Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Above Average Awards: Comedy 2015

While the problem evades me, comedy continues to limp along, as we move from year to year, and it's terribly frustrating, as someone who loves true, true comedy. For some reason, true comedy just doesn't do it for me as much as it used to. In fact, I think Anger does a pretty good job of displaying how frustrating it is to watch an R-rated comedy, these days...

Nevertheless, it is imperative that we give comedic filmmakers and actors their due, something for which I will always advocate. My comedy list may be small, in 2015, but there is no doubt that the folks and films, below, made us laugh and deserve the praise that I am about to bestow upon them...

Best Actor

#3 - Zack Pearlman
(Staten Island Summer)
Staten Island Summer was quite ho-hum, in the grand scheme of things, but, thankfully, there were several silver linings, including a hilarious performance by Zack Pearlman. Honestly, I'm not familiar with Pearlman's work, but he has a knack for silly, fat-guy humor. So, don't be scared to check out his older material. That's what I'll be doing in 2016!

#2 - Skyler Gisondo
What a goofy kid! Skyler Gisondo may have been the brunt of 90% of the Vacation remake's jokes, and I had absolutely no problem with that. Gisondo brought humor to an otherwise mediocre film, and he truly went all out with his dorkification. As an only child, I don't understand sibling rivalry, but I sure as heck don't have a problem laughing at other people's problems!

#1 - Samuel L. Jackson
(Kingsman: The Secret Service)
Samuel L. Jackson has a huge reputation for popping up in small roles in very BIG films, but Kingsman: The Secret Service allowed Jackson to truly shine as the main baddie (with a lisp). His performance was absolutely hilarious, and, if the entire film would have just been Samuel L. Jackson talking with a lisp, I probably would have been satisfied. Undoubtedly, in my mind, the funniest performance by any actor, in 2015!

Best Actress

#4 - Amy Schumer
It is hard to praise Amy Schumer for her performance in Trainwreck, because there was such a fine line between her performance and her real-life persona. But, regardless, she was absolutely hilarious in the film and has obviously blossomed into quite a star, over the past six months. Kudos to Schumer for her big, big year. She is quite deserving.

#3 - Tilda Swinton
Did anybody know that Tilda Swinton had an ounce of humor in her body?!? I mean, you can typically cut glass with her perpetually evil glare! Fortunately for us, Amy Schumer (of all people) was able to talk Swinton into embracing her humorous side and getting a spray tan--both of which did her very well, in my opinion. Here's to hoping that Tilda finds herself in another comedy... very soon!

#2 - Miranda Hart
As a big fan of Melissa McCarthy's humor, I was quite surprised that I didn't enjoy Spy more than I did, particularly considering that the film was fairly well-received. But, regardless of my opinion of the film, there was no denying the hilarious turn by Miranda Hart, who was probably the best-cast comedian in any 2015 film. I don't have a clue who she is, but I really hope she has some funny, British-humor stand-up out there waiting to be discovered.

#1 - Phyllis Smith
(Inside Out)
Where Hart was the best-cast comedian of 2015, Phyllis Smith might have been the best-cast voice actor of ALL TIME! If anybody watched Inside Out and didn't laugh at Sadness, (a.) you've never seen The Office or (b.) you have no sense of humor. We will talk about Inside Out much, much more, but, in my mind, the film just doesn't work, without Phyllis's voice. Period. Kudos to whoever is responsible for putting her behind the mic and for bringing this particular character to life. 

Best Film

While I have trouble recognizing Trainwreck's originality and Amy Schumer's new voice of female-lead comedy, there is no doubt that the film is absolutely hilarious. Come on... any film in which LeBron James plays a large role is likely to at least be a little fun! In a year where comedy really struggled, Trainwreck was the lone beacon of pure comedy that shone through, and, for that, I am very grateful to Schumer and crew.

Inside Out
If I have to endure one more claim that "Pixar is back!" because of Inside Out's success, I might just go insane. Nevertheless, the film is absolutely genius! Sure, some may say that it shouldn't really be labelled a comedy, but the main reason that I loved the film was because of its amazing sense of humor and clever play on thought-related terminology. And, of course... SADNESS!... She was just the best. Kudos to Pixar for doing what they do best and making adults appreciate animated films for what they truly can be.

Well, there you have it, people... the best in comedy from 2015. My apologies for the brevity of the list. If you have any complaints, you can call Hollywood...