New York City Film – Bee Reel: Underrated New York Comedies

Perhaps it’s this dismal weather, but today I feel vaguely nostalgic for something I can’t quite put my finger on. I want to submit to my fetal inclinations under the covers and watch myself a rom-com.

I need Tom Hanks’ stiff dance moves, choreographed musical numbers, a car chase, a straight dude in drag and maybe a show-down in Coney Island after a long, perilous, subway journey.  For those of you who find that kind of thing appealing, I’ve compiled a list of New York comedies that wouldn’t necessarily be on Roger Ebert’s recommendation list – overlooked treasures, if you will, to keep you entertained while you stay dry. Enjoy.

ROMANCE AND CIGARETTES

This underdog of American cinema is so star-studded it’s hard to believe its director, acclaimed actor John Turturro, had to distribute the film himself – an exclusive and incredibly successful run at the Film Forum – after enduring years of rejection from the studios.  It’s a bawdy, smart and hilarious New York musical comedy starring Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Steve Buscemi, Bobby Cannevale, Mandy Moore, Mary Louise Parker, Christopher Walken, Amy Sedaris and Eddie Izzard and was executive produced by the Coen Brothers.  I’m so not the type to say “Boo-yah,” but somehow it feels right at this juncture.

TOOTSIE

If nothing else, see this film for Dustin Hoffman, who plays a chick better than most chicks. Once it’s on, this compulsively entertaining movie will exceed expectations. From the colorful supporting performances including Bill Murray, Sydney Pollack and Teri Garr, to the satisfying and well-crafted script, this flick will make you feel all warm and gooey on a grim day.

THE WARRIORS

Don’t let their sexually-ambiguous exteriors fool you, this gang from Coney Island will totally school your ass.  After they’re wrongly accused of killing a rival gang leader, these leather-clad kiddos b-line it back to Coney Island – an action-packed journey filled with narrow escapes and epic dialogue that’s so cliché, it makes you laugh out loud.

DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN

Amnesia, mistaken identity, obsession, organized crime and Madonna tunes are just a few of the elements that make up this New York classic from the days before there were cell phones so you had to take out a personal ad in the local paper to get in touch with your lover if he or she did not have a permanent residence.  This dramady starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna has shenanigans written all over it – and, let me tell you, it delivers.

BIG

There’s something wildly perverted about this story of a twelve year-old boy whose wish to be “big” comes true and he ends up trapped in the body of a 30-year old man, working at a toy company in Manhattan and playing hanky-panky with his cougar of a co-worker (Elizabeth Perkins).  But somehow, it remains one of the sweetest and iconic fish-out-of-water stories I can think of.  Plus, Tom Hanks plays chopsticks at F.A.O. Schwarz with his feet.

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