For most casual movie-goers, film, cinema in general, is a form of escapism. I myself, as much as I love a good well thought out film with stunning cinematography etc, I do like to indulge in something that can just make me feel good from time to time (which is surprising coming from a horror fanatic). But over the years I have grown to have very fond memories of today’s selection. Seeing as Their Finest (2017) is looking set to be the feel good film of the year, I thought I would take some time to fill you in on the films that made me feel good about humanity. An honourable mention goes to Good Vibrations (2014), one of my favourite Irish films to come out in the last few years, and some of you will be mad, but Toy Story (1995) also, as I will be excluding animated films as there is too many to name.

10. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

The film that introduced the world to Heath Ledger (well for me at least). Based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Joseph Gordon Levitt tries to impress a cute girl at school (Larisa Olneyik), but when her strict father only allows her to date when her older sister (Julia Styles) does, they seek the help of the bad boy Patrick (Ledger) to woo her. Even for a rom-com (which mostly suck), I actually really enjoy this one. Yeah it’s a bit tacky in places but it has the essential needs for the feel good recipe. Bit dated in many ways due to the very 90’s soundtrack, but it fits well for the type of film that it is. I’m even drawn to it for a late night viewing from time to time. You can all judge me now.

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9. Patch Adams (1998)

I find it very surprising that this film doesn’t go down well with critics (especially with a rating of 27% on Rotten Tomatoes). Granted I saw this film when I was quite young, but I like it still because I used to go to the hospital quite a lot as a kid. Although I’m older and used to them now, as a kid they can be very scary and gloomy. So it would have been awesome if Robin Williams came in to try and cheer everybody up. And that’s what I love about it. It isn’t claiming to be some masterpiece (although some would argue), but I just like it for such a simple and at times heart-breaking story based on a real doctor. But don’t worry, Robin will be making another appearance today.

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8. School of Rock (2003)

I’ll just put it out there (even though I have probably said this before), but I was never a huge fan of Jack Black. I just always found him too goofy and annoying. Although over the years I have grown to appreciate him, I actually cut him some slack as a teacher I would have loved to have when I was young. Being a big rock fan myself, having a teacher to teach me about Motörhead and AC/DC would have been awesome. But this one just makes even non-rock fans smile. I will give the film credit for making me want to hear Dark Side of the Moon, and Jesus did that album blow my mind when I was younger. Fair play.

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7. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

I don’t know what it is about Robin Williams throughout the 1990s but everything he did was always just perfect. I saw Mrs. Doubtfire when I was very young and I always feel good every time I watch it. Although when he took the mask off that thing scared the shit out of me (I was three). But even as I have gotten older some of the jokes that flew over my head hit me a lot better now I understand, which just makes the film so watchable even after all these years. An example and personal favourite being Robin getting the help from the kids’ Uncle Frank and Aunt Jack. And Uncle Frank’s voice just slays me every single time.

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6. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1988)

When I was in school, my friends and I used to take a day off all the time. Although when I look back on it now we really just wasted time hanging out in places like the woods or fields so our parents don’t catch us (classy right?). But I would be jealous when I saw Ferris (Matthew Broderick) and his friends go driving around in a (fake) Ferrari, visit an art museum, go to a baseball game (ok I wouldn’t do that), visit the tallest building in the city, and sing in the local parade to everyone’s excitement, all of that sounds pretty eventful for a sixteen year old. Plus Ferris’ happy-go-lucky attitude is just the icing on the cake. Love this movie.

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5. The Truman Show (1998)

Jim Carey’s turn to get a bit of recognition. And sure people can always point to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) or The Mask (1994) as examples of his comedic genius. But this was the first film to show how talented he is outside of just purely comedic roles. I would be as paranoid as he was if I realized I couldn’t leave my town, but his journey to discovery is so fun and unique, your sympathy for his character really shines throughout as you just want him to discover the truth and find happiness. It is the one film of his that actually leaves me with the warmest of hearts. Lame I know but screw you everybody has one.

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4. Rocky (1976)

I’ve talked about Rocky before but it is surely on everybody’s list of feel good movies (apart from my Dad’s for some reason). Rocky is just such a down-in-the-dumps character with such a big heart, it is just so tough to see him struggle against all the odds just to try and make it. Purely speaking from a man’s perspective (although some women feel the same), there are so many scenes in this film that breaks my heart, and all we want is to see Rocky succeed, and that final moment is just one of the most feel good moment’s in cinematic history. If you don’t agree then I doubt we would get along very well.

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3. Big (1988)

To me, Tom Hanks is the King of feel good. And when I saw Big for the first time, I just fell completely in love with it. Imagine you are a thirteen year old kid who wakes up to be thirty, have to run away from home (as your mother thinks you are the kidnapper), and have to try and make it on your own. It sounds in some ways a pretty downbeat sort of idea on paper, but the film itself is just so likeable and Hanks is just so good channelling into that inner-child we all felt the biggest of sympathies for him. I must watch this one nearly every year around Christmas time when I just want something to make me smile. When he walks into that ball in that ridiculous tuxedo, jumping around playing on a giant keyboard, and owning an apartment that still makes me jealous (toys included, you know you would love it too), Hanks just makes the film perfect. But this isn’t his only entry.

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2. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump I will admit can be a very depressing film in many ways, but I can’t think of one person who hates it. Playing a man who should have the entire world and all the odds stacked completely against him, seeing him overcoming everything to be part of some of the most major events in American history is just brilliant. I always felt so bad for him when he got rejected by Jenny (Robin Wright) on one too many occasions. But to prove to her and to the world that he is more than what people make him out to be is just such a rewarding experience. Plus the film is just so god damn funny due to Forrest’s naivety and at times (dare I say) stupidity. But he is a character with such a heart of gold that we can’t help but root for him, and to see him overcome the odds makes it such an unforgettable experience.

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1. We Are the Best! (2014)

Okay, some of you are probably scratching your heads and saying one of two things. 1. Is this seriously the number one pick for this list? And 2. What the hell is this? Let me explain. When I was a teenager, my friends and I were rockers and hippies, in a lot of ways we were always outsiders to many of our peers. I even had a Mohawk back then. We grew up on films like Dazed and Confused (1993) and Detroit Rock City (1999). So when I saw We Are the Best! I felt a great level of nostalgia. It follows three young girls who start a punk band, even though two of them can’t play any instruments. And the rebellious nature they all have towards their peers, including a heavy metal band called ‘Iron Fist’ (brilliant), and everyone else who has moved on from punk to start listening to bands like Joy Division. It’s just a really sweet, positive, funny, and overall excellent feel good film that made me love the characters and reminded me of wanting to be a rebel when I was younger. If you have not seen it I would strongly advise you to go check it out, especially if you were a punk or rocker in your teen years, it has honestly grown to become one of my favourite films of this decade. I don’t think I could ever get tired of it, I could watch it to cheer myself up at any stage in my life. And for those reasons alone, that is why We Are the Best! Gets the top spot for this week.

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Part time film maker, writer and film enthusiast based in Dublin.