When life delivers its worst, I find myself wanting to hide with some of my favorite movies.
I am not talking about movies that make the best movies ever made lists. Of course Citizen Kane is the best movie ever but it is comforting at all? Are you going to watch No Country for Old Men or Gangs of New York when you feel as if life is kicking you in the teeth?
Well, I am not.
These and others in their class are good movies to think about, to let the ideas they present ruminate in your head for days, months or years after seeing them. But when you need a laugh or to get lost in something else for a while, this is not what I am reaching for.
Instead I want a good laugh out loud movie that doesn’t mind being adult and going places I do not want my kids seeing. I want a movie such as There’s Something About Mary. I laugh and laugh hard whenever I watch this movie. Just thinking about the pain and suffering of the dog makes me smile little.
It is one of those movies in which the ensemble works well together and makes something really funny out of an outrageous premise. Ben Stiller cannot forget about his almost high school prom date – the incredibly beautiful and sweet Cameron Diaz. Their time together was marred by the mishap and years later he knows she was the girl. So he sets out to find her.
Problem is a lot of people love Mary. She is the girl everyone wants because she is sweet and pretty and generally good to the people around her. The comic lengths this movie goes to makes me laugh hard and work out any funk I happen to be in.
I feel the same way – although not as strongly – about Old School with Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. This story about three guys who suddenly are reliving the best part of their college days makes me laugh when I know I shouldn’t. But then I start doing it all over again.
Sometimes I want to be swept away into a good mystery. Alfred Hitchcock directed some of the best but one of my favorites is Rebecca from 1939. Joan Fontaine stars as the young woman who marries into wealth. But her husband, Laurence Olivier, carries a secret and dark sorrow that makes her new life difficult. Then there is the forbidding housekeeper who makes sure Fontaine is aware she will never be like the last mistress of Manderly. It is a glorious movie.
Finally, if you really want to be let out of a funk, if you really want to find the way back to the sun there is no better movie than Singin’ InThe Rain. It is really hard to stay glum when Gene Kelly or Donald O ‘ Conner dances with such joy. Debbie Reynolds is so darn cute and forthright in this role.
This is just the start of my list. So tell me, what movie do you watch when you need to laugh or feel better about life?