100 Years…100 Laughs Challenge

Laughter

Comedy fascinates me. It’s in my DNA.

When I was determined to become a film director prodigy in high school, I made a film every summer. Even though I attempted many different genres such as drama, thriller, and documentary, all of my projects (sometimes to my dismay) just ended up making the audience laugh. But who am I kidding…I loved it!

Comedies are swept under the rug too often at awards ceremonies and on lists of the greatest cinematic films of all time. However, movies that make us laugh are the ones we turn to when times get tough, and they’re the ones we remember. Oh, I love The Shawshank Redemption as much as the next Rotten Tomatoes-consulting film enthusiast. But when I had my wisdom teeth taken out, Back to the Future Part III was just what the doctor ordered to help me forget about my throbbing mouth.

At thirteen, I sent Robin Williams a fan letter thanking him for bringing some of my favorite comedies to the screen. A couple weeks later my mom came to pick me up at the library, and when I met her in the car she handed me a large envelope. The return address said, “Santa Monica.” I ripped it open expectantly, and an autographed portrait of Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt from Night at the Museum slid out. “To Keith. Bully. Robin Williams.”

Eight years later, I drove home from a party (sorry for leaving early, Luke!) with a heavy heart after receiving a text from my sister that Robin Williams had died. I called multiple friends to talk to me on that drive because I felt so alone. One thing I said in a conversation summed it all up: “There’s something special about the people who help us laugh in life. They help us forget about our problems, or at least cope with them in a healthy way. Our hearts form a unique bond with those people.” Humor and laughter can be a very personal and intimate experience.

I do not want to be known in peoples’ minds as “the guy who likes Robin Williams” or “the guy who likes Mr. Bean.” Perhaps I gravitate to certain comedic people/characters because they have traits that I admire and strive for in my own life. Joy. Obliviousness. Generosity. Impeccable smiles. Like them, I hope to leave behind a legacy of laughter.

In an attempt to start blogging consistently and expand my repertoire of comedy films, I am going to write about comedies using AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs as a template. Sometimes a blog post might include a review of the film, sometimes it might be a commentary, and sometimes the film might act as a stepping stone to talk about whatever the heck I want. It will be a lot of fun.

I will start at the bottom of the list and work my way up, so the first film up to bat is Good Morning, Vietnam. (I promise I didn’t plan to start with a Robin Williams movie!)

Finally, a disclaimer: Just because I write about a movie does not mean I recommend it for your family. If you are looking for those kinds of reviews, head over to Focus on the Family’s pluggedin.com.

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