Looking Back: Ethan Picks the Top 6 Most Hilarious Comedies of 2013

December 29, 2013

Best Comedies of 2013

After The Golden Briefcase's Tim Buel delivered his picks for the Top 8 Horror Films of 2013, it's time to focus on another specific genre with my picks for the Top 6 Most Hilarious Comedies of 2013. The genre doesn't get its due diligence during awards season (even though the Golden Globes try to shine a light with their Best Comedy or Musical category), so it's only right to acknowledge the best films in comedy each year. Comedy is one of the most subjective genres out there, so this is hardly an objective list, but when taking into account filmmaking fundamentals and general hilarity, these films came out on top this year.

#6. We're the Millers

We're the Millers

As long as Jennifer Aniston keeps doing R-rated comedies like Wanderlust, Horrible Bosses (with a forthcoming sequel), and this latest drug-fueled effort, she can keep making those romantic comedies that no one really cares about in between. With "Saturday Night Live" star Jason Sudeikis taking another big step forward as a leading man, this comedy from Dodgeball director Rawson Thurber Marshall delivers some huge laughs. And while the performances certainly drive that (including a stellar supporting double dose from Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn), it's the near flawless script by Wedding Crashers writers Bob Fisher & Steve Faber (with help from Sean Anders & John Morris) that really made this work.

#5. The Way Way Back

The Way Way Back

Making their feature directing debut, comedians and TV stars turned Oscar-winning writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash step up to the plate with this hilarious and charming coming-of-age comedy. Led by a subtle but fantastic breakthrough performance from teenage star Liam James, this comedy was a perfect bit of alternate programming in the blockbuster summer. Complete with Steve Carell taking the surprising role of a douchebag potential step-father, and Sam Rockwell as the young protagonist's laid back guiding light, this film delivers a summer that we all wish we could have lived through during out adolescence.

#4. The Kings of Summer

The Kings Summer

As a sucker for coming-of-age tales, along with the aforementioned #5 film on this list, I was already anticipating enjoying this film when it premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. With yet another spectacular breakthrough performance from teenage star Nick Robinson (making his feature film debut), the story paints a familiar portrait of a teen desperate for independence in a house that feels like it's always slowly closing in on him. With his friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and the scene-stealing oddball Biaggio (Moises Arias) in tow, they set out to build out a house for themselves, and hilariously discover more about their friendship and life on their own. Nick Offerman again brings more solid comedy work as Robinson's father with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts guiding them all with an impressive feature directing debut (they'll reteam for Sundance 2014's Nick Offerman: American Ham).

#3. This is The End

This is The End

Take the apocalyptic setting that usually shows up at least once during the summer, and combine the piping hot comedy gang of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, James Franco, Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson (not to mention a slew of all-star cameos) and you've got the perfect blockbuster comedy. With everyone in the cast playing exaggerated versions of their Hollywood personae, there's plenty of pop culture references and confrontation for anyone who has enjoyed the likes of Superbad, Knocked Up, The 40-Year Old Virgin and more. The scene that our own Joey Magidson put in his 20 Best Scenes of 2013 is just one piece of this raucously hilarious piece of work, not to mention a ridiculous ending that will have you cracking up as the credits roll.

#2. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

It's a miracle that this sequel was even made. After Paramount Pictures initially turned down the chance to greenlight a follow-up to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, director Adam McKay and star Will Ferrell finally convinced the studio to let them get their news team craziness back on the big screen. After the first film became a revered hit over the last nine years, the sequel had a lot to live up to. While it's not as good as the original film, some biting satire and absolute ridiculous plot points (along with an ending that contains the strangest laughs ever to grace a mainstream comedy), the sequel delivers plenty of hilarity, with a gaggle of cameos that make this a key player in The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. We just hope that McKay's alternate version of the film with completely different jokes sees the light of day sometime down the road for even more fun.

#1. The World's End

The World's End

Completing his Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, director Edgar Wright sure had his work cut out for him to deliver a film as funny and finely tuned as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. But teaming with his longtime friends and collaborators Simon Pegg (who also co-write the film) and Nick Frost, this tremendous trio comes through with a film that is packed with marvelously shot action sequences, and witty writing that simultaneously rivals and pays tribute to Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Allowing Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan to further stretch their comedic muscles, the film is nothing short of a comedic masterpiece, and is not only the best comedy of 2013, but one of the best films in general of the entire year.

Honorable Mention: Pain & Gain surprised and perplexed audiences who have come to expect enormous action from director Michael Bay, but with this considerably smaller budgeted dark comedy, he shows another side. While it's still driven by superficiality, the film contains some great black comedy, with Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg making for a hell of a team. It's a story that feels like the Coen Brothers and Michael Bay had a misfit child, but it works.

That's it for Ethan's picks for the best comedies of the year. And in case you missed our other retrospective posts earlier this week during all the Christmas craziness, our awards expert Joey Magidson counted down this year's best performances (for both actors and actresses) along with his 20 Favorite Scenes of 2013. In addition, we also tossed up my picks for the 15 Best Official Movie Posters. and Tim Buel's 8 Favorite Horror Films. We've got more lists coming to wrap up 2013, including Ethan's reflection on his 13 Most Anticipated Films of 2013, and our favorite movies in general. What do you think of Ethan's top comedy picks?

Find more posts: Editorial, Looking Back



Enjoyed all 6 EXCEPT for Anchorman 2. We're the Millers is a little bit of a stretch and I wouldn't put it on the same list with the Way, Way Back, Kings of Summer, and the two end of the world movies. I'm also assuming we're not considering Wolf of Wall Street for this list? If it were in consideration, it would be my top pick for comedy.

dab394 on Dec 29, 2013


i agree, anchorman was way overrated but i did find we're the millers funny. The whole part where they end up actually being a family was great. And jason sandeikis was hilarious

Steve John Petrakis on Dec 29, 2013


Yeah, despite the rampant laughter in The Wolf of Wall Street, it just doesn't feel like a straight-up comedy to me, so that's why I didn't include it. But you can bet it will be on my year-end favorites list.

Ethan Anderton on Dec 30, 2013


But you found The Way Way Back to be a straight-up comedy? I would consider it a coming-of-age drama with a few funny elements. Sam Rockwell was great, but I found the rest, for the most part, really difficult to watch.

Jaleel White on Dec 30, 2013


Whether it is considered for this list or not, The Wolf of Wall Street was my favorite movie of 2013, just above Her, About Time, Gravity, Dallas Buyers Club, and American Hustle.

dab394 on Jan 2, 2014


Man, I thought This is The End was one of the worst movies I've ever watched. The last 20 minutes made it respectable, but I would've been more entertained watching paint dry for the most part.

Terry Myers on Dec 29, 2013


I agree. It was for idiots.

Charlie Hard on Dec 30, 2013


This is the End is on this list but The Heat isn't?

foxmulder32 on Dec 29, 2013


The Heat would have been #7.

Ethan Anderton on Dec 30, 2013


oooh, didn't even think about that. The Heat was AMAZING. xD

Sarah Berryman on Jan 14, 2014


I didn't really find This is The End to be that funny at all. I do like all the actors in it and man there was some great scenes but most of the humour felt forced. Same for Anchorman 2 which had a great beginning up until the middle which is where it fell out a bit. I agree with The World's End though that definitely deserves the number 1 spot.

Charlie Hard on Dec 29, 2013


for me is this is the end the movie of the year and indeed I miss the heat on it! At the world's end did disappoint me because the expectations where to high for me...

Avi on Dec 30, 2013


I thought Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa was pretty good.

Snev De la Fontaine on Dec 30, 2013


Sadly, that hasn't been given a US release yet, but I definitely want to see it!

Ethan Anderton on Dec 30, 2013


I think I have a different sense of humor, but I like that you mention Pain & Gain!

DavideCoppola on Dec 30, 2013


Most of these were idiotic at best. You'd have to be a brain dead moron to find them funny.

Guest on Dec 30, 2013


By all means, tell us what good comedy is then, instead of offering empty criticism devoid of substance.

Ethan Anderton on Dec 30, 2013


As long as World's End is #1 I won't complain too much about your list. In fairness, it was just a bad year for comedy with one amazing standout.

Chiroptera Exsanguination on Dec 30, 2013


people shouldn't write opinionated articles.. because this is what happens.''well i didn't think that movie was funny! you're a complete moron!!! blaaaaarg!'' jeez.. i disagree with a few, but im not gonna act like a 12 year old on youtube haha.

Guest on Dec 30, 2013


Good list! The only thing I would change is putting Bad Grandpa in there somewhere. Not sure where tho.

Hunter Reynolds on Dec 30, 2013


As number one 😉

Amber Patterson on Mar 4, 2014


Take out #2 through #6 and replace them with American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, Despicable Me 2, Pain & Gain, and John Dies at the End. Leave The World's End at #1.

Tykittaa on Jan 9, 2014


I do NOT agree with The World's End being #1, that movie sucked so hard... I loved We're the Millers & This Is the End though

Sarah Berryman on Jan 14, 2014

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