The new Ghostbusters is coming out this week so in honor of the original, I’m counting down my favorite 80s comedies.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
The Vacation series has had ups and downs (a lot more downs) but the first one still holds up as a fun, enjoyable road trip film. I’m a huge fan of Chevy Chase so this won’t be the last time he appears on this list.
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis are the perfect combination of 80s comedic power. Ghostbusters is funny, scary and will be a timeless film forever. As proved by the new Ghostbusters trailers, everyone loves this original but maybe it should have stayed in the 80s.
Trading Places (1983)
Just like Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy is one of my favorite comedic actors from the 80s and Trading Places is one of his best. The pairing of him and Dan Aykroyd creates hilarious scene after hilarious scene and with legendary director John Landis behind the camera, Trading Places is an excellent comedy.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Almost every week there’s a film that I’ve never seen before that I feel I have to see to create the list, this week that film was Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I don’t know how I had never seen this, when you have two leads like Steve Martin and Michael Cain but now I have and it’s great. Cain and Martin are incredible con men (especially Martin) and them two going back and forth with each other is priceless.
Stir Crazy (1980)
Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder made some funny films together but my favorite has always been Stir Crazy. The scenes in the prison from start to finish are amazing. Wilder screaming never gets old, Pryor trying to act tough has me in tears and together they make the strongest comedic pairing ever, “That’s right.. we bad”.
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Spinal Tap is the best English band with no English members! Rob Reiner’s first film and he started off with a good one because This Is Spinal Tap is 80 minutes of pure 80s comedic gold. Christopher Guest kills it with improvised scenes my favorite being the gut busting line of “These go to 11”.
Spoof films are dead. There hasn’t been a good one in years but when they are done right, they can be really funny and Airplane! is my favorite. Leslie Nielsen is brilliant in this film and endlessly quotable, the spoofs on other films are great and the politically incorrect humor would be impossible to get away with these days. It’s a short run time so I’ve seen it hundreds of times, it’s the perfect quick comedy to just sit down and have fun, unless you sit next to Ted Striker.
Like I said I’m a big Chevy Chase fan and I love Fletch. Chase’s trademark wit and sarcasm is at an all time high in this film, everything he say is hilarious. You don’t usually associate great scores with comedies but Fletch has an awesome 80s score that elevates the film even more and the situations he gets into are crazy and stupid, which easily creates enough humor to make this one of the funniest films from the 80s.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Stick with Chevy Chase, Christmas Vacation makes it to number 2. It’s rare that the third film in a series is the best but Christmas Vacation is by far the best Vacation film ever. Everything from the returning characters, the oddly forever changing kids, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the neighbour and of course Chevy makes this film a perfect comedy. Not just at Christmas, I can watch this film at any time in the year and always enjoy it. The Vacation series should have stopped here and in my mind it did.
Coming to America (1988)
Eddie Murphy gives a powerhouse performance in this film but not just as a comedic actor, but as just an actor. He and Arsenio Hall play several characters and they’re all great, every time the barber shop characters are on screen, my sides hurt from laughing. James Earl Jones plays yet another father and proves even without a big metal suit, he’s scary. John Amos is hilarious among many others in one of the funniest films ever made and if there’s one band better than Spinal Tap, it’s Sexual Chocolate… “That boy good!!”
Next Week – Top Ten Sci-Fi films