A rough week. Protests in the Middle East over a stupid “film”. Four good Americans dead in Libya. The anniversary of 9/11. Time for a mental health break. And we’ll make it a good one.
How about the five most uplifting movies you’ve ever seen? This could be five films that made you feel good about America, about yourself, about God, or whatever. Documentaries or feature films. They could have made you cry or laugh. Just five films you would pop into the DVD player if you needed to feel better about life and the kid used the CD of Beethoven’s 9th as a coaster.
Schindler’s List: Most of the movie is brutal, obviously. But the finale, when the actual Schindler Jews appear and put rocks on his gravestone (a Jewish tradition) is so moving that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it or even thought about it without something in my eye. Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan has a similar effect on me. It’s a crushingly brutal movie. But the very end makes me so proud to be an American and so proud of that generation. Band of Brothers, also, at the end, when they reveal the names of the old men who’ve been talking between the episodes and you realize they made it home.
It’s a Wonderful Life: Cliche? Oh, yeah. You bet. There’s a hilarious scene in the teaser for a Cheers episode where the gang are all mocking the movie. And at the end, they are all running out of the room because they have something in their eyes.
Apollo 13: Before Ron Howard’s movie came out, I saw a documentary on the lost moon mission. Gene Krantz broke down in tears when talking about seeing the parachutes open and knowing they’d made it. The ending is good, yes, but the entire movie is an ode to the space program and the people who so ingeniously solved every problem physics could throw at them. See also The Right Stuff.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Yeah, another Spielberg one. It was this or ET.
To Kill a Mockingbird: Someone recently quipped that Atticus Finch was not only a model for every lawyer but a model for every father. I love both the book and the film and can’t wait until Sal 11000 Beta is old enough for them.
Honorable Mention: Tree of Life, Children of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth, Rocky, Shawshank Redemption, Casablanca, Star Wars.