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M O V I E S TO M A K E Y O U F E E L G O O D

There are movies that make you feel good and there are feelgood movies. The latter is a stupid word (like 'chickflick' or 'rom- com') that has become a vague, dubious genre of films specifically and cynically designed to fill the shallowest hole in your soul - your need for mild, 'heartwarming' entertainment. They often star Meg Ryan or Hugh Grant, and they are as fleetingly satisfying as cheap burgers. But you can always go back to something better, the movies that you can, as Quentin Tarantino put it, "hang out with". They will always pick you up, never let you down, and whether in jest or seriousness, they only tell you what you want or need to hear. Here is a list of 50 that might work. You're welcome to disagree, if it makes you feel good. 50. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) Right from the get-go of the Coen brothers' rambunctious, bluesy, southern-fried reworking of Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), is exasperated by the defeatist attitude of fellow escaped convicts Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson). "Consider the
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lilies of the goddamn field." he suggests. 47.cathartic images of Englishmen being hacked into quivering chunks. 49. and the neighbours who covet the water from his well drops into the dark reaches of human nature. tearful. concedes that this rigorously witty imagining of the Bard's London love affair is "an enjoyable travesty". Braveheart (1995) Mel Gibson's short-arsed rebel gizzard. 48.slitter William Wallace cries "Freedom!" even as his guts are pulled out. Jean De Florette/Manon Des Sources (1986) Over the course of two movies and four generations. 2 . Claude Berri's morality tale about a hunchback tax collector (Gerard Depardieu). with twitchy good cheer. Shakespeare In Love (1998) Even Harold Bloom. rousing hours of cod. the critic who ranks Shakespeare above God in the cosmos.historical romance and particularly for Scots with an angrily vague memory of oppression . thus ending three gruesome. but pulls itself back up into the sunshine with a sublime sense of patience and justice.

delirious and hilarious slapstick comedy ever made. as he taunts his own left hand. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1988) Two timetravelling fools (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) with a passion for Van Halen guitar solos. He was right. 43." 44. Abraham Lincoln articulates the spirit of the film with his final address: "Be excellent to each other. Evil Dead 2 (1987) "Who's laughing now?" shrieks Ash (Bill Campbell). True Romance (1993) "What you did was so romantic. which he has just chopped off because it was possessed by demons. but no aptitude for book-learning. dudes.46. who gets her pregnant 3 . kidnap famous historical figures to help them with their school project. The most violent. she's right. glowing teenager falls in love with Nino Castelnuovo's garage mechanic. And party on. too. Les Parapluies De Cherbourg (1964) Catherine Deneuve's pink." says Patricia Arquette to her new husband Christian Slater after he kills her vicious pimp. but director Tony Scott liked these kids. and wanted them to get away. sweet way. Writer Quentin Tarantino originally had an unhappy ending in mind. 45. And in a sick.

and their place in your life. 40. Field of Dreams (1989) Kevin Costner builds a baseball pitch for ghosts. Trading Places (1983) Yappy conman Eddie Murphy and insufferable stockbroker Dan Aykroyd have their fortunes reversed in this cheerfully crude Regan-era satire. forthright hooker. but that's okay. and essentially creates an outlet for the unshed tears of men with bottled-up paternal issues. 4 . Cinema Paradiso (1989) Incurable movie-lovers tend to romanticise the whole experience of going to the pictures and Giuseppe Tornatore's story about an old village projectionist (Philippe Noiret) and his persistent young assistant (Salvatore Cascio) tugs agreeably at those memories of the cinema. Denholm Elliott's delightful butler and Paul Gleason's ludicrously hostile corporate fixer. 42. plays catch with his dead father. because they sound true and beautiful. Every word between them is sung. in French. but its enduring assets are the supporting characters .before being called away to war.Jamie Lee Curtis's admirable. 41.

sharply observed.39. woozy movie recalls the emotional tangle of nostalgia. goes to Italy to collect his father's body. since it makes you want to bellow like a fat tenor. relief and sunbeaming possibility that you probably felt on your own last day of school. 38. Funny that this smart. Say Anything (1989) More people know and love Cameron Crowe's later chocolate-hearted smash-hit Jerry Maguire. 37. wound up tight as ever. 5 . Avanti! (1972) Jack Lemmon. Young men who watch this will go on to secretly imagine themselves as a Cusack figure in all subsequent relationships. but Richard Linklater's loose. but this attraction of opposites between honourable underachiever John Cusack and beautiful academic Ione Skye provides lasting delight . nervously plausible and brilliantly played. clothes and accents are specific to suburban Texas in the midSeventies. and finds that the old man was known locally as a poetic and magnificent lover. heartfelt work by Billy Wilder remains so unsung. Dazed and Confused (1994) The music.

Jamon (1992) The love triangle between the heir to an underwear empire (Jordi Molla). Jamon. 35. 34. 33. left. sweet fairytale pastiche. Smoke/Blue in the Face (1995) Wayne Wang and novelist Paul Auster made a great movie about the invisible. the daughter of the town whore (Penelope Cruz). in itself a graffiti-coloured shout out to the joys of city life. and a well-hung ham-factory worker (Javier Bardem) is played out with ecstatic. but this movie could give even the most kosher viewer both a literal and metaphorical hunger for hot pork. about Rob Reiner's swift. mostly positive connections between cigarstore customers in Brooklyn. Wallace Shawn's pathetic evil genius. the ridiculously determined revenger . The Princess Bride (1987) The Cliffs of Insanity.36. The Rodents of Unusual Size. Die Hard (1988) Bruce Willis. Not to sound crude. spectacular carnality. shoots a bunch of high. and absolutely nothing to dislike. and Inigo Montoya. then hung around to improvise another collection of scenes blending the characters with real locals.there is much to enjoy.tech international thieves who are basically trying 6 .

to steal Christmas. the reluctant. and 7 . the villagers aren't exactly martyrs for local heritage. 30. and makes it back home to the kids through a snowstorm of broken glass and singed paperwork. Local Hero (1983) Part-magical. part-realistic story of the bonny Scottish village that sells out to Burt Lancaster's oil company." Forming between the lines of such wonderfully terse and abusive dialogue. 31. dusty treasure. Charles Dickens would most assuredly have loved it. but this semi-true story about an old guy riding cross-country on a lawnmower has the slow. awesome power of a Johnny Cash song and wise things to say about age. I will bury this telephone in your head. The oil men aren't all bad. saves his marriage in the process. 32. time and brotherly love. The Straight Story (1999) Most of David Lynch's movies are like the kind of nightmares you have after eating too much cheese. underplayed friendship between Robert De Niro's tetchy bounty hunter and Charles Grodin's whitecollar prisoner makes Martin Brest's road movie a lost. Midnight Run (1988) "If you say another word.

28. Central do Brasil (1998) Gruff old cynic Fernanda Montenegro helps Vinicius de Oliveira's cute little orphan boy find his father. smoking powerful cannabis and watching The Big Lebowski. and the experience profoundly changes both of them. it sounds obvious 8 . drinking milky cocktails. At one breathtaking point. In synopsis. The Fisher King (1991) Terry Gilliam's bizarrely affecting modern knight's quest. 29.there are a hundred good jokes and revelatory details half-hidden in the story and performances. in his own languid way. everybody in Grand Central Station begins to waltz. He is. tacitly suggesting an ideal existence spent bowling. The Big Lebowski (1997) The Dude (Jeff Bridges) is only mildly fazed by a series of phantasmagorical encounters with the nihilists and pornographers of the Los Angeles underworld. 27. as guilt-ravaged radio presenter Jeff Bridges and grief-deranged schizo Robin Williams redeem themselves by stealing a delusory holy grail from a New York billionaire's mansion. the most subversive role model in recent cinema.

When We Were Kings (1996) Mohammed Ali captured on Leon Gast's camera. dares and goads you into becoming a more interesting person.every scene in Bill Forsyth's movie is memorable and likeable. the lot" . 24. In the telling. it builds awesome power through observation and restraint. at his most glorious moment . 1974. aka the world heavyweight championship. catching all the flailing pathos of teenage years spent in Cumbernauld or anywhere else. 26. like a hummingbird in mid flap. 9 . Zaire. Ali spars. the kid in the penguin suit.The Rumble in the Jungle. Gregory's Girl (1981) The horizontal dancing. 25.and revolting. tits. The Jungle Book (1967) Disney's most exuberant cartoon. in which Baloo the Bear (voiced by Phil Harris) becomes so enraptured by the beat of King Louie (Louis Prima) and the singing orangutans that he is compelled to dance. the cumulative effect a kind of midsummer magic. shaking loose his coconut-shell monkey disguise and getting our heroes in big trouble. fannies. "bums.

but it's still the purest display of his genius . like a barfly with a tremendous singing voice. 22. Down By Law (1986) Jack the DJ (Tom Waits) and Zack the pimp (Rod Lurie). Big Night (1996) Brothers Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci) cook a monumental last-chance supper out of love and desperation for their failing 10 . 21. clockworks.23.one man's grace and humour used as a weapon against machinery. are thrown in the slammer with Italian optimist Roberto Benigni. doesn't seem quite so funny any more. dayjobs and boredom itself. both too laid-back to avoid being framed for crimes they didn't commit. who doesn't speak English too good but knows an escape route. Akira Kurosawa's overwhelming tale of a dying businessman (Takashi Shimura) who compensates for an unfulfilled life of conformity by building a kid's playground is one of the few films that might actually inspire you to change for the better. Modern Times (1932) Charlie Chaplin's last silent movie. 20. the last dance of The Tramp. Ikiru (1952) Sad can feel good. Scruffy but uplifting.

The Cup Final against Team Evil is a billion times more exciting than any real match . 19. Shaolin Soccer (2001) Stephen Chow's joyously goofy Hong Kong blockbuster is a serious recent contender for the most pure-fun movie of all time. neuroses and social structure .the ball 11 . Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is the spirit of Don Quixote trapped inside a new-fangled Action Man. lambi nahin.hearted effort." he says (life should be grand. 17.Pixar Studios digital. rather than long) and this Bollywood classic expresses itself with more vigorous conviction than the many Hollywood movies that say pretty much the same thing. and the characters make you believe it. passionate about food and compassionate about people.animation classic works because you want it to be true. The film itself is a whole. Toy Story (1995) Mass-produced plastic toys have their own lives. Anand (1970) Cancer patient Rajesh Khanna spends his last few months laughing at death and everything else. 18.restaurant. "Zindagi badi honi chahiye. as Fung (Ng Man Tat) trains his amateur football team using the power of Shaolin Kung Fu.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) A resounding wake-up call from the Eighties . as Jimmy Stewart has his darkening worldview adjusted by an angel called Clarence (Henry Travers). 12 . and make alternative arrangements for the day."Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while. play Sigue Sigue Sputnik loud. simple. infinitely watchable parable about the cosmic importance of one person's life and dreams. It really is ever so dreamy. you could miss it. 13. 14.this strong. It's A Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra came home from World War Two and made his "special picture" . riding on a scooter in a romantically portrayed Eternal City. 15. where a cute. left." Heed Ferris.kicked so hard it releases atomic shockwaves and fiery demons. Phone in sick. fantastical mooncalf (Audrey Tatou. Amelie (2001) Jean-Pierre Jeunet's giddy vision of a Paris suburb in a parallel universe ruled by whimsy. Roman Holiday (1953) Princess Audrey Hepburn and journalist Gregory Peck. open the curtains. 16.

outdated founders of a socialist commune. announced by the 13 .the befuddled. embarrassed disco-generation kids . 11.and his second film radiates with a warm orange aura of human comedy and empathy. but it does you the power of good. Jimmy Stewart's dignified writer. The Philadelphia Story (1940) George Cukor's masterful adaptation of Philip Barry's rapid-fire theatrical farce zings with just as many wisecracks as comparably perfect entertainments His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby. painful and truthful generation-gap drama is like spending a few weeks at high altitude . Tokyo Story (1953) Watching Yasujiro Ozu's smiling. sighing. and a mighty Katharine Hepburn.it hurts quite a bit at first. but this one's got the combination of Cary Grant's twinkling ex-husband. benevolent cunning.above) makes sure everybody gets who and what they secretly want with omnipotent. 12. 10. and their estranged. Together (2000) Swedish writer-director Lukas Moodysson loves every one of his characters . The whole film runs on the same kind of wishful thinking that keeps fairies in the air.

fluid. set them to eye-popping.posters as "The Snooty Society Beauty Who Slipped And Fell . but none surmount with quite the same winning idiocy as Sylvester Stallone's meatheaded skid row boxer. shined them up in a hurry. charismatic. and turned out the greatest work of pop art. Singin' In The Rain (1952) Playful. 8. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Harrison Ford's battered. fizzy. off-the-cuff choreography. If only real life contained such exhilarating training sequences and a constant. triumphant theme tune like Bill Conti's Gonna Fly. Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen took the duff old studio showtunes they were given. romantic jubilation in Technicolour ." 9. Rocky (1976) All sports movies run on the ever-ready inspirational dynamic of unknown underdogs surmounting insurmountable odds to go the distance in a million-to-one shot.IN LOVE. grouchy and resolute archaeologist Dr Indiana Jones faces down the entire Third Reich in his 14 . in that you don't want to smack the characters when they break out into the big production numbers. 7. splashy.the only musical that works properly.

15 . "There's what's right and what's right. Raising Arizona (1987) The Coen brothers' breakneck. triumphant theme tune like John Williams's Raiders' March. banging a gong. in a garden. which works in the same deep. baby-snatching comedy screwballs even wilder and faster than the Hollywood classics it bounces off.determination to secure the remains of the Ten Commandments for his local museum. 6. but wisely shuts his eyes before the wrath of God. somewhere inside your head. evil battle for a child of their own. in a pagoda. pitting Nicolas Cage's dazed robber and his zerononsense cop wife Holly Hunter against hell's own angel (Randall Tex Cobb) in a hysterical good vs. and never the twain shall meet. big." explains Cage. 5. weird way as the best dreams. If only real life contained such exhilarating chase sequences and a constant. Spirited Away (2001) Hayao Miyazaki's wonderful.hearted. colourful and compassionate vision of the spirit world.

as true comedy always is . Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's novella .live the same dull day. ineffectual gang of crooks (including Alec Guinness at his finest and Peter Sellers at his most gracious) unwittingly outmanoeuvred by one little old woman (Katie Johnson) appeals endlessly to your faith in goodness by showing you. but Groundhog Day provides a taste of it. with meticulous hilarity. 16 . and escapes the hell of wrongful incarceration .transmits a powerfully pure and simple belief in hope and transcendence. in the same dull place. suffers. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) For all the prisonmovie cliches and bible-parable martyrdom. over and over again until your cynicism becomes so boring that it gives way to joie de vivre. Groundhog Day (1993) Bill Murray's crabby. egocentric weatherman finds a new path to enlightenment . 3. The Ladykillers (1955) Wilfully nasty but ultimately moral. 2. The rest of us may be waiting a long time for that shift. how good can succeed without even trying.Ealing Studios' masterpiece about the malevolent.Tim Robbins suffers.4.

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company.Some Like It Hot will never get boring.the gangster stuff is just window dressing . exchange one-liners so definitive they might have been written in fire. never gets boring.1. All rights Reserved. 17 . and create genuine delight through relentlessly elegant vulgarity. and hopefully in practice. all of them wearing women's clothes (but only Monroe looking like "a whole different sex"). Some Like It Hot (1959) Nothing feels as good as sex. And since Billy Wilder's great. Tony Curtis. great comedy focuses all its combined craft and genius on nothing other than sex . Copyright 2004 SMG Sunday Newspapers Ltd. in theory. This movie is the next best thing to "the fuzzy end of the lollipop". Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. or stop feeling good. Sex.

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