3.11.2009

It's Wednesday... I'm Wondering... What do you think...

...are the most interesting screen comedies
depicting theatrical or other performances?
See, I'm working up a list of films that present "performance" in compelling, comedic ways and I'm wondering what I'm missing.
So, I turn to you, lovely reader:
What screen comedies "about" performance are among YOUR favorites?

16 comments:

Alex in Movieland said...

my thought right away, 3 seconds into reading the post: Bullets Over Broadway! Dianne Wiest & Jennifer Tilly!!!
[a 1994 smackdown seems like a must; I hope it happens this year]

other than my instict... I dunno

Bruce said...

My favorite "theater" movie is Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy," but I also dearly love "The Producers," "Bullets Over Broadway," "Waiting For Guffman" (I have LIVED the community theater experience) and, for a more glamorized view, "The Band Wagon."

For movies about TV: "Soapdish," "Tootsie," and "My Favorite Year."

Movies about movies: "The Player," "Singin' In The Rain," and I guess "Sunset Boulevard," if you don't want to limit it to just comedies.

par3182 said...

ed wood
a mighty wind
the purple rose of cairo
victor/victoria
shakespeare in love
pleasantville

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Well, my favorite "peformance movie" would be Marat/Sade, but my favorite COMEDY is probably Waiting for Guffman.

Michael Shetina

Middento said...

I too am in love with Purple Rose of Cairo. There's also Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Remember that all of Altman's "show musicals" might fall under this category as well, if you also take them to be comedies. (Ahh, Footlight Parade...)

Going international for a moment, there are a lot of Mexican cabaretera films which aren't necessarily funny, except in the way that Mexican melodramas are, hee hee. There's also a fab Peruvian film (yes, you knew I had one up my sleeve) called Destiny Has No Favorites, which is a movie about telenovelas, truly a must-see (and rather good). What about the Australian Cosi? Or, thinking REALLY broadly, Meet the Feebles?

And what about Can't Stop the Music?

OK, I'll stop now.

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

Does Moulin Rouge! count? If so, Nicole Kidman all the way.

Stacia said...

Soapdish and My Favorite Year, no question.

mB said...

All About Eve was the first one to come to mind. And any others I thought of have already been mentioned (Shakespeare in Love, Soapdish), would something like Tootsie fall under what you're looking for?

Ooh, and of course: Being Julia, cause Annette's the shit.

Criticlasm said...

Hamlet 2 is a recent fave.

And I saw that the Torchbearers is a movie, but I don't know if it's available. The play is hysterical.

Criticlasm said...

Noises Off. The movie's not that great, but it's all about that.

NATHANIEL R said...

how about Stage Door? Although the performance there is played more for drama within the overall comedy. Hmmm

I second Being Julia. Really fun stage sequences in that.

and it's not a comedy but I always recommend the scene about acting in Passion Fish where the actress recounts all the different ways she tried the line reading "i never asked for the anal probe" SO funny/memorable.

CanadianKen said...

The first two titles that come to mind -'cause they inspire limitless amounts of affection in me - are "The Band Wagon" and "My Favorite Year". But I'd also add "Those Lips, Those Eyes"(1980)- with Frank Langella as a fading musical comedy star propping up some rickety summer stock operettas in the 50's. There are definite parallels to "My Favorite Year" (it's endearing, funny and nostalgic). With Tom Hulce of "Amadeus" fame as the youngster who picks up some unexpected life lessons.
So many musical comedies are about putting on a show. But I'd certainly single out the Busby Berkely ones from the 30's - especially "Footlight Parade" and "Gold-diggers of 1935", both loaded with depression era wisecracks (tossed off by expert casts) and massive musical set-pieces that can be called - at the very least - flabbergasting. I'd also mention Vincente Minnelli's sensational "The Pirate" with strolling ham Gene Kelly initiating Judy Garland into the wonders of -among other things -show business. And one of my favorite 'putting on a show' films "Thank Your Lucky Stars". Here Eddie Cantor gamely plays himself as a full-on blowhard and Warner Brothers makes surprisingly creative and stylish musical-comedy use of Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Hattie McDaniel and Ann Sheridan. The songs are great and even Joan Leslie's Ida Lupino impression is terrific.
I love the Fellini/Lattuada film "Variety Lights" from the early 50's with treasurable performances from a cast that includes Giulieta Masina. It's a great neo-realistic grab-bag following a seedy troup of travelling players through a ramshackle season of one-nighters.
And - just this year - how about "Synecdoche, New York"?
A brilliantly executed "what-if" about a man given unlimited funds and the rest of his life to create a masterpeice?

jakey said...

"Wet Hot American Summer" had a hilarious send-up of overeager musical theater types working as camp counselors.

Also, the first thing that came to mind in this thread was the talent portion in "Drop Dead Gorgeous".

Criticlasm said...

Canadian Ken's mention of the backstage musicals reminded me of Dames, with Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell and Joan Blondell that I got to see on a big screen recently. IT's a comedy, but also notable for the hysterical ways in which these numbers could never, ever, ever be staged. That provokes some of the laughs. And Zasu Pitts.

NATHANIEL R said...

Oh and "Camp" has that hilarious Sondheim number Ladies Who Lunch performed by overambitious teenager.

so funny