Alex’s Top 5 Parody Films

Written by Alex Bowman July 20, 2014

Is parody dead? This is a question that has plagued the minds of critics and scholars alike; do we live in a new era where satire has diminished in lieu of making us laugh as opposed to making us think while laughing? In my opinion, satire is a dying animal on life support but there has always been hope that it is still strong, especially in the way of cinema. Some movies treat parody like a surgeon’s scalpel, perfectly cutting into the heart of the current issue in need of addressing while others treat it like a prison shank stabbing wildly until it strikes something eventually. To commemorate some of the movies still trying to keep satire alive, here is a list of my Top 5 Favorite Cinematic Parodies.

5. “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” (Carl Reiner, 1982)

This movie is a classic Steve Martin picture and is a spectacular parody of all the pulpy detective stories of the 1940s. Not only is this movie a fantastic satire of the late 1940s noir films right down to the costumes and the mannerisms but it also somehow finds a way to parody at least 18 different films all from the same time and genre. Martin seamlessly incorporates himself into each scene and makes every single vignette hilarious to watch. All the movies satirized in this film will never been seen the same way again, I guarantee it.

4. “Team America: World Police” (Trey Parker, 2004)

This film is another little piece of genius pie served up by the minds behind “South Park.” In this film, the war on terror is satirized through the lens of a really cheesy 1980s action flick right down to the kung-fu fighting, montages and jingoistic flag-waving typical of American behavior. Also, did I mention it is all done with marionettes? Any satirical film that can make you think about how ridiculous America views itself in the war on terror by using puppets is a parody worth every single giggle.

3. “Hot Fuzz” (Edgar Wright, 2007)

In my opinion, not only is this film a really funny movie, it is a really good movie in general. Edgar Wright has had three movies to prove that his is both a competent satirist and director and “Hot Fuzz” is proof of that. This film does a very good job of satirizing quiet life in the country while also parodying action films and all the cliches that go with it. Nick Frost’s character does a really good job of pointing out all of the silly cliches that we take for granted until Wright decides to throw them right back in our face just to prove that even if we are shown how silly these concepts can be, we will still enjoy them. Hat’s off to you, Wright, you sure do know how to keep us laughing.

2. “Spaceballs” (Mel Brooks, 1987)

Mel Brooks is one of my all time favorite comedic directors and writers. He knows exactly how to bring smiles to peoples’ faces while also parodying genres that people tend to really like. The film most notably directed by Mr. Brooks is “Spaceballs,” a movie that does a hilarious job of making fun of all the goofy parts of science fiction. Everything from “Star Wars” to “Alien” and “Planet of the Apes” is parodied in this film with enough style and grace to make us question why we find these jokes so amusing. Brooks is a certified genius and this film really nails it.

1. “Scary Movie” (Keenen Ivory Wayans, 2000)

I’ll admit, this may seem like I’m cheating by putting this at number one on the list and it may seem really dated, especially after its string of shitty sequels, but after watching it again I still find it really funny. I think this film does a really great job of not only parodying horror films but also pop culture during 2000 and how incredibly silly it was. The whole scene where everyone is screaming WAZZUP? is just enough to make you realize how desperately people were trying to let go of the 90s by creating new things for the new millennium. Wayans does a great job of reminding us that it was a very silly time back then and our movies, especially 90s horror, was exceptionally silly.

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