Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day Sixteen: Shaun of the Dead

Ranking on IMDb Top 250: #245
Year: 2004
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

The bottom ten of the IMDb Top 250 is not a safe place to be for a film. They change on a daily basis, and anything that finds itself in that 250th spot can pretty much consider itself a goner since at least two or three movies that will become Top 250 staples are released every year. The bottom of the list also serves as a location where there's generally several movies that make you say "Huh, that's on the list?", and as great as Shaun of the Dead is, it's one of those movies.

Don't get me wrong, I would include Shaun in a personal top five comedy list along with cult classics like Office Space, Tommy Boy, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the totally unfuckwithable The Big Lebowski. It's still a little bit jarring to see it on a list with the likes of The Godfather and Casablanca. I think it's a testament to the wisdom of IMDb users, though. On paper, Shaun of the Dead shouldn't be allowed to sniff a list like this: it's a romantic comedy spoof of zombie movies. That sounds either terrible or overly campy. Writing team Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg prevent either of those things from happening with their razor sharp that walks a line between poking fun at zombie movies and embracing the genre, never falling too far into either. In fact, this is probably my favorite zombie movie of all time, and it's not even a "true" zombie movie.

The voters have spoken and put it in that bottom section of the Top 250. Maybe it won't be there for long, but it deserves to be there forever. I don't have too much to say about it besides that a) I love it and it's one of only two zombie movies that I actually own on DVD, and b) it's the funniest non-Monty Python piece of British comedy, film or otherwise, ever to exist. My mind is a little preoccupied because I'm seeing Inception in about an hour, which is already at #3 – yeah, Number Fucking Three – on the Top 250, and I'm way too excited to overthink something that's on Comedy Central every week. If you somehow haven't seen this movie, please do. It's great.

The Good: The general expectation-defying greatness of the film in general.

The Bad: A few esoteric jokes don't work, but I think most comedies have something shy of a 1.000 batting average.

The Skinny: Well-deserved spot. Good on you, voters.


  1. A. Watch more British comedy if all you have to compare this to is Monty Python.

    B. Inception at #3 just proves how biased this list towards quasi-intellectual action films.

    C."It's still a little bit jarring to see it on a list with the likes of The Godfather and Casablanca." Or on a list with the likes of The Big Lebowski and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (#137 and #68, respectively). I could've sworn I've seen it on another list with those two recently.

  2. A. Not a comparison, not any more so than saying Let the Right One In is one's favorite horror movie "besides Halloween." Doesn't make them more than tangentially related.

    B. Again, this list can't be biased towards anything except popularity among IMDb users, because it's not written by one or even 100 critics. It's just a list that plugs votes into a formula. Also, I loved Inception. :D

    C. If that's a joke...yes, yes...I do consider it one of my top five comedies.

  3. Very entertaining film and happy to see it made in the 250.

  4. It Deserves to in the Top 250. It absoultely ranks among the top British Comedies ever made. I agree 100% with you Brad on this one.