Top 10: Feel-Good Movies

If you’re having a bad day, or are sick beyond belief, nothing feels better than snuggling up with a feel-good movie. A movie that never fails to make you smile or lift your spirits. Everyone has those certain special ones, and here’s a few of mine.

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1. My Neighbor Totoro

If this movie doesn’t make you smile, you’re basically not human. Hayao Miyazaki is a master storyteller, and Totoro is no different from his other woks that capture the simple magic of childhood. Totoro is a playful mystical creature that brightens the lives of two little girls, taking them on a magical adventure while also teaching them about the realities of life. It can’t get any cuter than this. With gorgeous animation and adorable magical creatures, My Neighbor Totoro is guaranteed to lift your spirits.

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2. When Harry Met Sally

Harry and Sally are pretty much my #relationshipgoals. Sure, they didn’t really like each other at first and it took 10 years for them to finally get together… but they end up fitting together perfectly. These are smartly written and all around great characters. Sharply played by the actors, Billy Crystal’s cynical Harry and Meg Ryan’s cheery Sally have fantastic interplay with an infectious wit. And that monologue at the end always gets me. “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” Don’t we all want to hear that? When Harry Met Sally set the standard for romantic comedies that very few have ever reached.

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3. Clue 

Clue is a zany physical comedy that will leave you in stitches from side-splitting laughter. Tim Curry is a huge standout, leading the wacky gang in pratfalls and mishaps throughout the sprawling mansion. Madeline Khan is also deviously funny as Mrs. White, particularly her hilarious monologue on her loathing of Yvette “Flames…on the side of my face!” It is frantic and silly, and feels more like a stage farce than anything. I’ve always thought it would be an excellent play. If I ever need a laugh, all I have to do is pop Clue in the DVD player.

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4. Adventures in Babysitting

Adventures in Babysitting starts out with a fun bang in a magnetic opening. (which I wrote about here) Is it silly and unbelievable at times? Yes. But it’s a lot of fun. The kids singing ‘The Babysitting Blues’ at a downtown Chicago blues club, encountering a Thor-esque mechanic, running into the mob, and so on. Also, the 80s was a time where kids and family movies could get away with a lot more, such as a sub plot where the babysitter looks strikingly similar and keeps getting mistaken for a Playboy model. Adventures in Babysitting is fun and absolutely lovable.

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5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

This is a John Hughes classic, sold by Matthew Broderick as the charming lead character. It’s about being young and having fun, with a touch of serious moments as well. Jennifer Grey is hilarious as Ferris’ jealous younger sister. Jeffery Jones nearly steals the show as Ed Rooney, determined to catch Ferris Bueller in the act of skipping school. From the sing-along at the parade, to crashing a fancy restaurant, to a joyride in the Ferrari, there are so many memorable moments. Ferris and his friends have the best day of skipping school ever. And as Ferris says, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Why not have fun while you can? Ferris Bueller’s Day Off makes you feel like you are a part of that ride.

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6. The Emperor’s New Groove

This is Disney’s funniest film, hands down. An all-star hilarious voice cast, David Spade, Eartha Kitt, John Goodman and Patrick Warburton bring to life the colorful characters. Kronk’s spy song and when he olds the one note leaves me in stitches EVERY time. There are too many knee-slapping moments in this. The Emperor’s New Groove is a whimsical and funky Disney feature that warms your heart and never lets you stop laughing.

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7. Back to the Future

How can you not love Back to the Future? It’s one of film’s most inventive, rousing, and all around entertaining adventures. Michael J. Fox is beyond charming as Marty McFly, and Christopher Lloyd will always be remembered as the zany time-travel inventor Doc Brown. One particular moment that will always leave you smiling is Marty’s “Johnny B. Goode” solo.  Despite being set in the 80s, it really is a timeless classic.

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8. About A Boy

About A Boy is not only wickedly funny, but also very touching. Hugh Grant stars as the jaded Will silver-tongued sleaze with a hidden inner decency. He loves living life with no strings attached. He manages to get involved with a young boy and his depressed mom. Along the way, he learns that you shouldn’t seal yourself off from the world, or as he says in his mantra, be an island. One of the best parts is when he plays with Will at his school concert, “Killing Me Softly With His Song”. About A Boy is a tender and charming British comedy that reminds you the importance of human connection and relationships,

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9. Frankie and Johnny

I just love this movie so much, it’s vastly underrated. It’s emotional and all-around delightful romantic comedy. Frankie and Johnny has fantastic performances by the two leads, played by Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer. They have incredible chemistry and really sell the intricacies of the two characters. Frankie and Johnny deals with the complications of life, how it can beat you down, yet there is still the hope of connecting with truly good people. It’s a simple but beautiful little story.

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10. Down With Love

Down With Love is a stylish romp that homages 1960s classics such as Pillow Talk. It’s basically like a chocolate bar, (pretty much like the one Ewan McGregor seductively unwraps in one scene) deliciously light and sweet and guaranteed to make you feel good. It’s unabashedly silly, cute and charming movie fluff.

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Top 10: Childhood Movies

Here is a mix of some classics and family friendly films that shaped my childhood and cemented my passion for the movies, thanks to what I picked out at my local Blockbuster.

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1. Jaws

Jaws led to a fascination with sharks, especially the 1912 shark attacks in New Jersey. (read the book Close to Shore) Jaws is the quintessential summer blockbuster, a thrilling ride with an incredible cast. I watch it every 4th of July, and used to read the book too.

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2. The Little Mermaid

I have The Little Mermaid to thank for all the mermaid fantasies I enacted in my pool. The animation is gorgeous, (I miss 2D Disney so much) the songs are unforgettable, the characters are charming. My favorite Disney princess hands down. And no, Ariel did not want to be human just because of Eric. Did you even listen to ‘Part Of Your World’??

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3. The Mummy

Maybe they’re a little cheesy, not very scary, and some of the effects are dated now, but my love for The Mummy series (which ended at two…we’re not gonna mention Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) is strong. It’s just so damn fun. Also, it was made when Brendan Fraser was really hot.

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4. Jurassic Park

One of the most ultimate thrill rides, with a heart-pumping plot, captivating characters (Jeff Goldblum’s shirtless scene is really more than enough) The raptor kitchen scene is my favorite, intense and gripping, left me holding my breath the entire time. The special effects were mind-blowing for that time, and they still are. Despite the advances made in CGI, the animatronics used for the T.Rex looks so much better. The entire T. Rex reveal is just the ultimate bad ass moment. And who can forget her satisfying roar of revenge?

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5. Titanic

Yes it has cliches, a melodramatic story, cheesy dialogue and some Billy Zane overacting. But frankly, the story works. It’s an old fashioned Hollywood romance. It has sweeping visuals with breathtaking effects that perfectly capture both the ship’s wondrous awe and the heartbreaking devastation of the tragedy. Titanic will always make me cry. How could you not with the flutes somberly playing ‘My Heart Will Go On’ over the dark bottomless ocean?

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6. Spider-Man

It’s hard to believe with the twenty something Marvel movies being pumped out all the time, but superheroes were not a big thing back in the early 2000s. They were pretty much killed thanks to Joel Schumacher’s Batman series. But the 2002 Spider-Man ushered in a new day for the superhero films, making them popular again. Now it is the new age of gritty superhero movies. (which is pretty much a retaliation from Joel Schumacher’s godawful choices) Spider-Man was a pure popcorn flick and comic book schmaltz. I know Willem Dafoe’s insane monologues to his reflection are stupid, but I love it. There may be a lot of cartoony moments and eye-roll inducing dialogue, but it’s fun.

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7. Kiki’s Delivery Service

My mom came home with this on VHS, leading my 2nd grade self to convince everyone my name was Kiki and I had magical powers. As I grew older, I grew to appreciate the film even more. Kiki’s Delivery Service is heartwarming Hayao Miyazahki masterpiece with a timeless story of the trials and tribulations that come with growing up.

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8. Back To The Future

Back to the Future is infectious, a playful and lively time-travel adventure that will always be a classic. Seeing it led me to explore other films from the 80s, and there are tons of iconic films from that decade. Back to the Future is what sparked my passion for film, for that I will be forever grateful. And I completely agree with Lea Thompson, Michael J. Fox is indeed a dreamboat.

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9. Hocus Pocus

Halloween is not complete without this cute Disney romp. Another thing that sticks out is that this is one of, if not the only, Disney movies to talk so explicitly about virginity. I will be in love with Tracery Binx far longer than it is appropriate.

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10. A Christmas Story

The leg lamp, the mall santa, seeing if the tongue really does stick, it’s hard to choose a favorite moment from this Christmas movie staple. Every year my family watches it on Christmas Eve, and plays the 24-hour TBS marathon the next day. This will always have a special place in my heart, probably long after I’m older when that family tradition may no longer be done, but always remembered.