Keeping a Stiff Upper Brit

by Chiron O'Keefe

I'll admit to a twisted sense of humor. Quirky movies and black comedies catch my attention every time. Blame it on the Beatles (I do quite frequently). The crazy antics of those irrepressible Mop-Tops had me in hysterics:

Fight Scene from Help.

Since that fateful time my mind naturally associates British accents with zany antics. Today, I'm sharing a short list of some odd and cheeky flicks to check out. We'll start with the light and move swiftly to the dark. Ready?

Recently, hubby and I clicked on the tube and zoomed in on one of the many movies stored in my DVR. The title, Love and Other Disasters caused severe eye-rolling in the hubby zone.

"A romantic comedy," he said, his tone clearly adding, Are you serious?

I shrugged and pointed out that the last movie we'd seen focused on Serbia, automatic weapons and a body count that still makes me shudder. "My turn."

Within short order, the man of the family appeared as enthralled as his romance-loving wife. *grin* This gem of a flick didn't ever garner the attention it deserved despite its pedigree.

Written and directed by Alek Keshishian who is widely known for the documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare and produced by David Fincher (director of Fight Club) and Luc Beeson (director of The Fifth Element) Love and Other Disasters is quite simply a movie about the quest for true love. Brittany Murphy plays 'Jacks', a bubbly assistant of a British Vogue who seeks comfort and wisdom from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. If you're a fan of romantic comedies, put this on your Must See list!

Next up, Cold Comfort Farm. Here's the official tag-line: She discovered a new branch of her family tree... the one with all the nuts.

Based on a novel written in 1932 by Stella Gibbons, the tale follows the fate of a newly orphaned young woman who seeks out relatives to provide for her. Far from living the lifestyle to which she was accustomed, the brutish and slightly crazed inhabitants of Cold Comfort farm are existing under a long-standing curse. With British sensibility, our heroine sets about to make things right with hilarious consequences.

This flick is one you can't turn away from. The offbeat and riveting humor is bolstered by a story both sweet and charming. Some have noted this parody of British manners is heavily influenced by novels both past and of the thirties, even comparing similarities to Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Although produced in 1995, the film is set in the thirties, aligned with the book's original premise.

Hopping swiftly along our twisted path, let's brace ourselves for the screamingly funny, Death at a Funeral.

The 2007 British black comedy directed by Frank Oz with screenplay by Dean Craig, focuses on a truly dysfunctional family attending the funeral of the beloved patriarch. Look for Jane Asher, one of Sir Paul McCartney's early girlfriends as Sandra. I can't begin to do justice to this film, as each riotous moment just leads to another. Suffice to say, Hollywood couldn't resist and in a lightning-speed turnaround, a remake is already in production due out in 2010. Just to whet your appetite, here's the trailer for the original.

Another wacky and decidedly black comedy is Keeping Mum starring Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas and Maggie Smith. Since our heroine is a convicted murderer released after serving her time and is now a housekeeper for the hapless vicar, one can only expect some frightfully hilarious escapades to ensue. The body count rises causing the audience to gasp, while stifling giggles.

Here's your sneak peek:

The next and last film has to be included if for no other reason because it features zombies. *grin* Just kidding. Not about the zombies though. *cough*

Anyways, Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 British romantic comedy zombie film (yup, you read that correctly) directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and co-written by Pegg and Wright. Truly a bizarre spoof on such cult films as Dawn of the Dead (I'm assuming since I could never bring myself to watch the originals!), this flick starts off in the best way possible. With absolutely clueless heroes who are blithely oblivious to the horrors around them.

While this may be the blackest of comedies around, it's not for the faint of heart. In typical horror fashion, the blood spews in buckets and so, if the sight of brain-eating zombies with limbs torn off is not your particular cup of tea, it might be wise to avoid this one. Just saying. *grin*

To catch a glimpse without having to commit to the whole corpse-ridden film, just watch the sneak preview. Or not. I'm just saying!

Any fans of eccentric Brit humor out there? Perhaps there's a flick or two you're dying to recommend. *wink* Do share!

--Chiron O'Keefe

The Write Soul:

Photos courtesy of Photobucket.


  1. Chiron, I'm right there with you. Help!, Cold Comfort Farm, Death at a Funeral and Shaun of the Dead are all faves of mine.

    If you liked Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead, you absolutely have to see Hot Fuzz by the same team. Hot Fuzz is one I watch over and over again.

    One of the constables in that one, played by Steve Coogan, did an hilarious send-up of the film industry called Tristam Shandy. It's a mockumentary and very dry.

    One of my favorite British comedies of all time is 1967's Bedazzled, with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. It has me in stitches every time - and I watch it often.

    Of course, The Full Monty is a no-fail favorite for me.

    Check out Comfort and Joy (1984) - that's one of my husband's favorites, about a Scottish DJ whose relationship with his girlfriend tanks as the Christmas holidays roll around, and in his newfound freedom he becomes involved in a turf war between rival ice cream truck vendors.

  2. Hi Julia!

    I loved Hot Fuzz! What a hoot. *snort* Just loved it. The other night we laughed our way through How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Have you seen that one yet? Simon is hilarious, once again.

    Loved Bedazzled and of COURSE, The Full Monty, *chuckle* and am carefully noting the other movies you mentioned. Thanks so much for the recommendations!

    *rubs hands in anticipation* Off to my Netflix que!


  3. WOW! great recommendations. I love Cold Comfort Farm but missed a few on your list (I know my bad!) also one of my faves is Full Monty! LOVE THAT ONE! I tend to watch more historical and heavy drama films from the UK but I also love Guy Ritchie's earlier stuff - they are so joyously raucous and violent too "Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels" and Snatch" "Snatch" is one of my fave Brad Pitt movies. I always find I prefer Brad Pitt is supporting roles in movies rather than starring roles. I loved him in "Burn After Reading". Thanks Chiron for enlightening us once again! ;D

  4. I've only seen a few on the list, Chiron...I'll just have to see Death at a Funeral now! Great post!!


  5. Hey Jo!

    Yup, definitely Brad in the supporting roles. I look forward to seeing Burn! Looks kooky and fun. *grin*

    I'm not sure I could ever keep up with the list of movies I want to see! Much less get through the towering stack of books to be read. *snort*

    Thanks so much for jumping in. If nothing else you HAVE to see Death at a Funeral. You'll have the same reaction of feeling somewhat guilty about laughing at something so twisted. Oh My God!!


  6. Hi Tessy!

    Death at a Funeral was just insane. We couldn't stop laughing. And gasping. *snort* Too funny.

    Thanks so much for visiting!!


  7. Hi Chiron! Okay, to be honest, I've never really been a huge fan of British comedy. But ironically, my all-time favorite comedy is Arthur starring Dudley Moore. *grin* I also love Unfaithfully Yours and own both movies. :-)

    Okay...I did love watching Benny Hill when I was a little kid, but please don't tell anyone...LOL

  8. British humor is the best! I'm a Beatlemaniac from way (way) back. Monty Python is great. Honestly, I love all comedy - Canadian humor is right up there with the Brits. How do you breed so many great comedians up north?

  9. Hi Cbiron. Just stopping by to see what goodies you have for us today.

    I haven't seen any of the films you've listed...guess I don't watch much Brit humor, interesting because I hadn't realized I was missing out. The only truly Brit film I remember is Monty Python and The Holy Grail during my college years. Some of the guys I hung out with, including my hubby, went around quoting lines from it. Very fun.

    Comedy is one of my favorites, so I better add a few of your suggestions to my pile!


  10. Hey Donna!

    So you're not a fan of British comedies except for that pesky little confession. "Hah!" she says, with a wink.

    I think you'd love the first one. It's sweet, quirky but definitely a rom-com all the way. Since Brittany can't hold a British accent to save her life (though we can all hope it won't come to that), the film explains it away with her being partially raised in America. *laughs*

    Truly though, this is very sweet and very funny. With a lovely happy ending sure to satisfy all.

    Thanks so very much for visiting, Donna!


  11. Hi Cate!

    Comedy is my fave too. I'm not sure why Canada comes up with so many funny people. Maybe it's the cold weather. Nothing warms you up like a good belly laugh. Speaking of Python, when I was a kid, I also remember the Marty Feldman comedy half-hour which was insane! Yikes. *laughs*

    Hope you found a movie to give you some giggles. *grin*

    Thanks for commenting!


  12. Hey there Misty!!

    So glad you stopped by. Some of the movies are a little obscure. The first barely made a ripple though it was a hit elsewhere. Hubby and I were suprised how funny and insightful it was. Really good.

    The others are very, very strange. Not necessarily PG either, so they may be for a 'no kids' night. *grin*

    Thanks so much for visiting!!


  13. Chiron, you brought back some great memories. I used to see a lot of those little British comedies, but I swear the names of most of them have escaped me today. I did see Hot Fuzz - lots of fun and Comfort and Joy. One of my fave TV shows was Fawlty Towers with John Cleese - absolutely hilarious!

  14. Hi Carol!

    John Cleese was so freaking funny!! *snort* I just love the Brit sense of humor.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, I really appreciate it!



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