There is no better way to start off 2016 than by finishing up something I started in 2015. After a rough week and a late night viewing of Can't Hardly Wait, I compiled a list of feel good movies that can boost my mood no matter how grumpy or bummed my current attitude. These are the instant picker-uppers. I already posted number ten through six, so if you have not yet read the first half of this list, you can do it HERE. Otherwise, here are the top five movies that cure my doldrums and make me happy any time I watch them.
5. The Great Outdoors. The second John Candy movie in my list, this one finds the late comedian as a family man whose tranquil vacation plans are interrupted by rude in-laws, accidental water-skiing, his son falling for a local girl, a 96-ounce steak, rambunctious raccoons, a brutal rain storm, and a bald-headed bear. When I was a kid, this was the kind of vacation I always wished my family would take - even if it included the disastrous pratfalls.
4. The Princes Bride. I was first introduced to this movie in high school when I got involved with the drama club. It was one of two movies considered as prerequisite viewing if you wanted to be accepted by the theater geeks. (The other was Monty Python and the Holy Grail.) Since then, lines of dialog from The Princess Bride have filtered their way into my regular vernacular. From the sick Fred Savage to "As you wish" to the fire swamp to "You killed my father, prepare to die" to the most passionate, the most pure kiss, this is an example of perfect film-making. It finds a deft balance between the sweet and the comical that speaks to the soul of every kid's dream: to live an adventurous life and find tru wuv.
3. Office Space. As I have spent most of my adult life in office buildings and cubicles, everything about Office Space rings familiar. The obstinate photocopy machine. The seemingly needless reports. Having eight bosses. Constant office relocations. Coworkers that are on the verge of a mental breakdown. A case of the Mondays. Placing too high a value on staplers. This is the movie that made us ponder what we'd do with a million dollars, reminded us how we don't need 37 pieces of flair to express ourselves, gave us the dream of taking taking a baseball bat to outdated machinery, and taught us that it feels good to be a gangsta.
2. Zoolander. Everything about this movie is ridiculous. Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, and Jerry Stiller all give us a lesson in over-acting as they lampoon the fashion industry amidst an absurd plot about brainwashing male models in high profile assassination conspiracies. Then you add in the cameos from people like David Bowie, Cuba Gooding Jr., Billy Zane, Lenny Kravitz, Natalie Portman, and so many others. There are zero reasons this movie should work, yet it does. My mood lifts along with the Ben Stiller's character. He starts in depression because Hansel is so hot right now and his roommates all died in a freak accident; then he falls in love, saves the prime minister of Malaysia with Magnum, and opens the Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too. Perhaps we all just need a lesson that there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking.
1. Empire Records. I love this movie. Perhaps it's because it reminds me so much of my first job working in a record store. Perhaps it's because I miss chasing shoplifters. Perhaps it is because I am fond of independent retailers. Perhaps it is because I have love Ethan Embry movies (he was also in my #10 pick from the previous post). Perhaps it is the 90's alternative music soundtrack. Perhaps it is because I had a massive crush on Liv Tyler when this movie came out. Or it could just be nostalgia. Whatever it is, Empire Records always brings a smile to my face.
Of course, this list would not be complete without a few runners up. Here are three that could have easily made this list, but missed out by a smidge. Cool Runnings, Airplane, Coming to America, and Rat Race.
No matter how sad I am feeling, these are the movies that can make it all better. And if you're looking for a good way to begin your new year, I suggest cuddling up with some popcorn, a mug of hot chocolate, a fleece blanket, and a feel good movie. In fact, that's what I am going to do tonight.