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God knew i needed an angel so he gave me my wife shirt, hoodie
Just like his character, unemployable actor Michael Dorsey, Dustin Hoffman takes playing a woman very seriously—which is why he’s so much funnier as his actress alter ego Dorothy Michaels. Parts of Larry Gelbart’s script (which received an uncredited rewrite from comedy legend Elaine May) seem hopelessly retrograde, but it’s perceptive enough about misogyny, and has enough great jokes, to earn its classic status.
My Favorite Year (1982)
A love letter to the live television of the 1950s (particularly the sketch comedy series Your Show of Shows), this comedy stars Peter O’Toole as Alan Swann, an aging Hollywood star who’s still partying like it’s 1940. When Swann comes to New York City to appear on a live variety show, a young writer (Mark Linn-Baker) volunteers to help keep him in line—and gets a lot more than he bargained for.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
“When I was a boy, just about every summer we’d take a vacation,” says weary dad Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), “and you know, in 18 years, we never had fun.” The first and best Vacation film celebrates the time-honored tradition of taking miserable family road trips that everyone will one day look back on with nostalgia.
This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Actor-musicians Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer improvised most of their dialogue for Rob Reiner’s rock musical, which turned the mockumentary into a comedy form all its own. The comedy icons play the dim-witted members of an English heavy metal band with such earnestness that every stupid song and off-the-cuff joke just gets funnier and funnier.
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Peak-Hollywood Eddie Murphy is firing on all cylinders in this blockbuster action-comedy. Murphy plays Axel Foley, an inventive, impetuous Detroit detective who will stop at nothing (including a banana in the tailpipe) to find the man who murdered his friend in wealthy Beverly Hills.
When someone asks you if you’re a god, what do you say? Ghostbusters turned New York City into a supernatural sandbox that everyone still wants to play in (a fourth Ghostbusters feature is in production), but it’s Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson’s perfectly-delivered jokes (“Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!”) that make the first film play like (who you gonna call?) gangbusters.
Top Secret! (1984)
No film genre is safe in this zany spoof of World War II spy movies, Elvis movies, surf movies, Hammer horror films and anything else that came into the minds of slapstick savants Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. An American rock star (Val Kilmer in his film debut) joins an anti-German resistance movement and falls in love, but the plot matters less than the top-notch visual gags.