01 December 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Your Comfort Movie

Like Mom's Meatloaf or a hot Chicken Pot Pie, movies can be as comforting as your favorite food, which, for me, is currently the Hot and Sour Soup at this little Chinese hole in the wall about a mile from my house in Tennessee. At barely 3 bucks, it is seriously better than the $12 bowl I had at this upscale place in Toronto...anyway...

I've been coping my way through life with movies for as long as I can remember. And, so I like the theme (A LOT!) this Thursday as part of Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks.

Ahh, Comfort Movies...kick your shoes off, put your PJs on, it's been a shitty day. Here's how you make it to tomorrow (in threes):

Three Films About Love (...Man)

Annie Hall
dir. Woody Allen, 1977

Because of the charm, the way you can't quite remember the sequence of events. It's a fond memory, a loving one.

Beautiful Girls
dir. Ted Demme, 1996

Because no movie has made me feel more secure in the how I think and feel as a man. Plus, that "Sweet Caroline" scene.

Punch-Drunk Love
dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002

Because it's like P.T. Anderson said to Marc Maron when asked what this movie was "about"... "It's about love, man." And it's lovely. I am so stoked when I think about the fact that I know I'm getting this on Criterion Blu-Ray for Christmas.

Three Films with Bill Murray (that start with a G)

dir. Ivan Reitman, 1984

Because it's awesome. And I watched it on repeat as a kid.

Ghostbusters 2
dir. Ivan Reitman, 1989

Because...(See: Ghostbusters)

Groundhog Day
dir. Harold Ramis, 1993

Because it is one of the most brilliantly written and edited films ever made (and it's totally under-praised for that.) It is just so damn clever and so much fun to watch.

Three Films of Steven Spielberg (made pretty much in a row)


Because fucking Robert Shaw, man. "Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies..."

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Because the magic of movies, man. This is 100% PURE movie.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Because that hat and that whip and that leather jacket and that dude wearing it, an instant icon.

Three Films of Wes Anderson (all with Bill Murray)


Because it just spoke to me and taught me what movies can also be.

The Royal Tenenbaums

Because of that Alec Baldwin voiceover and dry wit and that unreal great soundtrack.

Moonrise Kingdom

Because it is one of the most perfect, beautiful stories about love I've ever seen. And the lovers are 12.

Three Great Movies 
(that could not be more different from each other)

A Few Good Men
dir. Rob Reiner, 1992

Because of all that Aaron Sorkin grandstanding, delivered to perfection by Cruise and Nicholson.

Wet Hot American Summer
dir. David Wain, 2001

Because it got me through my first year teaching. I watched it three nights a week. "Wait for me, Abby Bernstein!"

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
dir. Danny Leiner, 2004

Because it is the smartest stupid movie ever made. Simple...but epic.

Speaks out! [drops mic]


  1. I love seeing Hard and Kumar go to White Castle in here! I like that movie a lot. Same with Moonrise Kingdom, Punch Drunk Love, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Wet Hot American Summer.

  2. Wow Kevin that’s quite a bunch! I’m going to try and be methodical about this.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark-This would be a comfort one for me as well.
    A Few Good Men-Probably the last time I could stomach Cruise fully. I love courtroom dramas and everybody is very strong.

    Like rather than love:
    Groundhog Day-I resisted watching it for a long time but when I did was pleasantly surprised.
    Jaws & Close Encounters of the Third Kind-both top flight entertainment but not ones I feel the need to return to often.

    Beautiful Girls-I just watched it this year and while it was fine I wasn’t particularly bowled over by it.
    Punch Drunk Love, The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom-I think the Anderson guys aren’t necessarily my thing. I usually like their films well enough but most are one and dones for me.
    Wet Hot American Summer-For me it was just a throwaway comedy with a good cast.

    Annie Hall-Love Diane Keaton, like Woody Allen films overall, detested this movie!
    Ghostbusters-I just don’t get it!! I fell asleep TWICE trying to get through this thing in the theatre! I only went back the second time because everyone was raving about it and I felt I didn’t give it a fair shot initially. I made the first half hour and then it was dream land. Ugh.

    Haven’t seen:
    Rushmore, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Ghostbusters 2-See my experience with the first for the reason.

    This theme is a snap since everybody has comfort films but I’ll be interested to see the variety since that means something different for everyone. I could have easily come up with a matching number to yours and had a couple of extras lined up but trimmed back. These are three of my top favorites.

    The Prize (1963)-It’s Nobel Prize week in Stockholm and as the winners gather reprobate writer Andrew Craig (Paul Newman) begins to suspect that one of the other winners physicist Max Stratman (Edward G. Robinson) has been replaced by an imposter. As he blunders about looking for answers his initially doubtful chaperone Inger Lisa Andersson (a very beautiful Elke Sommer) comes to believe him and tries to help. Both fun and suspenseful this is the Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock didn’t make!

    Women’s World (1954)-Ultra luxe, star studded drama of a corporate competition for the top job at an automobile company. Three couples, the loving Midwesterners (June Allyson & Cornel Wilde), the wry but troubled East Coast couple (Lauren Bacall & Fred MacMurray) and a Texan and his rapacious wife (Van Heflin & Arlene Dahl) are brought to New York by the owner of Gifford Motors, (Clifton Webb) so he can assess not only who is best for the job but whose wife is the most suitable. Shot in Cinemascope, laced with humor, nicely directed in sumptuous settings (the offhandedly mentioned country house is a mansion of enormous size!) with a fine group of performers cast to their strengths this makes no heavy demands on the viewer, like wrapping yourself in a warm, cushy blanket.

    My Dream is Yours (1949)-Doris Day’s second film is a bandbox pretty concoction. She plays Martha Gibson, a hopeful widowed singer with a young son discovered by radio agent Doug Blake (Jack Carson) who has a hard time getting her a big break despite the fact that she sings like a bird. That doesn’t stop him from trying everything under the sun with the help of his good friend Vi (Eve Arden). In the meantime Martha falls for radio star Gary Mitchell (Lee Bowman), a pompous jerk with a drinking problem. Eventually her chance comes, she’s a smash but there’s pesky romantic complications to deal with. Cheery musical loaded with great music, a bright studio sheen and Doris at her early best. There’s a sequence where she and Jack Carson dance with Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird and other animated Warner cartoons that is like some kind of fever dream!! Though it’s radically different from the other movie Martin Scorsese has sited this as his inspiration for his “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”.

    1. I urge you to see Rushmore and all Wes Anderson. One of my faves. Haven't seen any of your picks. I'd definitely like to see the The Prize. Love Paul Newman.

  3. And the Oscar for best Thursday Movie Picks post goes to... Kevin! Seriously, I absolutely love what you did here. I haven't seen all of these, but I loved the ones I've seen. Except for Raiders of the Lost Ark, slightly overrated for me.

    1. Haha! Thanks. Right on. Raiders lives up to every bit of its hype for me, but I've been watching it for damn nears thirty years now. it's a part of me.

  4. Oh my gosh...these are all such epic choices and so vastly different. Harold and Kumar was on television the other night, and it's the ultimate comfort...it also makes me very hungry...

    1. Lol. Thanks. There's a lot of truth in Harold and Kumar. Such a great comedy.

  5. You have a slew and some I have seen and some not. I do love the awes Anderson films and I also love Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. I'm not one for Ghostbusters 2 and I still have not seen Annie Hall because it just seems too much Woody Allen. One day I will have to rectify this.

    1. Right on. I like Woody Allen as an actor actually, so... But give it a shot. It's one of the greats for several reasons.

  6. Great list! I love your explanation of why you love Beautiful Girls.

  7. Yes, Indiana Jones is always a good idea for a ...comfort :P

  8. Out of all the films listed here, I've seen only 6: Beautiful Girls, Punch-Drunk Love, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, & Wet Hot American Summer. All are excellent.

    This is a really tough set of picks here. Like you, I will split this into 5 categories (I'm also having the categories about love & films that have nothing to do with each other). Here it is:

    Films about Love:
    All the Real Girls (2003) - Because it's one of the most heartbreaking love stories in film history. Thank you, Kevin, for introducing me to this beautiful film.
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - Because of its originality. And Tom fucking Wilkinson.
    The Before Trilogy (1995, 2004, 2013) - Because it's the most real love story ever in film history. And I can't choose them separately.

    Films Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson:
    Boogie Nights (1997) - Because the 1970's. And the cast. And the screenplay. And the fucking glorious soundtrack.
    Magnolia (1999) - Because of the amazing ensemble cast.
    Punch-Drunk Love (2002) - Because it shows that Adam Sandler can act. And I can really relate to his character.

    Films Directed by Richard Linklater:
    Dazed & Confused (1993) - Because the 1970's was awesome.
    Boyhood (2014) - Because it is the greatest film ever made.
    Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) - Because the 1980's was lit.

    Films Directed by the Coen Brothers:
    Fargo (1996) - Because the cast. And the direction. And the screenplay. And the cinematography. And the film score.
    The Big Lebowski (1998) - Because The Dude.
    A Serious Man (2009) - Because it has so much meaning to it. And it's hilarious.

    Films That Have Nothing to Do with Each Other:
    Good Will Hunting (1997) - Because it made me love film even more. This film is why I love movies so much.
    Almost Famous (2000) - Because it was so amazing, & filled with great music.
    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) - Because I laugh so much every fucking time.

    1. Also, I got the Criterion Blu-ray of Punch-Drunk Love last month, & it's beautiful.

    2. Like you, I have been coping my way through life through film. Film has been there for a long time now. It's got me through so much. There have been so many movies that made me feel better after being really down in the dumps. And I know that film will be there to help me in life.

    3. I like your Linklater love. And Good Will Hunting should really be here for me. Great call!

    4. I had to put Linklater on there, man. He's probably my favorite director/screenwriter.

      Good Will Hunting REALLY should be on your list. That film is a masterpiece.

  9. That's a lot of comfort :)

    I like the broken down lists - expecially as Bill Murray plays a big part on your comfort. Wes Anderson's film are brilliantly soothing. I used to watch Fantastic Mr Fox on repeat at uni, it just made things better. The Royal Tenenbaums was my comfort film during college and I'm pretty happy too the criterion collection version is being released in the UK this month - finally!

    1. Haha!

      Bill Murray movies have always been my go-to comforts. I don't know what it is... That's so awesome you're getting some Criterions in the UK now! They are so good.

  10. Wow...you outdid everyone with your massive three picks.

    Oh and I love Hot and Sour soup too. They great soups for when you're sick.

    1. Haha! I just got carried away a little. Hot and Sour is my ultimate comfort.

  11. And what are we going to watch for comfort over the break?!