In my experience, people aren’t fond of being called stupid, lazy, or fat. Yet movies and television shows are able to show us these faults in ourselves while making us laugh. How do they do it? Satire, or to be more exact, satirical comedy. It’s both entertaining us while directing our attention to issues we generally prefer to ignore.
That being said, here are my top five satirical comedies:
He’s Just Not That Into You
The first selection makes no attempts at being subtle. Based on a book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, He’s Just Not That Into You is a movie about relationships. On the surface, it would seem that its advice and examples are for an audience of women, but both male and female characters learn necessary if harsh, lessons on how to find your other half without losing yourself in the process. Not everyone has a happy ending in this piece, but it reflects our world in a truthful way, rather than Disneyfying it. It’ll make you laugh, cry, and question your past relationship follies.
Up In The Air
The next flick was an astounding story to follow. Up in the Air is also based on a book by Walter Kim. It’s a worthwhile commentary on both relationships and our modern dependence on technology. George Clooney plays a businessman, happy in his constant traveling routine. A fresh graduate out of Columbia enters his office, shaking things up and knocking Clooney’s character out of his comfort zone. Scheduling dates like business meetings and breaking up over text message are just two of the changing climates of our society brought to light in this brazen comedy.
My next three selections may seem slightly more shocking but are just as valuable in both their message and humor. Starting off, this final trio is a cartoon. Wall-E isn’t simply a children’s film but throws one of America’s most defining problems back into our faces: Obesity. Even as the healthy eating and Wii fit phase take over our nation, people still head to McDonald’s for a quick lunch and Skype their friends across the hall. Wall-E speaks volumes in its extreme look at how our future might turn out if we continue to replace the physical activity of tasks with technological means of execution. The people in this film are living on a space station, unable to lift their own body weight, while a small robot fleet makes the futile attempt at cleaning the earth, which has been left barren and trash-ridden over time. Many of the situations seem humorous but hit rather close to home when evaluated more closely.
Next is a British film. Not surprising, as the British more than anyone, know the worth of a good satirical piece, going as far back as Shakespeare’s plays. The film I have chosen for my list is entitled Hot Fuzz and follows a London police officer’s transfer to a small town. In an overzealous attempt to remove any misdemeanors in his new jurisdiction, the officer ends up falling under the stern gaze of the town council. While the film comments on several aspects of small-town life, its larger assault is on the idea of the ends justifying the means. With both British and American humor, this is not a comedy to be overlooked, and no description in words can do it justice.
Finally, one of the funniest and best satirical pieces of the past can be found in Luke Wilson’s Idiocracy. Don’t write off this movie as just another mindless comedy because it is so much more. Luke Wilson’s character Joe Bowers is as average as they come in our world, yet in the future, where he ends up in a faulty military experiment, he is the smartest man alive. Another take on technological dependence dumbing down the human mind, Idiocracy also makes a statement about the influence of advertisements and business on our society..