The Best Comedies on Netflix Streaming
Steve Martin is someone that is hilarious, but most of his movies seem to go under the radar of the younger generation. He teams up with the lovable loser John Candy in this classic that brings the average traveler's nightmares to extremes beyond belief.
It has the plot of a buddy-cop comedy, with Steve Martin playing the uptight Neal Page, on a mission to reach his home for Thanksgiving in spite of weather that seems determined to stop him, when he runs into shower-ring salesman Del Griffith (Candy). As you might imagine, the movie title encompasses their three forms of transportation, each bringing with it cringe-inducing experiences ranging from hours waiting in a crowded airport terminal to being face to face with a speeding 18-wheeler on a busy highway.
The movie delves deeper than the simple comedy that could easily be made of such a plot, however, showing Candy's ability to make the audience empathize with him in spite of his complete obliviousness to his own intrusive behavior. The list of their opposite character traits is seemingly neverending; skinny vs. fat, talkative vs. reserved, rich vs. doing what has to be done to get by.
This is what makes the night they are forced to share a bed in a seedy motel, their trip-crippling mix up of wallets, and their constant mutual presence so gut busting to witness. It is also what makes the tenderness at the end of the film so unlikely and touching, as we anticipate Martin's inevitable resentful blow up toward Del and the gluing of the pieces back together afterward. With a 7.5 rating on the film site IMDB, most people agree with me that this is a comedy worth streaming.
I'm going to warn you up front, this move is dumb. It is meant to be that way, a mockery of ridiculous proportions that is characteristic of star and SNL funnyman Andy Samberg's Lonely Island spoof music videos. His character is a joke, a "stunt man" who rides his makeshift dirtbike around town, harassing much younger kids at the pool and failing a cross-pool jump on the bike.
But in his own mind, Rod Kimble is the furthest thing from the joke; he is a certified bad ass who will stop at nothing to prove to his bully of a stepfather (the always brilliant Ian McShane) that he is a real man. This movie unfolds in a wild manner, as you might expect, and the laughs are constant throughout, even if they are cheap at some points.
With cohorts Bill Hader and Danny McBride (aka Kenny Powers) at his side to organize a fund-raising car jump hosted on AM radio to support his stepdad's heart transplant, Rod is nothing short of a superstar. Director Akiva Schaffer is a part of Samberg's Lonely Island crew, and it is apparent that they were having the type of fun on the set that makes the movie feel genuinely fun. This tends to be the case when you get these cast of characters together, and it is the type of comedy that you would not be surprised to see filmed with a handheld camcorder. If you can drop your cinemaphile criticisms of the lighting, editing, and other aspects that make high budget comedies appealing, you will enjoy the randomness of this form of comedy.
Nic Cage has deservedly earned a reputation of late for making low quality movies at a high volume with little effort put into the acting on any of them. But believe it or not, in his glory days he made some quality films, and his role as a 2-bit gangster with a love for cops in Raising Arizona is one of those films.
Playing H.I. (pronounced "Hi") McDunnough, Cage will do anything to make his policewoman wife Ed (Holly Hunter) satisfy her craving for a child of her own, which she is biologically unable to have. H.I. hatches a plan to kidnap the newly born child of a local furniture magnate named Nathan Arizona, who is the consummate used-car salesman type with a huge mega store and an even larger house.
Arizona's loud, brash nature and plethora of kids and cash compels H.I. to believe he will steal Nathan Arizona, Jr. without as much as a peep from his couch selling father or mother. He is incorrect, and soon he finds himself hunted by a beast-like motor cycle riding bounty hunter that is straight out of Mad Max.
It is entertaining like most movies directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, as well as a frantic, bustling film that has overly quirky characters, and watching the cop-robber marriage of H.I. and Ed is entertaining in its preposterousness.
The mysterious bounty hunter is a wild card and we never quite figure out his background, but he adds a suspense to the plot that adds to an overall random film. Lines like "You won't find prices lower or my name ain't Nathan Arizona" stick in your head, and I promise this isn't your average Nic Cage flick. It is funny and entertaining, or my name ain't Nathan Arizona.