Monday, June 6, 2011

Top Ten Movies When You're Down

In June of last year, published an article entitled "The 10 Best Movies to Watch When You're Down." Written by Anne L. Fritz, the article does what it says on the tin - it lists the Top 10 movies to make you feel good when you're feeling depressed or blue. While I admire the article, and the concept behind it, I disagree with most of the choices and am going to pick holes in her top 10 and slag every one of them off.

Okay, I'm mean and sarcastic at times, but I'm not that bad. I just thought I'd run through the list and give you my alternatives. Because I'm kind like that. Think of it as a Celebrity Deathmatch-esque type of thingamibob. All images were found on Amazon. My list is in no particular order, and I assume theirs isn't either, because frankly, some of their choices are downright weird.

Their No. 10: Love Actually. My No. 10: Titanic.

While I did enjoy Love Actually, I wouldn't watch it again. I thought that there were too many characters, too many storylines, and none of them were developed enough for me. Sure, it has Christmas in it, which usually means that I'll buy it, but it just didn't float my boat. What did float my boat (HA! I know, excellent pun, steal it if you want to) was Titanic. Having grown up with an unhealthy obsession for all things Titanic-related, I was blown away when I saw this in the cinema. Unfortunately, I happened to see it in the cinema with one of those people who eats minstrels really loudly and feels like they have to remark on every little thing ("Look, there's a plate. Look, there's a doll. Look, there's an iceberg. This is a bit long, isn't it?"). I bought the video (yes, I'm that old), the soundtracks (volume 1 and 2) and the DVD when it came out. I still reach for it regularly, nothing like 3 hours of tragic romance to make you feel all glad-that-isn't-me inside.

Their No. 9: It's a Wonderful Life. My No. 9: Just Friends.

I have nothing to say about It's a Wonderful Life  - I haven't seen it. While I'm not a fan in general of gross-out/man-child comedies (American Pie, Knocked Up, etc), I fell in love with Just Friends immediately. The cast is perfect - Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Paquin, Chris Klein. The scenes between Ryan's character and his little brother are hilarious, and Anna plays the kooky pop star to perfection. Chris Klein is the perfect choice for the sweet-as-pie-on-the-outside character trying to woo Ryan's love interest. Worth a mention, too, is the one scene that I can watch endlessly and it STILL makes me laugh - go to YouTube and type in "Just Friends: I swear". You can thank me later.

Their No.8: Tootsie. My No. 8: Mrs. Doubtfire

I'm a big fan of Dustin Hoffman, I'd have no problem listing him right up near the top on my list of favourite actors. I think he's a brilliant comedic and dramatic actor, but I just wasn't a fan of Tootsie - I think, to be honest, this is probably due to the respective ages of these movies - Mrs. Doubtfire has a lot of the same themes, and some say that it's just a cheap imitation of Tootsie - but I can't express how much I love Robin Williams in this film. For me, Mrs. Doubtfire takes me right back to 1993, when I first saw it in the cinema with my Mum and Sister, and I've only enjoyed it more as I've gotten older. There's just the right balance of childish and adult humour in it, and it's one I'll always think of reaching for when I'm down. I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't seen it, but I love the ending of Mrs. Doubtfire because it's realistic - it doesn't wrap everything up in a sugar-filled parcel just to satisfy the audience. A firm favourite!

Their No.7: The Shawshank Redemption. My No.7: Mermaids.

Like so many other movies that I watch again and again, Mermaids is one of those that I caught by accident on TV one late night. I immediately fell in love with it, and I NEVER tire of it - in fact, it was on TV again two weeks ago and I stayed up until 2am to watch it, even though I've had the DVD for years. I wrote a review on my nostalgia blog for it back in January, click HERE if you'd like to read it. I'm not going to dwell too much on The Shawshank Redemption, I'll just say that there are an awful lot of movies that everyone pretends are in their top 10 just because they're always in 'Top 10' lists. And I believe that this is one of them. Don't get me wrong - it's  fantastically well-made, but I certainly wouldn't be reaching for it if I was feeling down. If you haven't seen Mermaids, then seek it out, it's adorable.

Their No.6: Babe. My No.6: Big.

While I did enjoy Babe a lot (I even went to see it in the cinema), I wouldn't necessarily reach for it if I was feeling down. Sure, it's cute, and Babe is adorable, but I wouldn't watch it very often. I don't think I own a copy on DVD, but I've watched it once or twice on TV with my 6-year-old, who LOVED it. Big, on the other hand - it's been one of my favourites ever since I first saw it when I was 6 or 7. The very idea of a kid being able to jump straight to the adult world fascinated me, and I wanted to find that funfair and that machine to try it myself :). This was the first Tom Hanks movie I remember seeing, and I've always watched his movies since. If you haven't seen it, shame on you! Also, I'm kind of jealous that you'll get to see it for the first time. It's awesome.

Their No.5: The Blind Side. My No. 5: Where The Heart Is.

Who doesn't love a good dose of white saviourism to cheer themselves up?  Should you not be in the mood for that, you have Where The Heart Is. This was another one of those accidental late-night TV finds. Natalie Portman is amazing in this - she plays Novalee Nation (you think that name's interesting? Wait until you hear what she names her baby), a young pregnant girl who is left to fend for herself by her boyfriend. She meets a variety of interesting, well-developed characters along her journey and the whole movie is just a total feel-good fest. There are heartbreaking moments in it, namely due to events surrounding Ashley Judd and Stockard Channings characters, but overall, it's a beautiful movie and if you haven't seen it, rent or buy it. You'll love it, I promise.

Their No.4: Up. My No.4: Edward Scissorhands.

I've seen Up once with my son, but it's not one I'd go back to watch again in a hurry. The visuals are lovely, the music is great, but I'm not a huge fan of animation in general (unless it's stop-motion). Nice story, nice concept, but not memorable enough for me to include it here. Edward Scissorhands has probably been one of my favourite movies since the first time I saw it. It's just gorgeous. It's a gothic fairytale set in a very uniform society, and shows the fickle nature of people to perfection - first they're falling at your feet, then they're trying to ruin you. Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder are perfect, and it also has the honour of having the wonderful Vincent Price in his last official movie role. The Danny Elfman soundtrack was the first CD I've ever bought online - the minute I had an internet connection and an amazon account, I knew what I wanted to buy. It's breathtaking.

Their No.3: Under The Tuscan Sun. My No.3: Only You.

I have to admit, I'd never even HEARD of Under the Tuscan Sun until I read this list. Apparently, it's a lovely movie in which the main character (played by Diane Lane, who I love), escapes for a much-needed break to Italy. I will watch it, but to be honest, it doesn't seem like the type of movie I'd go for - who knows! Only You was yet ANOTHER late-night TV find. It's the most beautiful romantic comedy I've ever seen, with perfect performances from Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei. It's all about Faith, who is told, as a child, by a fortune teller that she will marry a man with a particular name. A few days before the now-adult Faith is due to marry the man she is now seeing, she gets a phone call from a guest apologising that they won't make the wedding. The name of the guest? The name the fortune teller gave her. Faith immediately seeks out this man, but bumps into Robert Downey Jr.s character on the way, who instantly falls in love with her and will do whatever it takes to get her. This movie is the sweetest, most adorable romance I've ever seen, and it's one I never tire of. Actually, I think I'm going to go and watch it when I've finished this. :)

Their No.2: The Sound of Music. My No.2: A Night at the Roxbury.

I associate The Sound of Music with the week after Christmas, when there's nothing else on telly and everyone sits down to watch this due to a combination of boredom and tiredness. I think I've managed to sit through the entire thing about 4 times, and I can tell you one thing - I will never be buying this on DVD to watch by choice. I know that it's a classic, and I know that my taste in movies isn't to everyone's liking, but I don't get how this movie could cheer you up or comfort you if you're feeling down. Julie Andrews, legging it round a mountain, roaring about the hills, then trotting off home to make clothes from the curtains. Eh, fair enough. Also, I always thought that Captain Von Trapp was a grumpy bastard who didn't pay enough attention to his children. A Night at the Roxbury is a true feel-good classic for me - the soundtrack has lots of classic early 1990s dance music, a terrific script, and excellent performances from Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan. It never fails to make me burst out laughing, and I'd happily watch it every day. It should be far more well-known than it is, because it's just hilarious and heart-warming.

Their No.1: Breaking Away. My No.1:The Van

Their number one, Breaking Away, is another one I've never heard of, but I don't think that a movie about cycling could be all that interesting to me, to be honest. It reminds me of those movies we used to be made watch in school to show the benefits of teamwork and co-operation. Snore. My number one is part of the same trilogy Roddy Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy . The other movies in the trilogy are The Committments (which I wouldn't watch it unless it was on TV and there was nothing else on) and The Snapper, a movie I used to adore but just can't watch anymore because of how disgusting Mr. Burgess is. Another downside of The Snapper for me was that my name is Sharon, so I could have made a fortune if I'd charged every time someone asked me how Mr. Burgess was. Moving on to The Van - it has a stellar performance from Colm Meaney, playing Bimbo, a man who decides to buy a chip van and cash in on the 1990 World Cup. For those of us who remember the 1990 World Cup in Ireland, this movie captures the atmosphere exactly - it's like stepping back in time when you watch it. It's the old Ireland, the one we grew up in, the one we loved, the one we spent hot summers in and the one we miss greatly. It's

Well, I hope you enjoyed my equivalent, and if there are any movies you haven't seen, please do check them out. I'll be checking out the ones from the Everyday Health list that I've not seen (with the possible exception of that cycling one), although I think my list will remain the same. Those are the 10 DVDs I'd keep if I had to throw everything else out. I deliberately didn't include any horror movies, because I don't usually watch horrors when I need cheering up - I watch horrors in any humour, and I couldn't pick favourites anyway. This turned out to be far more long-winded than I originally intended, so if you're still reading, bless you and go take a break, watch a movie :)

S xx