Last week’s Blu-Ray and DVD release of The LEGO Movie got me thinking about one of the hottest collaborations in Hollywood today, the writing and directing duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Not only do they have a list of killer comedies under their belt, but they are all from properties that most people say shouldn’t work.
The pair’s understanding of pacing, jokes, and most importantly heart infuse their films with a true sense of warmth and fun. Whether it is for adults or the family, Miller and Lord’s work shows a mastery of comedy that is almost unmatched today. Now for any of you complaining that Lord and Miller only have five films to their names, you’re right. This list however, isn’t so much about how many there are, but rather where they rank in relation to each other. It is a bit of a cheat I admit, but I also don’t care, so with that out of the way, let’s get to it!
5. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2
While Lord and Miller only provided the story and produced this film, I’m still counting it. You feel Lord and Miller’s fingerprints in thoughts and ideas throughout the film, but the script writers and directing team of Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn simply cannot execute the jokes as well as the original duo would have. There is too much pointing at the joke instead of letting the joke speak for itself, which becomes distracting at points. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a good movie full of wit and charm, it just doesn’t have that something special like the original had to push it any higher up the list.
4. 22 Jump Street
I love this movie, but the reason the reason it doesn’t rank higher is that the element of surprise is gone. Everyone now knows that Tatum and Hill are great together, both having branched out since the original movie to more properly showcase their acting skills and everybody knows Lord and Miller are capable directors with a string of hits behind them. The movie isn’t able to blindside you like they did in the first movie and floor people with how good it is because we all expected it to be good this time around. Still, it is funny as hell and who doesn’t love seeing these guys fighting crime again. All the jokes about the nature of sequels show how self aware the movie is, but as it makes fun of sequels you also can’t help but wish they would make some of the ones they suggest in this movie. I do hope they have one more movie left in them before they end the series for good.
3. The Lego Movie
Like many people, I was highly skeptical when I first heard about this movie. My brain kept firing off warning signals that this most likely would be Product Placement Cash Grab the movie, but then I learned that Lord and Miller were behind it and all my skepticism transformed into anticipation and excitement. Two of the most talented people in movie making given a chance to play with all the fun concepts of Lego as well as throw in all franchises they could pull from due to their relationship with Lego, how could I not be pumped for this movie?! Putting aside all the cleverness, what keeps me coming back to this film is the heart. It is a film about relationships and the power of creativity; it celebrates individuality while showing what we can accomplish when we work together. In short, the movie is a lot deeper and more poignant then it has any right to be. Everything is indeed awesome.
2. 21 Jump Street
This movie was a bombshell going off in the culture when it first came out in 2012. We had been through so many quick comedy remakes of 70’s and 80’s properties at that point, most of which were at best forgettable that there was so little hype leading up to this movie. The two leads were going to be played by Jonah Hill (who also helped write the movie and its sequel) and Channing Tatum, neither of which was seen as having enough star power of charisma to carry an audience through a movie. This R rated comedy was being directed by two dudes who only had a failed TV series and one successful family picture to their credit. The film was released in the beginning of the year, a time where most studios dump the movies they know suck or don’t have any clue what to do with. Nothing should have worked with this movie. Thankfully everything did. The movie was fall on the floor funny and because the word of mouth and reviews were so positive and audiences had so few quality choices at that time, people flocked to see it. It remains one of the most popular comedies of the last few years. Nuff’ said.
1. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
No joke, this movie is not only my favorite movie of 2009, but it is one of my all time favorite movies. The pacing, the jokes, the voice cast, everything in this movie seems tailor made to fill my heart with joy. It has Mr. T and Bruce Campbell in it, automatically making it one of the best movies ever! The fact I have a huge crush on Anna Farris doesn’t hurt the movie either.
The movie speaks to me like on a personal level. Like Flint, I grew up a dreamer. Like Flint, I was horribly picked on in school and reacted to it poorly. Like Flint, I spent most of my first few years interacting primarily with my Mom. Like Flint, I lost my Mom when I was very young and like Flint I was then raised by my Dad. A man who loves me to death and would do anything for me, but our interests and passions are so different that we don’t always quite “get” each other. Sorry to get all personal there, but that is part of what this movie means to me and why it has the number one spot. While I don’t truly believe in the perfect movie, I do believe there can be the perfect movie(s) for someone and the original Cloudy is that for me in spades.
So, do you agree with my rankings or do you think I’m full of crap and don’t know what I’m talking about? Sound off below and let us know!