10 Feel-Good Movies for the Holidays

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For some reason, the studios like to push out some major bummers this time of year. Don’t they know how stressful the holidays are? Check out these movies and give your tear ducts a break

1. Laugh: Young Frankenstein

This Mel Brooks classic isn’t quite as naughty as some of his other comedies (Blazing Saddles isn’t quite Christmas Eve fare), but it’s just as funny. From Gene Wilder’s wild-eyed Frankenstein, to Marty Feldman’s pop-eyed Igor, a tap-dance routine with the homemade monster – pop it into the DVD player and giggle.

2. Renew Your Faith in Humanity: To Kill a Mockingbird
Gregory Peck’s role as Atticus Finch solidified his status as one of the greats. As a small-town Southern lawyer who represents a man accused of rape because of his race, Peck’s Finch teaches his fellow townspeople, his daughter Scout, and plenty of movie-watchers all about the basic goodness of humanity.


Babe Courtesy of Universal Home Entertainment

3. Get the Warm Fuzzies: Babe
This little piggy avoids going to market by learning how to herd sheep with help from a canine pal and a gentle farmer. The animals are cute without being cloying – the sheep explain they’ll be herded if the dogs are nice – and James Cromwell is perfect as the thoughtful and king Farmer Arthur Hoggett. Make it a double-feature with Babe: Pig in the City, too.

4. Feel Good About Folks: The Visitor
The always-charming Richard Jenkins plays Walter Vale, a lonely, widowed professor who visits NYC for work, only to discover a couple living in his apartment, much to everyone’s surprise. After things are cleared up – Tarek and Zainab were the victims of real-estate fraud – Walter lets them stay. In return, Tarek teaches Walter to drum and takes him to drum circles in the park. Walter’s life is changed by their connection, and is moved to take action when Tarek gets in hot water with the Immigration Department.

Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually

Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually Courtesy of Universal Home Entertainment

5. Snuggle Up: Love Actually
This rom-com features a galaxy of stars like Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, and more couples whose stories overlap in this Christmas tale. Spanning ages, races, and occupations, Love Actually is a funny film about love of all kinds – between married people, single people, school kids, and even parents and children.

6. Sing and Dance: Hairspray
Pick up the original Hairspray for a bouffant-filled good time. Ricki Lake’s Tracy Turnblad is a “pleasantly plump” gal who tries to fit inโ€ฆ and then decides to scrap it and do what she wants instead. She ends up involved in the fight for racial equality when she is befriended by some of the black kids at school, who also help her learn the dance moves she needs to realize her dream of getting on the local teen dance show. Plus, the soundtrack rocks and pine plays her mom!

7. Escape: Roman Holiday
You can’t go wrong with Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck, so when they get together in this rom-com as Princess Ann and Joe Bradley, they’re unstoppable. Her sparkling eyes and warm humor easily wins over Joe as they go on adventures around Rome on his Vespa and smooch it up around the city.

Po and Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda

Po and Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda Courtesy of DreamWorks

8. Hiya!: Kung Fu Panda
As Jack Black has proclaimed over and again, he is Po, the chubby clumsy panda who dreams of being a kung fu master instead of working in his dad’s noodle shop. When he gets his chance, he gets his fuzzy butt kicked on the regs by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and the rest of his kung fu heroes, the Furious Five. By the time he gets the hang of this kung fu business, his “bodacity” is in full effect. Get it on Blu-ray if you have the means so you can enjoy the close-ups of Po’s cute button nose.

9. Travel Through Time: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
This cult favorite has it all – interstellar travel, mad scientists, aliens, pretty ladies, rock music, crazy gadgets, a guy named New Jersey, and so much more. Goofy fun led by the most multitalented guy in the cosmos, Buckaroo Banzai!

10. Revel in the Absurd: Anchorman
Will Ferrell’s pompous, mustached Ron Burgundy is a putz and a misogynist who tries to match wits with his beautiful new co-anchor, Veronica Corningstone, but fails miserably (while falling in love). Anchorman is worth it for the one-liners alone – you can buy t-shirts that say “I Love Lamp,” for the love of all that’s holy. And there are unicorns.

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