Whenever I need to escape for a while or go to a happy place, I turn to my favorite movies and TV shows. I love the old classics like ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ ‘My Three Sons,’ and ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,’ and any romantic comedy starring Doris Day, Meg Ryan, or Andie MacDowell is a sure bet.

Elf, Will Ferrell, James CaanI recently wrote about some of my favorites at Healthy Women’s Midlife Matters blog, written by my friend and fellow blogger Sheryl Kraft. Check it out, and find out why laughter really IS good medicine.

I asked my Film Gecko readers and friends what cheers THEM up, and I love all the responses they sent back. To celebrate, I’m giving away the ‘Elf Ultimate Collector’s Edition’ on DVD — stuffed with ginormous fun and just in time for the holidays!

‘Elf’ is a smart, funny comedy starring Will Ferrell as a human who’s adopted by elves, but who returns to the human world to find his father (James Caan). Directed by Jon Favreau, the PG-rated movie also stars Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart, Peter Dinklage, and Ed Asner as Santa Claus.

Housed in a cool tin, the set includes a 2-disc DVD with loads of special features; 5 x 7 magnetic ‘Elf’ picture frame with 4 x 6 magnet; ‘Elf’ gift tags; 5-track ‘Elf’ soundtrack featuring holiday classics; and an awesome 14″ plush ‘Elf’ holiday stocking.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post by midnight on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010. Tell me which feel-good movies or TV shows YOU watch to cheer yourself up.

After the jump, check out what my friends and readers watch…


Lars and the Real Girl

Sheryl Kraft, Healthy Women: “My three all-time favorite movies, which I love because they not only make me think – deeply – but also make me laugh and take me to another place altogether, are ‘Big,’ ‘Being There,’ and ‘Lars and the Real Girl.’

Casey Barber, Good.Food.Stories.: “When Harry Met Sally” has always been one of my absolute favorite films, and I’m taking my friends visiting from L.A. to Cafe Luxembourg tomorrow night —  JUST BECAUSE that’s where Harry and Sally go on their double date with Jess and Marie. (Sally orders the grilled radicchio.) Yes, we will likely quote the entire movie throughout the dinner.” Other movies that take Casey to a happy place: ‘Almost Famous,’ ‘High Fidelity,’ and ‘Singles’ (“Yes, I like music movies.”)

Rachel Dickinson, The Haiku Diaries: “Frasier,’ early episodes of ‘The Waltons,’ ”Mr. and Mrs. Bridge’ and ‘The Quiet Man.’

Kristen Gough, My Kids Eat Squid: Her top three:

1. ‘Nacho Libre.’ “Quoted a line from that movie taking my daughter to school today; it’s just silly and fun. You can’t help but smile while watching. Anytime we have toast, we giggle…”

2. ‘I was a Male War Bride.’ “This is Cary Grant at his best, and I used to watch this with my mom while eating licorice. I don’t know if I like this more because of my memories or because of Grant’s crazy antics.”

3. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (the Keira Knightley version): “Why? Because I’m a sucker for a good romantic movie, and at 90 minutes, it’s a lot better quick fix than the BBC version. But if I have time, I’ll pop in the Lawrence Olivier version (nothing better!).”

Ruth Pennebaker, The Fabulous Geezersisters and author of the upcoming book, ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough‘: Favorites include ‘Postcards From the Edge,’ ‘Wag the Dog,’ ‘The Late Show,’ ‘Starting Over,’ ‘Annie Hall’ and ‘Manhattan’ (“even if I’ve since fallen out of love with Woody Allen”). She adds, “One hilarious movie that usually seems to be overlooked is ‘The Ref,’ with Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey and Denis Leary.  Highly recommended.”


Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Keith McDuffee, “I’m a pretty happy guy, believe it or not. I can’t think of a time lately that I’ve needed to be cheered up. If I had to pick something off the top of my head that’s just feel good and brings back good memories, it’d be ‘Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.’

Gwen Moran, “‘Glee’!!”

Melanie McMinn, The Frugal Kiwi: “When I get depressed about U.S. world policy and the state of the world, I watch HBO’s ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ — the whole miniseries. Billions of dollars, thousands of man years and something extraordinary happened. My faves are the episodes about the engineers who built the Lunar Module and how they were building something completely new and untested out of materials that had yet to be invented. Also the one where the astronauts are taught to love geology. I adore being reminded that without thousands and thousands of “little people” and their dedication over the years, we never would have gotten to the moon or learned what we did when we got there.”

Melanie adds, “For a completely light pick-me-up, I love ‘Sione’s Wedding’ (aka ‘Samoan Wedding’ in the U.S.). It’s about a group of 20-something guy screw-ups who have to bring proper girlfriends to their friend’s wedding due to their history of creating wedding disasters. A hilarious bit of Kiwiana that would give anyone a giggle.”

Barbara Benham, “Cooking shows, old and new. ‘Charlie Rose’ and ‘Tavis Smiley.’ Movies, old, missed, foreign.”


Gilmore Girls

Mike Moody, TV Death Ray. “‘Gilmore Girls,’ and I’m not ashamed to say it. It’s one of the smartest, funniest, and warmest shows of the past ten years, and it always makes me feel like I’m living in a fantasy world where everyone is witty and charming and articulate and likes to rock out to the Shins. Plus the Lorelais are pretty easy on the eyes.”

Jennifer Margulis, Mothering: “My husband and I eat carrot cake and watch Jon Stewart when we need a pick-me-up. He’s so funny and smart and insightful. He makes us laugh, and we feel like we’re learning something at the same time so we’re not wasting our time with mindless TV. Plus, I think he’s adorable, so watching his show satisfies my boy-crush.”

Christine Gross-Loh, Origami Mommy: “I watched ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral,’ ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ and other such movies over and over when stuck in a bad relationship with someone in my twenties. They weren’t my usual fare (I tended to prefer dark, serious, foreign films!),  but they were light and cheered me up when I really needed it.”

Kristin Ohlson, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (the TV series).

Brette Sember, Martha and Me: “Mine is ridiculous. I like to watch ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ – with the sound off! It’s a stupid movie, but it was filmed at Turtle Bay on Oahu where we stayed, so I like to sit and watch it so I can re-live being there.”

Kerry Dexter, ‘Touched by An Angel.’ Some stories work better for me than others. which, over a nine-year run on television,would naturally be the case. Still, I find ideas to  to think about, things to learn, a message of hope, and new perspectives on how God’s grace could work in my life. A good many episodes hold up well in reruns even when I remember the story line. Fairly powerful stuff for a TV show which is also quite entertaining and well acted. In addition, lead actor Roma Downey is from Derry, in Northern Ireland, a place where I’ve spent a good bit of time and have family and friends. It’s good to hear her speak in the Derry accent (Ireland has regional accents just as the U.S. does). That cheers me up as much as the story lines.”

Alisa Bowman, Project Happily Ever After: and author of the upcoming book, ‘Project: Happily Ever After: Saving Your Marriage When the Fairytale Falters’: “Periodically as I’ve been chasing this book dream — working to get the deal, working to grow the blog, working to get publicity — I’ve gotten burned out and discouraged. Whenever that has happened, I’ve rented and watched the stereotypical flick that involves a protagonist who faces hardship and overcomes. ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ ‘Little Miss Sunshine,’ and ‘Cinderella Man,’ about the down and out boxer who lived during the Great Depression and makes a comeback. In fact, I loved that one more than any of the others. I made the mistake of thinking ‘Million Dollar Baby’ would be inspirational. It was a good catharsis, but didn’t leave me feeling as if I could take on the world.”

Kris Bordessa, Honolulu on the Cheap: “Call me a sap, but ‘Pretty Woman.’ Love to see the underdog come out on top, even if she is a hooker. Love to see her down-to-earth nature make him wake up to real life and what’s important. Love it.”

Claudine M. Jalajas, Belle Jewelry Designs: “You know what movie I watch when I need a lift? ‘Saving Grace.’ I tend to like Irish flicks for some reason. ‘Waking Ned Devine’ (omigod) and ‘Seducing Dr. Lewis,’ which is actually French Canadian. Set in the mountains of Quebec (my old stomping grounds), it’s about a small town that needs a factory to sustain their village. The only way the factory will come there is if they have a town doctor — therefore, ‘Seducing Dr. Lewis.’ It has subtitles.  Trust me … it’s funny.”

Bob Sassone, TV Squad: “Oh, that’s easy: porn. (This is a family site, Bob!) Just kidding! Actually, I put on DVDs of my favorite shows: ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show,’ ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ ‘West Wing.’ It’s like comfort food.”

Your turn! Enter your favorite feel-good movies or TV shows in the comments below, and maybe the ‘Elf Ultimate Collector’s Edition’ DVD will be speeding your way soon.

Images:, IMDB


  1. If I’m really down, I watch the first Grease with Olivia Newton John and John Travolta. It makes me sing and dance, and you can’t be depressed when you’re singing and dancing. Life is Beautiful is my favorite movie, but while it’s ultimately uplifting, it’s still rather sad and not entirely helpful to cheer you up.

  2. I don’t watch movies or TV shows when I feel depressed. I go outside for a walk in nature and that cheers me up. But, I do know what you are talking about. My second daughter watched the original Star Wars with R2D2 and CPO. Sometimes I watched with her. Those robots always made us both smile.

  3. When I saw your question on Twitter, I was going to post “When Harry Met Sally” but then I see it’s already listed, as are many of my faves. I’m not a big rewatcher of movies, but rom-coms like “About a Boy” and “Sweet Home Alabama” always cheer me up.

  4. When I need a pick-me-up I turn to any Sandra Bullock movie but most especially “While You Were Sleeping.” Or anything Julia Roberts like “Pretty Woman.” Great stuff there!

  5. I love to watch “What about Bob?,” the Bill Murray movie. Also, most Johnny Depp flicks will do the trick. Or any Cary Grant movie.

  6. I love to watch old musicals from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Anything with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby. White Christmas and Meet me in St. Louis are two favs.

  7. Good one, TV Death Ray – I ADORE Gilmore Girls. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that the writers of Parenthood are Lorelai fans too, because they keep throwing incredibly Gilmore-esque situations at Lauren Graham. Hooking up with your daughter’s teacher? Always on coffee runs?

  8. This is a fabulous post. The best part is I haven’t seen (or even heard of) many of these movies. So I can’t wait to rent them!

    On the movie front, my kids and I love watching “Shrek.” Such a feel good movie but so well done and not trite at all.

  9. I like a lot of the movies from the 80’s to cheer me up. I love “The Blues Brothers”, “The Goonies”,”Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Dirty Dancing” and “Say Anything” to name a few. Thank you for a cool giveaway! 🙂

  10. I already own Elf, so this totally isn’t a contest entry, but I thought it would be fun to jump on in!

    TV show that always makes me giddy: So You Think You Can Dance. I know. It’s embarrassing. But I really get into seeing other people dance… maybe because I can’t?

    Movies that always make me smile: Fame (basically, I love musicals), The Neverending Story (also my favorite childhood book), The Whole Nine Yards, Sideways, The Goonies, Shaun of the Dead, Dead Poets Society, Empire Records

  11. What a wonderful compilation. I’m so excited to see some of these – and I would not have known about them if I hadn’t read this post. Thanks, Jane!

  12. Amen to Gwen’s Glee! I also recently discovered the sitcom Accidentally On Purpose via Netflix last week. So good! I watched the entire first season within a week (the episodes are very short and there are only two discs).

  13. I love The Golden Girls or I love Lucy, especially if i had a bad day at work or something, these shows always put me in a better mood.

  14. Food Network never fails to cheer me up! I also love anything with Kate Hudson….like How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days or Bride Wars!

  15. What a wonderful idea for a post — and a great community service. I like many of the suggestions here & will add others to my list. Something silly that makes me laugh — like Flight of the Conchords or Arrested Development — often does the job, though I’m not immune to getting absorbed by a period drama (hello Pride & Prejudice) or a romcom. I absolutely adored 500 Days of Summer, for instance.

  16. To cheer up, I like to watch Disney movies and goofy comedies like Zoolander, Mars Attacks!, and Young Frankenstein. I also like to watch my SNL “Best Of” DVDs!

  17. To cheer me up, I enjoy watching I love Lucy and Jerry Springer! Then my favorite movies to watch are Elf- he’s hillllarious!!!, Willow, and The Great Outdoors!!

  18. When I want to cheer myself up I watch a pretty old movie; National Lampoon’s Animal House. It’s still extremely funny.

    mycosyco2007 (at) yahoo *dot* com

  19. One show that can always make me laugh is “Mike & Molly”.
    To me it’s the best new show of the year.


  20. I love Elf. My favorite shows to watch right now that usually always cheer me up are Big Bang Theory and How I met Your Mother 🙂

  21. Its a super cheezy movie, but I love Simply Irresistable with Sarah Michelle Gellar as a witch chef. Its wierd, but I always end up crying for some reason (happy cry, not sad cry).

  22. to cheer myself up I watch “Love Actually” when I’m blue and I need a good cry I watch “Simon Birch”–I love that movie but I cry my eyes out!!

  23. The Breakfast Club and Ferris Buellers Day Off (uh, i can quote it, my nickname is ferris… i may be obsessed if you cant tell from my email address…) are my total feel good movies!

  24. Movies that I love to watch to cheer me up include: Pride & Prejudice (2005 version), Napoleon Dynamite, and A Christmas Story (during Christmas).

    My favorite television shows to watch that cheer me up include: The Office (US Version), Arrested Development (Buster & Tobias make me life every time they speak), and Extras.

  25. When I need a break from life I love to watch You’ve Got Mail! I love the story and I love the scenery, too. I cry when she sees herself when growing up dancing with her Mom. It reminds me of my daughter who I lost.
    Elf is my husband’s favorite, though. He loves to watch when he is hit by the car! I don’t know why, but it cracks him up. Crazy!
    We also enjoy watching A Christmas Story over and over when they play it for 24 hours straight. Brings back old memories of how simple life used to be.

  26. It’s a Wonderful Life always cheers me up, as do so many other classic holiday films. (of course, Elf never fails in the laughs department!)

  27. Good Will Hunting is a feel good movie that I love.
    The Notebook is an outstanding love story movie that I love.
    The Titanic still rates high with me for being a moving story.

  28. Thanks for the giveaway…SNL, The Daily Show, Letterman, And The Colbert Report all contribute to my tenuous grasp of sanity.

    senorpiero [at] yahoo [dot] com


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here