Thursday, November 12, 2015

What they said last night

An exquisitely-talented crowd of Hollywood’s most illustrious writers gathered last night under the Cinerama Dome to celebrate the “101 Funniest Screenplays” of all time.  Annie Hall won, but Airplane! came close.

Rob Reiner hosted the evening, introducing panelists with the throwaway line, “Let’s see how fucking funny they are.”

Generally, they were pretty funny, as were the clips of films on the list.

Here are some of the comments by panelists during the evening:

Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways):  “Why don’t we see excellent movies every summer?”

Jon Favreau (Swingers):  “I wrote a screenplay to get work for me and my friends....Nobody cares what the writer thinks….Everything is autobiographical.”

Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect):  “If I were on the list, I’d do it [sing for the audience].”

Peter Bogdanovich (What’s Up, Doc?):  “It’s a bandana.  An ascot would be pretentious….I loved Boris Karloff.  He was a wonderful man.”

Buck Henry (The Graduate, What’s Up Doc?):  “I have no formula for anything.”

Randi Mayem Singer (Mrs. Doubtfire):  “I liked making things up rather than doing the news.”

Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle):  when he finally was cast in a role, his mother told him to “be the best pimp you can be.  The whole church is praying for you.”

Dale Launer (My Cousin Vinny, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels):  “I’m not even sure what it means to be ‘high concept.’  If the kernel of the idea is funny, it’s high concept.”

Daniel Petrie Jr. (Beverly Hills Cop):  “Our life filters into our work.”

Don Roos (The Opposite of Sex):  “What is the opposite of sex?  I’m living it.”

Everyone mingled afterwards in a delightfully crowded and buoyant way in the main lobby of the ArcLight Cinema, the titles and show times of many current films glowingly on display overhead.

Can you Imagine a film festival devoted to showing, in order, these 101 funniest screenplays?  Just how funny would that be?  What kind of mood would the film-goers be in after watching them all?  What would a mockumentary devoted to such an event be like as a film?  Would you go to such a film festival?  What if you binge-watched them all at home?

The ranking of these films was performed by the Writers Guild of America, West, and the Writers Guild of America, East.  You can read the entire list here

You can read Variety's take on this event here.

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