Thursday, October 14, 2010

Top 5 Movies That Make Me Smile

Inspired by the Top 25 Films That Make You Happy post via, I found myself thinking about the movies that genuinely make me happy to watch these days. Put a smile on my face, perhaps a laugh in my gut, but always leave me thinking "ah, what a great day," regardless of my mood going in. It's easy to forget those movies amidst the sea of deep emotional dramas that I'm drawn to, so I felt the need to honor them in some way. So, let's begin!

5. Star Wars Episode 4 - A New Hope:

There exist very few films in the world that can put a smile on my face as often, or as long lasting, as the ever prevailing classic Star Wars. I love the characters, the story, the mythos. Every aspect of it wonderfully blends childhood nostalgia, with modern day excitement and thrill.  From beginning to end, it's one classic I can watch anytime, every time.

4. Blazing Saddles:

Have I mentioned before that I love Mel Brooks? Well, in a strictly admiration way, of course *cough*. I love absurd random humor, and I could easily match this up with Young Frankenstein, which I think is the better film overall. Still, nothing makes me laugh as hard as Blazing Saddles. I can't stop. It absolutely kills me. The perfect blend of off the wall humor, and extreme absurdity make it all worth it.

3. The Princess Bride:

I believe my love for absurdity has been mentioned once already (see above comments). Add to that a overly repressed romantic side, and you'll find my fascination for The Princess Bride not all that surprising. I love the simplicity, and beauty, of its romance. The creativity with which it creates, and embraces the world. And by god, how can you not love Peter Falk!? There's got to be some law in the cinematic realm that fronts him an automatic likability factor of 10.

2. The Great Dictator:

There's something sweet, and wonderfully amusing, about Chaplin's The Great Dictator that, despite having reviewed it, I can never fully express. A sort of wonder, and comedic excellence, that can't be defined, but rather experienced. subtle in its heart, but overly present in the moments it adds a smile to your face. Even with its breathtaking final speech, Chaplin's Great Dictator never leaves me wanting.

1. Harvey:

By this point on my blog you're probably tired of reading me ramble on about Jimmy Stewart, Harvey, and the films of Kurosawa. Yet, there's something to be said for wanting to share those things you really love. Harvey is one of those rare films that never lets me down. No matter what mood I'm in, or how recently I've seen it, every time I walk away feeling like a better person. A happier person. A winner in every respect of the word. It exudes charm, silliness, and heart with every scene, and for that I am eternally grateful. Perhaps I should get off my butt and write a review for it already, huh?

Well there you have it. My top 5 go to films for a smile when I need it most. What are some of your go to films when happiness is required?

12 better thoughts:

The Film Connoisseur said...

That last speech that Chaplin gives, about humanity, hope, and an end to war and violence, you are right, that movie gives a lot of hope that there are humans out there who actually care deeply about these things!

I admire Chaplin for using his fame and power as the most famous actor/person of his time, to speek about this still relevant matters.

There are other Chaplin movies that put a smile in my face too, like Gold Rush and The Kid, both beautiful films. Thing about Chaplins movies, they'll make you laugh as quick as theyll make you shed a tear.

The Mad Hatter said...

Fantastic list!!! Makes me wish I'd included it in this week's Everybody's Talkin' instead of your 3-D post (not that the 3-D post was lesser quality, just that I find myself drawn to the optimism of this piece).

For what it's worth, in no particular order...


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Agree with you on Blazing Saddles! My favorite comedy. The Princess Bride is a sweet story - how can one not smile at that.
I'd also select The Usual Suspects, because it's such a cool film and Spacey's performance is awesome.

StudyCool said...

Excellent list. I am also on board with The Princess Bride. I have it on my iPhone and tend to watch it when I am overly stressed at work. It always helps.

Contenders for my top 5 would be High Fidelity, The Royal Tenembaums, and Disney's Robin Hood. I have re-watched these films dozens of times.

I believe that my films help me deal with life. They provide a healthy escape from stress and worry and I always leave them feeling better than when I started...

SugaryCynic said...

Excellent list, smilers every one of them. I can't even pick one to exalt above all others cuz they all are awesome. My top five would probably be The Princess Bride, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Moulin Rouge and Be Kind Rewind.

Univarn said...

@FilmC I still need to see The Kid, but Gold Rush is great, and I love Chaplin. I've never understood Chaplin's haters, he's one of the few people who was able to blend message and comedy almost flawlessly.

@Mad Well, there's always next week :). Great list there. Back to the Future would definitely be in a top 10, but I lacked the time to go that far into it.

@AlexJ Interesting selection in Usual Suspects, I'm not sure if I'd say it's a film that makes me smile, but definitely a "Oh #!@( awesome!" I love watching it on repeat views because I feel like a detective trying to piece together some case from the main story.

@Study Can never go wrong with those selections. I think everyone needs a few go to films for when life begins to overwhelm.

@Sugary Indiana Jones is absolutely classic, and I love the 3rd installment. It seems to me that from 1 - 3 the films go progressively more aware and self-satire. Which made for comedy and entertainment gold.

Alex said...

Awesome list! I'm with you on all of these except The Great Dictator, simply because I haven't seen it yet (I will, don't worry).

I was just thinking about Harvey yesterday and how it's one of my favorite films but I haven't done a review yet for some reason. Your comments about Harvey also apply to my feelings about Singin' in the Rain, the main movie I turn to when I'm feeling down.

Andrew Robinson said...

Somehow I still haven't seen the top two on your list...

awesome list though...

Gotta love me some Star Wars love.

I did a similar list a while back, check it out here

Univarn said...

@Alex Better get on that. Singin' in the Rain is hilarious, and just plain awesome. I was hard pressed not to put a musical on here.

@Andrew Top 2? Man, you're really missing out. Perhaps, I should boycott the podcast in protest? Nah, I won't do that. We've had enough trouble getting it together as is. Still, you should check them out. And great selections yourself. Interesting choice of Death Proof for a pick me up film :)

Simon said...


Dancer in the Dark cheers me up in some perverse way. Reminds me life can suck so much harder.

filmgeek said...

Go to smiley films are the cheesey/guilty pleasure films - 27 Dresses, 13 Going on 30, Bring it On, Legally Blonde, Get Over It...

Heather said...

Ooh you added Harvey. That's just brilliant. It's my favorite Jimmy Stewart movie and one of my favorite films of all time. I dare anyone to sit through that movie without feeling a sense of joy and calamity. It's pure and utter goodness.

I also adore your picks of The Princess Bride and Star Wars, both give me that same sense of freedom from reality for a few hours and plant a permagrin on my face.

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