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Underrated Genre, Parody Insanity Films You'll Love!

Most movie fans know (and probably love) the classic genre parodies like Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Airplane!, The Naked Gun, and Hot Shots. It's a very specific type of comedy, one perhaps a bit too broad and silly for some tastes, but in the hands of some funny filmmakers, a good genre parody (aka spoof) can be a big-time laugh riot. (Like those movies I mentioned at the start.) But what of the non-classic spoofs? Surely those deserve a quick moment in the spotlight. Absolutely they do. And don't call me Shirley.

The Big Bus (1976) -- It was Airplane! that lampooned the disaster movie genre, and became a smash hit doing it, but four years earlier the same company (Paramount) cobbled together a quietly silly satire of the disaster classics like The Towering Inferno and Airport. The Big Bus is not as consistently hilarious as Airplane! (few movies are) but one can see why it has a small but loyal fanbase among those who discovered it on HBO. And what a cast! (Look it up!)

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) -- Leave it to Carl Reiner and Steve Martin to lampoon the film noir classics of the 1940s, and do it so cleverly. Not only is this a clever parody of old-school crime flicks, but it contains numerous clips from these movies and uses them as actual plot twists. It's a funny gimmick even if you know nothing about film noir, but it's doubly amusing if you do. And even without that offbeat hook, you're still getting early Steve Martin at the peak of his wonderful absurdity.

Top Secret! (1984) -- After the huge success of Airplane!, the directing trio of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker could have chosen to parody anything -- and they settled on a bizarre combination of WWII spy story and 1960s-era "beach blanket" musicals (with dash of The Blue Lagoon thrown in too). The result was a drop-dead funny spoof that made only a fraction of Airplane!'s haul -- I blame the marketing campaign -- but has since gone on to become a cult favorite among comedy nerds.

I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) -- The "blaxploitation" films of the 1970s got their turn at the parody machine thanks to writer / director / star Keenen Ivory Wayans, and the result is a comedy that still gets quoted today. Wayans gets some brilliantly funny stuff from the likes of Jim Brown, Isaac Hayes, Antonio Fargas, and Bernie Casey, but just about everyone earns a few chuckles here. If you love Black Dynamite, and you should, you need to dig this one up quick.

Fatal Instinct (1993) -- When it comes to high-quality genre parodies, the conversation usually begins with Mel Brooks or the Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker team, but let's not forget the great Carl Reiner, who gave us the aforementioned Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, the hilarious "mad scientist" lampoon The Man with Two Brains, and this scattershot but frequently funny flick. The target this time around is the sexy mystery thriller, such as Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, Body Heat, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. Worth seeing for Armand Assante's truly funny performance alone, and he's not usually funny!

The Hebrew Hammer (2003) -- Ever wanted to see the Jewish version of black genre classics like Shaft and Super Fly? This little-seen indie comedy (starring Adam Goldberg and Judy Greer!) nails all of the genre parody trappings, and the cast is entirely game for even the silliest of mishegas. You don't have to know a lot about Jewish culture to enjoy this one, but those familiar with the cliches and stereotypes will enjoy seeing them deflated here.

They Came Together (2014) -- One of the general "rules" is that it's really difficult to parody a comedy, but in the case of this very clever movie, the rules are wrong. Here we get a consistently funny collection of rom-com mockery starring the always game Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Bill Hader. If you've ever seen one romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and/or Meg Ryan, you'll find a lot to chuckle at in this one.

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