Posted on Friday, March 31st, 2017 by Jacob Hall
(Welcome to /Response, the companion piece to our /Answers series and a space where /Film readers can chime in and offer their two cents on a particular question.)
Earlier this week, the /Film team wrote about the comedies that also make us cry. We then opened the floor to our readers: which funny movies also get the waterworks going for you? And you let us know!
We have collected our favorite answers (edited for length and clarity) below. Next week’s question: what is your favorite long, unbroken shot in movie history? Send your (at least one paragraph, please) answer to email@example.com!
Despite being a product of the wacky ’80s in both concept and execution, one film that has aged incredibly well while retaining all of its emotional weight is Penny Marshall’s Big. It takes one of the most basic of childhood daydreams and plays it out to great effect. Very quickly in the film, through the introduction of characters like Paul (John Heard) and Scotty (Jon Lovitz), Josh (Tom Hanks), a kid who has been magically transformed into a grown-up, begins to see how adults actually spend their days. It very quickly debunks the childhood misconception that adults are able to do what they want, whenever they want. The film turns that on its head and delivers some of its funniest moments when Josh is able to get the adults around him to let go of their inhibitions and act more like kids. It makes you feel good. It makes you wish that you could cut loose and be free yourself to dance on a giant keyboard, or to play laser tag in a corporate building.
Where the film really succeeds is in the moments of vulnerability when you’re reminded that our hero is, after all, still a kid. He becomes alienated from his best friend and struggles with the pressure to succeed, and he eventually cracks from it all. It’s the moment where he realizes all that he’s left behind and, through tears, says that he misses his family and wants to go home that causes me to tear up with each viewing. Simply put, the movie is a classic for a reason, and it’s one that will soon be handed down to my son, in the same way that my father introduced it to me. – Jacob Dixon
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I first watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at age 16. I had never heard of Michel Gondry or Charlie Kaufman, but I’d seen Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura, and it looked interesting enough. I was blown away. It almost feels wrong to classify this film as a romantic comedy simply because of how emotionally devastating it is. While it is hilarious (serious Jim Carrey still has his moments of levity), the intimacy of the camera and editing, combined with a nuanced script from the brilliant Kaufman, give the film a raw edge that other romantic comedies can never achieve. The scene in which Joel begs to keep a special memory of Clementine makes me break down. Every single time. The ending makes me break down. Every single time. No other movie has ever had that effect on me. It’s intimate, it’s beautiful, and it’s one of the best films ever made. -Jimmy Stewart
As a lifelong Adam Sandler fan, this one hit close to home. From a young age, I grew up with the mid-tier Happy Madison productions like Big Daddy, Little Nicky and Mr. Deeds; not great, but super entertaining to a seven year old. As I got older, I had access to Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison and the archive of SNL material (the Zagut’s sketch, especially) that really cemented my pre-teen admiration. As I got more into films, I discovered Reign Over Me and Punch Drunk Love. Especially with Paul Thomas Anderson’s classic, I was able to see my comedic hero turned dramatic powerhouse. Unfortunately, I discovered this on the cusp of the modern era of Sandler: Bedtime Stories, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Don’t Mess with the Zohan.
I began to snub him as a sellout while I discovered new comedy geniuses. Particularly, I fell in love with Judd Apatow and his crew. So when I found out that Adam Sandler was going to star in his next picture with Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Jason Schwartzman, I was first in line.
There’s a particular point in the film where Sandler mocks this semi-fictional version of himself over a montage of him slowly dying. That’s the moment that always gets me. An icon I’ve grown up with, believed-in, scorned, and returned-to. He immediately followed Funny People with Grown Ups and Jack and Jill, but I’ll continue to check in. Maybe I’ll get something totally weird like The Cobbler, or something unbearable like The Ridiculous Six, but I’ll always be holding out hope that he makes me laugh and cry again. -Zack Peercy