As the days grow shorter (and so do our coursework deadlines), there seems to be a murky feeling in the air. Rain is pouring down, the chill is setting in, and everyone is beginning to curl up ready to hibernate over Christmas. Yet, even with the looming knowledge of that exam you really should be preparing for hanging over you, there’s always time for a sit down, a cup of tea, and a lovely, corny movie. And so, without further ado, I present to you my Top 10 Feel-Good Films guaranteed to brighten up even the rainiest of days. What mathematical algorithm did I compose in order to collate this ultimate list of 10 films to make you feel wonderful? Well, none actually. This list is merely my personal preference and a glimpse into what I'll watch when life has got me down. In fact, I barely consulted anyone else when making it. So this is a ridiculously self-indulgent article in many regards. Sorry about that. I just really like cheesy movies. Anyway…
The Jungle Book
Besides being my dad’s favourite animated film (thus, a crime not to include on this list), The Jungle Book is undoubtedly one of the sweetest, gentlest films you will ever watch. We all know and love the songs, and will sing along to far more words than we thought we could remember, and the gentle giant Baloo will never fail to put a smile on your face. Watching this, no matter how long it’s been since you last did, will fill you with that lovely warm fuzzy feeling. It’s like being reunited with an old friend, but even better because Louis Prima is singing to you at the same time.
The Princess Bride
For me, this is the ultimate rainy day film. The Princess Bride DVD was the first thing I knew I had to take to university with me, no matter what else I decided to bring. It’s that film that appeals to audiences of all ages; to children with pirates, sword fights and revenge, to adults with knowing nods over the children’s heads, and to anyone with a heart with the dearly missed presence of Andre the Giant. At this time of year, we can all relate to the sentiment that “life is pain, anyone who says differently is selling something” and it’s at this time of year we all need a film that we can sink into with the sheer joy of silly rhymes, epic sword fights and even “the kissing bits”.
10 Things I Hate About You
Just on the merit of Joseph Gordon Levitt’s baby face alone this is a winner. Enough said.
When the ethereal and eternally beautiful Clare Danes falls to earth from her position as the twinkling north star, and is found by the bumbling and wonderful Charlie Cox, you know you’re in for a good film. Yet when Michelle Pfeiffer appears as a haggard old witch and Robert de Niro swans around as a sky pirate in drag you know it’s going to be a bloody fantastic film. Stardust, though easily dismissible as just a children’s fantasy movie is so much more. If watching this doesn’t leave you feeling good then I’m afraid you probably have no heart, or maybe Michelle Pfeiffer cut it out for the promise of eternal life.
It’s been fifteen years since Elle Woods first marched into Harvard and stole our hearts; “What? Like it’s hard?” and her charm hasn’t lessened a single bit in all that time. For giving us the bend and snap, for making us all aware that we would never wet our hair after a perm for the risk of deactivating the immonium thygocolate, and for being the feminist icon we all need in our lives (and doing it with such style) Elle Woods of Legally Blonde wins her place on this top ten list.
A Knight’s Tale
Whether it’s Heath Ledger’s foolhardy charm, Alan Tudyk’s baffled compassion or even just a half-naked Paul Bettany as Chaucer, for no good reason other than he can, A Knight’s Tale is a ridiculous and wonderful feel good favourite with an epic musical score to boot. On a quest to become the Knight he’d always dreamed of being, despite his lack of status, Heath Ledger finds himself in the midst of the medieval (with a rather 80s soundtrack) jousting world. Of course our dazzling hero does not go without his beautiful heroine, and it is for the sheer joy of cliché alone that this amazing film finds it place on this list.
School of Rock
Whether you, like me, had School of Rock as a staple of your childhood, or whether you watched it by accident once, we can all agree that this film, whether we want it to or not, has stolen our hearts. Though not usually a Jack Black fan, this film is a beauty. It’s the film that represents the cool substitute teacher we all had at least once in our school lives, the burning desire to be in a band (even though I can’t play an instrument, and my singing only ever comes out in the shower) and also it acknowledges that we all have our own insecurities, strengths and weaknesses and that they should never be ignored. Say what you want about this movie, but I firmly believe it’s a blessing on a rainy day.
When we should all be getting down to business and finishing our essays before the deadlines, what we all want to be doing is getting down to business to defeat the Huns. Mulan, aside from being a badass, kick-ass hero is a funny, compassionate and joyful character, and her sacrifice and determination, as well as her general awesomeness, make this film a film worth watching. And it’s got Eddie Murphy in it too? Who can resist?
Back to The Future
Though I would love to make a strong case for Teen Wolf as one of Michael J Fox’s best feel good films, the crown of course has to go to Back to The Future. This film is one of the ultimate Sunday afternoon films that, whenever it comes on telly, you can’t help but sit down and watch the whole thing, no matter what you were actually supposed to be doing. With the cringe-worthy Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, the obvious rooting for the underdog George McFly against Biff Tannen, and the mad scientist (whose friendship with Marty is never quite explained…) this has all the staples of the coming of age film, with a hint of time travel. And if you don’t like this film even a little bit, then I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.
It’s inching ever closer to the Christmas season, thus ever closer to the season where you can watch Love Actually almost every weekend but without people judging you. With the intertwining narratives that spawned a string of not as good knock offs (I’m looking at you Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve), this star studded Christmas classic is the original and the best. With the eternally baby-faced Thomas Brodie Sangster as the adorable lovelorn Sam, Hugh Grant as the goofy Prime Minister that falls for a member of staff (but totally isn’t a dick about it unlike someone cough Billy Bob Thornton cough), and the adorably awkward Colin Firth as a hard done by writer, to name but a few, this film knocks it out of the park time and time again and will never cease to be a delight.
Some other amazing films that didn’t quite meet the cut but I could gush about for days; Wall-E, When Harry Met Sally, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Fifth Element, Clueless, Field of Dreams, Jurassic Park, Little Miss Sunshine, Hairspray, Mystic Pizza (or literally anything with Julia Roberts in it) and Good Will Hunting (to name but a few).
If you do anything in the coming rainy weeks (besides finishing essays), I urge you to sit down and have a mindless few hours watching something totally cheesy, totally cliché and yet, ultimately, totally delightful.