Awards SeasonFilmNewsOscars Coverage 2016

Why aren’t comedies taken more seriously?

 

Noah Reynolds ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

This year the director of classic cult comedies and the mind behind Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers, Anchorman, Anchorman: The Legend Continues and The Other Guys. But this year, writer, producer, and director Adam Mckay has done what few comedy filmmakers have achieved before him, being nominated for the academy award for best picture. The Big Short is also nominated for best director, best adapted screenplay, best actor in a supporting role (Christian Bale), and best film editing.

The Big Short, which describes the story of several banking geniuses benefiting from the housing collapse and economic crisis of 2008, received critical acclaim from just about everywhere. According to Melena Ryzik of The New York Times The Big Short may at least alter the course of Mr. McKay’s career, or turn audiences on to his brand of serious-minded humor. While accepting his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay McKay got excited discussing the hurdles for banking regulatory reform and his belief that ‘the good news is, corruption never works’.

Mckay is an alum of Saturday Night Live and The Second City. He was a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade, and created Funny or Die with frequent collaborator Will Ferrell. Mckay knows the entertainment business as well or better than anyone. And now he is on the biggest stage in the film industry.

Steve Carell, center, and Ryan Gosling, right in "The Big Short". Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount
Steve Carell, center, and Ryan Gosling, right in “The Big Short”. Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount

Mckay has made it clear with the success of The Big Short that it is now time for comedic films to be taken seriously by those who judge cinema at the highest levels. Comedies are some of the biggest box office hits of any movie genre. Mckay has made 700 million dollars in total gross from his directing projects according to Box Office Mojo. While characters like Ricky Bobby or Ron Burgundy may not be worthy of Oscars; who is to say that these overwhelmingly crowd pleasing movies can’t be contenders alongside the biopics and dramatic stories that have commanded award shows for decades.

Comedies are movies that embody some of the most important aspects of America. Many of the best movies of the last several decades have been comedies. The Big Lebowski, Caddyshack, Airplane, The Blues Brothers, are all classics that have shaped the genre but haven’t been nominated for any big awards.

Humor is more accessible to a wider range of audiences than the normal award winning movies. Films are about giving the audience an experience, and comedy films set out to achieve one objective, amuse the audience. Many oscar winning directors and writers make films only to win awards, but those with a background in comedy make films to give viewers an enjoyable experience.

It’s time for the movie experts to begin appreciating movies like The Big Short for what they truly are: thought provoking comedies that use humor to highlight the absurdity of the modern human condition. Some stories are worth sharing more than others, but cliche or not, laughter is the best medicine and humor should be appreciated as much as drama or any other genre.

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