by Aaron Peck
Looking back on 2012, some damn funny movies found their way to Blu-ray. Referring back to July, when we did our "So Far…" series, which chronicled the best Blu-rays for the first half of the year, I don't see any movies that I'd really like to remove from the list to insert new ones. This was an extremely hard list to compile.
From catalogue films, to new day-and-date releases, 2012 was full of humor in high-def. Many of these films are outright comedies, while others walk the line between serious and funny. It doesn't matter whether it's a laugh-out-loud raunch-fest or a heart-touching dramedy, they all get included here.
It's a perennial classic; one of the most quotable movies out there. And now I can watch it over and over again in high definition. There aren't too many movies that you can watch repeatedly without them getting old. 'Clue' is one of them. I'm ecstatic to have it in my Blu-ray collection.
I'm a sucker for stop-motion animation. It has a special look and feel that CG animation just can't duplicate. Watching 'ParaNorman' was one of the most pleasurable cinematic moments I had in 2012. It didn't hurt matters when the Blu-ray was released and it turned out to be simply stellar. The fine detail is extraordinary.
What a surprise this movie was. It appeared to be a generic horror movie with all the clichéd horror storytelling devices. But it was co-written by Joss Whedon, and what he ended up doing was skewering the entire genre while also paying homage to it. It still makes me laugh uncontrollably when I watch it. "He had the conch in his hands!"
It was a toss-up. Do I put 'High Fidelity' in this place, or 'Gross Pointe Blank'? If you want you can consider this a shared spot. Personally, I like 'GPB' just a little bit better. They're both fantastic comedies though, both of which were long overdue for Blu-ray releases. They're both solid releases from Disney, so take your pick. Or pick both. You can't go wrong with either.
I was fortunate enough to see this premiere at Sundance. I was awed by it then and I'm still mesmerized by it now. A dramatic-comedic hybrid, 'Safety Not Guaranteed' excels on every level. It has real, lifelike characters who have real challenges, fears, and dreams. The comedy is subtle and hilarious, while the dramatic moments are just as satisfying. If you haven't seen this little gem of a movie, do yourself a favor and seek it out.
A computer-animated teddy bear and Mark Wahlberg crack crass jokes for 90 minutes while maintaining an unhealthy obsession with the 'Flash Gordon' movie. If you're not completely on board after that sentence, then this movie isn't for you. It's the first movie written and directed by 'Family Guy' creator Seth McFarlane, and whoa buddy is it funny. "Thunder buddies forever!"
9. 'Young Adult'
Comedy can be dark, and it doesn't get much darker than 'Young Adult,' the story of an egotistical misanthrope played by Charlize Theron who goes back to her hometown to win back her high school boyfriend. While there is plenty of drama in 'Young Adult' there are also plenty of laughs, albeit they're more like "should I really be laughing at that" laughs. Theron's performance here is reason enough to see it.
8. 'The Guard'
Speaking of dark comedy, 'The Guard' has all the dry Irish wit you'll be able to handle. This is Gleeson's finest darkly comedic role since 'In Bruges.' Anyone who liked 'In Bruges' will adore 'The Guard' like I did. This is one of those movies that you have to watch multiple times because there are sure to be jokes you'll have missed the first time around.
7. '21 Jump Street'
Did I expect this remake of a somewhat popular 80s television show to be any good? Hell no. Next thing I knew I was laughing and I couldn't stop. What was this? A remake with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill that was genuinely funny? It was suddenly like the world didn't make sense anymore. I felt dizzy. '21 Jump Street' is the poster flick for not judging a movie before you have a chance to see it.
6. 'The Muppets'
One of my favorite theatrical releases of 2011 became one of my favorite Blu-ray releases of 2012. Jason Segal's revival of 'The Muppets' franchise was spot-on in humor, comedic timing, and character understanding. You could tell that he was a fan of Jim Henson's Muppets long before he put pen to paper for this movie. His love for the characters shows. Plus, each of the movie's songs is borderline brilliant in humor and emotional tone.
This spot could also be shared with 'The Muppet Christmas Carol' which is a great Christmas film and received a really well done Blu-ray release.
The best spoof movie ever. It's smart, clever, and transcends time periods. It's funny in whatever era you're watching it. Finally getting it on Blu-ray this year was a comedy lover's dream come true. I couldn't pick it up fast enough.
4. 'The Artist'
Sure it's got its emotional tugs here and there, but deep down, 'The Artist' is one of the most wonderfully made romantic comedies out there. There are plenty of laughs to go along with the tears. As far as I'm concerned its Academy Award was well deserved. Who says comedies don't have a chance at the Oscars?
3. 'The Gold Rush' (Criterion)
There aren't many black-and-white 87-year-old films that can still reproduce the same joy and heartfelt laughter that they inspired when they were first released. High-Def Digest reviewer Luke Hickman watched Charlie Chaplin's 'The Gold Rush' with his five-year-old daughter who laughed all the way through it. Consider that for a second. In a world filled with seizure-inducing cartoons and unfunny kid-oriented sitcoms, a kid can still find joy in a black-and-white movie from the 20s. That's amazing and a true testament to Chaplin himself.
2. 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'
Ah, the comedic Holy Grail itself. I could spend the rest of this paragraph quoting its immortal lines one after the other, and you'd soon realize that this is indeed one of the funniest movies ever filmed. 'Holy Grail' is one of those films that no matter how much you've watched it, you can stick it in and watch it again (like 'The Princess Bride'). 'Holy Grail' offers endless enjoyment so it was rather nice to see it finally offered in high definition this year.
1. 'Moonrise Kingdom'
I was completely enamored by Wes Anderson's film about young love. I think it's his best work to date. It got absolutely everything right, but still kept that quirky Anderson spirit that we've come to know and love. The splendor of the movie's visuals is presented so well here that the entire film feels like one gorgeous still photo after another. The way the director symmetrically frames his shots is really a sight to behold, made all the better by the intricate Blu-ray presentation. Yes, it looks amazing even though Anderson opted to shoot with Super 16 film.
Honorable mentions go to 'Butter,' 'Men in Black 3,' 'Arthur Christmas,' 'A League of Their Own,' 'Carnage,' 'Arachnophobia,' 'Ed Wood,' 'The Five Year Engagement,' 'High School,' 'Goon,' and 'Pillow Talk.'
After looking over the year, what were some of your favorite comedic Blu-rays that were released this year? Please, click on the link below and let us know in the forums.