Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Five Great Short Comedy Films Available Online

Comedy is hard. Sure, just about anyone is capable of being spontaneously funny in the right circumstances - but, deliberately setting out to make the greatest number of people possibly laugh would have to be a stressful prospect. And, the fear of failure would have to be daunting. Even the most mediocre comedies you can imagine are likely to be the result of a great deal of time and effort - with jokes being written and rewritten, continuously, in a desperate effort to elicit the greatest number of laughs possible.

The five short films listed below are films which are successful, though - each being genuinely hilarious, in their own unique way. Whether it's the elements of parody to be found in Kung Fury and Future Hero, the character driven comedy of The Duel at Blood Creek, the entertaining meta-fiction of The Gunfighter, or the surreal absurdity of At Your Convenience, each clearly seems to succeed at that elusive goal of eliciting laughs.

Of course, that being said, it's probably worth mentioning that comedy is also highly subjective. So, the fact that I, personally, found each of the films below to be hilarious probably wont mean much to you if you happen to disagree.

Anyway, let's get to it....

Kung Fury

A fantastic, and truly absurd, love letter to the films of the 1980s, Kung Fury tells the tale of a renegade kung fu cop, and his efforts to stop a time travelling Adolf Hitler (otherwise known as the Kung F├╝hrer). It's a film that features robots, kung fu, time travel, Vikings, Nazis, and David Hasslehoff - and it, somehow, manages to be even more wonderfully strange than it sounds.

Kung Fury is a very strange little film, as you might expect from something that manages to include all of the features I listed above. But, it's also genuinely entertaining - and, thanks to the money earned through its successful Kickstarter campaign being put to good use, it also looks great. Sure, the film's very overt use of 'green-screen' may look a little garish, and and the quality of the performances range from stilted and awkward to over-the top scenery-chewing - but, it all fits well with what the people behind Kung Fury clearly had in mind. In the end, it all becomes a part of the film's strange charm.

Honestly, the most absurd excesses of your typical 1980s action film are really only the starting point for Kung Fury - and, your ability to enjoy the film is going to be largely dependent on how willing you are to simply let yourself enjoy the 'joke'.

You can watch Kung Fury by following this link (Click Me!). You can also find the equally amazing theme song, True Survivor by David Hasselhoff, by following this link (Click Me!).

The Gunfighter

Through the fairly standard story-telling device of an omniscient narrator, voiced here by Nick Offerman, we are told the tale of a tense confrontation between a gunfighter and a saloon full of thugs in The Gunfighter.

It all seems fairly ordinary, to begin with - but, we soon learn that each and every character in that saloon can hear this narrator, too. More importantly, though, they aren't too happy about his habit of revealing their inner thoughts, and deepest secrets, to each other. They also aren't too happy with the way that this narrator seems to be constantly pushing them toward killing each other.

The idea of fictional characters being aware of, and interacting with, the narrator telling their story has been done before - but The Gunfighter still counts as one of the better uses of that odd little trope that I have ever come across. The short film may, essentially, rest on that single joke - but, there is enough variety in the revelations that the narrator tosses out, and in the way that different characters react to him, that it manages to keep things entertaining.

You can watch The Gunfighter by following this link (Click Me!).

Future Hero

When a cyborg from the future travels back in time to kill his infant son, a lazy and absent-minded father will have to reconcile with his disapproving adult son, also back from the future, if he hopes to save the day.

Future Hero is a film that, much like Kung Fury, comes with a strong sense of affectionate parody directed at its subject matter - in this case, science fiction. The parallels between this short film and The Terminator are fairly obvious - but, casting a lazy slob who would rather take a nap than go to the park with his wife and young child as the 'hero' allows for some great moments of humour. Also, the bickering banter between the father and his time-travelling son is fantastic.

In the end, Future Hero is a film that wouldn't have looked at all out of place as a sketch on one of the better sketch-comedy shows to have ever aired - it just has that sort of feel to it.

You can watch Future Hero by following this link (Click Me!).

The Duel at Blood Creek

Blood Creek is a place of honor. It is a place where noble duelists have come to settle their differences for generations. A place where the spilled blood of hundreds of past fallen runs through the very soil. And, now, it is to be the sight of another epic duel - as a lord and his man-servant make their way to creek's bank, to wait for the man who wronged him.

There's a problem, though. Instead of the foe he expects, a stranger arrives - ready for a duel of his own. Then, one more arrives - also eager for his own duel. Finally, their opponents make their way to the creek - only to be accompanied by yet another pair. Soon enough, there is a crowd gathered - all adamant that they should get to be the first to duel. Then, things start to get really out of hand.

The Duel at Blood Creek is a film entirely committed to the increasingly absurd situation these characters finds themselves in - and, much of its humor is drawn from the overblown pomposity of its cast of characters as they all try desperately to make sense of what's happening. Great dialogue and great performances carry the film toward its end - where the arrival of one final character derails things even further.

You can watch The Duel at Blood Creek by following this link (Click Me!).

At Your Convenience

Randall and Dwayne are best friend who own and operate a small convenience store together. Randall is naive and a little child-like while Dwayne is much more practical - but, the two clearly enjoy working together. They are dismayed, though, when they learn that their most popular novelty item (a glass tube containing a small rose) is only selling so well because they are being used as improvised crack-pipes.

Their friendship is tested, though, as Dwayne begins to spend more time with a new group of friends who most definitely aren't a gang. Randall, meanwhile, finds a new friend in the form of Chub D, a local crack-head, where he learns that he may have misjudged the 'crack-inclined'.

At Your Convenience is a film which plays out like the pilot episode of a very odd sitcom. Though, to be honest, that isn't a hindrance. Whether this actually was originally a failed pilot, or the structure was simply the film-maker's creative conceit, doesn't really matter in the end. What does matter is the fact that the odd blend surreal and absurd imagery with the seemingly dark subject matter actually works very well. Subject matter which might seem to border on offensive, on the surface, becomes legitimately hilarious when you see it through the lens of actors performing in front of animated back-drops, in a bizarre and goofy sitcom format.

You can watch At Your Convenience by following this link (Click Me!).

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