It’s wintertime, hygge has officially been adopted into the English dictionary, and we’re all working really, really hard at this life thing. Time for a movie night (bonus if it happens after a few hours in the snow getting absolutely as cold and exhausted as possible beforehand). Nothing quite beats that moment when the lights get switched off, the popcorn is still hot, and the opening credits start rolling. But what to watch? What if you and your friends, or the people in your family, or your partner can’t agree?
There’s not a lot of crossover in the pool of movies that me and my sweetheart like. He’s into faux-horror comedies, corny action-adventure films, dour action-adventure films, old dubbed martial arts flicks, James Bond movies, eighties classics, prison dramas, violent anime, grunge-cult legends, and generally films involving catch phrases, Indiana Jones, or heaping piles of cheesy, cheesy jokery. Listing these is making me realize how much cooler his tastes are than I thought, but try as I might, I just have a whole other zone of engagement.
The are now two (count them two) movies in that tiny crossover zone, easy crowd-pleasers, and I’d like to heartily recommend the both of them, because maybe – just maybe – you’ll love them, too (also, it’s Valentine’s Day on Wednesday).
Without further ado, here they are:
The Last Holiday
How could anything that Queen Latifah touches not be awesome? The Last Holdiay is one of those movies you can watch a hundred times and the movie only gets better for it. It’s about a woman who finds out that she only has weeks to live, and decides to blow all her money to have the time of her life with the little time that she has left. This, after decades of a mousy, shy, restrained existence. It’s light, it’s funny, and it’s just plain good.
Intouchables (The Intouchables)
I can’t believe I actually liked one of “your French movies,” is what he said (or something like that) in the days after we watched it. He was surprised, genuinely — but then, it is a great movie. Based on a true story, and in French (with English subtitles, if desired), it’s the story of a wealthy aristocrat (who is quadriplegic), and the unlikely friendship that sprouts when he hires an ex-convict to be his personal caregiver. It’s funny, it’s light, it’s deep, it’s fun, and it’s thoughtful.
Funny how I didn’t realize it until this very moment, writing this, but these two movies both have those qualities in common; taking a somewhat somber subject-matter and, without being irreverent to that premise, somehow telling a story that is full of good cheer and abundant humour: a story that is uplifting (without being hokey or overly earnest). These are movies about embracing life wholeheartedly not despite, but almost because of the circumstances, flying in the face of tremendous hardship with what Jack Gilbert would call “stubborn gladness.” Something to look for in other movies, perhaps. 🙂
Also, if Valentine’s is too loaded a holiday (which it kind of is no matter who you are), I suggest celebrating Hyggentines Day (I did totally make that up): essentially get cozy, be happy, and find some great people to share it with.