Conflict Resolution: TV shows or movies?
May 31, 2019 5:03 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend tv shows or movies where interpersonal conflict gets totally out of control, escalation, hatred, self-justifying cognitive dissonance, and doubling-down, but somehow ultimately gets resolved nonviolently? (earned happy-ish ending, not tragedy, maybe some bittersweet irony) So, I'm looking for psychological realism, not overly dramatic or melodramatic. But the premise could be very contrived and/or in outer space (or very realistic).
posted by zeek321 to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
(disgust, outrage, horror, hatred...)
posted by zeek321 at 5:07 PM on May 31, 2019

Planes, Trains and Automobiles, directed by John Hughes and starring Steve Martin and John Candy (from 1987). It's excellent.
posted by alex1965 at 5:08 PM on May 31, 2019 [6 favorites]

A number of Mike Leigh films, but particularly Life is Sweet, All or Nothing, and Secrets & Lies
posted by Morpeth at 5:38 PM on May 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Family Stone, with Diane Keaton, Dermot Mulroney, and a hilariously overacting Sarah Jessica Parker. (It was like she decided there was no way to play the part totally straight so she had a little fun with it.) And, I'm not a huge Owen Wilson fan but he really can act. He hit just the right notes despite the uneven script. The whole thing is an over-the-top family melodrama but the cast is so good that they elevate it. There are some genuinely poignant moments and they achieve a kind of happiness at the end.

If you want something similar but with more comedy, The Big Chill still works. Instead of a family at the center of the movie, it's a long-time friend group. Again, really excellent cast. Some of them look so young to me now. It's over 30 years old so there's some dated references but it holds up.
posted by MissPitts at 5:58 PM on May 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

The "bottle episode" of Community springs to mind, but it's been a while since I saw it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:04 PM on May 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

I absolutely love the way Rob and Sharon fight in Catastrophe. They escalate A LOT...and yet underneath it all is their fundamental compatibility and their love for one another.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:13 PM on May 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Slings & Arrows.
posted by Poldo at 6:14 PM on May 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

There's probably something in Friday Night Lights that will give you what you're looking for. There are some conflicts that do result in violence, but many others that don't.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:27 PM on May 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Gossip Girl?
posted by anderjen at 6:44 PM on May 31, 2019

This might not be quite what you're looking for given that it's a procedural, but the TV series Flashpoint was about a Canadian special response unit that often resolved high-risk situations non-violently. Not always, but often enough some possibly violent, out of control interpersonal situation (i.e. hostage situation, robbery gone wrong, kidnapping, etc.) gets resolved by the team by non-violent means. However, the protagonists are basically a SWAT team, so guns are present and sometimes it does all end in violence. Still, it remains one of my favorite procedurals because it was an ultimately kind show where the goal was never to make the bad guys pay, but rather to bring everyone home safely and resolve things as peacefully as possible.
posted by yasaman at 7:07 PM on May 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

Maybe Closer would fit the bill.
posted by Forty-eight at 7:32 PM on May 31, 2019

Gilmore Girls:

High conflict, egregious escalation, complete lack of violence, many happy endings through self realization, interpersonal understandings and witty repartee, etc. also very cute and very 90s, ymmv.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:42 PM on May 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Funny, that’s not a bad overall description of the 2016 CBS show Braindead. It’s about spacebugs taking over politician’s brains in DC. There’s some minor violence, but it’s a good show that “rewards repeat viewing” (we binged it over Memorial Day). Bonus: Jonathan Coulton sings the episode recaps.
posted by doctor tough love at 9:34 PM on May 31, 2019

Studio Ghibli's 'Spirited Away' is a series of dangerous situations that are resolved peacefully by the protagonist

'Princess Mononoke' has a protagonist who tries to resolve situations peacefully but fails (until the end)
posted by BinaryApe at 10:49 PM on May 31, 2019

This is exactly the recent-ish movie "Tag". The whole movie is this.
posted by bleep at 11:20 PM on May 31, 2019

And I'd say Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is also this.
Spoilers below
(for a ten year old movie yes) The movie is about the characters' escalation of interpersonal conflict with the climax as the procedure they have done and the resolution is them starting over.
posted by bleep at 11:23 PM on May 31, 2019

I immediately thought of 12 Angry Men
posted by like_neon at 2:03 AM on June 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend!
posted by whitewall at 5:32 AM on June 1, 2019

Dead to Me has this theme but I can't say more without spoilers.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:17 AM on June 1, 2019

Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Just when you think this Gordian Knot of false identities and cross purposes is hopeless, WHAM! along comes the Sword of Truth to sort the mess out.
posted by SPrintF at 8:24 AM on June 1, 2019

Steven Universe does this over and over again, with varying levels of breakdown. N.B. there is also cartoon violence where dangerous creatures get “bubbled”/put into stasis.
posted by momus_window at 4:27 PM on June 2, 2019

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