Let’s be honest. It’s tough to find 10 great comedy movies in any given year but that’s why we throw in a few crowd pleaser popcorn escapist fun, and let you decide. We stuck only to movies with some form of theatrical release, which means separating out some great comedy documentaries made for television like Judd Apatow’s outstanding Garry Shandling doc which aired on HBO, and Robin Williams Come Inside My Mind– another HBO biographical portrait.
This year’s picks included three light comedies, two biopics that each had as much heartbreak as they did humor, two social commentary comedy films, a big budget romantic comedy and an indie romcom.
In 2014, Wes Anderson’s gorgeous Grand Budapest Hotel took the honors in this category. In 2015, it was Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck that got your vote. In 2016, Deadpool was your favorite movie. And in 2017 you loved Gilbert: A Gilbert Gottfried Story as much as we did. So if the past is any indication, you’re open to voting for a documentary, a blockbuster, a romcom or an indie film, and we’ve got at least one of each of those in the running this year.
Now it’s your turn to vote for the #1 comedy movie of 2018. Scroll down to read our top 10 picks, and check back January 3rd for results!
CRAZY RICH ASIANS. This is a movie for everyone. Critics loved it. Moviegoers loved it. It’s visually stunning, with strong performances by the main and supporting cast. Whether you love to ogle at the fun toys and diversions of the super rich or prefer to deride the lifestyles of the rich and famous as excessive, in poor taste and morally bankrupt, you’ll find something to love in this movie. The story isn’t new but its well told. Constance Wu and Henry Golding star as a gorgeous and deliriously happy/hope-filled couple on the verge of finding out that money changes everything. Both deliver the kind of performance that makes rom-com history, maybe even joining the ranks of movies like When Harry Met Sally, Pretty Woman, Sleepless in Seattle, and so on… But its supporting actress Awkwafina who packed the real punch in this movie bringing in the com in rom com and delivering the good advice that will help ensure that everything turns out okay in the end. A strong popcorn movie with real heart.
Director: Jon M. Chu Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina
STAN & OLLIE. Whether you already know and love the legendary comedy team of Stan & Ollie or are coming in with only vague notions and a snippet or two, you can’t help but love this beautiful film that is as much about the nature of creative relationships as it is a biopic. The story works on multiple levels including the pure fun of following Laurel and Hardy as they tour the UK. But its not a joyful successful tour, at least not at first. And as the two comedy partners work their way through one nighters in run down theaters and bad hotels, you see the harsh realities of a career after the lights have dimmed and the fame has faded. It’s a romcom of sorts, where the romance is the creative pairing of two men– men who are more than friends, they’re partners. And they’re partners who need each other to succeed but have very incompatible ideas about how to handle the business side of their careers. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are Stan and Ollie and they are magnetic and charming and entertaining and pull off terrific impressions as they take us through the ups and downs of the latter years of Laurel and Hardy.
Director: Jon S. Baird Starring: John C. Reilly, Steve Coogan.
DEADPOOL 2. Ryan Reynolds cares a tremendous deal about this franchise and character and it shows. Some people were worried when Tim Miller, the director of the first film stepped down but David Leitch (best known for directing the first John Wick film) did an amazing job. Deadpool’s biggest appeal is his “Merc with a mouth gimmick”, this is why he constantly breaks the fourth wall and the films are a satire of the whole superhero genre while also being a good superhero movie in its own right. Fans of Atlanta will be excited to see Zazie Beetz get major screen time playing a superhero named Domino whose power is luck. The movie has a lot of cool surprises that Super Hero fans will love and was such a hit that it even got re-released in time for Christmas with a PG-13 rating and added scenes featuring Fred Savage parodying The Princess Bride.
Director: David Leitch Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin.
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS. We always knew the Coen Brothers were brilliant, but we never expected they could pull off the impossible- give Netflix an original award-worthy movie that’s also a pleasure to watch. This anthological cluster of morality tales with a sense of humor is packed end to end with thought-provoking but fun stories, outstanding performances delivered in a variety of styles and tones. All of the vintage Coen Bros trademarks are here: dark humor, irony, and an unwillingness to provide an easy out for any of their characters. The decision to shoot on location in parts of Nebraska, New Mexico and Colorado was a wise one: No one captures the wonder and beauty of the region like the Coens. The cast is superb with Waits and Kazan standing out in their respective story arcs. It’s another winner in a career that has been stacked with many of them and definitely a leading contender for Best Comedy Movie.
Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen Starring: Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Saul Rubinek, Tyne Daly.
This biopic covering the career of cartoonist John Callahan, like most biopics about brilliant comedy creators, is full of darkness and sadness. The film takes you through the troubled life of real life artist John Callahan – an alcoholic whose already dark life takes a major turn when a car crash leaves him a quadriplegic. As you can imagine, it’s not an easy road from – Callahan doesn’t have a quick satisfying epiphany to turn his life around. Instead the trip includes blurry recollections, rage, and despair. But his dark road to an eventual discovery of purpose is mesmerizing. And the question of whether his use of dark humor about the disabled is heroic or low hanging fruit is a perfect fit in 2018 when comedy as a genre is struggling with questions of what subjects are acceptable fodder. It’s not a comedy, more about comedy. But there are laughs to be had. It’s not a perfect film, but absolutely one of the year’s ten best comedy-centric.
Director: Gus Van Sant Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Jack Black, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara
BLOCKERS. Some have called Blockers a female version of Superbad but with parents added into the plot. The comparison isn’t totally off base– Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg produced this high school comedy– but the two movies are different enough to let Blockers stand on its own. John Cena gets the biggest laughs in this movie which shouldn’t come as a surprise because he’s had great comedy roles before in Sisters and Trainwreck. Blockers centers on a trio of High School girls who decide to have a sex pact on prom night but unwittingly let their parents know. Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholz are those parents who will go to some fucked up lengths to put a stop to it. It’s a creepy premise but if you can see it as ridiculous and cringy, there are some good laughs here. The standout performance in Blockers comes from Gideon Adlon, daughter of Pamela Adlon, who plays a girl struggling the decision to come out to her friends. Despite the icky premise, Blockers did well with critics and had a respectable box office.
Director: Kay Cannon Starring: Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena
BLACKKKLANSMAN. Spike Lee and Jordan Peele teamed up to tell the incredible, but true story of Ron Stallworth, Colorado Springs’ first Black detective who managed to infiltrate the local chapter of the KKK – and have direct contact with KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace). John David Washington delivers a breakout performance as Stallworth, the newly minted detective in an all-white force is trying to prove that he’s not a token hire. Adam Driver is also outstanding as Flip Zimmerman, a Jewish cop who stands in for Stallworth’s for in-person interactions. Lee, who co-wrote the script with David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott, perfectly captures the fragile cat and mouse game Stallworth and Zimmerman play with the Klan trying to make their case stick. It also captures the paradoxes he has to contend with dealing with his superiors, a potential love interest with Black Student Union President Patrice (Laura Harrier) – who doesn’t like cops; and being forced to fuel the very racist ideals that he’s fighting against. Lee also takes Hollywood and the media to task for it’s own racist past and attempts to ‘normalize’ the so-called alt-right. It’s Spike Lee firing on all of the right cylinders in one of the year’s best films.
Directed by: Spike Lee Starring: John David Washington, Topher Grace, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier
SORRY TO BOTHER YOU: No one was ready for the debut feature from rapper/writer/director Boots Riley, but no one could forget what they saw. A biting political satire that morphs into dark sci-fi, it takes on race, economic justice, the dark side of capitalism and consumerism in a way that hasn’t been done in years and veers into directions that have to be seen to be believed. Lakeith Stansfield (Atlanta) cemented his star status as Cassius ‘Cash’ Green, the beyond broke slacker who goes from living in his uncle’s garage to living large as a highly successful telemarketer by simply speaking in his ‘white voice’. Tessa Thompson capped off her breakout year as Cash’s performance artist girlfriend Detroit, whose opposition to Cash’s newfound fame threatens their relationship. The chemistry between her and Stansfield was undeniable. Armie Hammer goes all as the company’s coke-addled CEO Steve Lift who gives Cash the chance to be part of a much larger, more creepier plan, with Terry Crews and Danny Glover anchor a strong supporting cast. Riley’s love letter to his hometown of Oakland works as a mashup of Do The Right Thing, Network and The Island Of Dr Moreau, and loaded with laughs and forcing you to ask yourself what price would you pay for financial security. One of the most subversive, audacious film debuts in recent memory.
Director: Boots Riley Starring: Lakeith Stansfield, Armie Hammer
YEAR OF SPECTACULAR MEN. Lea Thompson makes her directorial debut in this indie comedic drama that is also a family affair. Thompsons daughters Madelyn and Zoe Deutch co-wrote the film and also star as sisters, with Lea takes on the supporting role as (surprise!) their mom. Izzy is a directionless co-ed trying to figure out what to do next after college. Her father has committed suicide, her mother is exploring a lesbian relationship, her sister is a successful actress in LA, and this collection of influences sends Izzy searching to try to figure out what she wants from life. Bye bye boyfriend, hello year of exploring. There’s plenty of coming of age fun and all the silliness that accompanies that genre. The film is smart, sweet and charming, and most of all, funny. Lea Thompson and her daughters Zoe and Madelyn Deutch have created an Annie Hall for the modern age.
Director: Lea Thompson Starring Madelyn Deutch, Zoe Deutch
TAG. Action comedies have come and gone the last few years, it just seems like after Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder nobody really wanted the hybrid concept with big chase scenes and effects. Tag took the action comedy concept and changed it up, instead of explosions and fights all of the action was set around high stakes scenes with the cast playing tag. The movie is based on a true story about a group of friends who really do get together once a year to play Tag and the movie really plays into the bromance genre. The movie does a great job of never turning its back on the ridiculous premise but not overusing it and killing the joke.
Director: Jeff Tomsic Starring: Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, John Hamm, Hannibal Buress