Oh cover your eyes!
September 3, 2007 5:23 PM   Subscribe

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

In a few days, I'll be visiting a friend who happens to be a nun. She requested that I bring some movies along to watch. I was thinking something along the lines of "What About Bob". But I want to have a small selection to bring.

I'm looking for more suggestions of good, clean fun. Something with LITTLE profanity, drugs, sex, nudity or violence. Better if it's not present at all. She's still young. Under 40, and really liked Mean Girls. Does that help?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
posted by hannahq to Society & Culture (61 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Older movies might be good. Perhaps something with the Marx brothers or Abbot and Costello?
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 5:32 PM on September 3, 2007

No question
posted by poppo at 5:32 PM on September 3, 2007 [2 favorites]

What About Bob made me think of Groundhog Day. Other than a couple of clothes-completely-on love scenes, I think it's pretty PG. I can't remember about swearing though.

I think that Uncle Buck, The Great Outdoors and Planes, Trains and Automobiles are all hilarious and have no sex, drugs or violence.I really can't remember how much swearing there is since I swear so much myself. Bit I remember them being mild.
posted by sneakin at 5:33 PM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

School of Rock
posted by puritycontrol at 5:34 PM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by amro at 5:35 PM on September 3, 2007

Also, Drop Dead Gorgeous is pretty funny. Clue is hilarious and quite mild but definitely has a few impolitic cracks about homosexuality and Jehovah's Witnesses. I doubt it's anything she can't handle-- it's no more scandalous than Mean Girls, I don't think.
posted by sneakin at 5:38 PM on September 3, 2007

posted by melorama at 5:39 PM on September 3, 2007

Ok, I know you said no nudity, but Calendar Girls was quite funny and sweet and as I recall pretty innocuous. Also, (although you said no drugs!) Saving Grace was pretty funny and has a coincidentally pleasing name, in this situation. I wouldn't hesitate to show either of these movies to any woman with a sense of humour.
posted by ms.v. at 5:40 PM on September 3, 2007

I thought Groundhog's Day, too. This script (if accurate), shows almost no cursing. I only found one "hell". :)
posted by GeekAnimator at 5:42 PM on September 3, 2007

Not to get off-topic, and I don't know your friend at all, but remember that just because she's a nun, that doesn't mean she's completely sheltered. She probably has a pretty good sense of what goes on in the world, and can maybe even enjoy things a little more risque than you may expect. Still, I wouldn't go bringing around Deadwood or The Aristocrats...

More on topic, how about She's the Man?
posted by papakwanz at 5:43 PM on September 3, 2007

Miss Potter
Hope Floats
Princess Bride
The Burbs
Better Off Dead
and a million others . . . you can look at rottentomatoes.com and weed out by genre and rating.
posted by Sassyfras at 5:49 PM on September 3, 2007

Seconding Ground Hog Day. Serious catholics I know have found a lot to like in it. As well they might.

Nuns on the Run perhaps if she's okay with that sort of thing. The Peter Cooke Dudley Moore Bedazzled is another possibility, but you might want to clear that one yourself before passing it on. (Fast Forward to the end and the leaping nuns of the Order of St Beryl and judge for yourself.)

Blonde Ambition.

If you can find the BBC dvds of Mapp and Lucia, that might go down well. Father Ted, probably not so much

(Never seen Mean Girls, so not sure where to calibrate this stuff. ANother title for my own list, I guess.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:51 PM on September 3, 2007

The Blues Brothers, Airplane!, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (I'm assuming she's young enough that she hasn't seen these twenty times already.) Also, if she's amenable to videos of TV shows as well as movies, for me "Fawlty Towers" has the highest laugh-per-minute ratio.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:51 PM on September 3, 2007

I loved Clue and Deathtrap has a similar feel to it and it stars Michael Caine and a young Christopher Reeve (aka. Superman). However, there is a homosexual element involved.

Caveman is very funny in a pretty intelligent yet slapshtick way; star Ringo Starr, Dennis Quaid, and Shelley Long.

More recently, Bandidas with Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz, is sweet and funny. They make a great comedic duo. Some action scenes but pretty tame.

Of course, everyone loves Wallace and Gromit (The Curse of the Wererabbit).
posted by porpoise at 5:51 PM on September 3, 2007

There's no swearing in "Napoleon Dynamite," which was made by Mormon filmmakers.
posted by GaelFC at 5:51 PM on September 3, 2007

On second thought, scratch Bedazzled. Raquel Welch as Lydia Lust might be going it a bit.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:53 PM on September 3, 2007

Doesn't Airplane! have some nun jokes? Or at the very least mocks them a little bit as passengers?
posted by sneakin at 5:53 PM on September 3, 2007

The Milagro Beanfield War is a very entertaining (and relatively violence* and profanity free) flick with a strong moral center. If she has a sense of humor about her vocation, I'd also recommend Heaven Help Us. It has some criticisms of the Catholic church's excesses, but in the end it's a very pro-Catholic film (and funny as hell). My dad who attended Catholic junior high in the neighborhood depicted found the movie hysterical and dead on target.
posted by jonmc at 5:56 PM on September 3, 2007

I read an article sometime ago (I think [via MetaFilter]) that talks about Groundhog Day being the most religious movie of the 1990's.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:56 PM on September 3, 2007

*there's a fistfight and some Spanish cursing. that's about it.
posted by jonmc at 5:57 PM on September 3, 2007

Any of the Pixar films.
posted by mattholomew at 6:01 PM on September 3, 2007

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. It got an "R" for language, but is pretty innocuous and chaste. Certainly no worse than Mean Girls, and along the same lines, humor-wise.
posted by hermitosis at 6:03 PM on September 3, 2007

The African Queen.
It's a Wonderful Life
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:05 PM on September 3, 2007

Planes, Trains and Automobiles has a shitload of f-bombs in it, though most of them are confined to one scene. Maybe you can get your hands on the TV edit?
posted by dhammond at 6:08 PM on September 3, 2007

Older films are where it's at — The Pink Panther (the original) and a Shot in the Dark, Father Goose (anything with Cary Grant!), Breakfast at Tiffany's, which I just watched again.

Please, please don't bring her any nun movies.
posted by Brittanie at 6:10 PM on September 3, 2007

Ohh, The African Queen! I second.
posted by Brittanie at 6:10 PM on September 3, 2007

Stand-bys of inter-generational movie viewing at our house are Hitchcock especially Rear Window, The Gods Must Be Crazy, Princess Bride and It's a Mad, Mad Mad Mad World. All entertaining without causing offense.
posted by readery at 6:14 PM on September 3, 2007

Peewee's Big Adventure. Only one Nun scene.
Life of Brian... C'mon it's funny not sacreligious.
Any Hitchcock film.
posted by Gungho at 6:16 PM on September 3, 2007

John Tucker Must Die is along the same vein as mean girls, and also quite amusing. =]
posted by cholly at 6:30 PM on September 3, 2007

This movies for a church group thread is probably relevant.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:32 PM on September 3, 2007

The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (the live-action one with Perabo & DeNiro) (it actually has a lot of adult jokes — adult in the "intended for adults" meaning, not "sexy woo hoo" meaning — plus it has this whole quite amusing metafictional context); any Pixar film; Fantasia 2000; the comic Dragnet film (with Hanks & Akroyd); Mr. Saturday Night; and Star Trek IV (full-fledged comedy: the Trek crew try to survive in late-'80s San Fran). Dragnet may go slightly risque in a few spots, but Akroyd's "Friday" is extremely straight-laced; Star Trek IV does have the one "and a ... er, double dumb ass on you!" moment, but I think that's really the only profane moment.
posted by WCityMike at 6:32 PM on September 3, 2007

Sneakers has just a little language, and one humorous sexual reference, which somehow earned it a PG-13 rating. Whatever. It's a surprisingly good portrayal of the hacker mindset, well acted with believable characters, and incredibly quotable.
posted by Myself at 6:36 PM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Spirited Away
posted by hortense at 6:37 PM on September 3, 2007

Oneirodynia's referenced thread mentions using the Tomato Picker. I told it to give me G/PG-rated flicks with a 90%+ rating, and among its suggestions was a great one I forgot: Truman Show. Also, well, I keep wanting to suggest Defending Your Life — it's a Albert Brooks-Meryl Streep comedy that takes place in the afterlife. IMHO, depending on the temperament she has, she might really dig it. It is not the Judeo-Christian (or really any extant religion's) view of what happens after death, but considering it's her "field", she might enjoy the comedy nonetheless.
posted by WCityMike at 6:37 PM on September 3, 2007

I'm with papakwanz. If she likes Mean Girls, I don't think you need to be too concerned about her delicate sensibilities. Nuns have frequently been some of the funniest, earthiest people I've known. Avoid the obviously tasteless (the Aristocrats) or going too heavy-handed on the Catholic movies (nuns frequently hate them, although Dogma might be fun. No, seriously.) but remember: this person is your friend, and is not yet forty. She's probably not going to faint if someone curses or has premarital sex.
posted by katemonster at 6:38 PM on September 3, 2007

I just wanted to recommend Kids-In-Mind. They review movies based on content, and give 1-10 for Sex, Violence, and Language. If you're unsure about a film, you can find exactly what's objectionable. Note that most of the reviews are from the last 10 years or so.
posted by ALongDecember at 6:45 PM on September 3, 2007

My sister the uber-Catholic endorses Superstar for its positive moral values.

(And though it's not a comedy, the nuns at my great-aunt's convent are all big fans of the TV show JAG. The male lead sets them all aquiver.)
posted by Soliloquy at 6:45 PM on September 3, 2007

Lillies of the Field. Best East German nun movie out there.

Bonus: you'll be singing 'Amen' for days.
posted by scblackman at 6:49 PM on September 3, 2007

Here are some that would be unlikely to offend, PG-13 and under. I threw in some wildcards, on the off-chance your friend wants some good, clean excitement.

Deadliest Catch (cursing is bleeped out in an inventive way, using sounds that naturally occur on the boats), The Italian, Flicka, The Inheritance, Napoleon Dynamite, The Importance of Being Earnest, Bend It Like Beckham, The Spanish Prisoner, An Inconvenient Truth, March of the Penguins, The Devil Wears Prada, The Queen, Mostly Martha (French version of No Reservations), The Chorus, Shall We Dance (Japanese version rocks!).

One R-rated film she might adore: Amelie. It got the rating for "sexual content" but I really can't recall anything that would offend an adult. The story is simply too sweet.
posted by cior at 6:59 PM on September 3, 2007

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has a webpage full of movie lists, reviews and ratings (from acceptable for "general patronage" to "morally offensive").

USCCB Top Ten Movies Lists, 1965-2006

The Vatican's Picks of the Top 45 Movies of All Time

All USCCB movie reviews

USCCB reviews of new videos

USCCB reviews of family videos

USCCB reviews of movies in current release
posted by jayder at 7:05 PM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Spirited Away? I guess I missed all the big yocks in that comedy. Bit it does have one saving grace--it is absolutely great.

The Marx brothers (and many thirties comedies) do not play well in the 'home' environment. Their gags are carefully timed to a theater-sized audience, and seem draggy when viewed alone or in small company.
posted by hexatron at 7:18 PM on September 3, 2007

Oh, and I love That Thing You Do!, and that movie maybe says "ass" once. The new DVD has a "director's cut", but the original is better.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:25 PM on September 3, 2007

dead man walking
posted by brandz at 7:51 PM on September 3, 2007

Looking over jayder's first USCCB list, I have to say that Andrei Rublev, A Man for All Seasons, Au Revoir les Enfants, and The Burmese Harp are all amazing films with strong religious and ethical themes, though none of them are comedies.

About the mention of "anything Hitchcock," I'd caution against Frenzy, which is a compelling but grotesque film about a sexually frustrated serial killer. There's one scene in particular which you'd probably rather not watch with a nun, involving the killer chanting "lovely" while trying to get an erection.

If your friend likes musicals at all, Singin' in the Rain and Top Hat are both solid, clever musical comedies.

The Back to the Future trilogy is probably safe (though your friend has probably seen them already and may not want to watch them again).

Young Frankenstein and Frankenweenie are two comedic takes on the Frankenstein story.

I'd also recommend the Truffaut's comedy/drama Small Change.
posted by Tuwa at 8:03 PM on September 3, 2007

44 answers and no one said Sister Act, even facetiously?

I would bring it anyway, just as the obvious choice, and she'll love your real choice.
posted by smackfu at 8:12 PM on September 3, 2007

The Station Agent
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 8:13 PM on September 3, 2007

posted by melorama at 8:55 PM on September 3, 2007

I don't know what made me think of this first thing, but a really great kid's/young adult movie (and even greater book) is Holes.
posted by zardoz at 9:21 PM on September 3, 2007

Nothing with nuns. I mean really. She sees nuns everyday. Human stories about people with integrity. Station Agent is a beautiful film. Scanning back I thought I saw Truly, Madly, Deeply a movie with wit and depth directed by Anthony Minghella. Probably not as lite as you would like.
posted by pointilist at 9:23 PM on September 3, 2007

I would recommend Strictly Ballroom (Ebert review here). It's a delightfully over-the-top movie about the cut-throat world of competitive ballroom dancing. It's quite funny, and one of the few "feel good" movies that actually makes me feel good.
posted by O9scar at 9:26 PM on September 3, 2007

straight story
posted by mr. remy at 9:49 PM on September 3, 2007

posted by RavinDave at 11:59 PM on September 3, 2007

I hope you get to this answer: My old boss (until end-of-August) was a nun, and the directors of my foundation were a priest and a nun, and there were two other nuns in the building. From what I discovered, they watched just about everything. I did house-sitting for a nun and a priest and discovered everything from Color of Night to the Bourne Identity to the Sopranos in their DVD collection. I realized all of the touchiness I was doing was totally misplaced. These are just regular people who happen to have a feeling for piety and grace. Why not go, and when you say "let's watch a movie", let her pick the film.
posted by parmanparman at 12:07 AM on September 4, 2007

And, Flicka, are you joking? She might be a priest, but she is certainly not a retard.
posted by parmanparman at 12:08 AM on September 4, 2007

Many years ago I went to the cinema on a Sunday afternoon to see "The Omen". There was me, 5 old nuns from the local convent, and a whole lot of empty seats.

(That's all the patrons there ever was on a Sunday afternoon - just me, and those same 5 nuns. Together we saw such classics as Clash Of The Titans, Raise The Titanic, some Terrence Hill movie where he was a cyborg policeman (the name of which has escaped me for many years), Running On Empty, and many others...)

Which is to say, nuns are people too. But, if you're looking for 'nice' movies with normal people, maybe Shall We Dance? As a fan of the Japanese original, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the American remake is.

The only nun I know now is a huge fan of anime, Alex Proyas, and 28 Days Later.
posted by Pinback at 2:46 AM on September 4, 2007

the last temptation of christ. it's a wonderful life .
posted by baker dave at 4:17 AM on September 4, 2007

Two Mules for Sister Sara featuring Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine as the nun.
posted by mitocan at 4:45 AM on September 4, 2007

Please re-read the question and stop suggesting movies featuring nuns or religion. Im pretty sure all of us enjoy watching films that features characters who have different occupations than ours.
posted by hermitosis at 6:01 AM on September 4, 2007

Waking Ned Divine.

My mom actually did watch it with a nun. They both loved it.
posted by bondcliff at 6:13 AM on September 4, 2007

World's Fastest Indian fits the bill pretty well. Some sex is alluded to but not shown, and Anthony Hopkins pees on his lemon tree. Great film.
posted by Scoo at 9:06 AM on September 4, 2007

Lady in the Water
About a Boy
Big Fish
Benny and Joon
School of Rock
posted by puddleglum at 1:46 PM on September 4, 2007

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