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Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Jennifer Todd: 10 Essential ‘80s Comedies
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Jennifer Todd
Producer

A film producer for 25 years who also produced the Oscars twice, Jennifer Todd (The Way Back) describes herself as “a product of the ‘80s comedy.” Here, she lists 10 essential funny films of the decade.

1
Airplane
1980
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It’s so not politically correct, and I love it so much. But you could never make that movie — you literally couldn’t make five minutes of that movie now, could you imagine?

2
Tootsie
1982
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Tootsie is really my all-time favorite movie. I always joke that I’m married to Michael Dorsey because sometimes my husband reminds me a lot of that character. It’s so funny. It’s so brilliant. I have at least a yearly watching of it. So Tootsie is just in a class by itself.

3
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
1982
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Fast Times gets dark at times. But Jeff Spicoli, that was a game changer. So iconic and so relatable. And it was also shot at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, which is where I grew up, and I got to see the movie there.

4
Night Shift
1982
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I love it. Again, not politically correct at all. I realize now that movie came out when I was like 12 years old, so I must have seen it somehow. It’s about two guys that start running a prostitution ring out of a morgue. It had Michael Keaton and Henry Winkler. I think it was my early run of Michael Keaton and just how brilliant he is. It’s outrageously funny.

5
Mr. Mom
1983
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One of the first John Hughes films. He shares writing credit. I believe it was his idea. Michael Keaton and Teri Garr are brilliant. Now that I’m a parent, it resonates even more.

6
Broadcast News
1987
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Broadcast News and Terms of Endearment, which is not a comedy—I mean, it’s less of a comedy, but actually has very funny moments— those two movies I think are actually just perfect movies. Jim Brooks has made other good movies, but those two, in my book, are perfect.

7
The Big Picture
1989
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It was made in 1989 and it just feels like 1980s Warner Bros. to me… There are more famous movies about Hollywood, but that one, for me and my experience, that’s perfection. I accosted (writer-director) Chris Guest once to tell him how much I loved it and I think he was scared of me.

8
When Harry Met Sally
1989
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Nora Ephron — I know Rob (Reiner) directed it, but the two of them, my God, it’s a perfect movie. It’s the most quotable. I can send you all my favorite lines from it.

9
Postcards From the Edge
1990
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Postcards From the Edge came out in 1990 but I would like to include it on my ‘80s list. It’s just pure genius, pure Carrie Fisher-Mike Nichols-Meryl Streep genius. A great, great movie about Hollywood. I’ve seen it many, many times. I will rewatch it again. It is just so funny.

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