15 movies that will lift you up in the dark months


Autumn is here. There is no way to deny it. The leafs are turning red, yellow and brown, the days get shorter and the temperatures fall. Although I really love this time of year and am looking forward to the cozy evenings at home on my lovely couch, snugged in a blanket and a wonderful herbal tea in my hand, I am also looking forward to winter with fearful anticipation. Last winter we had almost one month of happy South Africa vacation looking forward to which literally saved me and I am worrying that without it I will have gone crazy by January.

So, one of my great life savers for the winter months are feel good movies. In my opinion there are very little good comedy or romantic comedy movies these days. Everytime I go on AppleTV and want to see something funny or not cheesy-romantic, I get the impression there is only Jason Stratham action, war movies or apocalyptic fantasy trilogies out. What’s up with the loooooove and laughter?

I adore Gala Darling and she did a list of movies to watch when you’re sad some years ago and I always go back to it when I need inspiration. So I thought you might appreciate a cheerful movie list by…MOI.

1. Love…actually (Tatsächlich…Liebe)

My friends know how I worship this movie. My husband and I even had the prologue (spoken by Hugh Grant at the beginning of the movie) read out at our wedding ceremony. In my opinion it is one of the best movies ever done on love in general and it covers all aspects, happy and sad, of it. Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister dancing around in 10 Downing Street, Colin Firth as the betrayed husband with this heartbreaking puppy look on his face and Billy Nighy as the provocative, obscene and over-the-hill rockstar Billy Mack, these are just a few examples of the greatness of the cast. AND the most romantic declaration of love every girl would wish for:

2. The Holiday (Liebe braucht keine Ferien)

I remember a few years ago I was ill with an ugly cold and watching this movie every day for five days in a row and not getting bored of it. The story is simple. Two lovesick girls from different parts of the world, L.A. and England, swap houses to get over their disappointing relationships and find real love far away from home. There are so many aspects why I love this movie. First, there is the cast. Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black all in one romantic movie together. This is like a jackpot. Secondly, good job, location scouts! Cameron Diaz has this insane L.A. villa that looks like out of  Elle Decoration and Kate Winslet lives in a tiny town near London in this goooooorgeous stone cottage, with a fireplace and the cutest bedroom and bathtub. Can I please have a house swap like that one day? More on the beautiful scenes here and here. So pretty!

3. Four weddings and a funeral (Vier Hochzeiten und ein Todesfall)

This was the first time I watched a Hugh Grant movie and it was love at first sight. Well,  20 years have past since then (oh gosh, where has the time gone?) and Hugh played in tons of movies, always embodying the same kind of character, a bit awkward, nervous, insecure and stuttering. I can’t help it, I have a weakness for that kind of guy. Hugh plays Edward who heads from wedding to wedding with his eccentric bunch of friends but never goes for a serious relationship himself. But  at one wedding he meets American girl Carrie and falls madly in love with her. Just a pity that she is not available… I love British humor and this movie is overfloating with naughtiness and cynicism, that it is a pleasure, especially because of the brilliant supporting actors and actresses. Always a pleasure!

4. Girls just want to have fun (Mit Lippenstift und Eiscreme)

I bet only very few of you know this pearl of teenage dance movies with our deeply loved SATC-Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker, starring in it. A young, plain girl who’s father is in the army, is thrilled when her family moves to Chicago where her favorite dance show is recorded and is holding a dance competition. She dreams to audition, but her strict father forbids it. The girl, with the support of her new bestie (played by Helen Hunt), goes to the audition anyway and is a finalist of the show and paired with a super handsome guy, whom she finds dreadful at the beginning (of course!). You might guess where the story between the girl and the hunky boy goes. Throw in a mean girl that likes to sabotage the nice girl, some 80’s music and wicked hairstyles and you have an awesome Sunday afternoon watch.

5. Dirty Dancing

Every woman should have seen this movie at least 20 times, so I will not lose time and explain the plot here. Johnny and Baby danced their way in all our hearts and the wonderful soundtrack did the rest. Sentences like “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” or “I carried a watermelon” shall be carried through generations of pubescent teenage girls and shall never be forgotten. 

6. Can’t buy me love

Decades ago when Dr. McDreamy Patrick Dempsey wasn’t so dreamy at all he starred in this brilliant 80’s Teenage comedy. Nerdy guy is bullied in school, falls in love with the popular hot babe next door, who unfortunately is friends with the guys who bully him. Luckily, hot babe needs money because she ruins Mum’s expensive leather jacket and nerdy guy wants to lend her the money if she pretends to go out with him to make him popular. First babe says no, then says yes and the plan works, until… But see for yourself.

8. Adventures in Babysitting (Nacht der Abenteuer)

A suburban High School babe Chris babysits a little girl, her pubescent brother plus his inappropriate friend. What starts as an unspectacular evening takes a turn when Chris gets a call from her best friend who has run away from home and is stuck at a filthy and creepy bus station in the big city and needs her bestie to pick her up. With the three kids on board Chris heads to the city. Lets just say, this night is going to be a one they all will never forget.  A movie like it could only be shot in the 80’s. Simple but entertaining and an easy watch for a rainy afternoon.

3. 50 first dates (50 erste Dates)

I adore Drew Barrymore. And this romantic comedy where she teams up with Adam Sandler is just the sweetest. It plays on Hawaii where it is almost impossible, not to shoot good movies or series I suppose (Forgettin’ Sarah Marshall, The Descendants, Magnum). Adam Sandler plays veterinarian Henry who is befriended with a penguin and walrus and is not very interested in a serious relationship. But then he meets Lucy, a super pretty and funny girl and it clicks. Henry falls for her. But when he comes back the next day to meet Lucy at the same café she cannot remember meeting him. Henry finds out that Lucy has a rare form of amnesia waking up every morning thinking it is the day of her accident after which she lost her memory. Henry isn’t repelled by that and is very ambitious to make Lucy fall in love with him anyway. How Adam Sandler makes ever effort to win Lucys heart over every day all over again is so cute, funny and heartbreaking at the same time and the chemistry between him and Drew Barrymore is amazing.

 10. The Secret of my Success (Das Geheimnis meines Erfolges)

Oh, Michael J. Fox, how do I love thee! I could have chosen nearly every movie with him for this list. Back to the future, Doc Hollywood, For Love or Money,… I love them all. So, why this one? 1. I just love movies from the 80’s that play in NYC, 2. Yellow’s “Oh Yeah” is on the soundtrack, 3. It is a little more provocative and saucy than the other MJF movies. Fox plays Brantley Foster, a university graduate, that leaves his parents home to live the big dream in the city that never sleeps. But upon arriving his dream to work as a financier crash because the company that he was promised the job is bankrupt. He gets a dull job in a mailroom in the company run by his Uncle Howard. As Brantley walks by an empty office he takes advantage of his knowledge about the company that he gained in the mailroom and creates a fake identity for himself as Carlton Whitfield, the new executive. Bradley has to joggle not only his two jobs and switch between his identities, he also finds himself in a love triangle with his sexy co-worker Christy and the wife of his Uncle. Needless to say this altogether is screaming for confusion and chaos, which I absolutely adore in movies.

11. While you were sleeping (Während du schliefst)

To fall in love with a guy in a coma: Not a good idea! But that is exactly what happens to Sandra Bullock in this wintery romance (Can you believe, by the way, that Sandra Bullock has already turned 50 this year?). Lucy is a  lonely toll collector in Chicago, secretly in love with a handsome commuter she sees every day at work. As this guy, Peter, is pushed on the tracks by some muggers, Lucy saves him and accompanies him to the hospital. While Peter is in a coma, his family accidentally thinks that Lucy is his fiancée and warmly welcomes her into the family. As Lucy has no family of her own and Peter’s family is completely awesome, she plays the role of the fiancée while slowly falling in love with Peter’s brother Jack. As you can imagine this calls for trouble, especially when the guy in the coma wakes up one day. Sandra Bullock is sweet as always, as is the whole cast, especially Peter’s old grumpy godfather and his quirky grandmother. Heartwarming!

12. Clueless

Cher and her gang are still awesome and adorable nearly two decades later and although the movie is packed with flat 90’s phrases, it will never go out of style. Alicia Silverstone truly was one hot babe in the 90’s (remember the Aerosmith videos? Of course, you do!) and plays the spoilt and superficial but likable high school matchmaker with so much charm and fun.  You can feel the fun the kids had during the shooting of this movie. It is glittery, goofy and totally over-the-top. In other words: all things lovely!

13. When Harry met Sally (Harry und Sally)

Man, did I adore Meg Ryan and her heroic fake restaurant orgasm back then. One of the best scenes in movie history and a bravo moment for women all over the planet! The whole movie is so true and deep about women-men-relationships, that it makes you laugh out loud in one and cry in the next moment. Classic, intelligent and ridiculously funny, what a perfect mix. As an appetizer I have for you one of many favorite scenes from the movie. The pictionary scene also know as Baby Fish Mouth. LOL!

14. Anchorman

What can I say that only comes near of describing how outrageously funny this movie is? There really are no words. Will Ferrell is and will always be my Slapstick God. There is no one like him. I recommend you to watch all his work, but this one is the the one where I fell deeply in love with him. Supported by his news team, that consists of extraordinary characters (Steve Carrell as Brick is one of the funniest and freakiest characters ever!), Ron Burgundy leads the highest-rated news show in 70’s San Diego and is living a celebrity life. Tables turn when hot and ambitious Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate, who’s so awesome in this) is hired and draws Ron’s attention. After some very lame pick-up lines towards Corningstone, Ron finally succeeds and seduces her. But things get tense when Veronica becomes his co-anchor and rivalry begins… A movie that knows no boundaries and that has so many surprises waiting for you. Even a totally unpredictable und brutal street-fight scene. Be prepared to pee your pants!

15.   Father of the bride (Vater der Braut)

A movie that I have been loving for ages and never get bored by. Steve Martin and Diane Keaton (I have a girl crush on her since forever!) play a happily married couple and parents of a younger son and 22-year-old daughter Annie. When Annie gets back from a trip to Europe, the euphoria about her homecoming is overshadowed by the news that she is engaged to a guy named Bryan. While her mother is fine with it and smiles along, father George is totally shocked and has the hardest time to let go and except the fact that his daughter is going to get married. Before he knows he is in the middle of a crazy wedding planning marathon (Martin Short as wedding planner Franck “Fronk” is hilarious), which doesn’t only cost him his nerves but also his last penny. Seeing Steve Martin in action is always a treat and how he acts as the grumpy but loving father is not only funny, but sweet and heartwarming and perfect for a cozy feeling on a dark winter day.

So, my Dears, grab a cup of tea, get a blanket and make yourself comfortable on the couch and get ready for some serious feel-good moments.

And please share your top movies that fill your heart with love and laughter.

Big hug, Anu.

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