The comedy section of the Netflix browse menu is robust to say the least. There are seemingly thousands of movies in there, and, even though some of them are hard to call outright "comedies," the selection is full of great movies like The Breakfast Club, Clerks, and Annie Hall.
But most film fans have seen the standards. Comedy is the one true universal genre and most of us grow up naming goofy movies as our favorites. Chinatown isn't exactly a 10-year-old's idea of a good time. It's the funny ones that have a special place in our hearts. Chances are you've seen The Graduate, Zoolander, and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, so here are some lesser-known comedies that anyone with a pulse will enjoy.
[Editor's note: All the movies below can be found in the Comedy section of Netflix's American Browse menu. Apologies for any foreign discrepancies.]
Starring: Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Eugene Levy, Kim Coates
Goon carries on the great tradition of R-rated sports comedies like Slap Shot and Caddyshack. It's a must-see for any dude who likes hockey, violence, and hilarious locker room vulgarity. The ladies may be a bit put off, but there's a sweet romance if that helps at all. Goon is based on a true story of Doug Glatt (Scott), a bouncer who catches the attention of a minor league hockey coach when he beats the stuffing out of a loud-mouthed player one night. The coach wants Doug to be his enforcer, his "goon," and the hammer-fisted, but simple-minded, Glatt is happy to oblige. Goon was directed by Canadian funnyman Michael Dowse (Fubar) and it features a fantastic supporting cast who provide a ton of laughs. Baruchel, in particular, is great as Doug's chatterbox best friend. (2011, 92 mins)
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
Starring: Kevin Hart
Not exactly a low-key selection, but there are still many people out there who haven't jumped on the Kevin Hart bandwagon and they need to wake up. Hart is one of the funniest comedians working today and Let Me Explain is his best stand-up special yet. He's a storyteller and the rhythm and cadence of his joke telling is incredible stuff. Hart loves talking about his family, but he gets deep into relationship territory in Let Me Explain, recalling past relationships and describing how his friends have screwed him in insane detail (among many other things). Comedy fans everywhere will appreciate the flawless delivery that prompted Jerry Seinfeld to call Hart, "One of the most talented comedic guys I've ever seen." (2013, 75 minutes)
Starring: Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Felicity Montagu, Simon Greenall
Originally called Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa in England (a great name), Alan Partridge is the big screen version of the famous character Steve Coogan has played since the early '90s. American audiences who haven't caught his act in movies like Hamlet 2 or Tropic Thunder may want to start here. Partridge is a smarmy, but likable, radio personality who becomes the face of a hostile takeover when a disgruntled colleague holds their station hostage ahead of expected layoffs. The goofy Partridge tries to balance the danger with his newfound popularity as every news van in the area crashes the event. Coogan, as usual, is brilliantly idiotic. (2013, 90 mins)
Starring: James Rolleston, Taika Waititi, Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu, Moerangi Tihore
Flight of the Conchords fans take note, Boy is the movie that ruled New Zealand in 2010. It's the country's highest-grossing domestic film and a lovable, fantastic comedy by any standard. The story follows a young Maori son of the island, nicknamed "Boy," who lives with his big family on the beach. His world is lit up when his beloved father (writer/director Waititi) returns out of the blue. He's a small-time crook who's only back to find money he buried years earlier, but he's a hero to Boy and the youngster does everything he can to emulate him. The breezy tone of the film is charming and Waititi provides the silliness as well as tons of great pop culture references. It's based on Waititi's own Oscar-nominated short, Two Cars, One Night. (2010, 88 mins)
Starring: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack
Younger generations need to know Buster Keaton is more than just a name in the film history books. This guy was an incredible talent who Roger Ebert once called the greatest actor/director of all time and The General is his greatest film. Orson Welles also shared his opinion once, naming Keaton's film "The greatest comedy ever made" and the movie is consistently regarded among the classics. Okay, so we know the critics love Keaton. But how can this little bug-eyed dude still be relevant today? Watch The General and you'll find out. Keaton's physical humor and stunt work is almost beyond belief. Just watch it, or at least watch the video below. (1926, 118 mins)