Amazon Prime Instant Video is the most difficult streaming service to use. As a fan of Netflix’s early streaming years, when it had a wide variety of movies to choose from, Amazon Prime is likely to be a good fit for you. The noise level is out of control. Even with the official Prime Video apps, it might be difficult to sort through all the content.
You’ll find a lot of TV shows, many of which are Amazon originals, as well as a slew of other things you’ve never heard of before. However, there is a wide collection of amusing films to choose from, including some of the most well-known and influential comedies of all time.
The best comedies available on Amazon Prime Video are what we’re here to discuss with you today. Of course, comedies that aren’t as well written, directed, or acted will be given a higher rating than comedies that are. Even if Stanley Donen’s Charade is superior to UHF, we can’t help but laugh harder when we watch a different film.
A Fish Called Wanda
This ensemble piece demonstrates what can happen when four excellent comic actors (John Cleese, fellow Monty Python alum Michael Palin, Kevin Kline, and Jamie Lee Curtis) are given a script (written by Cleese) that puts them all on equal footing and allows them to each shine in their way.
The end product is a masterful display of sharply delivered, character-driven humor that, although harsh on elderly people, fish, and terriers, continues to reward new and returning viewers. (Also, the picture managed to overcome the typical prejudice that the Academy has against comedies, and it was able to earn Kevin Kline the award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Otto.
The Coen Brothers’ exploration of the negative implications of the phrase “Minnesota nice” resulted in the production of one of the most well-liked, critically acclaimed, and quotable films in the history of cinema. The film Fargo examines the tension that comes with polite social conventions and the silent desperation that they frequently cover.
The film sets up one scene after another that is so awkward that it will make your skin crawl. The emotional reserve exhibited by characters like Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) and Mike Yanagita (Steve Park) is a thin and dishonest veil over yearnings for money or companionship, while their foil is Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), who is that nice, hardworking, and downright normal.
The Coen brothers establish a precise balance between softness and harsh gruesomeness below a normal all-American façade. Their films can make you admire the art behind postage stamps just as deeply as they can make you cringe at the sound of a wood chipper.
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In light of the Sacha Baron Cohen movies that came after it, “Borat,” also known as “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” is an easy film to overlook or underrate. Cohen’s initial thesis was successfully watered down by works such as Bruno and The Dictator, but his faux-documentary about an awkward Eurasian traveler is still kind of amazing.
It was a comedy that was released to a wide audience and looked plainly and critically at an average American attitude of dismissiveness and outright xenophobia toward people we don’t understand.
It also looked at a willingness to feign earnestness if someone thought that taking advantage of Borat might somehow benefit them. Even though Borat’s statements could be considered naive, we can take comfort in the fact that they are genuine reflections of the fictional upbringing of the character.
The fictional character of Borat is not a charlatan; but, the “actual” people he encounters in the United States are not able to make the same claim. One last observation before I move on: this movie, along with Anchorman, had the audience laughing the loudest that I’ve ever heard it laugh in a multiplex theatre.
The Royal Tenenbaums
Both of Wes Anderson’s first two feature films were set in Texas, where he spent his childhood. The storytelling in The Royal Tenenbaums takes place in the author’s hometown of New York. In addition, the narrative bridges the gap between infancy and maturity by focusing on the profound influences that one stage of life has on the other.
The character played by Gene Hackman is referred to as “The Royal” in the film’s title. Chas Tenenbaum (Ben Stiller), a math genius with a brain for business, Richie Tenenbaum (Luke Wilson), a tennis star, and adoptive daughter Margot Tenenbaum (Gwyneth Paltrow), a playwright make up the Tenenbaum family.
Royal Tenenbaum is the patriarch of this family of youthful prodigies. The film begins with Royal declaring his intention to divorce his wife, Etheline (played by Anjelica Huston), and then jumps ahead several years to show how their children have fared in life, both achieving and falling short of their goals.
At the same time that Etheline is making preparations to remarry her longtime accountant, Danny Glover, Royal makes the shocking announcement that he has stomach cancer and makes an effort to make amends with the family he deserted. The dysfunctional family and the struggle for redemption would become hallmarks of Anderson’s oeuvre, but in this film, with a talented cast that also included frequent collaborators Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Kumar Pallana, the director’s gift for wringing humor out of hopelessness is unmatched by anyone else.
The characters’ plight is keenly felt, and the moment they are redeemed provides a joyful relief. Every detail of the scene dressing, every article of clothing, and every symmetrical camera frame seems to have been methodically managed, while the characters are spiraling out of control. After all of these years, it is still Anderson’s most impressive film in terms of both its visual and emotional beauty, and it is his crowning achievement.
The Big Sick
The Big Sick can be traditional, but its characters are luminous. Based on the first year of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s marriage, this indie rom-com boasts a bold structure and insightful observations on immigrant families in America.
What’s most striking is how lovely they are. The Big Sick is defiantly generous, realizing that people are flawed yet capable of enormous grace. These characters keep you going even when the film falters. Nanjiani plays a fictionalized version of himself as a struggling Chicago stand-up comedian.
Born into a Pakistani family that moved to the U.S. when he was a youngster, he’s a devoted son while lying about being a practicing Muslim and dodging his parents’ attempts to set him up in an arranged marriage. When he meets Zoe Kazan’s Emily, he’s instantly smitten. Even though she says she doesn’t desire a relationship, Kumail and her fall in love. The Big Sick’s most radical message is that kindness can change everything.
Southern railroad engineer Buster Keaton must pursue his lover and stolen locomotive across enemy lines. The General is likely the best silent comedy, if not the best comedy ever.
Buster Keaton’s final film didn’t do well critically or commercially, but it’s aged well. It combines romance, adventure, action (chases, fires, explosions), and comedy into a silent classic.
Napoleon Dynamite wasn’t meant to be a mid-2000s cultural staple. Made for $400,000 (actor Jon Heder was paid $1,000), this was designed to be a quirky, indie awards ceremony oddity, not a producer of memes and catchphrases. The film became a sleeper hit, as we all know.
This made it better recognized by mass audiences, but it masked its critical brilliance. Success and overexposure brought ridicule. Napoleon Dynamite, its main character, and its quips are shorthand for “stupid comedy,” but the film is a parody of American unexceptional. Napoleon Dynamite presents a complete universe of nasty personalities, fragile egos, and social ineptitude.
Uncle Rico’s endless, masturbatory, self-shot football movies are so devastating you might expect him in a tragedy rather than a comedy. Napoleon’s most popular student looks like a young Jake Busey. Napoleon Dynamite’s Midwestern weariness may have been missed by some spectators, but it’s what makes the movie more than a Comedy Central weekend afternoon feature.
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Heathers is a fun peek into the festering center of the teenage id, all sunglasses and smokes, jail bait and misinterpreted kitsch. Heathers embraces its aesthetic as a vital foundation to filmmaking, realizing that even the most overblown melodrama can be sold through a well-manicured image. Some of Heather’s visuals are indelible:
J.D. (Christian Slater) pulling a gun on school bullies in the lunchroom or Veronica (Winona Ryder) lighting a cigarette as her ex-boyfriend explodes. Heathers is a filmmaker’s (teen) film, therefore it seems logical that Daniel Waters chose Stanley Kubrick to direct.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Steve Zissou (Bill Murray), a once-renowned oceanographer and explorer, is now barely able to get out of bed. He’s sensitive, but not overly so. For The Life Aquatic, Murray portrays the melancholy washed-up character like a classic Pixies song, with a frigid, absolutely repressed attitude about the chaos around him, until his frustrations explode with lines like “Son of a bitch, I am sick of these dolphins,” which is a brilliantly cutting line.
There’s plenty of contrast between cynical humor and something more heartfelt, especially in large action scenes like when the Zissou team rescues Allistair Hennessey (“Steven, are you saving me?”) from the clutches of Murray’s enigmatic characters. Murray’s half-smile and barely-there head cock are deadpan genii)
Even if Anderson wasn’t directly responsible for getting Murray to turn away from his trademark wisecracking comedic characters in films like Ghostbusters or Caddyshack, I believe their work on The Life Aquatic is their most beneficial to date.
Love & Friendship
Even though Whit Stillman’s latest comedy is titled Love & Friendship, it’s filled with more negative qualities as well: dishonesty, manipulation, and even plain hatred. Benjamin Esdraffo’s Baroque orchestral score and Louise Matthew’s elaborate art direction reveal a darker perspective of humanity that gives the film more of an ironic kick than one may have expected from the outset.
The humor in Love & Friendship, on the other hand, is not in the least bit cruel. Stillman’s assessment of the bourgeois faults is as uncompromising as ever, yet ultimately sympathetic.
Because of this, the picture leaves a slightly unpleasant aftertaste, which is arguably the best way for Stillman to end it. Stillman’s films have always been known for their honesty, and even while Love & Friendship is a sweeter confection than some of his other works, that frankness, luckily, remains.