By A.B. Chesler, author of children's book A Man and His Books
March: the month we delve into basketball madness and dip our toes into spring. There’s another reason it’s one of my favorite months, though—it brought us the man, the myth, Miracle Max—Billy Crystal! In honor of Billy’s incredible filmography and the last birthday of his sixties, I’d like to present to you my Top 6 Favorite Films of Billy Crystal’s Career!
Danny DeVito’s big screen directorial debut, Throw Momma From the Train, wouldn’t have been nearly as high on my Favorite Films list if it wasn’t for Billy. Both actors do a fabulous job at bringing to life this dark comedy about betrayal and death. Their characters’ polarity and the actors’ complementary comedic styles meld to make an incredibly entertaining, murderous tale.
It’s rather rare for a movie to appeal to all ages, but that’s just what Monsters, Inc. does. Despite being an animation, this star-studded picture brings lots of laughs and madcap hijinks within Pixar’s highly imaginative monster world. Billy and John Goodman meet to create the perfect monster "odd couple." In fact, Crystal’s character (the big-eyed Mike Wasowski) is so loved, he’s reprised the role for over fifteen different projects!
City Slickers was one of the nineties’ biggest comedies, and for excellent reason. This coming-of-age story follows city man Billy as he seeks a life-changing experience with his best pals in a last ditch effort to avoid a mid-life crisis. The setting and biting one-liners were enough to hook me, but add in the on-screen chemistry of Billy, Daniel Stern, Jack Palance, and Bruno Kirby for instant comedy gold.
3. Analyze This
Billy, Robert De Niro, and Lisa Kudrow create a hilarious ensemble cast in both of Ben Sobel gems: Analyze This and sequel Analyze That. Billy plays a discerning therapist who accidentally stumbles into giving therapeutic support to a neurotic mafia boss, played by De Niro. The shenanigans and hilarious interactions that ensue between these Hollywood giants are worth watching over and over again (thank goodness there are two movies).
If you’ve never seen The Princess Bride, stop what you’re doing, add it your DVD Netflix queue, and prepare for the most epic movie night possible. This '80s cult classic stars an incredible number of Hollywood juggernauts (Billy, Carol Kane, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Peter Falk, Andre the Giant, etc.) and boasts a storyline that no current movie can compete with. It’s got magic, love, comedy, and a little bit of terror (I wouldn’t want to mess with a Rodent of Unusual Size). To top it all off, Crystal’s role as Miracle Max perfectly showcases his incredible comedic skills. In fact, his famous line, “Have fun storming the castle!” was all improvisation on behalf of the sage comedian. Believe me when I say this movie will quickly be promoted to your own favorites list (if it’s not there already)!
Very few films have captured the reality of the dating (and even simply the adult) world as accurately as When Harry Met Sally. It follows the story of Harry (Crystal) and Sally (rom-com sweetheart Meg Ryan), who coincidentally meet as young college graduates and instantly rub each other the wrong way. However, over the years, their intertwining lives and strong friendship grow into much more. Somehow, this hilarious comedy remains pertinent decade after decade (just like our funny pal, Billy). This film is written impeccably, directed beautifully, and immortalizes some of comedy’s biggest legends in their best roles (R.I.P. Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher). If you haven’t seen it, you need to have a little bit of what I’m having. ;-)
Happiest of birthdays, Billy! Thanks again for all the laughs.
A.B. Chesler is an author, content creator, blogger, and family woman from Los Angeles, California. Her most recent publications include four different contributions in six different Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, as well as her first solo children’s book, A Man and His Books (available on Amazon and most other book-selling sites). Follow her on Twitter (@abcauthor), Facebook (www.facebook.com/abchesler), or Instagram (@abc_author) for updates, giveaways, and much more!