Patton Oswalt: My Life in 10 Movies

The comedian and author of 'Silver Screen Fiend' charts his rise from young cinema junkie to successful stand-up via 10 gamechanging films

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'It's a Gift' (1934)

"I was writing for a sketch show in the mid-Nineties and dealing with a lot of network back-and-forth; it was pretty stifling to keep getting 'Oh, let's not do this and let's not do that' notes. Then out of nowhere, I happen to catch this W.C. Fields movie from the early Thirties that just gleefully blew away all of the so-called 'liberated' comedies of the time right out of the water. It was this great reminder that yes, you can go way, way farther than you think in terms of what's funny, right at the moment I needed to be reminded of that. You just picture Fields sitting there, thinking: 'Okay, what's the one thing I'm not supposed to make fun of? Great, I'll go after that, and I'll make it twice as funny as anyone else, just to prove that all your pearl-clutching concerns are horseshit.'"

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