Help me find movie recommendations for a 50+ mom who won't watch anything that has violence or doesn't have a happy ending.
September 15, 2008 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Help me find movie recommendations for a 50+ mom who won't watch anything that has violence or doesn't have a happy ending.

My parents in law have a movie night with friends of theirs. The problem is that my mother in law will only watch movies that don't have any explicit violence whatsoever - she's fine with cartoonish violence, like for example people getting shot with arrows in the Errol Flynn Robin Hood. But any blood or bone or people who look like they're really hurt and she freaks, so that's out.

Added to that, she doesn't like movies with "sad" endings. This can be hard to qualify, but generally she prefers movies with pretty definitively happy endings.

As you can guess this group has a hard time picking movies for their movie night. Can anyone come up with some recommendations? Movies that she really likes include Pretty Woman, Chocolat, Amelie, My Fair Lady, and the Thomas Crown Affair (the new one with Pierce Brosnan). Thanks!
posted by supercrayon to Grab Bag (37 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
This collection seems to fit the bill and then some.
posted by watercarrier at 2:21 PM on September 15, 2008

I just watched The Castle, and loved it. Very happy ending.
posted by Liosliath at 2:22 PM on September 15, 2008

Momma Mia was a ton of fun.
posted by bprater at 2:25 PM on September 15, 2008

My godparents are the same way...only much older (90s).

Movies they liked:

The Straight Story
Mr. Holland's Opus
posted by arniec at 2:30 PM on September 15, 2008

Big Fish?
posted by Meg_Murry at 2:31 PM on September 15, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.
posted by ms.v. at 2:32 PM on September 15, 2008

Ratatouille is a fine animated flick. Good feelings all the way around.
posted by elendil71 at 2:32 PM on September 15, 2008

She'd probably enjoy In Her Shoes and Crossing Delancey.
posted by essexjan at 2:33 PM on September 15, 2008

This pretty much describes my mom to a T. Based on her preferences:
Don Juan de Marco
Sense and Sensibility
9 to 5

Also, some great classics fit this bill. Try:
The Women
A Letter to Three Wives
His Girl Friday
posted by Bardolph at 2:38 PM on September 15, 2008

Previous question: Can you name some good movies (preferably comedies) that are appropriate to watch with a nun?

Fitting now with the election: Dave.
posted by ALongDecember at 2:39 PM on September 15, 2008

There's always Singin' in the Rain. It goes over well with just about everyone-- even me, the cranky old Jim Cameron nerd.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:41 PM on September 15, 2008

posted by Quietgal at 2:42 PM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Many of the films Nora Ephron was involved in would fit the bill.
posted by chez shoes at 2:46 PM on September 15, 2008

Lars and the Real Girl
Little Miss Sunshine
Edward Scissorhands (too "arty?" or maybe too sad, but such an emotional delight)
Almost Famous
8 Women (definitely if she likes musicals and doesn't mind subtitles)
The 40 Year Old Virgin (a little raunchy, though)
A League of Their Own
Citizen Ruth (political and a little cynical, but uplifting too)
Field of Dreams
I Am Sam (tearjerker doesn't equal sad, right?)
My Left Foot (same goes)
The Truman Show
Shakespeare in Love
Sling Blade
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:12 PM on September 15, 2008

One of the few "feel-good" movies that actually makes me feel good is Strictly Ballroom.
posted by O9scar at 3:23 PM on September 15, 2008

The Incredibles -- good for kids, good for adults
Cinema Paradiso
The Princess Bride
posted by mosk at 3:27 PM on September 15, 2008

What about My Neighbor Totoro? I mean it drove out a New Yorker from a viewing party because it had no angst that I was attending.
posted by jadepearl at 3:44 PM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

My mother was exactly the same. Very difficult to find the right movies. There was always something 'weird'. She did like the Bridget Jones movies though, the Bond movies were a must and she was very much into old classics like Harold Lloyd and Laurel and Hardy. Some other flicks that might fit the bill

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Galaxy Quest
O Brother, Where art thou?
Little Miss Sunshine

and for Christmas (early this year)
Scrooge 1970 musical version
posted by Mrs Mutant at 3:46 PM on September 15, 2008

I'm like this, too (*looks in DVD box*). Under the Tuscan Sun is a big favorite. Also, seconding anything that Nora Ephron has made, especially any of the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies - 'You've Got Mail', 'When Harry Met Sally', 'Sleepless in Seattle'. Actually, any romantic comedy should do - 'The Wedding Date', 'The Wedding Planner', 'Love Actually', 'The Holiday'. Does she like animated movies? I loved 'Meet the Robinsons'. Musicals? The new version of 'Hairspray' was pretty adorable.

Let me stop before I list off every single movie I own.
posted by mewithoutyou at 3:48 PM on September 15, 2008

Try the "Barrytown trilogy" of movies from Roddy Doyle novels.

None of these have happy endings, per se, in that Richard Gere comes to save Julia Roberts at the end, and the theater is awash with the sound of women batting their chubby fists together in happiness like so many over-excited chipmunks.

But none of them are truly sad endings, either.

The Commitments

The Snapper

The Van
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:05 PM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Pride and Prejudice and the other movies based on Jane Austen's books.
posted by francesca too at 4:13 PM on September 15, 2008

Ooh! Ooh! Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman!!

Does Raising Arizona count as cartoonish violence? Not only is it hilarious, it's on an increasingly short list of the few things my mom and I can agree on any more.

How is she about cursing, (minor) sexual suggestiveness, and strong Yorkshire accents? If she can handle all three, The Full Monty is a delight. My former mother-in-law, who sounds exactly like your mom, loved it.
posted by scody at 4:27 PM on September 15, 2008

If they'll watch a miniseries, Reckless is great. Happy ending, romantic without being sappy, and very charming.

A few more classics:
Desk Set

Another vote for Lars and the Real Girl.

And if they're interested in a TV series (I think it was on pay TV in Canada, originally), I can't recommend Slings and Arrows enough.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 4:46 PM on September 15, 2008

Manny & Lo. A fantastic, criminally underappreciated indie flick that meets all of your criteria and is affecting and quietly strange, with an ending that is happy but far from a typical Hollywood 'happy ending.'
posted by googly at 4:48 PM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Any Marx Brothers
Big Fish
any Pixar
Any 70s Woody Allen (Sleeper, Manhattan, Annie Hall, Hannah and her Sisters)
posted by softlord at 5:14 PM on September 15, 2008

The Kenneth Brannagh version of Much Ado about Nothing.
posted by PatoPata at 6:02 PM on September 15, 2008

Oh, and Flirting with Disaster. And Babe, of course.
posted by PatoPata at 6:06 PM on September 15, 2008

Why not make it a double feature?
Hudsucker Proxy, and pair that with His Girl Friday
Princess Bride, and pair that with A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
To Have and Have Not and pair that with The African Queen
Young Frankenstein (Fronkenstien). with Ed Wood (odd, but it just came to me)
posted by Gungho at 6:50 PM on September 15, 2008

Bend it Like Beckham and I Capture the Castle are great fun. Billy Elliot is great too.

I second Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, The Full Monty and Strictly Ballroom. What else? Philadelphia Story and It Happened One Night are great classics.
posted by apricot at 9:52 PM on September 15, 2008

Calendar Girls was mentioned on the nun movie thread, and I have to recommend that too.
posted by apricot at 9:55 PM on September 15, 2008

This really depends on your mum and her friends' political views, but I just saw Saved! and Transamerica, and I thought both were happy and violence-free. But they're both fairly, uh, quirky movies, and although all the characters end up in better places emotionally and with bright-ish futures etc etc, we're not talking white picket fences with a dog. So, depends on the parent.
posted by bettafish at 10:01 PM on September 15, 2008

Willy Russells' Shirley Valentine and Educating Rita*
Billy Elliot
About a Boy
Love Actually

* The Amazon listing incorrectly refers to Julie Walters as a Cockney hairdresser. Heh.
posted by ceri richard at 1:35 AM on September 16, 2008

Oh and the Australian "mockumentary" Kenny is an absolute delight. I don't know of anyone who hasn't loved this film.
posted by ceri richard at 1:37 AM on September 16, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
I Capture the Castle
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo

I am serious about the first two. Ultimate mom-movies.
posted by roofus at 3:57 AM on September 16, 2008

MAMMA MIA. Not out on video yet, but will be soon and is a mom-pleaser.
posted by jrichards at 6:50 AM on September 16, 2008

I am saying this again because people don't talk about it enough - Manny and Lo.
Also, Drop Dead Gorgeous is another great women's comedy.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:25 PM on September 16, 2008

Thanks for all the info everyone, I'm compiling a list to give to my mother in law!
posted by supercrayon at 3:41 PM on September 23, 2008

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