Last April Fools’ Day, we gave you five movies that fooled you. This year, we thought it’d be a good idea to let the viewer have the last laugh. The annals of film history are filled with characters that we enjoy purely because of their stupidity. They don’t know they’re stupid, and that is the root of their comedy. Here are five memorable screw-ups who wouldn’t be better any other way.
Tommy (Tommy Boy)– Chris Farley made a career (far too short of one at that) out of playing the lovable buffoon. His most memorable role is opposite David Spade’s dry, no-fun business partner named Richard in this now-iconic buddy film. It wasn’t anything new when it came out, but it’s one of the funniest road films of the 90s, and arguably of all time. Farley outdoes himself for idiocy, whether it’s pretending to be surrounded by bees to evade the cops or taking down Dan Aykroyd’s tire tycoon by pretending to be strapped with a bomb. In the end he saves the day, but he’s not any smarter.
Harry and Lloyd (Dumb and Dumber)- It’s impossible to pick which one is dumb or dumber, we just know that without these two immortal idiots, Chris Farley would’ve been lonely in the 90s. Jim Carrey has also made a career jumping from movie idiot to movie idiot, but he’s never been dumber than beside Jeff Daniels. Together, these two also hit the road on a very different journey: to return a suitcase full of money to a pretty lady. Full of many idiotic laughs and one literal heart-stopper, the Farrelly Brothers’ best comedy is also its least bright.
Marilyn Hack (For Your Consideration)- The comedies of Christopher Guest are a sophisticated kind of stupid. They are a realm where laughter comes from stupid characters created by very smart people. For Your Consideration is a ferocious satire of the Oscar-bait films, and one of the funniest Guest has ever made. At its center is Marilyn, played to comedic perfection by the great Catherine O’Hara. Marilyn’s performance in the indie film Home for Purim is buzzed on a forum to be an Oscar contender, and her life spirals out of control from there. She can’t handle life in the made-up spotlight, and the entertainment biz chews her up and spits her out again.
Dr. Rumack (Airplane!)– The world lost one of its most beloved on-screen idiots last November when Leslie Nielson passed away. Luckily, he left behind quite a comedic legacy. Many of the memorable quotes from the mock-disaster classic Airplane! come from his character. From “I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley,” to “I just want to tell you both good luck… we’re all counting on you,” the dry stupidity that preceded his legacy in the Naked Gun films was on full display here.
Walter Sobchak (The Big Lebowski)- By far one of the the loudest fools in film history, John Goodman plays Walter Sobchak with enough ferocity for ten movies. Walter is a Jewish ex-Vietnam vet prone to loud outbursts of rage; the Coen Brothers have never written a funnier character. What makes Walter such a scathing character is that he’s so sure of himself and so full of rage, it’s hard not to see him as a product of the American Dream running stupidly amok. With a friend as dumb and stubborn as Walter, The Dude (Jeff Bridges) can do little more than abide.
Who are some of your favorite fools?