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Cheer Up With 7 Funny Uplifting Movies

Cheer Up With 7 Funny Uplifting Movies

Cheer Up With 7 Funny Uplifting Movies

Happiness can come from anywhere and can strike at any time. However, it sometimes feels impossible to find when you’re actually looking for it. Speaking from personal experience, feelings of joy or contentment are sneaky— and the best way to summon them is by distracting yourself with something else.

And there’s no better way to do this than by watching a funny uplifting movie!

Films are designed to take us away from our ordinary lives for a short time by immersing us into the feelings and actions of unique characters. The best movies charm us by suspending our disbelief, causing us to feel emotionally invested long after the credits roll.

So if you’re stuck inside and need something to lift your spirits, take a break from your regular schedule and spend some time watching one (or all) of these movies.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Picking just one Hayao Miyazaki film for this list is extremely difficult— truthfully, you can put any of them on and have a good time from start to finish. However, Kiki’s Delivery Service has the most feel-good atmosphere out of the iconic director’s entire filmography. Every frame of this animated feature is beautiful, every note of its score is sweet, and every character is pleasant company.

Like most of his greatest films, there’s no evil villain at the heart of this movie’s conflict. It’s mostly an adorable fish-out-of-water story with some of the best animation the medium has to offer. This is an especially good pick if you’re curious about anime but don’t know where to start, or if you need something age-appropriate to watch for family movie night.

You’ll like this movie if you enjoyed watching:

  • Harry Potter
  • Spirited Away
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • The Beach Bum

    Harmony Korine’s filmography is eclectic, but there’s a consistent dreamlike quality to his directorial efforts. Often, this is used to highlight the absurdity of his subject matter, like in Gummo, or to dissociate the viewer from shocking events, as demonstrated in Spring Breakers. However, The Beach Bum is a movie that harnesses Korine’s aesthetic for one purpose— good vibes.

    An unabashed and unapologetic stoner comedy, this film follows Matthew McConaughey as Moondog, an obscenely wealthy poet with bizarre friends and an unceasing appetite for drugs and alcohol. After a surprising death that interrupts his nonstop party, he’s forced to do the unthinkable and write another book of poetry in order to maintain his lifestyle. His travels and interactions with Florida’s bizarre inhabitants make up the meat of this film, with hilarious performances from Zac Efron and Martin Lawrence standing out above the rest.

    You’ll like this movie if you enjoyed watching:

  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Pineapple Express
  • True Stories

    There are countless fascinating films made by musicians and pop groups. Although some are little more than glorified music videos, others are transformative operas that combine the best elements of both mediums. True Stories, written and directed by the frontman of the Talking Heads, doesn’t quite reach either of those extremes— but it is an adorable slice-of-life with a catchy soundtrack, dry humor, and Southern charm.

    Unlike other movies on this list, there’s virtually no conflict or struggle for any of the characters in this film. The highest stakes involve preparing for the town festival— which makes for a visually striking finale. John Goodman’s role as an eligible bachelor looking for a partner gives this film a romantic tinge, but writer/director David Byrne’s bemused narration is the most memorable aspect by far.

    You’ll like this movie if you enjoyed watching:

  • King of the Hill
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • Punch Drunk Love

    Paul Thomas Anderson’s early films have these extremes of darkness and melodrama that often come across as goofy. This works to great effect with Boogie Nights, but it pulls down Magnolia. However, I think Punch Drunk Love is where PTA strikes a perfect balance to make a film that’s equal parts sleazy and sweet.

    Adam Sandler’s performance as a timid man with violent episodes fit perfectly with his comedic chops, as does the nervous harmonium score that follows him for the duration of the film. There are exceptional performances from the rest of the cast as well — especially Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Mattress Man — but protagonist Barry Egan’s clumsy love story provides a warm centerpiece that makes this one of PTA’s happiest films.

    You’ll like this movie if you enjoyed watching:

  • Billy Madison
  • Uncut Gems
  • Boogie Nights
  • Wild at Heart

    Despite all the mystique that has built up around him in the past few decades, many of David Lynch’s best films are simple stories that can be easily enjoyed. Although there have been breathless interpretations and critiques of his entire filmography, don’t assume you have to meditate or read any Carl Jung to appreciate his oddball movies. In fact, going in blind can make films like Wild at Heart unintentionally hilarious.

    Some of the shocking and problematic content in this film can come across as exploitative, but the constant non-sequiturs do a fantastic job at easing the tension. Nicholas Cage is the best worst actor in the movie (as usual) with a halfway decent Elvis impression, but Willem Dafoe stands out in his most goblin-like role to date. If you and your friends like to get drunk and yell at the screen — but you don’t like sports — this is a great pick.

    You’ll like this movie if you enjoyed watching:

  • Twin Peaks
  • The Room
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Badlands/True Romance

    I couldn’t decide between the two, so consider this suggestion a double feature. 

    Both of these films are worth your time, and the synchronicities between them go beyond sharing the same Carl Orff composition for their score. They’re also products of their respective time periods, so enjoying them will necessitate acknowledging racist and sexually abusive subject matter in that context. 

    But if you’re a fan of Quentin Tarantino, you’ve probably already come to terms with these  problematic elements. He wrote the script for True Romance, but Top Gun director Tony Scott directed it, resulting in a unique marriage of iconic 80’s action blockbusters and snarky 90’s dialogue. In my opinion, what elevates it from a curiosity to a hidden gem are the thematic and stylistic references to Badlands, Terrence Malick’s debut feature from 1973.

    Like True Romance, Badlands is a story about young love leading to morally reprehensible actions. Both films heavily impose the lesson that crime doesn’t pay and reckless actions can have disastrous consequences. And both of these films are sweet to their core, with a boundless optimism and bouncy marimba score that suspends your disbelief and leaves you smiling when it’s over.

    You’ll like these movies if you enjoyed watching:

  • Pulp Fiction
  • Romeo+Juliet
  • Bonnie and Clyde
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