Episode 51 – Feel Good Movies: Part 1
Why Watch That
It’s always nice when hard workers finally catch a break – that’s what feel good movies are all about! In this episode, the Critic and the Referee talk about movies that take you on an emotional yet worthwhile journey.
On Golden Pond (Drama)
Directed by Mark Rydell
Released on December 4, 1981
Plot: The loons are back again on Golden Pond, and so are Norman Thayer (Henry Fonda), a retired professor, and Ethel Thayer (Katharine Hepburn). They have had a summer cottage there from the beginning of their marriage. This summer their daughter Chelsea (Jane Fonda), whom they haven’t seen for years, feels she must be there for Norman’s birthday. She and her fiancé are on their way to Europe the day afterward but will be back in a couple of weeks to pick up the fiance’s son. When she returns, Chelsea is married and her stepson has the relationship with her father that she always wanted. Will father and daughter be able to communicate at last?
Referee: “One of my favorites—definitely check this out!”
Critic: “If you’re interested in acting and dramatic moments, this is the film for you!”
Directed by Jon Favreau
Released on May 9, 2014
Plot: Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is an acclaimed chef with a family life that has decayed along with his artistic freedom. Carl’s frustrations come to a boil during a public confrontation gone viral with a restaurant critic who panned his food, which his boss ordered him to make despite his objections. Now, with his career ruined, Carl’s ex-wife offers an unorthodox solution in Miami: Refit an old food truck to offer quality cooking on his own terms. With the help of his young son, Percy (Emjay Anthony), and an old colleague and friend, Martin (John Leguizamo), Carl takes a trip across America with that truck to rediscover his gastronomic passion. With Percy’s tech savvy and Martin’s enthusiasm, Carl turns his food truck into a traveling sensation. In doing so, Carl discovers he is serving up more than just food. He finds a deeper connection with his family and reignites his passion.
Critic: “This is a feel good movie. . . .It’s a nice film to watch and comes from the heart.”
To Kill a Mockingbird (Drama)
Directed by Robert Mulligan
Released on December 25, 1962
Plot: Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning book of 1961, this film features Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), a lawyer in a racially divided Alabama town in the 1930s. He agrees to defend a young black man who is accused of raping a white woman. Many of the townspeople try to get Atticus to pull out of the trial, but he decides to go ahead anyway. How will the trial turn out? Will it change the racial tension in the town?
Referee: “Love this movie!”
Critic: “I read the book as an adult; both the book and the film work for all ages.”
Directed by Roger Clements/John Musker
Released on November 25, 1992
Plot: Aladdin is a street-urchin who lives in a large and busy town with his faithful monkey friend Abu. When Princess Jasmine gets tired of being forced to remain in her palace that overlooks the city, she sneaks out to the marketplace, where she accidentally meets him. Under the orders of the evil Jafar (the sultan’s advisor), Aladdin is thrown in jail and becomes caught up in Jafar’s plot to rule the land with the aid of a mysterious lamp. Legend has it that only a person who is a “diamond in the rough” can retrieve the lamp from the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin might fit that description, but that’s not enough to marry the princess, who must (by law) marry a prince.
Referee: “It’s a cartoon for adults.”
Critic: “This movie has my heart. If you haven’t seen this, watch it!”
Stand by Me (Drama/Comedy)
Directed by Rob Reiner
Released on August 22, 1986
Plot: It’s the summer of 1959 in Castlerock, Oregon and four 12 year-old boys – Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern – are fast friends. After learning of the general location of the body of a local boy who has been missing for several days, they set off into the woods to see it. Along the way, they learn about themselves, the meaning of friendship, and the need to stand up for what is right.
Referee: “I love this movie!”
Critic: “This is a film about building friendships.”
Breaking Away (Comedy/Drama)
Directed by Peter Yates
Released on July 13, 1979
Plot: Bloomington, Indiana is the site of this story about Dave Stohler (Dennis Christopher) and his three buddies. The derisive term used by the college kids for Dave’s kind is “cutters,” that is to say: children of the quarrymen who cut the stone for the university’s buildings. In other college towns, they might simply go by the name “townies.” The four lads have just graduated from high school and have no fixed destination beyond that. Dave is the exception, in that he is a dedicated bicycle racer. He persuades his friends Mike, Cyril, and Moocher (Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley) to enter a race that is run by the university. Even though they are not racers themselves, the urge to beat the smug college kids at those college kids’ own game causes them to surpass their own expectations of themselves.
Lorenzo’s Oil (Drama)
Directed by George Miller
Released on December 30, 1992
Plot: Until about the age of 7, Lorenzo Odone (Noah Banks) was a normal child. After then, strange things began to happen to him: He would have blackouts, memory lapses, and other strange mental ailments. He is eventually diagnosed as suffering from ALD: an extremely rare and incurable degenerative brain disorder. Frustrated by the failings of doctors and medicine, the Odones begin to educate themselves in the hope of discovering something that can halt the progress of the disease.
Critic: “If you want a nice family film, this is one to watch.”
Prince of Tides (Romance/Drama)
Directed by Barbra Streisand
Released on December 25, 1991
Plot: When a Southern-born New York writer tries to commit suicide, her “unemployed-football-coach” twin brother, Tom Wingo (Nick Nolte), comes to her aid. While tending to his sister Savannah’s (Melinda Dillon) care he meets her psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Lowenstein (Barbra Streisand). Dr. Lowenstein, desperate to unlock the door to her patient’s self-destructive pattern, relies on Tom to be his sister’s memory. What she doesn’t realize is that the last thing Tom wants to do is remember. Haunted by a painful childhood and a domineering mother, Tom discovers that the only thing worse than not remembering is not telling.
Referee: “Great movie!”
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Released on September 12, 2011
Plot: Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a methodical twenty-seven-year-old writer of radio programs, lives with his girlfriend Rachael, who is a painter. His best friend is Kyle Hirons (Seth Rogen). Kyle doesn’t like Rachael. Adam also has an overprotective mother Diane, who takes care of her husband Richard, who has Alzheimer’s disease. When Adam experiences back pain, he goes to the doctor and is diagnosed with spinal cancer. He researches this diagnosis on the Internet and sees that his odds of healing are 50%. He goes to chemotherapy and is helped by a twenty-four year-old therapist named Katherine. During treatment, Adam learns about the true feelings of Rachael, Katherine, and Kyle. In addition, he realizes how much his mother loves him.
Critic: “If you’ve ever been touched by cancer, this film will help you to process some things.”
Referee: “What’s interesting about this is that it’s from a male perspective.”