40. Moonrise Kingdom
I don’t remember if I was reading an article or it came up in conversation, but years ago I heard someone say Wes Anderson’s humor feels like a long string of inside jokes. While I can’t take credit for coming up with this comparison, I wholeheartedly agree. The filmmaker’s distinctive, highly visual sense of humor is to be found in the details—the composition of a frame, the timing of a cut, the particular way Bill Murray says “I’m going to find a tree to chop down” with an ax in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. It might not quite be the type of comedy that will have you doubled over, but it will keep you chuckling quietly throughout, and that’s a worthy accomplishment in its own right.
39. Support the Girls
Andrew Bujalski’s Texas sports bar-set comedy is a perfect slice of life movie for the decade that saw a new generation of Viners, memers, and more consistently laugh in the face of late capitalism. The day-in-the-life story is empathetic, ironic, and deeply funny, in part thanks to performances from Regina Hall as the bar’s fed up manager, Lisa, and Haley Lu Richardson as an effervescent waitress named Maci. Richardson’s performance deserves a thousand-word essay of its own; all ultra-white teeth and push-up bra posture, Maci somehow proves herself both an airhead and an astute businesswoman. The film mines laughs from the everyday insanity of service industry jobs, from an employee’s unnerving photoreal tattoo of Steph Curry to a robber getting stuck in a vent. Hall’s straight-faced performance holds it all together perfectly. Perhaps Maci, giant confetti shooter in hand, explains how we feel about Support the Girls better than we can: “You’re the best and we love ya!” (Valerie Ettenhofer)
38. Lady Bird
As mentioned earlier, the trials and tribulations of being a female adolescent have had something of a screen renaissance as of late. Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird is easily among the most beloved thus far, and for good reason. Featuring the always excellent Saorise Ronan front and center as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, the film is the sort of dramedy where the comedic and dramatic elements work in perfect sync to heighten each other by contrast.
37. Logan Lucky
As far as I’m concerned, Logan Lucky is Soderberg’s best heist film. And yes, I am aware of the other ones. But this is my list, meaning I get to talk and you get to listen. In trading out the metropolitan glitz and glamor typical of the genre for custodial uniforms and nail polish-labeled cockroaches, Logan Lucky hits the sweet spot where comfortably nostalgic and refreshing meet. While Adam Driver’s deadpan delivery as the superstitious one-armed bartender and military veteran Clyde is a treat, the film’s comedy superstar is easily Daniel Craig, who comes out of his usual pretty boy cage as kooky pyrotechnics expert Joe Bang and goes far beyond doing just fine. And If you dare question this film’s status as a comedy, recall that while many films have depicted prison riots, only one has featured a hostage negotiation revolving around an extended gag about GRRM’s failure to complete The Winds of Winter in a timely fashion.
36. The World’s End
“We’re just five friends on a night out, having a good time.” When a group of friends set out to complete a lengthy pub crawl for old time’s sake, their evening out takes a decidedly sharp turn when they realize the planet is in the midst of a cyborg takeover. While they might not find the unexpected twist especially enjoyable, as a viewer, it makes for a rollicking good time. As Tony Zhou laid out in one of his superb Every Frame a Painting video essays, Edgar Wright is a master of visual comedy, and The World’s End marks the completion of Wright’s crowning glory to date: the genre comedy “Cornetto trilogy” that began with zom-com Shaun of the Dead and buddy cop spoof Hot Fuzz.
35. Young Adult
Jason Reitman’s fourth feature film — his best so far — is a darkly comic gem that leans so spiteful and irredeemable that some might even mistake it for being a drama. Charlize Theron headlines as a woman convinced that not only is she worth celebrating but also that the world is hers for the taking, but when she returns to her hometown to woo an old boyfriend away from his wife she discovers the limits of her own celebrity. The setup is perfect for the expected tale about someone learning to be a better person, but the script is having none of that. Just when you think Theron’s character will buckle beneath the pressure she doubles down, and if you’re not on board with this being a fantastically mean comedy then you’ll most likely leave the film confused, unhappy, and wrong about the film’s brilliance. Patton Oswalt is on hand to add to the fun, but while there are plenty of one-liners and gags to keep those attuned giggling it’s beautiful, blackly comic blanket hanging over the entirety, one worn like a cape by Theron, that brings the film home as one of the decade’s funniest. (Rob Hunter)
Richard Ayoade’s sense of humor is awkward and slightly weird, so it’s unsurprising that he incorporated these sensibilities into his feature-length debut. Submarine revolves around an oddball romantic pairing that experiences the joys and heartbreak of a first-time relationship, but the film’s strength lies in making us remember that social outcasts deserve to be loved as well. The fact that Submarine is loaded with laughs makes it qualify for this list, but anyone who loved and lost in high school will likely relate to it on a deeper level. (Kieran Fisher)
33. The Cabin in the Woods
Self-referential horror isn’t necessarily something new. Wes Craven’s Scream franchise poked fun at the slasher genre and made it something both funny and terrifying. Drew Goddard followed in Craven’s massive footsteps with something a little different but just as clever: The Cabin In The Woods. A group of college students ventures to the titular cabin in the titular woods to have the usual booze-fueled weekend full of debauchery. However, something is waiting for them. It’s Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford watching them through video cameras and deciding how they’re going to die, whether it be by zombie hillbilly family or a bloodthirsty mermaid. They are part of an organization that controls horror movie monsters and unleashed them onto the world in the name of an elder god. The Cabin In The Woods takes all of the horror tropes you know (and maybe love) and dissects them like a frog in a science class. It is a film that will entertain both fans of horror and those who typically avoid the genre. It strikes a perfect balance of moments of gore with hilarious sequences of self-awareness. (Mary Beth McAndrews)
32. The Wolf of Wall Street
From its explosive prologue right up to the startlingly brutal finale, The Wolf of Wall Street utilizes rip-roaring humor to make this nearly three-hour film fly by. Master of cinema Martin Scorsese packs a hilarious punch, but the peak of Wolf’s comedy is the famous and riotous quaaludes scene. If anyone can find a film from this decade with a funnier moment than a doped up DiCaprio hanging out of his car, I’ll name my first kid after Marty. Actually, I might do that regardless. Anyway, the film ingeniously lampoons business bros while also enticing us into their world with enough zest that this satire works by pulling the rug out from us just when we get comfortable with indulgence. The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t only one of the decade’s best comedies, it’s one of the greatest films of our time and so goddamn funny it should be illegal. (Anna Swanson)
31. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Lorene Scafaria’s apocalyptic rom-dramedy road trip movie has a little bit of absolutely everything and plenty of good humor along the way, from waiters at Friendly’s who get a little too, erm, friendly to a great “no good deeds go unpunished” gag involving a spider. Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley are definitely an odd couple pairing, but that’s the thing about the apocalypse—crazy, unexpected shit happens. And just like the movie as a whole, the starring pair are a little weird but ultimately utterly compelling.