Our Top 10 Feel-good Films
This is our top ten compilation of what we think are the best movies to warm your heart, tickle your funny bone and see you through the miserable month that is November with a big cheesy smile on your face!
10. School of Rock
I love the manically enthusiastic Jack Black! If you’re having a bit of a down day you could do a lot worse than a couple of hours with this movie. Infectiously upbeat and just as good for adults as for kids, School of Rock kicks ass! Black plays the character of the music obsessed Dewy Finn, who blags a teaching job in order to pay the bills. His fellow educators are unaware that he is unqualified to do anything but rock out and as a result he spends his lessons encouraging the kids to play instruments and start a rock band of their very own. The brilliant comedy and skilled musicianship from Black as well as the younger actors make this film not only downright hilarious, but pretty impressive too. A guaranteed crowd pleaser.
9. The Princess Bride
Movie magic! The story of the beautiful Buttercup and her love, Wesley the humble farm-boy (played by Cary Elwes of Robin Hood, Men in Tights fame), is fairytale perfection. This film has outlaws, action-adventure, swashbuckling and romance and (if you’re of a certain age) will instantly transport you to your childhood, when it should most definitely have been one of your favourite films. So relax and let this movie take you back to a simpler time where good triumphed over evil, guys got their girl and men wore blouses. Huzzah!
8. High Fidelity
I said I loved Jack Black didn’t I? Hopefully you do too, as he stars along with John Cusack and Iben Hjejle in this lovely gentle comedy drama. The film documents the musings of Rob Gordon (Cusack), as he tries to figure out why his girlfriend broke up with him and what he can do to get her back. Comic relief is provided by Black and Todd Louiso in the form of two irritating but highly amusing music anoraks that work in Rob’s record store. The balance of comedy and poignance is absolutely perfect and despite the sentimental storyline of the film, it’s never corny and is most definitely one for the boys as well as the girls.
7. Little Miss Sunshine
In case you were in any doubt, this film does what it says on the tin. A dysfunctional family from Alberquerque hop in their beaten up yellow VW camper van and travel across America in the hope that 7 year old Olive will be able to win them some much needed money in ‘The Little Miss Sunshine’ kids beauty pageant. Greg Kinnear plays Olive’s father Richard, a man who gives motivational speeches on winning and losing. Ironically, he along with the rest of his family are on a perpetually losing streak and relationships are strained. This is a lovely little film about a journey of self discovery and re-evaluation, that reminds us to count our blessings and look for the sunshine in our lives.
If you don’t already know and adore this film I’d be very much surprised. Without a doubt the funniest and most original kids film of the noughties, Shrek, is the delightful tale of a hapless and misunderstood ogre, with a heart of gold and a donkey for a best mate. Taking elements (and zillions of characters) from all the best loved fairy tales, Shrek uses our preconceptions of the storybook characters we all grew up with to maximum comedy effect (even the infamous Gingerbread man torture scene will have you in stitches). Star-studded voiceovers from Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers plus a genuinely hilarious and inventive love story equals one massive happily ever after.
5. Love Actually
Now a feel-good movie chart wouldn’t be the same without a bit of cheese, and if Love Actually were cheese, it would probably be a nice bit of Wensleydale with cranberries in. Festive, full of little sweet surprises, and probably most likely to found in M&S. Yes this is an upmarket and brilliantly executed rom-com with a stellar cast including: Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln (I could go on….). Love Actually is lots of individual little stories about all different kinds of love. It’s set for the main part in a picturesque snow-dusted London and is brought to you by Richard Curtis, the same guy responsible for Four Weddings and Bridget Jones. It’s a slick operation with big names, top notch acting and a great sense of humour (ageing rock star Billy Mack played by Bill Nighy has some especially brilliant scenes). Enough happy endings to warm the cockles of everyone’s hearts.
The most light-hearted take on the subject of teen pregnancy ever?!! This film is hilarious and heart-warming in equal measure. Ellen Page absolutely rocks as Juno McGuff, the wisecracking yet thoroughly likeable tomboy who gets pregnant after a one night stand with Paulie Bleaker (played by Michael Cera). The unlikely comedy sees Juno decide to go through with her pregnancy so she can give her baby to a deserving couple. With a lovely performance from Jennifer Garner as prospective adoptive mother Vanessa and a brilliant supporting cast, Juno is a film brimming with positivity and hope that manages to avoid clichés and stay very much in the indie genre.
3. Best In Show
From the geniuses that brought you Spinal Tap, this ‘mockumentary’ charts the fortunes of American mutts and their owners in the run up to ficticious Crufts-style dog show ‘The Mayflower’. This is observational comedy at its best and features a host of brilliant characters. A gold digging poodle owner and her devoted dog trainer are perfectly portrayed by Jennifer Coolidge aka ‘Stifler’s mom’ in American pie and Glee’s Jane Lynch. Spinal Tap‘s own Christopher Guest executes a truly hilarious performance as he waxes lyrical about his love for Hubert, his beloved bloodhound who apparently possesses the ability to name nuts. All star cast? Check. Laugh out loud funny? Check. More dogs than you can shake a stick at? Check. I challenge you not to love this film….
The story of Amelie is an unusual, sometimes bittersweet, but ultimately rewarding one that puts the emphasis on enjoying the little things in life. It leaves you feeling as if sticking your hands in baskets of grain and collecting discarded passport photos of strangers might be just what your life has been lacking, and could possibly provide the solution to lasting happiness. Shy Parisian waitress Amelie has had a somewhat sad and lonely childhood and has learned to vicariously derive amusement from anonymous matchmaking, practical jokes and guessing things like ‘How many people in Paris are having an orgasm?’ at any given moment. Audrey Tatu is simply perfect in this film, and I’m yet to find someone who didn’t adore this amusing little story about letting go of your fears and learning to love.
1.Life of Brian
There’s only one film containing crucifixion, persecution and public stoning that could possibly make it to number one in a ‘feel-good film’ chart! That’s right, it’s the one and only “So funny it was banned in Norway!” Life of Brian. The story follows the unfortunate events of Brian Cohen’s life, born five minutes from Jesus, he is doomed to be constantly confused with the son of God. This confusion means Brian faces relentless hardship from birth, and the Monty Python boys don’t pull any punches in this hilarious parody of The Bible. Life of Brian is perhaps the most quotable film of all time, and will turn anyone that’s watched it into a complete anorak. Hilarious, original, intelligent, and yet completely and utterly stupid. This is the ultimate movie to get you looking on the bright side of life (and laughing your arse off in the process).
So there’s your definitive feel-good film guide. Feelings of warm-fuzziness and/or hysterical laughter guaranteed. Now to kick off your marathon of mirth here’s my personal favourite scene from our number one selection. Comedy gold.