by Hayley Doyle
So, what you watching tonight?
It’s both a blessing and a curse how spoilt we are for choice. Boxsets have raced ahead of movies, creating a binge-watch culture where we’re drawn into the depth of characters and huge ensemble casts, spilling every drop of a story. Don’t get me wrong; I love it! But what about when you just want to watch a film. Not an episode. A film. Flicking through your apps and subscriptions can take hours (literally) and you might end up just scrolling for inspiration (and hit a dead end).
So here are five films that will ultimately make you feel good. They are full of loveable characters and heartwarming plots, killer lines and award-winning performances. They’re not recent… So you might have forgotten about them. But that’s okay. Here they are to remind you of the joy a single film can bring, and give you the satisfying option of just FIVE to choose from!
1. COMING TO AMERICA
Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall not only star as Prince Akeem and his trusted valet Semmi, but they both make multiple appearances all over the place as other characters too. The plot is a classic tale of a pampered prince who lives in a palace with a toothbrush made of the finest gold. He turns 21 and wants to escape an arranged marriage by finding his own bride who he will love for who she is, not what she is. And as his father, the King of Zamunda, played brilliantly by James Earl Jones, asks - where would one find such a bride? Well, in Queens of course. Queens, New York! And off Prince Akeem goes to the Big Apple, pretending to be a poor African student, in search for love. This movie is fast-paced with comedy, big 80s shoulder pads and so many hilarious characters. Overall, it’s a fairy-tale perfect for grown-ups to cheer on Happily Ever After.
2. ABOUT TIME
If there’s ever a movie that has ALL the feels, oh, this is The One. And it stars Bill Nighy, who is a complete legend. When Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what has happened in his own life, he uses this power to get the girl of his dreams…although it’s not as easy as you’d think! The only other person in the world who knows that Tim can time travel is his father, because he too has the power. It’s genetic. This movie covers all major relationships from love to marriage and babies, to father and son, to siblings and unlikely friendships. Written by Love, Actually and Notting Hill’s Richard Curtis, it asks us some important questions about leaving things to fate, whilst providing us with bumbling British humour, a gorgeous script and adorable soundtrack. It’s a tearjerker, but one that will also have your face aching from smiling and desperate to hug somebody you love.
3. SISTER ACT 2: BACK IN THE HABIT
Now, who said sequels aren’t as good as the first movie? Well, when Whoopi Goldberg dressed up as a nun again, the crowd went wild. They’d cracked it; the sequel that’s better than the original! After Vegas singer Delores van Cartier AKA Sister Mary Clarence (wink, wink) breathes life into a nun’s choir, she’s asked to reprise her holy role and save a dodgy school from the brink of closure. At first, she hesitates and says nah, she’s not interested. But of course her heart takes over her head and she gets back in the habit to teach the kids music. What happens next is nothing short of a miracle; all the kids can sing. And I mean, really, really sing. If you’re not on your feet by the end, clapping along to the gospel R’n’B and hip-hop remixes, then you’re doomed! Oh, and while we’re on great feel-good sequels, Three Men and a Little Lady deserves a huge cheer, too. It’s worth it for Tom Selleck’s moustache and the side-splitting performance from Fiona Shaw…
The one and only Cher stars as eccentric single mom Rachel, who moves to a new town - a very small town - to start all over again with her two daughters, played by Winona Ryder and cute-as-a-button Christina Ricci. A real movie for the sisterhood, there is so much laughter and tears to be shared in this coming-of-age mother-daughter tale, tackling a range of issues so brilliantly with laugh-out-loud one-liners. It’s authentic, true to itself and acted so well by the whole cast. Even though it’s set in the 60s, complete with polka dot dresses, the story and the emotional rollercoasters are still very relevant today. The end song will have you grabbing your bestie and dancing around the living room too!
5. AS GOOD AS IT GETS
“What if this is as good as it gets?” Asks Melvin Udall to a waiting room of depressed psychiatric patients. Hmm. Doesn’t sound too funny. Or feel-good. Wrong! Jack Nicholson won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance at Melvin, and Helen Hunt also won Best Actress and Greg Kinnear for Best Supporting Actor (not to mention the movie also taking home Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Music AND Best Picture!!). Melvin is a neurotic, bigoted writer who suffers from OCD. When his neighbour is brutally assaulted, he’s forced to take care of his dog. Then, taken by surprise, he falls in love with a waitress and the three form a very unlikely friendship. Watching this unfold, and particularly the softening of a hard man, is so heart-warming, so full of hope, and the wonderfully witty and honest script makes this a movie that you’ll want to return to again and again.