The Cinema of Rob Schneider: A Reappraisal

The course of Cinema’s history has been a long and arduous one. Today’s master is tomorrow’s forgotten auteur. As the tastes of the multitudes and the critical fashions of the day converge in the manner of a mighty river… are you still reading?

Good, because this is an April Fools joke. We’re not really doing a reappraisal of Rob Schneider’s art, though, if we’re being honest, there are some pretty funny Rob Schneider movies, particularly the underrated Deuce Bigalow cycle. Hey, funny is funny.

While we’ve got you laughing – we hope – we want to share a list that AFS Lead Programmer Lars Nilsen has created of some very funny oddball comedies that you can stream today on the most popular services.

You can see the list here and if you click on the “Read Notes” button it will show you the streaming services that the films can be viewed on.

Some of the films are recent: Onur Tukel’s bizarre go-for-broke gonzo revenge comedy CATFIGHT (2016) and Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe’s 2019 GREENER GRASS which takes a completely surreal look at suburban conformity.

A few of the films are reasonably well known – like the hysterically funny 1994 CLIFFORD which stars Martin Short (sans any special effects) as a 10 year old boy making life hell for his uncle, played by the great Charles Grodin. The 1966 film LORD LOVE A DUCK has also gained some notoriety as a critical favorite in recent years, largely due to the wonderful lead performances by Tuesday Weld and Roddy McDowell. And COTTON COMES TO HARLEM, an energetic, fast paced adaptation of the Chester Himes novel has also been spotlighted more recently, but is still woefully underappreciated.

Naturally there are some total unknowns, like THE MANCHU EAGLE MURDER CASE which uses a parade of stars to tear the roof off the depraved poultry industry of central California. And the Chicago-made TOWING which seems to be a bilious reaction to a bad experience with a tow truck driver. Both are very funny.

Lastly, there are a pair of wild cards on this list. Michael Reeves’ THE SHE BEAST is rarely discussed as a comedy, maybe because it is also a very effective horror film, but the humor is weird and pervasive in the story of a pair of tourists (Ian Oglivy and Barbara Steele) who get tangled up with a witch’s ghost on a road trip in Eastern Europe. And Sacha Guitry’s THE STORY OF A CHEAT uses the old “unreliable narrator” gambit to create comic tension in its memoir of a fictional ne’er do well.


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