Inspiring movies to give as a gift to my brother
March 29, 2013 3:12 PM   Subscribe

[Family-issue-disguised-as-gift-suggestion filter] Please give me your recommendations for humorous and inspiring movies, especially about someone taking simple, practical steps to establish a balanced life. For snowflakey reasons detailed inside, I believe such a movie might be a helpful gift for my brother given his current life circumstances.

This is my brother’s first birthday since the death of our father, with whom he was particularly close, and he was the full-time caregiver for several years. He’s been occupied for the months since with the sale of the house.
Of course, grief is dealt with in different ways and speeds. My concern is with the general difficulty he has had in the past with setting up an independent life for himself, and how the situation he has been in may be making that more difficult. The plans he has shared for the next step in his life could be considered naïve.
I am in another part of the country, therefore it should be a gift I can mail (I do call and visit, but cannot travel at the moment). He loves movies. So, please provide your suggestions for good movies about people who work to fulfill realistic dreams. And/or other suggestions/advice. Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (7 answers total)
Don't do this. Really don't do this unless you know your brother is actually looking for these kinds of movies to watch. He was the main caretaker for your Dad, and he's probably still reeling from his death, and you want to send him a not-so-subtle message about what you think he should be doing?

Pick out some awesome movies that you know he'd like, devoid of any agenda or message, and send those instead. Then schedule some time to visit him when you can, and then, you ask him about his plans and listen non-judgmentally. If he wants your advice, he'll ask for it.
posted by canine epigram at 3:20 PM on March 29, 2013 [13 favorites]

I really like Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter is Dead. Kids pull together when the babysitter dies and Mom is out of the country. Goofy nineties flick, Christina Applegate, but uplifting as well. Shows that even the stoner kid can get it together when he has to.

Working Girl is similar to this as well. Secretary takes a chance and improves her lot in life.

These are subtle, and still fun movies.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:23 PM on March 29, 2013

I think canine epigram has a point. I think if you want to pursue this, you might want to make it not so obvious what you're doing. Perhaps sending him three movies but have one of them have an inspirational message might be a better way have him be receptive to it since it would seem like a happenstance rather than an agenda.

Another thought is to have the movies be not one of the obviously inspirational movies. For lack of a better example, something as dumb and as full of explosions as Battleship has multiple storylines about getting your act together, overcoming loss, etc.
posted by cali59 at 4:17 PM on March 29, 2013

For much the same reason I would not appreciate a book on housekeeping from my mother-in-law, I would suspect that he will not appreciate this. Give him a straight-up fun, escapist movie - because anyone who has been the primary caretaker for an ailing parent deserves some escapism.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:09 PM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Naive plans don't often get revised because of Hollywood. But they do tend to resolve themselves into more realistic versions when the rubber meets the road. Assuming it gets to that point, the plan-holder could often use some encouragement. If you want to help your brother, be there for him when reality takes a swing at his dream. And I totally agree with selfmedicating that your brother deserves the most delightful escapism you can send his way.
posted by bricoleur at 6:50 PM on March 29, 2013

Something New -- a romantic comedy about trying new things in a low key way. Harold & Kumar go to White Castle -- about having goals and achieving them (in the most stoner way possible). X-Men: First Class -- about celebrating who you are and being the best you you can be. Whip it -- about finding something new that makes you happy. A Good Year -- about choosing a mellower life to be happier. I don't think any of these movies hit you over the head with a message, and the message is basically try a few new things or ease up to be happier, not anything like being driven in a new career. So see if any of these might suit his tastes in films. Good luck!
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:15 PM on March 29, 2013

Parenthood is a favorite of mine, about families and different ways they can be pretty functional. Generally funny movies for cheering up: Bull Durham, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life Of Brian, Meaning of Life, Animal House, Office Space, There's Something About Mary, All Of Me, Blazing Saddles, A Fish Called Wanda, all funny, most with a certain amount of depth.
posted by theora55 at 7:37 AM on March 30, 2013

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