Cult classic comedies possess a unique charm and wit that continue to draw chuckles across generations. Not all comedy is created equal and these five have endured the test of time to carve out a dedicated fanbase. Each one is unique and each one is on Paramount+ this October. Put your laughing costume on and dive into a world of laughs with these cult classic comedies.
“Airplane!” is a parody film that humorously exaggerates the disaster genre, particularly the high-tension drama found in airplane catastrophe films. It’s especially known for its fast-paced slapstick comedy and visual and verbal puns, delivering a laugh almost every minute. The creators, Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker, crafted a comedic style that would become a trademark for their films—deadpan characters, zany visual gags, and puns that you can’t help but laugh at. Its consistent ability to amuse generations of audiences has solidified “Airplane!” as a beloved classic, with its quote, “Surely, you can’t be serious?” and the reply, “I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley” becoming one of the most famous exchanges in comedy film history.
Oh and you surely don’t want to miss the sequel, Airplane 2. Paramount+ has that one too.
It put Kevin Smith on the map and introduced the world to Silent Bob and Jay. “Clerks,” Smith’s directorial centerpiece, digs into a day in the life of two convenience store clerks, presenting their banal daily routines and interactions with customers in a comedic light. Shot in black and white and characterized by its low-budget aesthetic, “Clerks” became renowned for its authentic dialogue and relatable themes, exploring the mundane yet amusing aspects of everyday life.
Smith funded the film through credit cards and sold his comic book collection to ensure its completion, a testament to his commitment to the project. The characters Dante and Randal, who grapple with the frustrations and absurdities of retail work, have resonated with audiences for decades, turning “Clerks” into a cherished piece among indie film lovers and establishing Smith’s place in the world of filmmaking.
Better Off Dead
No actor embodies the 1980s quite like John Cusack and no role is more John Cusack-y than “Better Off Dead”. This comedy explores the quirky and imaginative world of a despondent teenager, Lane Myer, portrayed by John Cusack, after being dumped by his girlfriend. The film navigates through Lane’s exaggerated, yet darkly comedic attempts to win her back or end his misery. Despite the seemingly grim premise, the outlandish situations, memorable one-liners, and absurd characters like a drag-racing Howard Cosell-imitator to his battle with an obsessed paperboy have helped it to amass a cult following.
Better Off Dead’s success lies in its ability to blend dark humor with relatable teen angst in an over-the-top 80s fashion, plus it’s sprinkled with cartoonish sequences that mirror Lane’s vivid imagination, offering a whimsical departure from the narrative. Director Savage Steve Holland has said that the movie is semi-autobiographical, drawing from his own experiences of a high school breakup.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Paramount+ brings us the closest the holiday has to a movie. Embarking on a frantic and unlikely partnership, Steve Martin and John Candy deliver endless laughs in this traveling comedy. With Martin as the straight man Neal Page trying to get home for Thanksgiving and Candy, the obnoxious yet lovable shower curtain ring salesman Del Griffith, the film showcases a chaotic, cross-country adventure that becomes a heartfelt exploration of friendship and understanding.
It’s a film that successfully marries boisterous comedy with emotional depth, showcasing the struggles and unexpected joys found in unplanned detours. Interestingly, the script was written by John Hughes in a mere three days, and it’s reported that the first cut of the film was 4.5 hours long, necessitating substantial trimming down. The humor, coupled with the unexpectedly touching moments, creates a well-rounded comedy that’s continued to warm hearts for over three decades.
Smokey and the Bandit
Burt Reynolds, in his iconic role as Bo “Bandit” Darville, gifted us a high-speed pursuit movie that is equal parts action and comedy in “Smokey and the Bandit.” Following the Bandit, who’s hired to run a tractor trailer full of beer over county lines, the film becomes an exhilarating and hilarious chase across the southern U.S., with Sheriff Buford T. Justice (played by Jackie Gleason) on his tail. Bo’s charisma, paired with his almost playful evasion of law enforcement, turns a simple bet into an adventure that audiences have loved for generations.
With classic car chases, iconic stars playing to their strengths, and a charming romance with Sally Field’s character, Carrie, the movie delivers fast-paced fun while reflecting a rebellious spirit. Reynolds and Field’s on-screen chemistry was mirrored off-screen as well, as their relationship blossomed during filming, creating genuine connections that audiences could feel.
Whether you’re in the mood for laughter, nostalgia, or a journey into the unknown, Paramount+ has you covered with these classic TV shows. So grab some popcorn, settle into your favorite chair, and start streaming these timeless treasures today. These shows aren’t just entertainment; they’re a journey back in time to the golden era of television, where storytelling and character development were at their finest.
You can get the Paramount+ Essential plan for just $5.99 per month ($59.99 per year) or Paramount+ with Showtime for $11.99 ($119.99 per year). Both plans include all these shows and more.
Make the most of the month and start streaming with Paramount+ today. New subscribers can try it for free for 7 days.