These Are A Few of My Favorites
By Jeff Salter
This week’s topic is feel-good movies… and, as usual, I cannot decide among many. As I pondered this subject, I realized there were a few categories of films that give me that “feel-good” sense while watching.
Though not all are featured in every title, the common elements are:
Overcoming obstacles / limitations
Fighting back against oppressors (of various types)
Asserting one’s unique personality
Navigating adventuresome / dangerous situations
Finding a romantic partner
Reaching a satisfying conclusion (of the plot threads and character developments).
The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain (1995) — love the music, setting, story, and characters. Even though we were told (at the time of the film’s release) that the movie was based on a “true” story… it was later stated that the original story was not as true as we were led to believe. So, this is one of those flicks that we can say was “inspired by actual events” (or something like that). But it’s one of those stories that you WANT to have been true.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) — he’s so charmingly irreverent and irresponsible. Despite the fact that he’s USES people (even his friends) and deceives everyone (including his parents), we’re rooting for him to enjoy his day and escape unscathed. And we want his enemies to suffer… which they do.
Back to the Future (1985) — has everything: teen angst, time travel, adventure, danger, etc. And the outcome relies on the resourcefulness of a teen with low self-esteem.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) — my favorite of all the Christmas movies. For most of the movie, we’re doubting that the old man is really Santa Claus… but we WANT him to be. And we want the adults to believe in him… even as the little girl slowly becomes convinced.
Big (1988) — What kid has not wished he/she could suddenly leave all the limitations of childhood behind and become a “grown-up”? This is a terrific study of how that could play out… and what that individual may find along the way.
Home Alone (1990) — one minute you’re cringing, then you’re crying, then you’re cheering. I love seeing that resourceful kid conquer everything that comes his way… including those two inept burglars.
My Cousin Vinny (1992) — even though I cannot (for a minute) see why Marisa Tomei would find (much older) Joe Pesci romantic or attractive, I love their interaction. And it’s a treat to see how a yankee city boy adapts to the people and culture of the deep South.
Sixteen Candles (1984) — everybody was a teenager once… and every teen has felt left out, overlooked, marginalized, etc. The characters are great and the situations are hilarious.
Goonies (1985) — Lots of adventure… with treasure, pirates, and bad guys trying to capture them. Not to mention their village is being yanked out from under them. So it’s up to those misfits – the “goonies” – to get themselves to safety and save their community.
It Happened One Night (1934) — Despite being some 86 years old, this film still plays well. In the beginning, I have no sympathy for the spoiled, self-centered, rich girl… but I love the way she comes to her own while under the care of Gable. And, of course, Gable himself changes a lot!
I’ve only listed 10 titles here, but there are many more. I love movies and I can watch them over and over.
What are some of YOUR feel-good movies?
[JLS # 511]