If you need a good cinematic laugh, look no further than David Koechner‘s films. Among them are Semi-Pro, Paul, and Anchorman – The Legend of Ron Burgundy (whammy!). His latest film in theaters signals something of a departure from these comedies — which is a nice way of saying that although Cheap Thrills isn’t without laughs, it’s much darker than his usual fare. His Five Favorite Films reflect both of those sides of his personality.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam & Ian MacNaughton, 1974; 97% Tomatometer)
I saw it when I was 13 and it had an amazing impact on me, I couldn’t believe something was so funny and so smart. The level of writing is so crazy; it’s a continual inspiration. It blew my mind. I was at home babysitting my younger siblings. My parents were out dancing, and it came on at 1:30 AM. I would watch Saturday Night Live, and it was on after. I thought it was a horror film to start because it’s dark and there’s the pop-pop-pop and there’s smog. In the movie, that’s their preamble thing that I missed, so I didn’t know it was a comedy.
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979; 99% Tomatometer)
It’s so epic and so well-acted, it’s got a literary lineage, and it’s just amazing. I was a fan of all the music, and it’s so well-used in the picture. I was always intrigued and fascinated by the Vietnam war and this made me feel like I was there. I was surprised by so many things about the reality of war. When Martin Sheen’s character is going up the river and he goes to this one place where they’re blowing up a bridge everyday and he says, “Where’s your CO,” and he says, “Ain’t you him?” and I was just like, “Oh shit.” And the other thing that still stays with me today, the way the character acted — the helicopter pilot that’s going down — he says “Mayday Mayday, we’re going down.” He doesn’t overdo it; he gives information that’s necessary for other people to hear, and so for me that was a big acting lesson. I didn’t know it at the time. Any other actor — he may have been a real pilot — any other actor would have chewed that up, screaming, “Mayday,” but a real pilot has to convey information to the tower. He goes, “I’m in trouble, I’m in trouble,” and that’s it.
Hearts of Darkness makes that movie even better.
That should be my next film. But instead…
Man Bites Dog is a Belgian film in 1992. It’s about a film crew that starts following a serial killer around, and he’s charming and disarming and delightful, and he kills people with this film crew never interceding. The first time you see it, you’re like, “Wait a minute,” and you laugh a few times, and the second time, you laugh the whole time. It’s a bleak, dark comedy, but my god, it’s so funny. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was before the onslaught of reality television, but it makes a perfect comment on it now. It had subtitles and I still loved it. I laughed so hard.
Cheap Thrills opens everywhere this Friday.