One of the freshest comedic voices on the block, Bo Burnham made his way up from YouTube videos about internet culture to heartfelt tragicomedies about the human condition. With the release of his latest Netflix special, Inside, which was about the destabilised psychological integrity of an artist during the pandemic, Burnham has boldly announced his return to the landscape of contemporary comedy after an extended hiatus.
In an interview about his entry into the world of comedy, Burnham said: “I kind of fell into a world of doing stand-up and the tools available to you as a standup, or for me in terms of what my shows were, was sort of irony and cynicism and being clever and overwriting things and making things very precise. I was sort of hungry to drop that stuff and collaborate with somebody and not use those tools.”
Adding, “[I wanted to] try to capture something more human and spontaneous, and get back to what I loved about theatre, which was something less knowable and not really speaking from authority, but instead jumping in something and flailing around, and trying to describe it from the inside, you know? I was sort of tired of going around talking about what I had figured out. I was more interested in exploring things I was struggling with.”
During that same interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Burnham used the opportunity to name some of his favourite films of all time, which included seminal New Hollywood masterpieces as well as modern horror films. Burnham showered immense praise on Julia Ducournau’s critically acclaimed 2016 film Raw.
“I can’t believe that’s a debut,” Burnham said of Raw while justifying its place on his list. “It only feels like seasoned masters are able to really manipulate an audience, beat to beat, to really feel like you are being so perfectly manipulated, and you’re just in the hands of someone who has complete control of you. It’s just unbelievable to have out of the gate.”
Check out the entire list of Bo Burnham’s five favourite films of all time below, an eclectic list which contains both celebrated classics as well as modern gems.
Bo Burnham names his 5 favourite films of all time:
- One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Miloš Forman – 1975)
- George Washington (David Gordon Green – 2000)
- A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes – 1974)
- Raw (Julia Ducournau – 2016)
- Fat Girl (Catherine Breillat – 2001)
While praising Gena Rowlands for her brilliant performance in A Woman Under the Influence, Burnham said: “I just think Gena Rowlands is absolutely incredible, and the sort of vibe of that movie. You can just feel the closeness of the actors and the crew and the people making the film. Again, it’s so incredibly alive and spontaneous, and that sort of weird, intimate, long-lens voyeuristic stuff and their fights, it’s just absolutely incredible.”
“Also, just long takes of allowing actors to be, and to not cut out the white noise of superfluous action that doesn’t necessarily contribute to the plot,” Burnham continued. The purpose and the heart of the movie is stated over and over again in every tiny action, in every little thing they do, in every smile Peter Falk gives to her or look she gives to him. The messiness of it is just absolutely incredible, and that dinner scene with them all together is just stunning.”