Feel-Good Flicks

It’s a long weekend – feel like taking in a movie? I caught a few minutes of a Nicolas Cage flick last week, that one from the 1990s in which he wins the lottery and splits the proceeds with a waitress. It’s called It Could Happen to You. (Could it? Really?) And while I don’t want to spoil the ending, let’s just say that for someone who takes an interest in random acts of kindness (and revenge on the rather self-centered characters – come on people, let’s ’fess up), the story scores points.

That made me think about other examples of good deeds on film. There’s Pay It Forward (2000), in which the “I-see-dead-people” kid comes up with a scheme to perform kindnesses to others who will in turn pay the favours forward, instead of paying them back.

I also loved quirky Bill Murray in 1993’s Groundhog Day. Murray rarely disappoints – it’s impossible to overemphasize how much I adored his cameo in Zombieland – and in Groundhog Day, he’s true to form. In this movie Murray’s stuck in a kind of time loop until he can improve his character. And, of course, acts of kindness do factor into the plot, big-time.

Then there’s Defending Your Life (1991), an Albert Brooks film I’ve only seen once. As I recall, the theme of character-building ran through this story as well. And can I just take a time-out here to ponder a point: What’s with this 1990s obsession with good deeds? Or am I forgetting a few gems on kindnesses from other eras?

So I’m turning it over to you. What movies do you recall or recommend that have to do with helping others, or making a difference?

Please feel free to chime in. Most of us have got a four-day weekend ahead of us, and a DVD player in the den just waiting for a good time.

7 responses to “Feel-Good Flicks

  1. I nominate Miyazaki Hayao’s 1988 animation “My Neighbour Totoro”, a lovely story about two little girls in the Japanese countryside who meet Totoro.

  2. Thank you for the suggestion – and extra thanks for breaking the boundaries of the ’90s!

  3. Turino starring and directed by Clint Eastwood , not really a feel good movie but the main character does the ultimate sacrifice for another and learns to overcome his rascism.

  4. Sounds intriguing, Derek… Rotten Tomatoes gives Gran Torino an impressive 80%, so it’s now added to my list of must-see movies!

  5. Peaceful Warrior (2006) is a great little film that deals with a zen take on life. Nick Nolte takes on the role of zen guru and a young gymnast must learn to re-direct his life goals. I found it very inspiring! Taught me to keep my ego in check!

  6. Rotten tomatoes gave Peaceful Warrior a bad review … splat 25%. But I still like it!!

  7. I think your opinion is worth more than a few points, Jill! I like the idea of Nick Nolte as zen guru… that’s pretty much the same role he played in “Down and Out in Beverly Hills,” isn’t it?

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