10 Good Parody Movies

Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 12:57 pm

These 10 good parody movies are classics of the comedy genre, unlike such recent trash as Epic Movie, Remember the Spartans, and the appropriately titled Vampires Suck (well, minus the “Vampires“ part). Taking pre-existing films and turning them on their ear, the parody sub-genre has been alive and well for decades. While it’s been hit-or-miss in recent times, there are a number of gems out there if you know where to look. So if you’re tired of seeing spoofs engineered by various Wayans brothers, be sure to check out this list of 10 good parody films.

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Young Frankenstein (1974) – Director and co-writer Mel Brooks has a field day spoofing the classic horror film (and its many sequels) based on the work of Mary Shelley. Gene Wilder is Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, the somewhat dull grandson of the famous mad scientist. When he inherits the family estate, he discovers his grandfather’s hidden lab and decides to resume his experiments in reanimating the dead. The result–with a little help from Marty Feldman as the hilarious Igor–is a creature (Peter Boyle) who loves music, is scared of fire, and blessed with a massive penis (much to the delight of Frederick’s fiancee played by Madeline Kahn). Shot in black-and-white and scored by John Morris, Young Frankenstein pays loving tribute to the Universal horror flicks while simultaneously poking fun at them. Co-starring Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars, Cloris Leachman, and Gene Hackman.

Our Man Flint (1966) – The 007 series gets spoofed in this swingin’ film starring James Coburn as Derek Flint, a former secret agent who comes out of retirement to take on a trio of scientists trying to rule the world with a climate control device. References to James Bond abound, including a meeting with Agent 0008 and Flint’s refusal to carry a Walther PPK pistol (calling it “crude”). And don’t forget about Flint’s four live-in playmates, just a small indication of all the lovely women parading through this feature. A sequel, In Like Flint, would be released the following year.

Galaxy Quest (1999) – Seventeen years after their cult sci-fi series was cancelled, the cast of Galaxy Quest is recruited by a race of aliens who believe their television adventures to be real. This causes more than a little distress for the middle-aged thespians (Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Tony Shalhoub), especially Guy Fleegman, an actor who died in his one televised appearance as a redshirt crewman. An obvious spoof of Star Trek, the good-natured parody features solid special effects and a likable cast from top to bottom.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) – Director Edgar Wright intended to make a parody film of the zombie genre, but in the process ended up making one of the most entertaining undead flicks ever. Shaun (Simon Pegg) is an everyday UK schlub with little ambition, but a sudden zombie outbreak brings his inner hero to the surface. Along with portly roommate Ed (Nick Frost), he must brave the hordes of flesh-eating undead in order to rescue his beloved mum (Penelope Wilton) and recent ex-girlfriend (Kate Ashfield). Filled with cameos by British comics and sly references to previous zombie films, Shaun of the Dead remains near the top of a genre largely bereft of quality entries. Also starring Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, and Bill Nighy.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978) – When tomatoes across the globe gain sentience, they naturally react by trying to eradicate the human race. What follows is a madcap parody of B-movies starring a cast of nobodies and a budget of less than $100,000. But that didn’t stop the motion picture from making three sequels, an animated series, three video games, and a comic book adaptation. Sadly, Kanye West has never seen fit to cover “Puberty Love,” the awful song that features prominently in the film’s plot.

Black Dynamite (2009) – Michael Jai White (Spawn) stars in and co-wrote this outrageous parody of blaxploitation films. After his brother is killed by the mob, Vietnam vet and former CIA member Black Dynamite (White) declares war on the criminal underworld. White is perfect as the over-the-top badass hero, and the cast also includes an Asian mastermind, a rhyming hero (a la Dolemite), and plenty of foxy ladies. Recognizable faces include Arsenio Hall, Tommy Davidson, John Salley, Mike Starr, Cedric Yarbrough, and Mykelti Williamson. Even if you’ve never seen a blaxploitation film (although I highly recommend it), this is a spoof worth renting.

Hot Shots! (1991) – Jim Abrahams of Airplane! fame directed and co-wrote this parody that skewers action classics from the ‘80s, with the main target being Top Gun. Charlie Sheen is Topper Harley, a former Navy ace who retired to live in harmony with a tribe of Native Americans. Asked to return to service, he quickly develops a romance with his therapist (Valeria Golino) and a rivalry with fellow pilot Lt. Kent Gregory (Cary Elwes). Much like Airplane! before it, Hot Shots! delivers a constant barrage of visual and more traditional gags, and the comedic talents of Sheen, Lloyd Bridges, and the rest of the cast get to shine. It’s interesting to note that Sheen and Jon Cryer worked together on this film before teaming up for Two and a Half Men 12 years later.

Hot Fuzz (2007) – Edgar Wright makes his second appearance on this list of 10 good parody movies by telling the story of Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), a London cop who gets sent to a quiet village as punishment for making all of his big city co-workers look bad. But things aren’t as dull as they initially seem, and soon a series of graphic murders occur. It’s up to Nicholas and his dimwitted partner (Nick Frost) to solve the killings before more victims are added to the list, all the while contending with a runaway swan, an unexploded naval mine from WWII, and the general contempt of his fellow cops. The excellent UK cast includes Paddy Considine, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Edward Woodward, and Bill Nighy. Also keep an eye out for Peter Jackson, Edgar Wright, Steve Coogan, and Cate Blanchett in uncredited roles.

Airplane! (1980) – A less-serious remake of the 1957 film Zero Hour! and a general spoof of the Airport series, Airplane! was one of the many successful parody films from the team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker (also known as ZAZ). When the crew of a commercial airliner is stricken with food poisoning, it’s up to traumatized fighter pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays) to land them safely. While battling his inner demons and a “drinking problem” (not what you’re thinking), Striker must also attempt to win back his true love (Julie Hagerty). Filled with rapid-fire sight gags and unexpected appearances (including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Barbara Billingsley), Airplane! includes a number of roles occupied by actors not formerly known for their comedic talents (Leslie Nielsen, Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, and Robert Stack). A classic of the parody genre.

History of the World, Part 1 (1981) – Yet another spoof from Mel Brooks, this time taking aim at historical epics such as Ben-Hur and Cleopatra. Beginning with the dawn of man, the parody moves all the way though the French Revolution with Brooks appearing as everyone from Moses to King Louis XVI. It’s a non-stop stream of jokes, including the tale of the 15 Commandments, a stand-up philosopher name Comicus, Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas filling in for Caesar’s palace, and a Spanish Inquisition scene depicted as a song-and-dance number. Brooks’ regulars such as Dom DeLuise, Cloris Leachman, Harvey Korman, and Madeline Kahn appear, as well top-shelf cameos from Orson Welles, John Hurt, Hugh Hefner, Henny Youngman, and Bea Arthur.

These 10 good parody movies can all be found on Netflix, the leading source for online film rentals. Click on this link to become a Netflix member, and you’ll soon enjoy thousands of selections, free shipping and handling, and absolutely no late fees. We do get a commission if you become a member, but that doesn’t add anything to your final cost.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 19th, 2010 at 12:57 pm and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “10 Good Parody Movies”

Leave a Comment

August 23, 2010

liang

I like all this movie.But I think I will like History of the World, Part 1.

August 24, 2010

Quin Schlather

Admirable blog. I’ve found exactly what I was looking for.

September 8, 2010

Alaine Gaufusi

I love this article. I really learned so much. I’ll ask friends to check it too.

October 15, 2010

Fallacy

Nice choices

September 26, 2011

Durham

Great list Mr. Rivers. Some of my favorite guilty pleasures in this post. Black Dynamite and Our Man Flint, what a double feature!

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