’s Kitchen, if something just wasn’t interesting or there just didn’t seem like a good fit, like a part that I felt like I could do well, or just not something I liked, I would turn it down. I’d rather wait tables than do something that didn’t feel right.

RT: I think that speaks to your integrity as an artist who wants to express himself, and I think it reflects a certain kind of courage. I mean, you have to have courage to be able to do something like that, right?

Simmons: Well, you have to have courage/foolishness to get into this line of work in the first place, so yeah, I’ll take that as a major compliment.

RT: I’ve heard you describe the difference between a character actor and a “regular actor” is that character actors aren’t that good looking. With Whiplash, I feel like you’ve sort of ascended beyond character actor status. Does it feel like that to you at all? Do you feel sexier these days?

Simmons: [laughs] Oh, I always feel sexy, baby… mostly at home. Yeah, I mean, there are obviously myriad ways in which Whiplash was a career gift, and yeah, one of them is to be seen as — nobody’s gonna ever mistake me for Clooney or Pitt — but you know, to be seen as a guy that can walk into a room and bring some charisma or some intimidation factor, just bring a strong presence into the room. And again, once Whiplash came out, it was like when Oz first started and everybody wanted me to be the Nazi of the week. When Whiplash first came out, three quarters of the scripts were like, “Oh, let’s have him play the charismatic guy that screams at people and belittles them and reduces them to little stinking puddles,” and I thought, “You know, I just got done doing that in one of the best films ever, and that doesn’t mean I want to play that character again.”

I actually consciously looked for characters who were not charismatic, who were part of the woodwork or who were going through difficult journeys or who were not the alpha male, the guy in charge, as I will continue to do. What interests me is doing something different from whatever I’ve been doing recently. So, hopefully, that’ll continue to be the case.

The Bachelors, actually was another one of those. It was a part that I took because the guy was just a guy who, partly because it’s who he is and partly because of the circumstances of his recent life, he’s just a nonpresence. He’s, actually, the one thing he has in common with Whiplash is that he’s a teacher. In this case he’s a classroom math teacher, but he’s the guy that walks into the room and the kids don’t even stop talking. It’s very unlike Terence Fletcher, somewhat in appearance and certainly in character.

J.K. Simmons in Bojack Horseman (Photo by Netflix)

RT: Your versatility extends beyond just the dramatic characters you play, since you’ve shown you have great comic timing as well. But you’ve also done a lot of voice work. You have an extensive, impressive resume of animated stuff, which makes sense because you have such a distinctive voice. How did you come to be so involved in that side of the industry?

Simmons: Well, I actually first started getting a little voiceover work when I was doing Guys and Dolls on Broadway. It was 1992 and we were a gigantic, ridiculous hit. It was a beautiful, great, great, great, production directed by Jerry Zaks. And everybody in the cast was getting a lot of attention from agents. “Oh, we want to send you out for this or that,” booking mostly commercials. Half the commercials you see are Broadway actors cashing in a paycheck.

So I got a lot of commercial agents who called and wanted to send me out, and I had sort of tried commercials off and on and I wasn’t drawn to it, and I didn’t feel like I was good at it. But I kept asking to speak to their voiceover people, because I said I’d love to try voiceovers, and most of them the response was exactly that. Most of them said, “Well, sure. So would everybody else in show business.” Voiceover is a pretty tight market, especially in New York. There’s like a handful of guys that are getting most of the work. But my dear pal Jeb Bernstein at Paradigm was just starting a new voiceover department and he said, “Sure, yeah, I’ll start sending you out for voiceovers.” I did a few auditions, I got a couple of small, little radio spots, and within, I don’t know, a year or two or something, I ended up getting hired as the Yellow M&M. That’s a job that has been going for well over 20 years, now and helping to pay the mortgage.

RT: Wow, has it really been that long already?

Simmons: Oh, yeah. Billy West as Red and myself as Yellow, it’s gotta be over 20 years now. Yeah, crazy. And I just thought it’d be really fun kind of work to do and it’s, you know, it’s a painless kind of work to do, because in my case, I just ride my bike over there and it doesn’t matter if I’m a sweaty mess or I’m not dressed well. You just go into your little booth and do your little thing.

So, the rest of the time that we were living in New York, I had some nice commercial voiceover stuff going on, and then once we moved to L.A. where more of the animated work is, I started getting more of those opportunities. And then, of course, as you become more recognizable as an on-camera presence, then people start throwing cartoon work your way, whether you’re good at it or not, so a lot of it is just for that reason. I mean, it gets harder and harder to schedule little quirky, animated things, but I still do those little kinds of things once in a while, just mostly for fun, or because it’s something I think my kids will be into.

RT: You’ve got a pretty high-profile release coming up in Justice League, and Commissioner Gordon is a pretty important character in the Batman world. Is there anything that you might be able to tell us about his relationship to Batman in the film, particularly considering those workout photos of you that surfaced some time ago?

Simmons: Yeah, no. That was just interesting timing, but the internet got kind of carried away with it. I was just working out with my buddy, Aaron Williamson, who was a pal that I train with sometimes. And he said, “Hey, let me take some pictures and put them up on my Instagram.” And a couple months later, you know, they were all over the internet. But no, that actually had nothing to do with Commissioner Gordon.

I had recently gotten very, very thin for a movie called I’m Not Here, which is about to premier at Raindance Film Festival in a couple of weeks. And I was just sort of in the process of like, “Let’s look somewhat emaciated without going crazy.” And so I was just back in the gym with Aaron a few weeks after that, just trying to build back some muscle, and yeah, those pictures just took off.

You’re not gonna be seeing the bulging biceps on Commissioner Gordon, at least in the first Justice League movie. You’re not gonna see much of Commissioner Gordon, actually. It’s just kind of a “Let’s introduce, or reintroduce, this character with a new actor playing him.” Obviously, he’s been played by a lot of really wonderful actors. It was an intimidating character to step into, but yeah, don’t blink during Justice League or you’ll miss my Commissioner Gordon.


The Bachelors opens in limited release and The Snowman opens in wide release this Friday, October 20. 

70 Best High School Movies of All Time

For some, high school is the peak of their life: You’ve got prom and pep rallies, and homecoming and hormones. For others, it’s the pits because you’ve got…well, prom and pep rallies, and homecoming and hormones. And there to capture every awesome/awful moment are these high school movies which earned high grades from film critics.

Some of these beloved movies (like The Last Picture Show or American Graffiti) take a look back on high school with the clarity of time gone by. Others (like Superbad or Booksmart) make you feel like the high school experience is unfolding in real-time right before your eyes.

The best high school movies reflect discovering one’s self (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), questioning authority (Dead Poets Society), taking wild risks (Better Luck Tomorrow), and working for a better future (Hoop Dreams). And some ask the big questions. Like, what if I was in high school and I was also, you know, a superhero? What if one day I’m driving to school and then I time-travel back to 1955? And what if I had a better idea of what to do with that pie than just eating it?

As the jump-gate into adulthood and beyond, high school can be wild and wondrous and heart-breaking and hilarious. (And usually all at once.) The same can be said for these Fresh and Certified Fresh films (each with at least 20 critics reviews), representing the best high school movies ever, all ranked by Tomatometer!

#70

American Pie (1999)
61%

#70
Adjusted Score: 66633%
Critics Consensus: So embarrassing it's believable, American Pie succeeds in bringing back the teen movie genre.
Synopsis: A riotous and raunchy exploration of the most eagerly anticipated -- and most humiliating -- rite of adulthood, known as... [More]
Directed By: Paul Weitz

#69

Bring It On (2000)
64%

#69
Adjusted Score: 67627%
Critics Consensus: Despite the formulaic, fluffy storyline, this movie is surprisingly fun to watch, mostly due to its high energy and how it humorously spoofs cheerleading instead of taking itself too seriously.
Synopsis: The Toro cheerleading squad from Rancho Carne High School in San Diego has got spirit, spunk, sass and a killer... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#68
Adjusted Score: 67880%
Critics Consensus: It won't win many converts, but High School Musical 3 is bright, energetic, and well-crafted.
Synopsis: Amid preparations for a basketball championship, prom, and graduation, sweethearts Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) vow... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

#67

O (2001)
64%

#67
Adjusted Score: 68664%
Critics Consensus: Though well-intentioned and serious in its exploration of teen violence, O is an uneven experiment that doesn't quite succeed.
Synopsis: Moving the classic tale of "Othello" onto the basketball courts of a high school, the story focuses on a young... [More]
Directed By: Tim Blake Nelson

#66
Adjusted Score: 72388%
Critics Consensus: Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger add strong performances to an unexpectedly clever script, elevating 10 Things (slightly) above typical teen fare.
Synopsis: Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) is beautiful, smart and quite abrasive to most of her fellow teens, meaning that she doesn't... [More]
Directed By: Gil Junger

#65

Palo Alto (2013)
68%

#65
Adjusted Score: 73086%
Critics Consensus: A promising debut for director Gia Coppola, Palo Alto compensates for its drifting plot with solid performances and beautiful cinematography.
Synopsis: A lack of parental guidance encourages teens in an affluent California town to rebel with substance abuse and casual sex.... [More]
Directed By: Gia Coppola

#64

Freedom Writers (2007)
70%

#64
Adjusted Score: 74029%
Critics Consensus: Freedom Writers is a frank, formulaic entry in the inspirational inner-city teacher genre, with an energetic Hilary Swank leading the appealing cast of unknowns.
Synopsis: A dedicated teacher (Hilary Swank) in a racially divided Los Angeles school has a class of at-risk teenagers deemed incapable... [More]
Directed By: Richard LaGravenese

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 78600%
Critics Consensus: A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.
Synopsis: In small-town Preston, Idaho, awkward teen Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) has trouble fitting in. After his grandmother is injured in... [More]
Directed By: Jared Hess

#62

The DUFF (2015)
73%

#62
Adjusted Score: 76425%
Critics Consensus: The DUFF doesn't achieve teen-movie greatness, but offers enough of a postmodern twist on the genre to recommend -- and boasts typically great work from star Mae Whitman.
Synopsis: Frumpy high-school senior Bianca (Mae Whitman) has a rude awakening when she learns that her classmates secretly know her as... [More]
Directed By: Ari Sandel

#61

Elephant (2003)
73%

#61
Adjusted Score: 78324%
Critics Consensus: The movie's spare and unconventional style will divide viewers.
Synopsis: A variety of adolescents at a suburban high school drift through a seemingly uneventful day, until two students arrive with... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#60

Pretty in Pink (1986)
73%

#60
Adjusted Score: 78072%
Critics Consensus: Molly Ringwald gives an outstanding performance in this sweet, intelligent teen comedy that takes an ancient premise and injects it with insight and wit.
Synopsis: Andie (Molly Ringwald) is an outcast at her Chicago high school, hanging out either with her older boss (Annie Potts),... [More]
Directed By: Howard Deutch

#59
#59
Adjusted Score: 75996%
Critics Consensus: A feel-good story brought to life by a terrific ensemble cast, Mr. Holland's Opus plucks the heartstrings without shame -- and with undeniable skill.
Synopsis: Composer Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) believes that he'll eventually write a transcendent piece of music, but in the meantime he's... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#58

Grease (1978)
76%

#58
Adjusted Score: 83646%
Critics Consensus: Grease is a pleasing, energetic musical with infectiously catchy songs and an ode to young love that never gets old.
Synopsis: Experience the friendships, romances and adventures of a group of high school kids in the 1950s. Welcome to the singing... [More]
Directed By: Randal Kleiser

#57
#57
Adjusted Score: 76467%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: World War II veteran Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) takes a teaching position at a rough New York City school for... [More]
Directed By: Richard Brooks

#56
#56
Adjusted Score: 78225%
Critics Consensus: Some Kind of Wonderful is above-average '80s teen fare for people who need as much John Hughes in their lives as possible.
Synopsis: Keith Nelson (Eric Stoltz), an artsy high school outcast, tries to land a date with popular girl Amanda Jones (Lea... [More]
Directed By: Howard Deutch

#55

Better Off Dead (1985)
77%

#55
Adjusted Score: 77517%
Critics Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.
Synopsis: Lane Meyer (John Cusack) is a teen with a peculiar family and a bizarre fixation with his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda... [More]
Directed By: Savage Steve Holland

#54
#54
Adjusted Score: 81665%
Critics Consensus: The Virgin Suicides drifts with a dreamlike melancholy that may strike some audiences as tedious, but Sofia Coppola's feature debut is a mature meditation on disaffected youth.
Synopsis: In an ordinary suburban house, on a lovely tree-lined street, in the middle of 1970s America, lived the five beautiful,... [More]
Directed By: Sofia Coppola

#53
Adjusted Score: 83140%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
Synopsis: Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend,... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#52

Scream (1996)
79%

#52
Adjusted Score: 83767%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#51

Brick (2005)
80%

#51
Adjusted Score: 84391%
Critics Consensus: This entertaining homage to noirs past has been slickly and compellingly updated to a contemporary high school setting.
Synopsis: After receiving a frantic phone call from his ex-girlfriend, teenage loner Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) learns that her dead body... [More]
Directed By: Rian Johnson

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 88021%
Critics Consensus: Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.
Synopsis: Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) has an uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away with it. Intending to make one... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#49
Adjusted Score: 85237%
Critics Consensus: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are just charming, goofy, and silly enough to make this fluffy time-travel Adventure work.
Synopsis: Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school buddies starting a band. However, they are about to fail... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 82748%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A teenager (P.J. Soles) and her friends get even with their principal to music by the Ramones.... [More]

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 84951%
Critics Consensus: A promising work by Lin, the energetic Better Luck Tomorrow is disturbing and thought-provoking.
Synopsis: An accomplished high school student, Ben (Parry Shen) seems to excel at almost everything except winning over his dream girl,... [More]
Directed By: Justin Lin

#46

Clueless (1995)
81%

#46
Adjusted Score: 89305%
Critics Consensus: A funny and clever reshaping of Emma, Clueless offers a soft satire that pokes as much fun at teen films as it does at the Beverly Hills glitterati.
Synopsis: Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking scale.... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#45
Adjusted Score: 89503%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully scripted and perfectly cast, Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is a coming-of-age movie with uncommon charm and insight.
Synopsis: An awkward high-school senior (Thomas Mann) and a gravely ill classmate (Olivia Cooke) surprise themselves by becoming inseparable friends.... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 87152%
Critics Consensus: An acute survey of the football-obsessed heartland that succeeds as both a stirring drama and a rousing sports movie.
Synopsis: A small, turbulent town in Texas obsesses over their high school football team to an unhealthy degree. When the star... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 86404%
Critics Consensus: Confident directing and acting deliver an insightful look at young athletes.
Synopsis: Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are two childhood friends who both aspire to be professional basketball players. Quincy,... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince

#42

Fame (1980)
81%

#42
Adjusted Score: 83422%
Critics Consensus: Just because Fame is a well-acted musical doesn't mean it flinches against its surprisingly heavy topics.
Synopsis: Young men and women audition for coveted spots at the New York High School of Performing Arts. Those who make... [More]
Directed By: Alan Parker

#41

Rocket Science (2007)
84%

#41
Adjusted Score: 87022%
Critics Consensus: Though Rocket Science appears to be a typically quirky indie, the well-rounded performances and director Jeffrey Blitz's clear affection for his characters gives the film its proper human spark.
Synopsis: High-school student Hal Hefner's (Reece Daniel Thompson) life is falling down around him. His parents have split, his brother picks... [More]
Directed By: Jeffrey Blitz

#40

My Bodyguard (1980)
81%

#40
Adjusted Score: 83421%
Critics Consensus: T. Bill debuts as an affectionate director, keenly aware of growing pains.
Synopsis: Clifford Peache (Chris Makepeace) is a sensitive, well-to-do teen who becomes the target of bully Melvin Moody (Matt Dillon) after... [More]
Directed By: Tony Bill

#39

Sixteen Candles (1984)
84%

#39
Adjusted Score: 86045%
Critics Consensus: Significantly more mature than the teen raunch comedies that defined the era, Sixteen Candles is shot with compassion and clear respect for its characters and their hang-ups.
Synopsis: With the occasion all but overshadowed by her sister's upcoming wedding, angst-ridden Samantha (Molly Ringwald) faces her 16th birthday with... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#38

Mean Girls (2004)
84%

#38
Adjusted Score: 90854%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by a brilliant screenplay and outstanding ensemble cast, Mean Girls finds fresh, female-fronted humor in the high school experience.
Synopsis: Teenage Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) was educated in Africa by her scientist parents. When her family moves to the suburbs... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 88862%
Critics Consensus: Affecting performances from the young cast and a genuinely inspirational turn from Robin Williams grant Peter Weir's prep school drama top honors.
Synopsis: A new English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), is introduced to an all-boys preparatory school that is known for its... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#36

Blockers (2018)
84%

#36
Adjusted Score: 96703%
Critics Consensus: Blockers puts a gender-swapped spin on the teen sex comedy -- one elevated by strong performances, a smartly funny script, and a surprisingly enlightened perspective.
Synopsis: Julie, Kayla and Sam are three high school seniors who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night.... [More]
Directed By: Kay Cannon

#35
Adjusted Score: 88658%
Critics Consensus: My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea's attention-getting visual style matches debuting writer-director Dash Shaw's distinctive narrative approach -- and signals a bright future for a promising talent.
Synopsis: High school sophomores Dash and Assaf are best friends and the only writers for the school newspaper. When the editor... [More]
Directed By: Dash Shaw

#34

Bully (2011)
85%

#34
Adjusted Score: 91205%
Critics Consensus: Hard-hitting and gracefully filmed, Bully powerfully delivers an essential message to an audience that may not be able to see it.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Lee Hirsch examines five cases of youths who endure vicious persecution at the hands of their peers. Ja'meye, 14,... [More]
Directed By: Lee Hirsch

#33

Easy A (2010)
85%

#33
Adjusted Score: 92591%
Critics Consensus: It owes a huge debt to older (and better) teen comedies, but Easy A proves a smart, witty showcase for its irresistibly charming star, Emma Stone.
Synopsis: Prompted by her popular best friend to spill details of her boring weekend, Olive (Emma Stone), a clean-cut teen, decides... [More]
Directed By: Will Gluck

#32

Chronicle (2012)
85%

#32
Adjusted Score: 92756%
Critics Consensus: Chronicle transcends its found-footage gimmick with a smart script, fast-paced direction, and engaging performances from the young cast.
Synopsis: Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is a socially awkward, introverted teen whose main form of escape and expression is a video camera.... [More]
Directed By: Josh Trank

#31
Adjusted Score: 92345%
Critics Consensus: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a heartfelt and sincere adaptation that's bolstered by strong lead performances.
Synopsis: Socially awkward teen Charlie (Logan Lerman) is a wallflower, always watching life from the sidelines, until two charismatic students become... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chbosky

#30

21 Jump Street (2012)
85%

#30
Adjusted Score: 94467%
Critics Consensus: A smart, affectionate satire of '80s nostalgia and teen movie tropes, 21 Jump Street offers rowdy mainstream comedy with a surprisingly satisfying bite.
Synopsis: When cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) join the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances... [More]

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 88145%
Critics Consensus: Peggy Sue Got Married may seem just another in a line of '80s boomer nostalgia films, but none of the others have Kathleen Turner keen lead performance.
Synopsis: Peggy Sue Bodell (Kathleen Turner) attends her 25-year high school reunion after separating from her cheating husband, Charlie (Nicolas Cage).... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#28

Donnie Darko (2001)
86%

#28
Adjusted Score: 90835%
Critics Consensus: Richard Kelly's debut feature Donnie Darko is a daring, original vision, packed with jarring ideas and intelligence and featuring a remarkable performance from Jake Gyllenhaal as the troubled title character.
Synopsis: In a funny, moving and distinctly mind-bending journey through suburban America, one extraordinary but disenchanted teenager is about to take... [More]
Directed By: Richard Kelly

#27

River's Edge (1987)
88%

#27
Adjusted Score: 88045%
Critics Consensus: A harrowing tale of aimless youth, River's Edge generates considerable tension and urgency thanks to strong performances from a stellar cast that includes Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, and Ione Skye.
Synopsis: Teenage burnout Samson (Daniel Roebuck) has murdered his girlfriend and left her naked body lying on the bank of a... [More]
Directed By: Tim Hunter

#26

Dope (2015)
88%

#26
Adjusted Score: 94208%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a starmaking performance from Shameik Moore and a refreshingly original point of view from writer-director Rick Famuyiwa, Dope is smart, insightful entertainment.
Synopsis: High-school senior Malcolm (Shameik Moore) and his friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) bond over '90s hip-hop culture,... [More]
Directed By: Rick Famuyiwa

#25

Superbad (2007)
88%

#25
Adjusted Score: 97117%
Critics Consensus: Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience.
Synopsis: High-school seniors Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) have high hopes for a graduation party: The co-dependent teens plan... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 94984%
Critics Consensus: The Breakfast Club is a warm, insightful, and very funny look into the inner lives of teenagers.
Synopsis: Five high school students from different walks of life endure a Saturday detention under a power-hungry principal (Paul Gleason). The... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#23

Rushmore (1998)
89%

#23
Adjusted Score: 94671%
Critics Consensus: This cult favorite is a quirky coming of age story, with fine, off-kilter performances from Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray.
Synopsis: When a beautiful first-grade teacher (Olivia Williams) arrives at a prep school, she soon attracts the attention of an ambitious... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#22

Hoosiers (1986)
91%

#22
Adjusted Score: 94988%
Critics Consensus: It may adhere to the sports underdog formula, but Hoosiers has been made with such loving craft, and features such excellent performances, that it's hard to resist.
Synopsis: Failed college coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) gets a chance at redemption when he is hired to direct the basketball... [More]
Directed By: David Anspaugh

#21

Hairspray (2007)
91%

#21
Adjusted Score: 100543%
Critics Consensus: Hairspray is an energetic, wholly entertaining musical romp; a fun Summer movie with plenty of heart. Its contagious songs will make you want to get up and start dancing.
Synopsis: In 1960s Baltimore, dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) auditions for a spot on "The Corny Collins Show" and wins.... [More]
Directed By: Adam Shankman

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 98013%
Critics Consensus: The Spectacular Now is an adroit, sensitive film that avoids typical coming-of-age story trappings.
Synopsis: An innocent, bookish teenager (Shailene Woodley) begins dating the charming, freewheeling high-school senior (Miles Teller) who awoke on her lawn... [More]
Directed By: James Ponsoldt

#19

Election (1999)
92%

#19
Adjusted Score: 97443%
Critics Consensus: Election successfully combines dark humor and intelligent writing in this very witty and enjoyable film.
Synopsis: Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), a well-liked high school government teacher, can't help but notice that successful student Tracy Flick (Reese... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Payne

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 96005%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Synopsis: This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#17

Risky Business (1983)
92%

#17
Adjusted Score: 95187%
Critics Consensus: Featuring one of Tom Cruise's best early performances, Risky Business is a sharp, funny examination of teen angst that doesn't stop short of exploring dark themes.
Synopsis: Ecstatic when his parents leave on vacation for a few days, high school senior Joel Goodsen (Tom Cruise) cuts loose... [More]
Directed By: Paul Brickman

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 97356%
Critics Consensus: Rebel Without a Cause is a searing melodrama featuring keen insight into '50s juvenile attitude and James Dean's cool, iconic performance.
Synopsis: After moving to a new town, troublemaking teen Jim Stark (James Dean) is supposed to have a clean slate, although... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Ray

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 120991%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Homecoming does whatever a second reboot can, delivering a colorful, fun adventure that fits snugly in the sprawling MCU without getting bogged down in franchise-building.
Synopsis: Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the... [More]
Directed By: Jon Watts

#14

House Party (1990)
93%

#14
Adjusted Score: 94796%
Critics Consensus: House Party is a light, entertaining teen comedy with an infectious energy.
Synopsis: Play's parents are out of town, and he's planning the house party to end all house parties. His best friend,... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#13

Heathers (1989)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 96383%
Critics Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.
Synopsis: Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lehmann

#12

Carrie (1976)
93%

#12
Adjusted Score: 99339%
Critics Consensus: Carrie is a horrifying look at supernatural powers, high school cruelty, and teen angst -- and it brings us one of the most memorable and disturbing prom scenes in history.
Synopsis: In this chilling adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel, withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) faces taunting from... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#11

Ghost World (2001)
93%

#11
Adjusted Score: 98267%
Critics Consensus: With acerbic wit, Terry Zwigoff fashions Daniel Clowes' graphic novel into an intelligent, comedic trip through deadpan teen angst.
Synopsis: The story of neo-cool Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) who, faced with graduation from high school, take a... [More]
Directed By: Terry Zwigoff

#10

Juno (2007)
94%

#10
Adjusted Score: 102900%
Critics Consensus: One of the brightest, funniest comedies of the year, Juno's smart script and direction are matched by assured performances in a coming-of-age story with a 21st century twist.
Synopsis: When precocious teen Juno MacGuff becomes pregnant, she chooses a failed rock star and his wife to adopt her unborn... [More]
Directed By: Jason Reitman

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 106361%
Critics Consensus: The Edge of Seventeen's sharp script -- and Hailee Steinfeld's outstanding lead performance -- make this more than just another coming-of-age dramedy.
Synopsis: Everyone knows that growing up is hard, and life is no easier for high school junior Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), who... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Fremon Craig

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 100874%
Critics Consensus: One of the most influential of all teen films, American Graffiti is a funny, nostalgic, and bittersweet look at a group of recent high school grads' last days of innocence.
Synopsis: On the last day of summer vacation in 1962, friends Curt (Richard Dreyfuss), Steve (Ronny Howard), Terry (Charles Martin Smith)... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 103789%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, funny, and breathlessly constructed, Back to the Future is a rousing time-travel adventure with an unforgettable spirit.
Synopsis: In this 1980s sci-fi classic, small-town California teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrown back into the '50s when... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#6

Booksmart (2019)
96%

#6
Adjusted Score: 119724%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy.
Synopsis: Academic overachievers Amy and Molly thought keeping their noses to the grindstone gave them a leg up on their high... [More]
Directed By: Olivia Wilde

#5

Hairspray (1988)
98%

#5
Adjusted Score: 100072%
Critics Consensus: Hairspray is perhaps John Waters' most accessible film, and as such, it's a gently subversive slice of retro hilarity.
Synopsis: When Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake), an overweight teen, auditions for a spot on a popular teen dance show, she beats... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#4

Say Anything... (1989)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100654%
Critics Consensus: One of the definitive Generation X movies, Say Anything... is equally funny and heartfelt -- and it established John Cusack as an icon for left-of-center types everywhere.
Synopsis: In a charming, critically acclaimed tale of first love, Lloyd (John Cusack), an eternal optimist, seeks to capture the heart... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#3

Hoop Dreams (1994)
98%

#3
Adjusted Score: 101750%
Critics Consensus: One of the most critically acclaimed documentaries of all time, Hoop Dreams is a rich, complex, heartbreaking, and ultimately deeply rewarding film that uses high school hoops as a jumping-off point to explore issues of race, class, and education in modern America.
Synopsis: Every school day, African-American teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee travel 90 minutes each way from inner-city Chicago to St.... [More]
Directed By: Steve James

#2

Lady Bird (2017)
99%

#2
Adjusted Score: 128243%
Critics Consensus: Lady Bird delivers fresh insights about the turmoil of adolescence -- and reveals writer-director Greta Gerwig as a fully formed filmmaking talent.
Synopsis: A teenager (Saoirse Ronan) navigates a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother (Laurie Metcalf) over the course of... [More]
Directed By: Greta Gerwig

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 106118%
Critics Consensus: Making excellent use of its period and setting, Peter Bogdanovich's small town coming-of-age story is a sad but moving classic filled with impressive performances.
Synopsis: High school seniors and best friends, Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges), live in a dying Texas town. The... [More]
Directed By: Peter Bogdanovich

I learned the truth at 17, that movie critics can be mean… but not to Hailee Steinfeld and her new movie The Edge of Seventeen, a high school dramedy starring Steinfeld as a neurotic hellcat on the cusp of adulthood. And if the reviews maintain their pace, then Edge will be a future alumni of this week’s 24 Frames gallery of Certified Fresh high school movies since 2000!

“Babies!! They’re babies!!” Yes, Shredder, they are babies, and one day when you’re all grown-up, you too will appreciate the miracle of birth. Just ask Bridget Jones’ Baby — whose mother endured ugly Christmas sweaters and middle-aged manfights and a previous sequel where we assume stuff happened — crowning this Friday after gestating years in development hell. But because Rotten Tomatoes is never one to pass up a cause célèbre, here’s this week’s gallery of 24 most momentous movie babies!

Just ten years ago, we were unearthing our analog phones and covering our heads with tin foil hats while listening to Matchbox Twenty and Creed to prepare for Y2K – the day electronics would turn against us. It’s true, the new decade will arrive with considerably less dangerous fanfare and hoarding of canned goods, but it should not and does not take away from all of the films that impressed not only audiences, but the Tomatometer as well over the past ten years. With our annual Golden Tomato Awards just around the corner, RT braved the mothball-scented digital cobwebs in our archives to find some of the very best the Tomatometer had to offer this decade.


Best Reboot/Remake



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1186973[/tomatometer]
In a decade filled with the return of iconic franchises, Star Trek went
from Impulse Drive to Warp 9 (too easy?) with both critics and audiences with
its reboot this year. When J.J. Abrams signed on to take the helm of the Star
Trek
franchise with a group of new faces taking on the roles of the
timeless Enterprise crew, little did we know that the blockbuster film would go
on to be one of the best reviewed movies of the year.

While film after film has
taken us forward with the voyagers of the Starship Enterprise, Star Trek was a
true origins story that wasn’t geared towards Trekkies, too simple for fans of
the show, or too complex for newbies. Star Trek delivered a visually
stunning brand of mainstream entertainment that propelled the series back not
only back into theaters, but the public consciousness. However, the movie had some stiff
competition, going up against the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bond and a man in a bat suit, amongst a number of others but its broad
appeal and ability to recruit a whole new generation of Star Trek fans
make it the Best Reboot of the Decade.

More Top Reboots/Remakes


Casino Royale


Casino Royale

94%


The Departed


The Departed

92%


3:10 to Yuma


3:10 to Yuma

88%


Batman Begins


Batman Begins

85%


Best Superhero Movie



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1138441[/tomatometer]
Why so serious? In an era where superhero movies have become defined by grim
angst, somber origin stories and dark nights of the soul, it might come as a
surprise to discover that a psychotic clown versus a bat-man didn’t top this
best-of-the-decade list. And yet, there it is — Pixar’s decidedly exuberant and
satirical superhero romp is the 2000s’ spandex-clad champ with movie critics,
edging out the list’s highest-grossing film at the box office, The Dark
Knight
.

We shouldn’t be surprised at all. Written and directed by Brad Bird — who showed
what he was capable of with the superb Iron Giant — The Incredibles is
a classic that succeeds in that rarest of ways; poking fun at the genre while at
the same time celebrating it and bringing something new and exciting to the
form. It’s almost like Bird read Watchmen and distilled the novel’s
premise to a pure comedic element. Fallen strongman Mr. Incredible and his wife,
Elastigirl, have been forced into a suburban life since superheroes have been
outlawed; only to return to action when crazed villain Syndrome — who’s the ultimate
fanboy — sets out to wreak revenge on those that created him.

With Bird’s impeccable sense of retro design writ colorfully in Pixar’s CG
world, The Incredibles is an artistic triumph as well as being a
dynamic action film and a seriously smart comedy — in any genre, really. It’s
an “unprecedented film that is not just a grand feature-length cartoon,” wrote
the Los Angeles Times, “but a grand feature.”

More Top Superhero Movies


The Dark Knight


The Dark Knight

94%


Spider-Man 2


Spider-Man 2

94%


Iron Man


Iron Man

93%


Spider-Man


Spider-Man

90%

Best Directorial Debut



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1212604[/tomatometer]
The best documentaries help us to see the world in new ways, and on that Afghan
Star
is an unqualified success. It gives us a look at an Afghanistan that
we rarely see on the news, and presents a nuanced portrait of a war-ravaged
nation that is looking for some measure of camaraderie and escapism. It also
proves that, no matter where you are, American Idol-style singing
completions make for compelling television.

Directing her first feature, longtime TV producer Havana Marking deserves credit
for shining a light on a cast of characters that don’t often have a voice in the
West. It’s a powerful, thought-provoking debut that’s tense, insightful,
inspiring, heart-wrenching…and true.

More Top Directorial Debuts


Anvil!


Anvil! The Story of Anvil

98%


Food, Inc.


Food, Inc.

98%


Finding Nemo


Finding Nemo

98%


Chicken Run


Chicken Run

98%


Best R-Rated Comedy



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1137344[/tomatometer]
R-Rated comedies made a strong comeback this decade, receiving a particularly
effective boost from films starring members of what has affectionately come to
be called the “Frat Pack” — people like Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn,
and Owen Wilson — and Judd Apatow’s crew of jokesters (Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd,
Jason Segel). Having said all that, the highest rated of these starred none of
the aforementioned actors and featured far less bathroom humor than your average
man-child raunchfest.

A little less than halfway through the decade, indie director Alexander Payne
brought us a thoughtful and melancholy yet often hilarious road trip movie about
a failed writer (Paul Giamatti) and his soon-to-be-married college pal (Thomas
Haden Church). Miles Raymond (Giamatti) is the former of the two, a wine
enthusiast and divorcé pining for his ex-wife who decides to take his buddy Jack
(Church) on a weeklong trip through California wine country as a last hurrah
before Jack is married. The pair end up meeting a couple of women (Virginia
Madsen and Sandra Oh) along the way, and their short vacation quickly becomes
transformative for both of them. Praised for its outstanding performances and
intelligent script, Sideways was a sleeper hit, winning several awards
and helping to launch the mainstream careers of its stars.

More Top R-Rated Comedies


High Fidelity


High Fidelity

92%


Shaun of the Dead


Shaun of the Dead

91%


borat


Borat

91%


Knocked Up


Knocked Up

90%

Best Failed Franchise



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1127359[/tomatometer]
Look at those posters right below. Daredevil. Golden Compass. One of two Punishers released this decade.
They’re like gravestones marking the result of Hollywood folly, misguided and
frequently cynical efforts to open cash cow franchises. But rising above this
lot is 2003’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and not just by
virtue of it having a fresh Tomatometer.

A lot of things turned audiences en masse away from Master and Commander when it
was theatrically released (where it didn’t even cross $100 million): its awful
title, its fondness for dialogue, and its lack of pirates. Naval officers on the
high seas? They don’t sell! Master and Commander is a lumbering character piece,
a literate blockbuster that preferred you get to know the characters before it
got into any sequel talk. It’s a movie that’s as much Russell Crowe’s as it is a
showcase for co-star Paul Bettany (who plays the temperate surgeon to Crowe’s
blustery captain), further dividing audiences who wanted simply a mindless
star-driven action flick.

More Top Failed Franchises


TheSpiderwickChronicles.jpg


The Spiderwick Chronicles

79%


Daredevil


Daredevil

44%


The Golden Compass


The Golden Compass

42%


The Punisher


The Punisher

29%


Best Martial Arts Flick



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1102698[/tomatometer]
Unfortunately, any Tomatometer-based list of martial arts movies is going to be
somewhat incomplete, as there are only so many such films that are made
available to a broader, international audience. Stars like Jackie Chan and Jet
Li are household names now, but before they made their US debuts in the mid-late
90s, both had already built sizable filmographies in Chinese cinema.
Additionally, crowning the “best” martial arts film of the decade is tough also
because most in the genre are purely about the action sequences, often
sacrificing compelling storylines and solid acting in favor of wildly
breathtaking fight choreography.

But in late 2000, director Ang Lee introduced the rest of the mainstream world
to the Chinese period epic with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and
suffice it to say that the world was immediately smitten. Truly only a “martial
arts” movie insofar as The Lord of the Rings is merely an “action
movie,” Crouching Tiger artfully blended its share of action with
gorgeous cinematography, heartfelt drama, and an epic historical setting to
craft a fully immersive tale that resonated even with those unfamiliar with the
genre. It went on to win multiple awards, including the Best Foreign Language
Film Oscar, and became the highest grossing foreign language film in American
history. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is the martial arts movie for
people who don’t watch martial arts movies, and it paved the way for other films
of a similar nature, such as 2004’s Hero and this year’s Red
Cliff
.

More Top Martial Arts Flicks


Hero


Hero

94%


shaolin Soccer


Shaolin Soccer

92%


Iron Monkey


Iron Monkey

90%


Kung Fu Hustle


Kung Fu Hustle

89%

Best Disaster Movie



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1144003[/tomatometer]
TIME magazine titled its end-of-the-aughts issue “The Decade from Hell,” and
although it wasn’t a decade without its jolly moments, Steven Spielberg’s War
of the Worlds
is as good a representation as any of just how dark things
sometimes felt. Spielberg, after all, was the director who did more than just
about anyone else to turn Hollywood space aliens from creepy crawlies into
benevolent visitors — and here he was doing an about face, crafting a
big-budget adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novel about terrifying
interstellar conquerors rising from deep within the earth. The 9/11 parallels
were hard to miss, but Spielberg being Spielberg, War was still a
popcorn-gobbling good time; as Ken Tucker noted in New York Magazine, “Steven
Spielberg’s War of the Worlds is huge and scary, moving and
funny-another capper to a career that seems like an unending succession of
captivations.”

Worlds faced its toughest competition from The Road, where
Cormac McCarthy discovered you can wring Pulitzer-winning drama from the
post-apocalyptic aftermath — even without Kevin Costner or Mel Gibson around to
pump up the action. The Day After Tomorrow proved that nobody destroys
things with quite as much panache as Roland Emmerich. The Core combined
the dramatic might of Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci, and DJ Qualls in a good old
fashioned blockbuster epic featuring a team of scientists, an early cameo
appearance by “unobtanium” and a daring plan to detonate nuclear bombs at the
center of the earth. And this year, Emmerich was back dreaming up new ways to
destroy the planet, turning the Mayan calendar for inspiration to use $200
million worth of state-of-the-art CGI to create its own brand of apocalyptic
charm.

More Top Disaster Movies


The Road


The Road

72%


The Day After Tomorrow


The Day After Tomorrow

45%


The Core


The Core

42%


2012


2012

39%


Best Children’s Book Adaptation



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1197696[/tomatometer]
Seems like it was a good decade to be an author of children’s books or YA lit.
Harry Potter raised a whole new generation of kids to come out of the living
room and into the theaters. Meanwhile, it was virtually guaranteed that at least
one of the books you read (or had read to you) as a tot was brought to the
multiplex. The one that’s found the most critical success this decade is also
the most recent: Fantastic Mr. Fox, the Roald Dahl classic work as adapted by
Wes Anderson, creator of new wave precious cinema.

While many elements of the story’s plot was altered or removed completely, and
the movie itself not necessarily geared towards children, critics responded to
the movie’s joie de vivre and surprisingly thoughtful meditation on how to grow
up and how to do it with style. Fantastic Mr. Fox hasn’t found its audience in
theaters, but expect a cult audience in coming years when it hits the home
market. Like a good classic book, this is something kids may want to cherish and
experience again as they grow.

More Top Children’s Book Adaptations


Coraline


Coraline

89%


Shrek


Shrek

89%


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


HP and the
Prisoner of Azkaban


89%


Harry Potter and the The Goblet of Fire


HP and the Goblet of
Fire


88%

Best Teen Movie



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1185620[/tomatometer]
What happens when you take a first time writer (Diablo Cody), add a director on
the upswing (Jason Reitman, who would later direct/write/produce Up in the
Air
), and give X-Men‘s Shadowcat the chance to play a super smart
sixteen year old that would put Dawson Leary and Joey Potter to shame? You get Juno,
the best reviewed teen movie of the decade.

At 93% on the Tomatometer, Juno also added four Oscar nominations to
its resume’, with one win going to Diablo Cody for her story about an unexpected
teen pregnancy. Not only was the story recognized, but the Juno role
ultimately catapulted Ellen Page to star status. Overflowing with wit and heart,
strong performances by Page, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, and Michael Cera
(as the baby daddy) gave critics and audiences plenty to love. Beating out some
tough competition, Juno‘s preggers five foot frame stands
tall this decade.

More Top Teen Movies


Ghost World


Ghost World

92%


Hairspray

Hairspray

91%


Freaky Friday


Freaky Friday

88%


Superbad


Superbad

87%


Best WTF Movie



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1130889[/tomatometer]
Movie characters fall in love all the time, but it’s rare that a movie explores
both the joy and messiness of relationships in a way that seems organic and not
dictated by the demands of a formula. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless
Mind
is one such example; it’s a movie that dares to ask: if you knew how
an affair would end, would it be worth the trouble?

That’s the dilemma Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) face in this
delirious, phantasmagoric feature, which blends science fiction, comedy, and
romance with director Michel Gondry’s gonzo aesthetic and Charlie Kauffman’s
thoughtful concepts. It’s one of the trippiest movies of the decade, and yet
it’s touching and poignant — the type of movie that rewards multiple watchings
and casts a personal spell on each viewer that sees it.

More Top WTF Movies


Memento


Memento

93%


Minority Report


Minority Report

92%


Adaptation


Adaptation

91%


Bad Education


Bad Education

89%




In this week’s roster of UK cinema releases we have the latest addition to the Coen canon in the CIA comedy caper, Burn After Reading. Shia LeBeouf stakes a further claim to the Hollywood A-list in the high concept cyber-thriller Eagle Eye, and a washed up ’80s rockstar wannabe gets another stab at fame with his nephew’s band in The Rocker. But what did the UK critics have to say?

Last year, the Coen brothers picked up the Academy Award for Best Picture for their neo-western thriller No Country For Old Men, and at 94% on the Tomatometer, this was long-deserved acclaim for Joel and Ethan Coen, and set their already high standards to an even higher benchmark. It’s an oft-quoted theory that the Coens make two types of films; Screwball caper comedies a la Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski or the ‘serious,’ tougher and more gritty efforts like Fargo and Miller’s Crossing. With No Country they made, arguably, their toughest and grittiest film yet, with great success, so it makes sense that with their follow up, instead of trying to outmuscle their modern masterpiece, they’ve stepped into screwball mode for Burn After Reading. To many this may have seemed a risk, with their last comedic outing, Ealing comedy remake, The Ladykillers taking a bit of a critical kicking at 55% on the Tomatometer, but the Coens’ gamble seems to have paid off with Burn After Reading, as it currently stands at a respectable 78% on the Tomatometer. Despite a few calls from the critics over the lightweight throwaway feel of the film due to its slender running time of 96 minutes, most have been raving about the daffy turns from all the actors involved, with many praising Brad Pitt’s brainless portrayal of fitness instructor Chad Feldheimer as comedy gold. With a killer one/two combo of their last two movies, fans all over will be waiting with baited breath for their next cinematic outing, A Serious Man, due for release next year.

Shia LeBeouf’s rise to the top of the pile in Hollywood surely hasn’t been hindered after being taken under the wing of Steven Spielberg. With a starring role in Spielberg’s Dreamworks Studio teen-thriller Disturbia, followed by a lead role in the Spielberg-produced, robots in disguise, action adventure hit Transformers and finally being cast as Indiana Jones Jr, Mutt Williams, in Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, LeBeouf has become an instantly recognised presence on the big screen. In Eagle Eye,(produced by Spielberg unsurprisingly) he is back with Disturbia director DJ Caruso, and is out to carry on his winning streak in this cyber thriller, as Jerry Shaw, a slacker who gets embroiled in a terrorist plot, out to clear his name with help from the FBI. Unfortunately, the critics didn’t allow themselves to get carried away with the high octane, low brainer action, and many dismiss the film for its preposterous and implausible plotting, accusing it of borrowing too heavily from many other superior, and classic, films. The critics who liked it enjoyed the snappy and thrilling pace of the brainless entertainment on offer, but not enough to escape the ignominy of a measly 28% on the Tomatometer as it currently stands.

Rainn Wilson is probably not a name too well known to UK audiences, but he has a face that makes you think “Hmm, I recognise him from somewhere” thanks to small roles in Juno, and My Super Ex-Girlfriend, as well as a regular role in the American remake of The Office, and a recurring one in the critically-acclaimed Six-Feet Under. In The Rocker, Wilson takes centre stage as ex-rocker Robert ‘Fish’ Fishman, a drummer with fictitious ’80s rock band Vesuvius, who was given the boot moments before the band hit the big time, and who has been coming to terms with his near brush with superstardom ever since. He gets his second chance to reclaim his rock-god throne, when he joins his teenage nephews, high school rock band A.D.D., whilst showing his young band mates the merits of a rock and roll lifestyle in the process. The Rocker seems to have fared better with the UK critics than it did with the US critics, who, in the main had panned the film for its formulaic and unoriginal style, unfunny and forgettable script and shameless similarities to the vastly superior School Of Rock. UK critics weren’t so harsh, and many enjoyed the brisk humour, snappy one liners and good natured feeling to the whole proceedings, even if some of the slapstick doesn’t quite get the laughs it hopes for. Currently at 39% on the Tomatometer, The Rocker isn’t quite that rocking.

Also worth checking out this week…

Young@Heart – Full of endearing characters, this doc about a choir of “seniors behaving badly” is uplifting and delightful. 88% on the Tomatometer.

La Zona – A slick and smart Mexican thriller of middle-class panic and vigilantism, that is lean, mean and often shocking. 78% on the Tomatometer.

Quote Of The Week

“A worse film might be dismissed as sobsploitation.”

Young@Heart. Nigel Andrews, Financial Times.

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