Greatest Comedians Of All Time

Always loved a good comic.

Maybe I’m just an old fogey who, like most old fogies, think the old timers were better than what the modern day produces. When I surf cable channels, like the Comedy station, I try to find good humor without a litany of four-letter words, crotch-grabs, sexual denigration, and constant references to body parts, but it’s futile. What is it that the audience finds so funny? Comics today think the funniest word on the planet is the oft repeated, “MF.” Alas, I sit laughless.

In today’s world, viewers of sit-coms are manipulated by canned laughter. Class B television actors recite lines and suddenly we hear an uproarious response to an inane comment that’s about as funny as a sore throat.

Whatever happened to the variety show before a live audience? Jackie Gleason and all his characters? Same with Flip Wilson, Carol Burnett, and Sonny and Cher. And for those of us who can remember, the age-old “Colgate Comedy Hour.”

Having come from a show-biz family, I am always looking for a good comedy, on television, stand -up, and in movies to rival such classics as “Some Like It Hot,” and “What’s Up Doc,” both of which starred non-comedians yet were among the funniest ever. Who can deny that Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” and “Blazing Saddles” were not among the comic classics, or “Liar Liar” and “Silver Streak.”

So…who were the most talented comedians of all time? Most of my top ten are long gone…but they sure knew how to evoke pure laughter from an audience.

My top ten:

Jackie Gleason

Carol Burnett

Robin Williams

Red Skelton

Johnny Carson

Jerry Lewis

Harvey Korman

Richard Pryor

Bill Cosby

Jim Carrey

Honorable mention (meaning, could easily be a top tenner also)

 

Sid Ceasar

Eddie Murphy

George Carlin

 

Steve Martin

 

Lucille Ball

Tim Conway

 

Mel Brooks

Flip Wilson

Bob Hope

Don Rickles

Art Frank

 

Let’s see your picks?

The Twenty Greatest Movies Of All Time

On lighter side…again.

There are some movies that I can watch over, and over again…though I’ve seen them ten times before. Most pictures that I’ve seen once, have no interest in a second time round. But there are a few that simply captivate, whether it be the acting, the plot, the settings or the story line. I have probably watched The Godfather a dozen times, same with the sequel. When I’m surfing my remote and I see Titanic on the channel, the surf comes to a halt. Love that movie.

 

Coming up with my ten greatest all-time movies was simply too daunting a task, so many eras, so many genres, comedy, action, drama, musical…it was impossible to narrow to ten. But I can offer an opinion on the twenty greatest movies of all time. (Within my scope of reference) These are the pictures I will watch again, and again, like a brain-dead couch potato.  (Which can feel pretty good sometimes)

Here’s my top twenty:

 

The Godfather

The Godfather II

Schindler’s List

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

The Shawshank Redemption

Titanic

Casablanca

Some Like It Hot

Raging Bull

The Deer Hunter

Sophie’s Choice

Million Dollar Baby

Jaws

Scent of A Woman

Singin In The Rain

Dances With Wolves

Goodfellas

 The Wizard of Oz

The Exorcist

Rocky

Planet of the Apes

 

Your thoughts?

 

 

TEN GREATEST LIVING ACTRESSES

Last week, I posted my top ten greatest movie actors of today, and it generated forty responses many of whom presented their own suggestions. Now it’s time for the female side.

 

Coming up with the greatest living actresses was a tough one, because I tried to focus mainly on pure acting skills, body of work, power in performance and versatility, though I’ll be the first to admit…as a red-blooded male animal…the influence of beauty was hard to overlook.

In the case of Halle Berry, who I consider among the most gorgeous creatures in the film business, one only has to look at her numerous and varied roles in which her dedication and skills shine through, far and above many in the field today. And, just like Charlize Theron, Berry has plunged herself into several roles where her character was far less than beautiful.

Here’s my list. Remember, these actresses are still living, and active in the world of movies. There are many more…it was tough to confine to ten names only:

 

Meryl Streep

 

Jody Foster

 

Glenn Close

 

Renee Zellweger

 

Hillary Swank

 

Halle Berry

 

Shirley McClain

 

Sigourney Weaver

 

Mary McDonnell

 

Judi Dench

 

 

Your vote?Next week, the ten greatest movies.

 

Ten Greatest Movie Actors

On a lighter note, having been a buff for life, I have always admired motion pictures as being one of the greatest art forms of modern times which, in my view, is not appreciated enough. The sheer complexity that goes into the making of a movie is mind boggling: script writing, acting, costumes, sound, music, photography, props and settings, make-up, wardrobe, research and so much more. I’ve engaged in writing novels, which is a tough road to tackle in itself. I couldn’t imagine being a director and handling the entire production.

Naturally, we in the audience pay most attention to the actors, and we form our opinions on who we consider the best in the business. Often, we will go to a movie knowing little about it in advance, other than the names of the players. Star power is everything. I plead guilty. When I know that Robert DeNiro or Meryl Streep is starring in a new release, it’s a sure thing we’ll be buying tickets to that movie.

I’ll be putting out some of my “Ten Greatest” lists (my opinions). I hope some of you movie buffs will share your opinions as well.

Starting with the Ten Greatest actors… still living and active in movies, and based on sheer talent, versatility, power, and varied body of work, here’s my humble list, starting with number one:  

Robert DeNiro

Jack Nicholson

Daniel Day Lewis

Al Pacino

Tom Hanks

Denzel Washington

Robert Duvall

Morgan Freeman

Dustin Hoffman

Gene Hackman

 

 

Next week, the ten greatest actresses.

 

Your vote?

 

MOVIE “TRAITOR” UNVEILS STARK REALITIES

 

“Traitor,” is a must see movie for anyone interested in delving deep into the bowels of the jihad netherworld where Islamic revolution is at the core of international terror. It was recommended to me by a close friend whose opinions and judgement I respect. He was right on.

This is not just another suspense/thriller replete with chases, Karate fights, crashing cars and bombed buildings, though there is plenty of that. The movie is also a learning experience for us who wish to know more about the internal mind-set of jihadists and methodologies used by terrorists in executing their mission all over the world.

Don Cheadle plays a Sudanese-born, American citizen educated and trained in the art of making bombs who finds himself caught up in the complex world of counter-terrorism, CIA, FBI and the radical Islamic underworld, while used as a tool by the plotters of terror. Without unveiling too much of the story, suffice to say Cheadle tackles a complex role inextricably caught in a vice between conscience, faith and duty, and he does it well.

To me, the most profound scene of all is one that is relatively obscure in any of the trailers and/or commentary. But it stood out like an epiphany. Cheadle’s character meets up with high level jihad organizers at a local Paris bistro. (Or was it London?) As Cheadle arrives, he notices that the slick, well-dressed boss, Fareed, is enjoying a glass of wine. Astonished at this violation of Islamic law, Fareed smiles and informs Cheadle that it’s all right. He informs Cheadle that he also eats pork sometimes. “Taqiyya,” he comments with a smile. In war, one must be like the enemy to defeat the enemy. Blend in. It’s okay to deceive, if it serves Allah and furthers the cause of spreading Islam.

This is something I already knew from researching and studying Islamic history and the Koran. I was surprised to see it boldly portrayed, non-politically correct, in a Hollywood movie.

When Fareed uttered that, I immediately thought about the nineteen suicide terrorists from 9/11, and of the months preceding the most successful and bloodiest terror act in history when they lived among society in various parts of the country, including south Florida, partying, drinking alcohol, and commiserating with women, all for the purpose of appearing “normal.” Blending in. Then I thought about the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of jihadists presently blending amid the free world, …London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Washington D.C….everywhere.

They blend within businesses, universities, banks, religious institutions and, yes, government.

Some may even pretend to be another religion. If it furthers the cause, it is acceptable.

With one exception the entire cast gave an award winning performance. Cheadle may well have earned an Oscar nomination. I could also see a Best Supporting nomination for French-born Moroccan actor, SaVd Taghmaoui, who does a powerful job portraying Cheadles’ mentor in terror. Neal McDonough’s role as an FBI agent didn’t fit for me. He reminded me of a Malibu surfing “B” actor reciting lines.

Naturally, there were some implausibles and a couple of scenes that didn’t seem to fit reality, but that’s normal when true life is relegated to the fiction pen. Ironically, the story was originally written by none other than a famous comedian, Steve Martin. How’s that for a juxtaposition?

On a scale of one to ten: 8

Suggested links and reading:

Click here: Islam Watch – “Understanding Taqiyya

Click here: American Thinker: Know your enemy

From the Quran, Surah 16.106:

“He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who opens (his) breast to disbelief– on these is the wrath of Allah, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.”