It was a year of belly laughs, guffaws and giggles at the multiplex in 2018 as movies like “Incredibles 2,” “Deadpool 2” and “Crazy Rich Asians” proved that comedies are no joke at the box office, where they raked in more than $1 billion in North America.
That trio also delivered three of the most amusing scenes of the year, while several industry members also chose scenes from “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” “The Favourite,” “Game Night,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “A Simple Favor,” “Death of Stalin,” “A Simple Favor” and “Blockers” for this informal survey.
Participants include Sally Kirkland, nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for “Anna”; Carl Kurlander, who wrote “St. Elmo’s Fire”; Adele Lim, co-writer of the “Crazy Rich Asians” script; actress Stephanie Erb, whose credits include “Ray Donovan”; “Sully” screenwriter and “Elf” producer Todd Komarnicki; producer Jude S. Walko; publicist Andrew Cohen; and standup comedians Andy Au, Ryan Peckingpaugh, Ryan Pigg and Ken Pringle.
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
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The scenes: Melissa McCarthy’s Lee Israel realizes she has a gift for forgery and Richard E. Grant’s Jack Hock disses a dead agent.
Sally Kirkland — “I loved loved the film. My favorite line was ‘I’m a better Dorothy Parker than Dorothy Parker.'”
Carl Kurlander — “Not sure if it was funny watching it as a writer and realizing yikes, that could be me. Or watching Lee Israel/Melissa McCarthy make prank calls to her agent and add witty lines to Noel Coward, Dorothy Parker and other literary greats. Or Jack Hock with lines like about the dead agent… “maybe she didn’t die, maybe she just moved back to the suburbs.”
The scene — Rachel Weisz’ Sarah Churchill tells Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne, “You look like a badger” in answering the queen’s question about her makeup.
Stephanie Erb — “‘The Favourite’ was it hands down. Almost all of it was funnier than anything I saw this year. It was the most laughing I’ve done in a movie in years.”
“Crazy Rich Asians”
The scene — Awkwafina’s Peik Lin is invited to join a dinner while in casual clothes. She goes to the trunk of her car to get clothing, where one batch is marked “Cocktail Dress” and another is marked “Walk of Shame.”
Andy Au — “Then Rachel Chu / Constance Wu asks in surprise ‘You have a cocktail dress in your trunk?’ To which Awkafina replies, ‘I’m not an animal Rachel.'”
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
The scene — Sara Silverman’s Vanellope von Schweetz stumbles upon a room with all the Disney princesses, including Cinderella, who smashes a glass slipper and threatens Vanellope with the shard. She’s also asked, “Do people assume that all your problems are solved once a big strong man shows up?”
Adele Lim — “You never see that side of Disney. I grew up in Malaysia and my grandmother used to put on plays so I got cast as Snow White when I was six or seven. So the scene has an emotional connection for me. I think a lot of women feel that way about the Disney princesses.”
Jude S. Walko — “The Disney Princess sequence in ‘Ralph Breaks The Internet’ is the funniest thing you will see this year guaranteed. You won’t be able to breath for a good three to five minutes of self-deprecating DISNEY humor.”
The scene — John Cena, playing a parent trying his daughter from going through with her vow to have sex, winds up in a compromising situation at a raucous party.
Ryan Peckingpaugh– “As blue and immature as it was, John Cena butt-chugging in ‘Blockers’ wound up being hysterical.”
“A Simple Favor”
The scene: During a drinking session with Blake Lively’s Emily Nelson, Anna Kendrick’s Stephanie Smothers reveals that she had sex with her half-brother as a teenager.
Carl Kurlander — “I think the way that Anna one-upped Blake Lively about the brother was hysterical. I just loved the twist on twist.”
The scene — several members of Deadpool’s just-recruited X-Force perish in a variety of strange ways following a parachute jump.
Ken Pringle — “The unexpected rapid-fire death sequence of X-Force in ‘Deadpool 2’ was pretty hilarious.”
The scene — Bob Parr discovers what Jack needs to come back from being invisible.
Ken Pringle — “Maybe it’s just because I’m a new dad, but Craig T. Nelson’s ‘I can’t just keep giving him cookies!’ in ‘Incredibles 2’ got a good laugh out of me.”
“Isle of Dogs”
The scene — Edward Norton’s Rex suggests before a five-on-five dog fight that it might be worthwhile to see what’s in the newly arrived bag of garbage they’re going to fight over. They open the bag and Bryan Cranston’s Chief says, “Okay, it’s worth it.”
Todd Komarnicki — “It begins with a threat, pauses for some deep humanity (despite it being espoused by canines) and then collapses into chaos…and yet somehow, it also sparks the beginning of a family. To pull off this feat again and again, to steal the audiences laughter involuntarily, even while coaxing our heart a little bit forward, is a gentle gift that this artist (Wes Anderson) never ceases to offer.”
The scene — Rachel McAdams’ Annie deals with removing the bullet from the arm of her husband, Jason Bateman’s Max. Later on, while trying surreptitiously to hack into oddball neighbor Jesse Plemons’ computer, he gets blood all over Plemons’ white terrier.
Ryan Pigg — “It is such a great movie.”
“The Death of Stalin”
The scene — Jeffrey Tambor’s Georgy Malenkov asks Steve Buscemi’s Nikita Kruschev what he’s doing while prepping for Stalin’s funeral. “I’ve been picking out funeral cushions with slim Hitler over there,” he replies, referring to Stalin’s son.
Andrew Cohen — “The scene at Stalin’s funeral when Buscemi and Tambor are whispering to each other grumbling about the happenings around them is amazing.”