Sometimes, we all just need to know we’re not alone. Certain situations call for certain responses – and like a good friend, a good movie can provide the perfect solution for whatever your problem may be. In my (biased) opinion, the best kind of movie to quell your pain is an old movie. The emotional pitch is at the right level, the characters’ feelings are felt right through to their nerve endings and everyone looks great while dealing with their deeply entrenched flaws.
So here’s a list of movies you should watch. Don’t worry, the usual suspects aren’t lurking around. Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany’s – we love you but, for now, be gone! I’ve compiled a list of films that I think are not only worthy of your time, but extremely appropriate for the given mood you may find yourself in. You’ll find movies to make you laugh, cry, or coil in disgust. Let’s get that popcorn in the microwave for…
…When you’re in the throes of unrequited love: Buster Keaton’s entire filmography
When entering the silent realm, I’m going to suggest something quite provocative: forget Charlie Chaplin. Buster Keaton is the man you’re after. He knows what he wants – the girl – and he is going to get her no matter the amount of bodily injuries he may have to sustain. His ambition and persistence are nothing short of awe-inspiring, and on top of this he’s able to get through the day without anyone ragging on him for his chronic resting bitchface. If love as a reward when properly pursued is your goal, look no further for a guide to achieving your aims. I’d start withSherlock, Jr (at only 45 minutes long) before trying The Cameraman, College, and, of course, The General.
…When you’re home alone due to a philandering spouse: Sorry, Wrong Number
Since Melbourne is apparently one of the top cities spreading their collective seed on Ashley Madison (too soon?), I think it should be mandatory for everyone to prepare themselves for what their lovers are really planning in the dark. If that’s not enough incentive to watch this film, there’s a book in the Baillieu with a chapter devoted to the wonder that is Burt Lancaster’s neck. Your provisional film buff status requires this kind of awareness. Basically, Barbara Stanwyck is sick in bed when she gets a phone call that may or may not be linked to her husband, who is conveniently absent. What’s going to happen? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
Also: The Two Mrs Carrolls and East Side, West Side. Poor Barbara Stanwyck seemed to get herself into a bit of trouble with the men in her life. Shelley Winters also seemed to fall under the spell of the not quite right partner (see: The Night of the Hunter, A Place in the Sun).
…When you’ve just got off your Ps and are ready to embark on a month-long bender: The Lost Weekend
Another film to prepare you for the dark road ahead. You may think you can quit any time, but so did Don Birnham. Watch him descend into a weekend-long binge – if the resonance is too strong, you may have to rethink your beverage consumption habits. You can thank me later.
…When the sibling rivalry in your house is reaching its peak: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
It’s the film that sparked the ‘psycho biddy’ sub-genre of horror films about old women going crazy and resorting to armed violence. Bette Davis keeps a dependent Joan Crawford locked up in their Hollywood mansion, the result of bitterness that stretches back to when they were competing starlets. You’ll either grow more gratitude for your forsaken siblings or hate them even more. Go on, take a chance.
Also: Bette Davis is so good at what she does, you’d truly be missing out if you didn’t just have a marathon with Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Anniversary and Dead Ringer.
…When you have to clean your tear ducts because the build-up is becoming a health hazard: La Cinema Paradiso
Okay, so maybe this film is on a lot of those ‘Movies to See Before You Die’ lists. Whatever. This film will get you in the gut so hard you’ll need to take a week of uni. At least. The story of a boy, a man and their shared love for the cinema. If you have feelings, you should spend Friday night in front of this movie at some point.
So, there you have it. No matter what your issue, there’s a celluloid fantasy calling your name. Ye Golden Olde Hollywood filmmakers sure knew how to draw in an audience – and it still works today. Forget the slick modern-day fare and settle down with a tried-and-true classic. I can guarantee you’ll feel all the more better for it.