I’ve had enough.
Without planning for it, there has been one reoccurring theme in my posting of lately, running like a red thread in my movie watching: misery.
I’ve watched people getting buried alive, become possessed by the devil, die from cancer, turn into sharks while they didn’t want to, consider committing suicide or simply killing other people in the most gruelling way you can think of. At the best, the endings have been ambiguous or bittersweet, but more often than not, they’ve been on the sad side.
What’s up with all this sadness? I suppose it’s some kind of collective psychotherapy we’re going through, either we’re on the producing or the consuming side. If we share the pain and go through it once more it might disappear, or at least we can perspective on it.
“At least I’m not as miserable as those poor persons on the screen”.
There isn’t much of a choice either. Many cheerful, happy-ending movies are unfortunately burdened with stereotypes and clichés that are bound to annoy me rather than make me smile. Most movies that are considered “good” are miserable. How hard isn’t it to find an upbeat film that has been showered in nominations, awards and general acclaim from the critics? Movies whose only aim is to entertain and cheer you up, providing a couple of hours of escape are, if not frowned upon, at least dismissed.
A happiness counterattack
I’ve realized that this has to come to an end. If I won’t watch and write about something happier soon, I will see this place crumbling into pieces, the roof falling in by its own weight.
It is time to make a happiness counterattack, so this is what I will do:
1. I’m going to watch Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a musical that has been on my too-watch list for a long time. Hopefully it will cure me from any film induced blues I’m suffering from. Musicals often have that effect on me. I’ll let you know what I thought of it next week.
2. I will put together a list of movies which are guaranteed to cheer me up.
In order to avoid too much of repetition I’ve decided to pass on movies such as Life of Brian, Billy Elliot, Groundhog Day, Together, ET and Love Actually, since they were mentioned as recently as last week. I’ve also talked numerous times about It’s a Wonderful Life and Amélie, so they are also excluded from this list.
Some of my choices are probably pretty obvious, films that tend to come up in lists over happiness evoking movies. Others are maybe not quite as popular in film buff circles and might cause some raised eyebrows, which I obviously don’t give a crap about.
And now: I present you 10 movies or categories of movies for increased happiness:
You might not have heard of this little gem from Australia, unless you’re a) an Aussie or b) love ABBA (there’s a LOT of that). I’ve never dreamed of a church wedding, but Muriel’s determination to have one and to break up from the misery of her family makes me happy.
The Scottish accents. The dancing in the park. And the strange penguin dressed person in the background, never explained. Quirky? You bet. But it was quirky before everyone else was quirky. I love it. Just love it.
Can’t Buy Me Love
And so they lived happily in all their days. The most popular girl in the school finally realizes that the nerdiest of the nerds, a teenaged Patrick Dempsey, as a matter of fact is pretty hot, so she jumps up behind him on the lawn mover and they ride off towards the horizon accompanied by one of Beatles’s happiest songs. And I’ve just told you the end but it doesn’t matter because you didn’t believe this movie would end unhappily anyway, did you? There’s a peculiar African dance as well which won’t be forgotten anytime soon. I suppose this is what you call a guilty pleasure?
India light movies
Last winter I was in Goa on a perfect holiday. People told me that Goa wasn’t “real” India. It was India light, suitable for tourists. It suited me perfectly. I honestly doubt I’ve got the right stuff to endure a day in Calcutta. And it seems to be the same with movies. I love movies with a touch of India in it. The tourist version. I haven’t enjoyed the all out Indian movies I’ve watched so far. But I love Bollywood light. Bend it Like Beckham has only a hint of curry in it, but enough to tickle my senses. Monsoon Wedding tastes stronger and includes more dancing. Bride & Prejudice is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, but in an Indian setting. Weird but totally enjoyable. Full colour dancing numbers can brighten any dull day.
Shakespeare in Love
The way they talk. The way they walk. The costumes, the, the environment, the humour, the sweetness, the love. So delightful.
Just about any movie starring Hugh Grant
I’m honestly not one of Hugh Grant’s biggest fans. Some actors transform into the most shifting characters and you can barely fathom at it’s actually the same person behind the make-up. But to me Hugh Grant seems to be playing more or less the same person every time. However – I can’t help being quite charmed by this person and those movies, mostly fairly high quality rom-coms never fail to cheer me up. Four Weddings and a Funeral. Notting Hill. Bridget Jones’s Diary. About a Boy. Music and Lyrics. I’m all for it! He’s even been in one of the less talked about Woody Allen movies, Small Time Crooks. Totally enjoyable. I would pass on Nine Months. But with that exception, I’d say Hugh Grant is a good sign that you won’t feel depressed after watching a movie.
Fucking Åmål (Show Me Love)
Two girls walk out of a toilet, and all of a sudden everything seems so easy. If you feel stuck in Åmål or some other suffocating place in your life you don’t need to stay. You can just walk out of it.
Get inspired. Be kind. Be honest. Put on your shoes and run and life will treat you well. And there’s always another piece of chocolate to try out.
When Harry Met Sally
Love is a tricky thing and it may take quite a few years before you eventually get it right. But there’s hope. For everyone.
The Full Monty
Back in the 80s the height of fun was to watch naked men dancing with balloons covering their intimate parts. Weird, I know. I never cared for it very much, not even back at that time. The striptease scene in The Full Monty is something different though. Watch this clip. And smile.
The ultimate cheer-me-up weapon
So, has this put you in a nice weekend mood? Do you feel energized enough to deal with everything that needs to be done as we quickly are approaching Christmas? Not? Well, then I’ll give you my final, ultimate cheer-me-up-weapon.
Strictly it’s not a movie, but it will work if everything else fails. It reminds me of that no matter what, life is in the end a wonderful, interesting adventure, where we boldly go where no one has gone before. (For your information: It’s the intro to Star Trek TNG in case you didn’t click the link).
And with that exclamation mark in space I’ll leave you now, wishing you a wonderful, sparkling and entirely cheerful weekend.