In recent months I have written for REO about Five TV Moments That Made Me Ugly Cry, Five TV Moments That Made Me Literally ROTFL and Five Movie Moments That Made Me Ugly Cry. So the next logical step in this series is what we have today.
Five times I was watching a movie and ended up on the theater floor laughing. Yes, it’s happened five times. It’s actually happened 20 times and probably 20 more at home watching on my couch. I’m just wired to lose it laughing. The acronym ROTFL was made for people like me. So here’s the culpable list.
The Movie: “Dumb and Dumber” (1994)
The Moment: The Snowball Fight
I have never ever laughed at a movie like this one and have always said I watched it in the theater twice because I missed about 40% of it the first time laughing so hard. And I doubt there is a stretch of even three minutes in this movie where I don’t laugh. But two scenes caused the fall out the chair laugh. One can be endearingly termed “The bathroom scene”. What can I say? I was 16 years old at the time and nearly 25 years later I still find it hilarious. The other was when Mary goes on her date with Harry and playfully throws some snow at him and he responds by rearing back and pelting her with a snowball so fierce it knocks her to the ground. I don’t think there was a single person in the theater that didn’t laugh and many, like me, were literally rolling.
Four years after this movie was released, and multiple viewings later, I was watching it in my college dorm with a handful of guys who had to stay on campus an extra day or two at Christmas for work. And when we got to this scene we kept having to rewind it because we all kept losing it and we could not continue until we all got it together. What a moment. Jim Carrey had most of the best one-liners (“Tic-tac, sir?”) but Jeff Daniels had the best scenes. Admire the acting as his face subtly changes from playful to menacing…
The Movie: “My Cousin Vinny” (1992)
The Moment: The Public Defender vs. Mr. Tipton
This is truly one of the great Joe Pesci performances and Marissa Tomei won an Oscar for this movie (as verified by Seinfeld), yet Austin Pendleton has by far the laugh of the movie to me and my family.
Stan doesn’t trust Vinny so at first, he goes with the public defender, John Gibbons. Because he has no idea that the guy suffers stage fright and develops a severe speech impediment when he has to interact with the witnesses and the jury. And his showdown with Sam Tipton, the first witness, steals the show. He can’t speak well enough to discredit him and yet he tries anyway, first by pointing out that Tipton wasn’t wearing his glasses when he ID-ed the defendants. Except Tipton destroys that argument by claiming they are reading glasses. And the camera pans to Gibbons’ stunned face. He attempts to throw up a Hail Mary and asks him to identify the defendants’ eye colors. “Brown. Hazel Green,” comes the reply as the camera again cuts to Gibbons’ face, which looks like it was just hit with a frying pan. He then concedes by saying, “No more questions.” Pools of laughter.
The Movie: “Mean Girls” (2004)
The Moment: “She doesn’t even go here.”
I’m almost certain I saw this movie when it came out but it wasn’t until last summer than I fell on the floor laughing at this moment. My wife was teaching English to Chinese children on the internet upstairs and I had done all I needed to do for the day so I watched this movie.
I’ll spare all the plot details but near the end all the girls in the high school get together in the gym, led by Tina Fey, to discuss the vicious drama that has been tearing apart the school. They are supposed to face each other and confess their transgressions, in full view of the other girls. And one syrupy girl stands up in front of everyone and says, “I just wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school. I wish that I could bake a cake out of rainbows and smiles that we could all eat and be happy.” To which Damian, having snuck into the meeting with a hoodie and sunglasses (as he always did), pipes up, “She doesn’t even go here!” And Ms. Norbury (Fey) asks, “Do you even go here?” And this random girl, in a mixture of tears and smiles, responds, “No.”
When my wife heard me laughing and came down later to find out why I explained it. And she said, “I bet I could put that quote on Facebook and people would know it.” And I thought, “No way.” But she was right. Apparently “She doesn’t even go here” is a cultural phenomenon.
The Movie: “O Brother Where Art Thou?” (2000)
The Moment: Delmar is convinced Pete is a toad.
After our three “heroes” lose consciousness from too much corn whiskey offered to them by beautiful, seductive women, Delmar and Ulysses Everett wake up to find Pete is gone, leaving behind only his clothes. And a toad. The women had really turned him over to the police but Delmar is absolutely convinced they did something worse: “Them sireens did this to him. They loved ‘im up and turned ‘im into a horny toad.” (Ulyssis: I don’t think that’s Pete. Delmar: Of course it’s Pete, look at ‘im.”) The whole thing is laugh out loud funny but the ROTFL clincher is later in the car when Delmar says “We got to find some kind of wizard can change ‘im back.” Delmar probably really believes there are wizards.
Later, when they reunite with Pete, Delmar confesses, “We thought you was a toad.” Which brings it full circle and gives this hilarious plot development closure. Without a doubt my favorite role by Tim Blake Nelson ever. Anyone who doesn’t find this funny gets an “I don’t get it, Big Dan” from me.
The Movie: “Dickie Roberts” (2003)
The Moment: School bullies get straight up ethered by Dickie.
My friend Matt is a peer now, but 15 years ago I was his youth pastor. And we celebrated his 16th birthday by going for pizza and watching this movie. And during this scene, I got laughing so hard, and Matt got to laughing at me laughing so hard, that the entertainment in our theater ceased to be the movie and began to be the spectacle of us, me on the floor and Matt all but.
The scene is rather simple. Sam is being mocked by some bigger kids after school. Dickie comes in and lays down an epic verbal beating punctuated with “I’ll tell you what…Red, Tub of Goo, Freak of Nature, why don’t you guys run home, pee your pants, slap each others’ bottoms, cry your eyes out, get up, have an eggo, come back and we’ll do it all again.”
As far back as when Chris Farley was still alive, David Spade’s schtick has fit perfectly in my comedy wheelhouse. He just has it. His quit wit, facial expression and mannerisms slay me. And this scene is a grand slam of those things.
The post-funeral boat scene in “Tommy Boy”…
…and the Mutants at Table 9 scene in “The Wedding Singer”.
So, that’s my list. I’m sure many of our readers don’t literally ROTFL like I do, but perhaps you have laughed uncontrollably. Feel free to share below.