THE WAR OF THE ROSES
(1989) D: Danny DeVito. Starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito.
The black comedy to end all black comedies. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner are pure magic together and neither has ever been better than in this deeply twisted acting-out of the cliché “you always hurt the one you love.” Brilliant.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito were roommates when they were both struggling actors.
DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB
(1964) D: Stanley Kubrick. Starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens.
Citizen Kane was cerebral, Casablanca was romantic, The Godfather was brooding. Often listed next to these films when discussing all-time great films, this one sometimes gets overlooked because it’s a comedy. But the political satire and the biting and brilliant performance by Peter Sellers makes this intelligent masterpiece the greatest of them all.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Originally planned to be shot in the United States, filming had to take place at England’s Shepperton Studio since star Peter Sellers had to stay in England for the duration of the shoot due to the pending settlement of divorce of his first wife, Anne Sellers.
HAROLD AND MAUDE
(1971) D: Hal Ashby. Starring Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort.
Have you figured I’m a fan of dark comedy yet? Here’s the granddaddy of them all.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: In 1979 Bud Cort suffered a major life and career setback when he was almost killed in a car accident on the Hollywood Freeway. Consequently, he spent years enduring plastic surgery and physical therapy, the loss of his savings because of enormous hospital bills, a losing court case regarding the accident, and the disruption of his blooming career.
TO DIE FOR
(1995) D: Gus Van Sant. Starring Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck.
Nicole Kidman showed her first signs of her real talent in this indie classic from Gus Van Sant.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: After working in this film, Casey Affleck brought director Gus Van Sant a script by his brother Ben and Ben’s friend Matt. It became Good Will Hunting (1997).