When Samuel L Jackson swears there are kids in the theatre popping their caramel popcorn as though nothing happened. And here I am still clenching my teeth with my upbringing which makes me look around in horror. Is the air blue? Can the man say any line of dialogue without swearing?
And then I am reminded that one of the greatest stand-up comics in the world was swearing even before I was in high school. Eddie Murphy was on Saturday Night Live and you can see the featured shorts on YouTube and also his Delirious tour. It has taken me many years of growing up to understand how brilliant the man is. And how swearing is not just for effect. You watched him as Donkey in the wildly popular
Shrek films. His last two films Church (2016) was eminently missable and A Thousand Words (2012) earned him a nomination for the raspberry award for being the worst actor. And all of a sudden in the middle of the Mumbai film festival, a new film has been released. Dolemite Is My Name is a biographical film and Eddie Murphy makes the character of Rudy Ray Moore his own. As a man who discovers comedy in shocking content in a persona of a pimp with a wig and a can and eye-popping exaggerations, Eddie Murphy becomes this rude, crude man of show biz with such naturalness, you are bowled over. But among the outrageous comedy, there is a heart that beats in empathy. His advice to Queen Bee (who is at the bar drowning her sorrows) stays with you, ‘Just put on a cape and become the superhero on stage’. I suppose it is great advice for all of us who deal with the world that’s not always caring. VIDEO
How can Netflix top this wild Kung Fu, exploitation comedy ride? With an Eddie Murphy stand up special, I am hoping. But then there are other howlarious, hilarious films you can watch which will make your weekend happy.
First off, a confession: Whenever I need to laugh and forget the horrors of my life, I go to the middle ages with Eric Idle, John Cheese, Graham Chapman, the Terry’s Gilliam and Jones and Michael Palin. Yes,
Monty Python And The Holy Grail, as well as Life Of Brian on Netflix, can make you spew your chai across the room no matter how many times you have seen it. VIDEO VIDEO
When you are done laughing at the knights in leaf camouflage and the big black knight, or Jesus’s brother Brian (Terry Jones’ mistaken Mary saying, ‘Myrrh! Who gives Myrrh?!’ is an unforgettable dialogue and works for all the bad gifts you have ever received on your birthday) turn to Jim Carrey who has been setting Twitter aflame over the last year with his paintings. His elastic face and his brilliant comedic acting make for a fabulous film. And I’m not talking of one of the best films there is:
Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind is a comedy, but that would be an injustice to the film. Yes Man, on the other hand, makes for wonderful viewing, especially because sometimes you need to learn the importance of saying, ‘No!’ to family, to people who want to take advantage of your decency.’ VIDEO
Saying, ‘Yes!’ to life can be difficult and at the same time funny. But you know what can be perfect with popcorn? A funny take on a writer’s life. Everyone in Bombay has a film script ready, a mouse click away. The film
True Memoirs Of An International Assassin is a funny take on what happens when a writer is dragged away from his typewriter to solving a real threat. VIDEO
Jack Black has always delivered the laughs, no matter what role he has played, whether it is the teacher in
School of Rock or the massively criticised Year One. I understand why critics panned it, but it is a fun one time watch. It is blasphemous and I cannot imagine a satire made on the majority religion here. One day perhaps we will have true democracy of thought… VIDEO
Jack Black’s Zed and Michael Cera’s Oh go on a tribal adventure which received some really undeserved flak methinks. Especially when there are season after season of bland comedy on mainstream channels as well as streaming services. Speaking of streaming services, I am grateful to go back to watching
Andaz Apna Apna on Amazon Prime ever so often. But for some reason, I don’t think Hera Pheri is anywhere near funny. But that’s me. Spoilt for choice ever since I watched Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles as a teenager. VIDEO
Speaking of all-time favourites,
Death At A Funeral, The Big Lebowski as well as Pineapple Express are on Netflix. But I’d suggest you try out something new. I would suggest those connected to advertising watch Movie 43 simply because it has the capability of making you outrage about one thing or more in this very funny film. After all, if comedy doesn’t put a thumb on a nerve, it isn’t really a comedy, is it?
I do like
American Police Academy type films and can saunter off to make myself a cup of tea when everyone else is watching the film. But there’s a sleeper hit hiding on Netflix that is very very funny and it is a cop film. Hot Fuzz is the name and I guarantee you so much laughter your smile will ache. VIDEO
If there’s still the weekend left, watch Mindhorn and more episodes of Archer. Or perhaps El Camino Christmas. All eminently satisfying to the funny bone.
But I do want to come back to Eddie Murphy and his brilliant new film
Dolemite Is My Name. The title reminded me of my childhood favourites Terence Hill and Bud Spencer movies. The Ridiculous 6 is a funny spoof on Westerns and is a great watch on Netflix. Also because Eddie Murphy on his Delirious tour describes his mother to being so good at hitting her kids, she became 'Clint Eastwood with a shoe' by all that practice. You can watch the Delirious tour on YouTube and spend a tedious November weekend laughing... Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication. Read her columns