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 411mania » Movies » Columns

Ten Deep 10.06.11: Top Ten Parody Films
Posted by Mike Gorman on 10.06.2011

"Top Ten Parody Films"

For almost as long as serious cinema has existed there have been masters of mirth making fun of them in the genre known as the Parody Film. These movies often follow the familiar patterns of well know films adding their own comedic perspective in the form of over the top characters, mocking dialogue and sometimes painful puns. The films that made this list have taken this comedic art form to a new level. They will go as far as needed to make the jokes and sometimes the end result is better than the original films they're mocking.

10. Scary Movie

Scary Movie and its subsequent sequels are some of the most jam packed movie parodies you will find. They attempt to cover EVERY horror film and sub-type that has ever existed and in the end they seem to be great at pulling it off. What I truly enjoy about Scary Movie is how it does a great job mocking the stupidity of horror film heroes. Why do they run up the stairs instead of out the front door? Simple, they're idiots.

9. This is Spinal Tap

There is perhaps no type of film that takes itself too seriously than the rock documentary. Spinal Tap recognized this and sent up a hilarious spoof of this self indulgent genre. The proof of the brilliance of this film is that many people believed Spinal Tap to be a real band and clamored for their music after the film premiered.

8. I'm Gonna Git You Sucka

Keen Ivory Wayans' I'm Gonna Git You Sucka is an often overlooked gem when it comes to movie parodies. Sucka sends up the Blaxplotation films of the seventies with some truly hilarious moments but also honors the genre by featuring many of the actors who originated the films.

7. The Naked Gun

If there is ever given an Oscar for lifetime achievement in film parody action, it would have to go to Leslie Nielsen. In his first appearance on this list, we are treated to his bumbling idiot police office, Lt. Frank Drebben. Drebben is classic in that he takes himself completely seriously but somehow always ends up in the middle of over the top scenarios. Naked Gun provides rapid fire jokes that barely allow you a moment to breath before the next one is set up.

6. Spaceballs

If Nielsen wins an award for parody acting, the award for parody writing and directing would of course go to Mel Brooks. He has a genius wit and puts it to good use in this send up of Star Wars and its ilk. Spaceballs takes the classic space opera and finds every moment of humor it can within the confines of the well known story.

5. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Mike Myers' Austin Powers is as much a parody as it is a love letter from a fan to the spy genre. Myers work provided a unique take on the mysterious world of spy action and also very heartily, and with love, skewered British culture. Without this film, and its sequels, we would be living in a world without FemBots and Fat Bastard, and honestly I would not want to live in that world, not even for… One hundred million dollars!

4. Young Frankenstein

Mel Brooks is back and this time he is taking aim at the classic Universal monster movies, specifically Frankenstein. The original films were a bit ham handed in their action and Mel Brooks is able to recreate that feel to perfection while weaving in the subtle and dexterous humor he is known for as well. The end result is as successful as a "horror" classic and comedy at the same time. The sign of a fantastic parody.

3. Clue

The absurd world of murder mysteries, a la Agatha Christie, get a delightful redo in this adaptation of the popular board game. The colorful characters of Clue are well crafted and infinitely quotable. The plot itself is secondary to the interactions of these amazing comedic actors bringing to life some true moments of hilarity. There are too many quotable moments for me to list them all here but I will leave you with this gem from Eileen Brennan's Mrs. Peacock: "Well, someone's got to break the ice, and it might as well be me. I mean, I'm used to being a hostess, it's part of my husband's work. And it's always difficult when a group of new friends meet together for the first time, to get acquainted. So I'm perfectly prepared to start the ball rolling. I mean, I-I have absolutely no idea what we're doing here. Or what I'm doing here, or what this place is about, but I am determined to enjoy myself. And I'm very intrigued, and, oh my, this soup's delicious, isn't it?"

2. Shaun of the Dead

A great parody not only mocks the genre and films that have come before it but provides you with a fantastic cinematic experience. This is never more true than in the case of the romantic zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's take on the popular zombie film succeeds because it hits all the right notes for providing a classic zombie film while following that up with punches of brilliant humor. It takes all of the genre's clichés and brings them to life in new ways. They fresh perspective sets them up as true masters of parody, for more see Hot Fuzz. It deserves to stand beside it's "brother" film as it is a fantastic spoof of the "buddy cop" films with a terrifying twist. Check it out!

And lastly…

1. Airplane

For me, when the word parody is spoken, there is one film that leaps immediately into my mind and that is Airplane. The Zucker Brothers focus their laser sharp wits on the disaster films of the 70s, specially the series of airplane crash films that populated that era. Leslie Nielsen is back again on the list as he leads the all star cast of this wonderful film. Whether it was Barbara Billingsley translating jive or poor Jill Whelan being assaulted by a folk singer's guitar, there are no jokes in this film that fall flat. If you are looking for a solid ninety minutes of unadulterated comedic parody genius, Airplane is the film for you, hands down.

I leave you with a personal favorite scene from the Airplane cockpit:

Did I miss one of your favorite parodies? That's no laughing matter, tell me all about it in the comments section.

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