I can’t even.
This week, I just can’t even.
“Let’s watch something to cheer ourselves up,” I said to Flea, after a post-school scooter ride along the beach.
And so we flicked through Netflix, iTunes and Sky until we came up with a shortlist of guaranteed happy-maker movies (although if you’re near a cinema this week, La La Land is a TOP choice in this respect).
So fear not if you are also affected by a bad case of the I Can’t Evens. Here are 10 movies that can brighten up even the worst of days. And God knows, these are the worst of days.
Before we begin some rules: a full-on cheer you up movie can’t be sentimental. There will be no happy tears in this list. No Lilo and Stich moments where an adorable little alien croaks “family” and presses all your squishy buttons. No, sir.
Also, there will be no “uplifting” movies. There’s no Thelma and Louise/Shawshank redemption, “Oh isn’t is sad but doesn’t it remind you how lovely life is” stories in this list. When you’re THIS emotionally fragile, you simply can’t be expected to deal with Etre et Avoir, even if it is cinematic perfection at any other time of life.
No. This list is 100% purely happy movies that will not demand too much of your brain or emotions, but will leave you feeling happy. Guaranteed.
Top 20 Films to Cheer you Up
It’s warm and funny and I think I’ve now watched this movie often enough that I can do the song from it by it. Go on, join in. You actually can’t be unhappy by the time you get to “ice cream soda pop, cherry on the top.” I’m right. Try it, and see! You have to do the actions, though.
This is a fantastic film about Mums behaving badly. It’s bawdy and not sophisticated but has a warm heart, and plenty of laughs. I love the supermarket scene a bit more than I should.
Who didn’t want to be Cher at some point in their life? It’s charming, funny and it’s got Paul Rudd in it. What’s not to love? Perfect cheer up fodder.
When the world is sad and there’s a crazy president and your parents are Tories, you really just need an escape. Am I right? And this is the perfect escapist film. It’s crazy, romantic, lush and over-dramatic and Ewan Mcgregor’s singing Come What May makes my insides happy.
Never Been Kissed
Ah, remember when you could make a film about having a secret relationship with your teacher before it was, like, all frowned upon? Seriously, this charming rom-com is about what happens when an improbably old looking journalist goes undercover at high school and tries to fit in – but mostly fails. Super cute.
Having a bad day? Watching this movie will fix it all. For a while. By the time Wesley is mostly dead, you’ll have forgotten all about the things that were worrying you. It’s smart, romantic and genuinely, completely hilarious. Full marks.
I Love You, Man
I accept not everyone reading this is single. So here’s a movie the man in your life is likely to love as much as you will. I Love You Man is the story of an uptight groom who has no guy friends. So he has to hold a series of ‘man dates’ to try and find some. It’s a really genuine, funny movie that isn’t too demanding. Also I sort of love Paul Rudd. So there’s that.
13 Going on 30
I’ve got a soft spot for a good age reversal comedy, and I think 13 Going on 30 is a close second to Big in that regard. This is the story of a nerdy 13-year-old who wakes up one morning as a 30-year-old complete with the life she always thought she wanted. It’s charming and has good songs, and dancing and is just happy in a movie. Also Mark Ruffalo in this movie is basically the Best Boyfriend Ever.
The Peanuts Movie
Sometimes the world is SO sad that you basically need to revert to being five years old. The Peanuts Movie is beautifully drawn and voiced, the message is just the right sort of uplifting for those of us who still feel like Charlie Brown for a large chunk of their day.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I will accept no argument. This is the BEST film ever made. It has musical numbers and headmasters getting stuck in dog doors and ball games and car accidents and EVERYTHING. Life’s Pretty Short is also basically my life motto.
Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
A good cheer-up movie has to have certain things in it to be fully effective. One of those things is a scene set in a sparkling bay with sunshine glinting on the water and a hot man taking his shirt off. I think there’s a story as well, about girls and friendship and stuff, stuff, but the other scene sticks in my mind more. So sue me.
At its heart, Cool Runnings is a film about how the scrappy underdog can sometimes – just sometimes – come out on top. It reminds us that being different is okay, and to be celebrated. Oh, and if things don’t go your way, there could be a second chance just around the corner.
Shaun of the Dead
Some days the thing that’s going to cheer you up isn’t a lovely romance or a heartwarming story of the underdog. You want to see someone repeatedly hitting a zombie in the head with a cricket bat. And a film that says even if the world is ending, you really just should go to the pub and have a pint until it all blows over? I think a lot of us need that, right now.
Okay, it’s not the feminist choice, but desperate times call for desperate measures. This is candy floss wish fulfilment with a dubious anti-feminist agenda. And besides, no matter how crappy you’re feeling, at least you’re not a prostitute, right? Unless you are in which case, I have nothing for you.
The First Time
I love a good high school movie and this lesser-known movie is a real gem. If you haven’t see it yet, then do. The honest depiction of teen relationships and first love always hits the mark and makes me feel a bit more cheerful about life.
Crazy, Stupid Love
Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and a whip-sharp script. It’s also a really nice story about how you can find your way back to someone, and not just give up when it all looks hopeless. I like that.
I’ve watched it 20 times and it still feels like a warm hug every time. I think it’s something to do with escaping to another time, another place, that is away from the real world. Oh, and Patrick Swayze dancing. There’s that.
The Family Man
I haven’t included many Christmas movies on this list (although if you need those, I have recommendations) but The Family Man works at pretty much any time of year. It’s a weird combination of It’s a Wonderful Life and a body-switch comedy, where Nicholas Cage sees what his life would be like if hadn’t been a “success”. In the process of course, he realises true success is about family and friends. Sniff.
From its pink-clad lead character to the rousing girl-power theme, this movie refuses to allow you to feel gloomy. It’s happiness on a screen. I also get a kick out of seeing Alaric from Vampire Diaries playing the snooty boyfriend Warner in this movie.
Bridget Jones’ Diary
Confession: the last Bridget Jones movie made me cry and ALSO rage at the screen that she ended up with the wrong guy. But there are no such problems here – Bridget Jones Diary is perfect cheer-up movie fodder. The scene where she quits her job. The blue soup. The singing. It’s all just perfect.
Picture Credit: Shutterstock