Comfort Movies

On a rainy day or when you’re not feeling yourself, curling up with a movie is good company.

Is it Love Story or The Dirty Dozen? In Sleepless in Seattle, there is actually a scene about guy movies, as a response to An Affair to Remember, which is pivotal to the plot of Sleepless in Seattle.

What makes for a comfort film? Here is what it means to me.

You obviously never get tired of watching no matter how often you view it.

It leaves you feel good, even it is sad or scary. After it is over, you feel a little better.

You have an emotional reaction to it. You laugh or cry or feel adrenaline.

The film resonates with you. Do you identify with the situation or a character? Is there a scene that is so highly memorable that you have it committed to memory?

Did you first see it at a time in your life that it reminds you of a feeling or situation?

Is it so silly or predictable or campy that you admire how “bad” it is but it strikes a nerve?

It’s a film you can start or stop and easily pick it up, or when it’s on television you stop and watch it even though the DVD is setting on the nightstand.

Here are some of mine:

Bad News Bears (1976, 2005) Both of these versions are good.

The Professionals (1966) Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin and Robert Ryan star in this exciting Western about a group of specialists hired to rescue a kidnapped wife.

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962) James Stewart is surprised when his entire extended family will spend a month together. A vacation he won’t soon forget.

El Dorado (1966) John Wayne and Robert Mitchum hold off a wealthy landowner trying to forcibly gobble up water rights. Directed by Howard Hawks.

Rear Window (1954) Arguably Hitchcock’s best film, starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. An incredible thriller.

Operation Petticoat (1959) Cary Grant and Tony Curtis aboard a pink submarine during WWII.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971) Sean Connery returned as a more mature James Bond in a lighter film.

North Dallas Forty (1979) A fictional football team has Nick Nolte and Mac Davis as rebel players caught in sports business.

The Late Show (1977 ) Film noir directed by Robert Benton, starring Lilly Tomlin and Art Carney.

The Fourth Protocol (1987) Cold War thriller based on John le Carre novel starring Michael Caine.

The Package (1989) Another Cold War film, this starring Gene Hackman as an army sergeant caught in an assassination plot.

Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) James Garner in a spoof about Westerns. One of Garner’s best.

Slap Shot (1977) A hockey satire starring Paul Newman as an over-the-hill player-coach trying to save his dying team.

Three Days of the Condor (1975) CIA thriller starring Robert Redford on the run from assassins.

Throw Momma From the Train (1987) Directed by Danny DeVito, starring DeVito and Billy Crystal in a comedy-thriller based on the Hitchcock film Strangers on a Train.

Matinee (1993) Directed by Joe Dante, starring John Goodman, about schlock director Lawrence Woolsie premiering his new film Mant! during the Missles of October.

The ‘Burbs (1989) One of Tom Hanks’ underperforming films, but it has many laughs as directed by Joe Dante.

High Anxiety (1977) Mel Brooks made his mark in the 1970s, this one a Hitchcock spoof with Harvey Korman, Madelyn Kahn and Cloris Leachman.

The Best of Times (1986) Robin Williams and Kurt Russell as lovable losers who replay a high school football loss hoping to get in right.

Army of Darkness (1993) Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell team up for a medieval, Sci-fi film, part of the Evil Dead film series.

All the President’s Men (1975) An all-star cast investigate the Watergate break-in. Starring Redford and Dustin Hoffman. A political-detective story.

The Seven Year Itch (1957) Director Billy Wilder provides this tale of a seemingly wayward husband (Tom Ewell) who is tempted by his upstairs neighbor (Marilyn Monroe).

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) The best of the Don Knotts movies. Written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, a team that wrote for many classic television shows. Knotts is a newspaper typesetter who witnesses strange things when he stays the night in an abandoned house where a murder took place.

One thought on “Comfort Movies

  1. I’ve seen about half of these. I started to watch The Late Show, as it had good reviews, but it didn’t click with me. Didn’t care for Lily Tomlin’s acting (though I liked her in 9 to 5.


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