By Ross Miller
It’s January. You’ve taken down the Christmas decorations, something seems off on the scales and you return to the regular old boring minutiae of the day-to-day. Grumble…But fear not! Movies are always there to make you feel better. Here’s our list of movies guaranteed to kick those pesky January blues!
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
This musical classic stars the inimitable Gene Kelly in perhaps his greatest role as Don Lockwood, a silent film star struggling with the transition to sound. It’s light-hearted, colourful, happy-go-lucky jubilance that’s bound to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Look no further than the titular scene in which Kelly joyously sings that famous song while dancing around in the rain with an umbrella for why this is one of the ultimate feel-good films.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
While Tim Burton’s version of the story has its merits (particularly that it sticks closer to Roald Dahl’s original story), it’s impossible to beat this original adaptation. Featuring a brilliantly iconic performance by Gene Wilder as the titular factory owner who gives five kids the chance to visit his beloved factory, its musical-tinged joys know no bounds. Altogether now; Oompa Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do!…
Life of Brian (1979)
The Monty Python team recently announced their first live show together in more than 30 years but if you were unlucky enough not to get tickets then why not enjoy arguably their finest cinematic achievement? Life of Brian tells the story of a boy born in a stable on the same night as Jesus and follows his life as he ultimately becomes afflicted by people thinking he is the Messiah (although we all know he’s not, he’s a very naughty boy!). It’s hilarious and hugely quotable throughout. As the famous song from it says; Always look on the bright side of life…
Arguably the king of the spoof movies, Airplane! takes great pleasure in chucking gags at you relentlessly almost to the point of exhaustion. Even if you don’t find one joke funny there will be another one around the corner to right that wrong. Lines like “Surely you can’t be serious. — I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley” are legendary and part of the reason it remains one of the funniest movies ever made.
Dumb & Dumber (1994)
This is a movie that delights in being dumb as it possibly can – the title says it all – but it’s clever in so far as how the jokes are constructed and set-up. Made before the Farrelly Brothers lost their funny bone (recent films like Hall Pass and The Heartbreak Kid have been disappointing to say the least), it features Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels on top comedic form. As the tagline suggests, “For Harry and Lloyd every day is a no-brainer.” A sequel, hilariously titled Dumb & Dumber To, is on the way.
Many quirky female characters have stood in the shadow of Audrey Tautou’s ultra-sweet Parisian dose of sugary sweetness and it’s a delight to watch her little romantic adventure play out, as much on rewatches as on the first time. This is the perfect film to cheer you up whenever you find yourself down in the dumps.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
When this indie darling was released to widespread love and critical acclaim in 2006 (including multiple Oscar wins), it became a thing that every year thereafter people were on the lookout for “the next Little Miss Sunshine.” Thankfully it lives up to that reputation with an enormously sweet and heartfelt film about a little girl (Abigail Breslin) travelling with her diverse family (played by the likes of Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Steve Carell) to take part in a beauty pageant.
The Muppets (2011)
Who doesn’t love a bit of The Muppets? If you don’t then check your pulse! The latest in the long-running franchise is an unashamedly joyful film about Kermit and the gang raising money to save their famous theatre from a greedy oil tycoon. With Oscar-winning music by Flight of the Conchords’ Bret Mckenzie and a cast that includes Jason Segel and Amy Adams, this is infectious fun from start to finish.
Frances Ha (2013)
Indie queen Greta Gerwig stars and shines as the titular Frances, a 27-year-old aspiring dancer living in New York and not quite sure where her life is going. Shot in nostalgic black-and-white, it’s full of quirky characters, quotable dialogue and a perfectly chosen soundtrack, sitting somewhere between the French New Wave and Woody Allen by way of HBO’s Girls. Gerwig’s eccentricity and enthusiastic demeanour oozes out of the screen to provide for a warm and fuzzy film that’s also truly about something.
Sunshine on Leith (2013)
To round out the month on January 27th there’s the DVD release of this Edinburgh-set musical, which weaves in the music of The Proclaimers with the story of two soldiers struggling to re-adjust to their romance-filled lives back in the nation’s capital. It’s a little contrived with how it fits the songs into the story but that hardly matters when it does such a good job of having you singing along and leaving you with a big smile on your face.
That’s it for our list. What are some of your favourite uplifting movies? Tweet us @scotcampus and we’ll share!