August 27, 2012

"I'd rather see a movie that helps me be a nicer person, not a sharper arguer."

Writes Chip Ahoy (in the comments to the thread about the "Obama's America" movie). I thought this was a nice topic, this topic of niceness.

Is there some movie that could help Chip Ahoy be a nicer person? The answers don't need to be Chip Ahoy specific. I'm wracking my brain trying to come up with a movie that oriented me toward greater niceness. I can think of movies that might help you become a better person, but it's usually in the sense of becoming bolder, more independent, more resolutely opposed to evil and oppression. But nicer? Can you think of a movie in which the central character, someone you identify with, is especially polite and the politeness isn't basically something he must overcome in order to succeed.

A-ha! The answer: Every Shirley Temple movie.

235 comments:

1 – 200 of 235   Newer›   Newest»
Michael Haz said...

Seven Days in Utopia. A plus - it stars Robert Duvall.

bagoh20 said...

Forrest Gump?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

a movie that oriented me toward greater niceness

Pay It Forward

Paul Risenhoover said...

The Razor's Edge

bagoh20 said...

Human Centipede

dreams said...

Shirley Temple who as an adult became a Republican and was a U.S. Ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

Paddy O said...

These have helped me be a nicer person:

Elf.

Joe versus the Volcano.

Rivers and Tides.

Groundhog Day.

Curious George said...

Easy. To Kill a Mockinbird.

dreams said...

A movie that oriented me toward greater niceness?

I'm thinking, I'm thinking.

TWM said...

Bagoh20 beat me to it - Forest Gump.

shirley elizabeth said...

Isn't that the whole point of Pollyanna's character?

traditionalguy said...

Captain's Courageous from 1937 is about the last one.

Since WWII the emotionally screwed up population has needed crazy people's carthesis movies

If emotionally challenged tough men level is included, then all of Clint Eastwood's movies work, the best being The Outlaw Josey Wales. Nevermind.

just watch The Notebook again.

TWM said...

"a movie that oriented me toward greater niceness

Pay It Forward"

But that was such a horrible movie.

Amartel said...

If you want a movie that makes you a nicer person, shouldn't you go see "Reservoir Dogs" or something with similarly horrible characters? Seeing Forrest Gump did not make me a nicer person. It made me want to punch Tom Hanks. Just me? What a surprise. Oh well, fine. I'm just saying that counterprogramming might best suit your needs.

TMink said...

The Cross and the Switchblade.

Fireproof.

Not many more come to mind, but then I watch tv and movies to be entertained.

Trey

TWM said...

Lars and the Real Girl. Not only is the central character nice, but save for one jackass the whole town is wonderful.

bagoh20 said...

Shawshank Redemption

FWBuff said...

"It's a Wonderful Life" Not only will watching it help you become a nicer person, it will also help you feel proud to be a nice person. Or maybe encouraging pridefulness isn't so nice? Hmmm.

Freeman Hunt said...

It's a Wonderful Life
The Searchers (really lots of John Wayne movies are about an assertive character who has to learn to rein it in a bit)
Mr. Rogers
Make Way for Tomorrow, this especially

Marshal said...

It's a Wonderful Life

Marshal said...

3 in the same minute. A record?

Freeman Hunt said...

The Big Country

TWM said...

"If you want a movie that makes you a nicer person, shouldn't you go see "Reservoir Dogs" or something with similarly horrible characters?"

I like Reservoir Dogs, but how you can think watching it would make you a nicer person, I don't know. It might make you feel like a nicer person by comparison, but that's a pretty low standard.

Freeman Hunt said...

Wow!

Freeman Hunt said...

Red Beard

FWBuff said...

Shout out to Freeman Hunt and Marshal. Great minds, etc., etc.

TWM said...

The Big Country rocks, Freeman.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

a movie that oriented me toward greater niceness

Pay It Forward"


"But that was such a horrible movie."

I know, but the concept is worthwhile.

TWM said...

I think you can find dozens and dozens if you reach back to the 1950s and 40s. They get harder to find as you move forward in time.

furious_a said...


Local Hero

and

The Long Walk Home

CJinPA said...

Any Jerry Lewis (solo) movie.

Honorable Mention:

The Ladies Man

rehajm said...

Happy-go-Lucky

Groundhog Day

Being There

TWM said...

"I know, but the concept is worthwhile."

Agreed.

Jaske said...

Do nice people not have sharp arguements?
Jesus Christ, I hope not.

TWM said...

Oh yeah, I just watched it the other day.

The Apartment

chickelit said...

Loonel Barrymore character in "You Can't Take It With You"

TWM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TWM said...

Any Cheech and Chong movie. They were always nice. And high. Nice and high.

furious_a said...

oh, and...

Devil in a Blue Dress

dreams said...


I'm thinking, I'm thinking. I just remembered that is from an old Jack Benny comedy routine, I think.

Freeman Hunt said...

High and Low

Auntie Ann said...

>> Amartel said... Seeing Forrest Gump did not make me a nicer person. It made me want to punch Tom Hanks. Just me? <<

Not just you!

Freeman Hunt said...

Ikiru

rhhardin said...

Cane Toads: An Unnatural History

Shana said...

So Dear to My Heart was the sweetest little Disney movie ever.

I will give Captain's Courageous another vote.

Irene said...

Doctor Doolittle (the original, with Rex Harrison).

Shana said...

Speaking of Rex Harrison, I am trying to decide if 'Enry 'Iggins ever learned to be nicer in general, or only nicer to Eliza because, weell, that is what it took.

Rob said...

March of the Penguins. Oh wait, that would make you an icier person.

Amartel said...

What does "nice" even mean anymore. It has an ironic sense (oh, very nice), a vulgar sense (NOICE!). Etc. It's a word that has had all meaning siphoned off and redirected, I guess by people who aren't nice or who just consciously or not realize that it's time as a meaningful sound is over. A look into Barack Obama's background isn't nice? This is a problem! Really. People so eager to be nice that they look away from and refuse to acknowledge the possibility that our President maybe isn't very nice, maybe has a background that has schooled him to have a rather unpleasant personality and rather dangerous ideas because they want to be nice. Nice explains 2008. Nice explains the lack of curiosity and loss of will to question authority. Nice isn't very nice.

FleetUSA said...

Sound of Music

Alex said...

The Saw franchise made me a nicer person.

creeley23 said...

Niceness is tough. It may be that we're stuck with Shirley Temple, Forrest Gump, It's a Wonderful Life and maybe Pay It Forward.

(I liked Pay It Forward but can understand why many people didn't. I always suspected, but was never able to prove, that a group of Landmark Forum graduates pushed PIF through Hollywood.)

How about Almost Famous? The hero must be overcome some of his niceness to succeed, but his niceness remains intact and helps some of the other characters become nicer.

Alex said...

On a more serious note, I really learned better manners by watching the 60s classic "Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf".

Dante said...

Babe

carrie said...

Mary Poppins

Alex said...

In real life "nice" means pushover, sap, dunce, loser. It's a eat or be eaten world and always has been. Read the Bible.

victor said...

"The Hudsucker Proxy" where things only start to go bad for the protagonist when he starts to act like a jerk (spoiler alert: he gets a second chance).

carrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kit said...

ET, Once, Field of Dreams, Beginners.

ndspinelli said...

Harvey

Alex said...

Another fun movie that teaches you to not be a sap - "office space", "clerks".

Robert said...

Pulp Fiction.

Tears come to my eyes when I recall Travolta's angst over having accidentally blown the head off of his colleague.

Recall, if you will, the loving care with which Eric Stoltz delicately inserted the epinephrine needle into Thurman's heart.

Truly a scene contrived to make me a better man.

deborah said...

Groundhog Day

I've only read the book, but I suppose the movie Little Women would work, too.

Alex said...

"Kill Bill", the beheading scene.

Mike said...

"It's nice to be nice. To the nice."

- Frank Burns

deborah said...

Smoke Signals

Donald said...

Reading the comments, I had planned to mention "Harvey" once I'd finished. But ndspinelli beat me to it. The line about the relative merits of being smart vs. pleasant has always struck a chord with me.

bagoh20 said...

Mister Roberts

EMD said...

GUNGA DIN

ad hoc said...

Groundhog Day, Waking Ned Devine, Local Hero

Schorsch said...

Any Wes Anderson movie. Every one of his protagonists is on a trajectory towards being nicer. Plus the whole mise-en-scène makes you feel nicer.

Grandma Bee said...

I can't think of a movie making me a nicer person. I can think of films that moved me to do something useful. "Pray The Devil Back to Hell", the documentary about the women's peace movement in Liberia, was one of a half-dozen things that led to our family's sponsoring a child's education there.

prairie wind said...

Forrest Gump did not make me a nicer person. It made me want to punch Tom Hanks. Just me? What a surprise.

Oh, God no, Amartel. You were not the only one. I avoided that movie for years (and years) because even the preview was too much. Finally watched it because the kids insisted and yep...just like you. Awful stuff.

Haven't read all the comments--had to stop to reassure Amartel--but did anyone mention Tender Mercies yet?

Michael Haz said...

Get Low

Lost in Translation

Animal House

Caddy Shack

(Sorry, the last two are on every film list I've ever made).

LoafingOaf said...

Babe
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

dbp said...

Sergeant York because he showed how you could be humble and godly even though a (reluctant) killer of Germans on the WWI battlefield. Kung Fu was also a lot like this, but a TV show and not a qualifying movie.

The Fountainhead because Howard Roark showed how to be relentlessly polite even though he knew that he was superior to everyone else.

High Noon because the the town marshal completes his duty even though the people he helps totally do not deserve his risk and sacrifice.

Actually, it might just all be Gary Cooper. Seems like he was always inspirational.

Paddy O said...

Spinelli has it. Harvey. How did I forget that one?

It's the quintessential movie about niceness and politeness.



Jim S. said...

Well, To End All Wars might work, although it's not a happy movie. But then again, that might fall victim to Ann's distinction between movies that make you nicer and those that make you a better person.

Paddy O said...

The Castle.

Nice, Australian style. How's the serenity?

Jim S. said...

On a dramatically different note, a friend of mine in college was once looking exhausted. When I asked him what was up, he said he had just watched (at some friend's instigation) bestiality pornography. People having sex with animals. He shook his head and said, "It makes me want to go read the Bible."

S. said...

Harvey & Miracle on 34th St.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Saving Private Ryan - "Earn this!"

edutcher said...

Almost any movie made before 1966.

There's a reason that, when asked if the things the Duke says in his soliloquy at the end of "Fort Apache" were true, John Ford snapped back, "If it wasn't, it should have been".

The Lefties' takeover of Hollyweird in the late 60s gave us a gutter's eye view of life and people. Before that, they gave us the Ford view.

deborah said...

Movies I have no intention of seeing, because of the emotional impact are Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, Schindler's List, etc. Give me escapist entertainment, such as comedy and spy thrillers.

Mr. D said...

Driving Miss Daisy

Sullivan's Travels

Amartel said...

Haha. The Saw franchise. Seriously, Kill Bill made me a nicer person. It did. Who wants to live like that? Anyway, in the spirit of the post and to the point, I saw a really dumb movie, The Sitter, over the weekend but it was about a nice guy played by Jonah Hill. I don't think it made me a (n appreciably) nicer person but for now I love Jonah Hill (when he's not trying to be a skinny and important Movie Star) and will see just about anything with him in it so I was entertained. OOoooh, also Moneyball was about a nice guy.

edutcher said...

PS Freeman, the best thing about The Big Country is the score. Best in the history of movies.

PPS For The Blonde, it's the horse Chuck Heston rides.

Balfegor said...

Another vote for Groundhog Day. I tried to think of other movies where the central struggle is for a person to become a decent human being, but I really can't think of any.

Re: Shana:

Speaking of Rex Harrison, I am trying to decide if 'Enry 'Iggins ever learned to be nicer in general, or only nicer to Eliza because, weell, that is what it took.

No, he remains loveably horrid to everybody to the bitter end.


Jim S. said...

Yeah, I think some movies that show the true depravity that humanity can sink to can make you a nicer (and better) person. But having that stuff in your head is usually not worth it when you can get the same effect from Shirley Temple.

Tarzan said...

Razor's Edge came to my mind too! Bill Murray's greatest moment on film.

gadfly said...

Forrest Gump is the only answer.

shiloh said...

The Best Years of our Lives
Sullivan's Travels
Casablanca
Tender Mercies
Will Penny
Lilies of the Field
Chariots of Fire
Ghost
The Shawshank Redemption
Titanic
Open Range
Pretty Woman :)

Most Frank Capra Movies ...

Jim S. said...

Just to reiterate: To End All Wars. It's about a Scotsman in a Japanese POW camp during WW2, and he realizes how being a good person is all the more important in such a hellish environment, even though being nice and good can make things radically worse. It's pretty devastating though.

S. said...

Harvey & Miracle on 34th St.

Alex said...

"It's a Good Life" - Twilight Zone

I realized afterwards how NICE it is that some monster can't just wish you into the cornfield.

Tarzan said...

Miyazaki's "Totoro" and perhaps "Kiki's Delivery Service".

You absolutely MUST, however, watch them with subtitles and Japanese dialog.

The Japanese are, bar none, the current masters of sincerity and emotional depth in voice acting. The Californian-American english dubs turn everything they touch to gritty, teenage snark.

AllieOop said...

Nanny McPhee.

bgates said...

Actually, it might just all be Gary Cooper

Mr Deeds could go on that list.

Strange that Hat hasn't chimed in with tips on how he got to be so good natured.

Pogo said...

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
The Green Mile.
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.
A Thousand Clowns.
Cool Hand Luke.
Marty.
Ikiru.
Groundhog Day.

oh. The Passion of the Christ.

lohwoman said...

The world's fastest Indian had some good human relations skills in it.

Alex said...

So did "The Silence of the Lambs". Made me want to try some chianti and fava beans.

AndyHartzell said...

How abouot the "Wallace and Gromit" movies?

AndyHartzell said...

How abouot the "Wallace and Gromit" movies?

Tim said...

"Shadowlands." Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis.

Tim said...

"oh. The Passion of the Christ."

Yes.

This too.

prairie wind said...

Deborah, there's no need to see Saving Private Ryan. It is war porn. The knifing scene alone makes me warn people off this movie.

It is supposed to make us all Better People by making us see how awful war really is. Which makes me hate it even more. War is always horrifying and sometimes necessary, sometimes noble.

So, learn to be nice from something wonderful like Big Country.

shiloh said...

The Birdman of Alcatraz

t-man said...

How about Babette's Feast? The would also play into Chip's interest in food and cooking.

Robert Cook said...

Has anyone mentioned Chauncy Gardner in BEING THERE?

shiloh said...

hmm, prison movies generally make you want to be a better person.

Unknown said...

Taxi Driver - because you never know wtf the other guy may have up his sleeve.

Cheryl said...

The Apostle. And also The Pursuit of Happyness.

paul a'barge said...

Dolphin Tale

shiloh said...

On the Waterfront

creeley23 said...

Yellow Submarine

MadisonMan said...

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (The Gene Wilder version, not the Johnny Depp version).

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donald said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzOIhLJ1C-Y&feature=related

Here is the line from "Harvey" that I was thinking of.

creeley23 said...

A Hard Day's Night and Help too.

The Beatles made niceness cool.

ndspinelli said...

PaddyO, I watch Harvey once a year. My favorite scene is when he's asked how he can be so nice when people are so mean to him. Elwood just smiles and says, "That's funny, you know my mom would say to me..."Elwood, she always called me Elwood..Elwood in this life you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart, I recommend pleasant."

deborah said...

Do you mean Robert Duvall's The Apostle? It's a great movie, but I wouldn't have thought of it for this category.

Pogo said...

The Thin Red Line
The Sweet Hereafter
Simon Birch
Empire of the Sun
The Spitfire Grill

dreams said...

This video isn't a movie but I would think that at least some people would want to be a little nicer after watching it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SIoqqd-GpPs

Balfegor said...

Re: MadisonMan:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (The Gene Wilder version, not the Johnny Depp version).

Uh, Really?

MadisonMan said...

Charlie Bucket is a good boy the whole time, and wins!

chickelit said...

How about that new Obama movie?

EMD said...

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (The Gene Wilder version, not the Johnny Depp version).

I argue often in vain that the Johnny Depp version has a better overall script, with an actual character arc, with both a separate protagonist and hero than the original, which I still do enjoy.

But that's for another thread entirely.

EMD said...

Charlie Bucket is a good boy the whole time, and wins!

YOU STOLE FIZZY LIFTING DRINKS! YOU BUMPED INTO THE CEILING WHICH NOW HAS TO BE WASHED AND STERILIZED!

Paddy O said...

ndspinelli, that's a classic line indeed. Reminds me that I need to watch it again.

My one and only acting experience was in a high school production of Harvey. I played Judge Gaffney. Minor part, but my friends were all in the major parts making it a great experience. None of us were drama folks, but somehow filled the cast. Adding great memories to a genuinely nice script.

Really, anything Jimmy Stewart is good stuff. He was the real deal nice guy.

Zach said...

Pride of the Yankees. Lou Gehrig was, if anything, even nicer than the All-American boy he was depicted as in the movies.

Joe said...

I'd rather see a movie that entertains me.

Lindsey Meadows said...

My Dinner with Andre.

Julie & Julia

Shakespeare in Love

EMD said...

Friendly Persuasion.

Ralph L said...

Emma. She's suitably chastened for rudeness to Mrs. Bates and Miss Fairfax.

To End All Wars
Is that the one with R Reagan and Patricia Neal? That was in a Allied hospital, not a Jap one.

Terry said...

Local Hero
IMDB synopsis:
Oil billionaire Happer sends Mac to a remote Scotish villiage to secure the property rights for an oil refinery they want to build. Mac teams up with Danny and starts the negotiations, the locals are keen to get their hands on the 'Silver Dollar' and can't believe their luck. However a local hermit and beach scavenger, Ben Knox, lives in a shack on the crucial beach which he also owns. Happer is more interested in the Northern Lights and Danny in a surreal girl with webbed feet, Marina. Mac is used to a Houston office with fax machines but is forced to negotiate on Bens terms.

prairie wind said...

Julie and Julia? Well, I suppose listening to Julie whine through the whole movie might make me want to avoid being anything like her.

Otherwise, it makes me want to cook.

prairie wind said...

Movies that could make nicer marriages include Fireproof, The Best Years of our Lives, and Hope Springs.

The scene in Best Years where the parents talk to the daughter about marriage...I LOVE that movie. I will watch it again.

LordSomber said...

Kindness is more important than niceness.
One is an act; the other, a passive state of being, which is easier to fake.

R. Chatt said...

The King's Speech

EMD said...

Surely you can't include the Temple film "The Littlest Rebel" in which a black man is forced to grovel via song and dance to President Lincoln in an effort to free a rebel officer (and plantation slaveholder) from execution.

EMD said...


The scene in Best Years where the parents talk to the daughter about marriage...I LOVE that movie. I will watch it again.


Seconded. Great film.

dreams said...

"Friendly Persuasion."

I really like that movie especially the part where his neighbor discovers the Gary Cooper character has spent the night in the barn with his wife with the neighbor knowing that they had quarreled earlier over an organ. Of course the smirking and laughing neighbor though normally a nice guy wasn't being very nice I guess some people would say.

Balfegor said...

RE: EMD:

YOU STOLE FIZZY LIFTING DRINKS! YOU BUMPED INTO THE CEILING WHICH NOW HAS TO BE WASHED AND STERILIZED!

Yes, Charlie Bucket is a good little boy and gets his just reward. But that movie has some awfully creepy stuff in it. As one would expect, when the original work is by Roald Dahl!

EMD said...

I really like that movie especially the part where his neighbor discovers the Gary Cooper character has spent the night in the barn with his wife with the neighbor knowing that they had quarreled earlier over an organ. Of course the smirking and laughing neighbor though normally a nice guy wasn't being very nice I guess some people would say.

Was on TCM last night. One of my favorite parts is after he wins the garters (which are useless to his wife) he puts them on his arms and touts them as "sleeve holders" to which his wife says "those don't look like any sleeve holders I've seen before".

His response is "They're ... Pierre from Paris."

EMD said...

To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Thrill a Cockringbird.

Get it right. With Boobs Radley.

TMink said...

Good point about the Searchers, a great movie, I am still trying to convince someone else in my family to watch the blu-ray with me!

Trey

David-2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Nobody mentioned "Rio Bravo", "The Magnificent Seven", "Zulu"?

David-2 said...

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

No?

Well, then, a second vote for Ikiru.

Rusty said...

If, by now,somebody's gotta teach ya to be nice, nice ain't in ya.


ChipA is always nice. he could give lessons on nice.
Not so nice I want to hit you in the face nice, but could you watch my bike while I go take a leak nice.
I come here to read his scintllating comentary on stuff that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.
And I'm too lazy to click on his link.

3eb65aa4-a506-11e1-baed-000bcdcb471e said...

'Hi, I'm Chucky, and I'm your friend till the end. Hidey-ho!'

Child's Play

Pogo said...

I have myself been avoiding movies that cause me distress and pain. I already know how evil the world can be.

I still feel shocked by my friend who let his pre-teen daughters watch Pulp Fiction. Jeebus on a half shell. What's the point there?

I hated that damned film. Worse than American Beauty, if that's possible.

miss j said...

Life is Beautiful

yashu said...

The movies that make me want to be nicer (and by that I understand also "kinder") are movies that deepen my empathy-- that remind my everyone, anyone, people around me, that person there, suffer in ways unseen. And many long for the slightest acknowledgment, a kind gaze or word (authentically kind) from another human being.

A lot of the movies that come to mind are Japanese, some have been mentioned.

E.g. Tokyo Story, Ikiru. Bresson movies: e.g. Balthazar, Mouchette, etc.

Dinner with Andre (this touches on the unfathomability of others, how little we can hope to understand the person across from us-- and yet we can offer them our attention, listen closely, and find points of contact and connection that amplify and deepen us).

Also movies that confront you with the worst of human nature, a nihilistic vision of humanity, and challenge your own humanity-- challenge you to act not humanly but humanely, not selfishly but with generosity. Even if the universe is senseless, without transcendent meaning-- your own actions are all the more (existentially) important. Cf. the ending to Rashomon.

Movies with incredibly kind central characters who suffer horribly (yet paradoxically, inspire one to be kind, to adopt a little bit of those characters' faith, hope, and charity): La Strada, Nights of Cabiria. Any movie with Giulietta Masina in it!

Baron Zemo said...

My Dear Lady you should have our good friend Mr. Ahoy view "Sunset Blvd."

He would enjoy it almost as much as he enjoys his sojourn here.

Just tell him to stay away from the pool.

Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha!!!!

yashu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yashu said...

Oh I forgot to mention Cassavetes movies, yes.

E.g., the last few moments we see of Cosmo (e.g. talking to his employees in the dressing room) in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.

And his movies with Gena Rowlands-- she's very different from Giulietta Masina, but there's something about her too (and something they have in common) that make me want to be a kinder person.

Gary Rosen said...

shiloh said...
On the Waterfront

You mean a movie that actually *criticizes* labor union racketeering! shiloh joins the VRWC.

yashu said...

Giulietta Masina and Gena Rowlands have something of Charlie Chaplin in them. So movies with the Tramp, too.

deborah said...

A Night at the Golden Eagle blew me away.

leslyn said...

What idiocy. You can't think of a movie that shows how to act with "niceness?" "Niceness" is equated with an outdated child's mindset?

Try "The Blind Side," for just one of way-too-many examples that could improve your niceness--if you wanted that.

BarryD said...

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The only movie you ever really need to see, for any reason.

AJ Lynch said...

I almost said Chip could not get much nicer but then I read his wedding dress /river comment.

phx said...

Some of you Republicans are challenged to understand the meaning of "nice".

Peggy Coffey said...

Harvey A movie about niceness. Everyone in the world hsould watch this movie at least once once a year.

Gary Rosen said...

leslyn:

"What idiocy."

I guess I wouldn't be taking her advice on which movies improve your "niceness".

phx said...

Chip is an absolute sweetheart, and very funny and creative in his comments. Except for the few times when he's been rude to the libtards.

But Chip Ahoy definitely makes it a nicer place, and if he wants to have a go at the Obamatards such as myself, I say let him have a go. He's earned it.

Deb said...

There's a movie with Nicole Kidman and Michael Keaton called My Life. A depressing premise: he is terminally ill and is making a video for his yet unborn child. It is so touching how kind the Kidman character is- no whining, no self-centeredness; it's all about her husband, making him comfortable, making the most of the time they have together. There's a truly heartbreaking scene where his father is shaving him; it is the most tender, loving thing. It's a pretty insignificant film but it made me think a lot about kindness and appreciating the people you love.

Deb said...

Lars and the Real Girl is at the top of my list, too. A whole TOWN that is nice!

phx said...

The Elephant Man

creeley23 said...

It's been a long while but The Time of Your Life by Saroyan and starring James Cagney, made me want to be a nicer person. It was like Harvey but without the invisible rabbit.

There was a quote from the play that I copied into the back of my journal when I was young.

In the time of your life, live--so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed.

Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.

Be the inferior of no man, or of any men be superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret.

In the time of your life, live--so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.

B said...

I know the movie that helped make me a better husband.

Good Will Hunting.

Never had much use for Robin Williams until that movie. But there is a scene in it where he reminisces about the little things that he forgot to value then and now misses about his wife with such heartfelt emotion that I'll never forget it. And the damnedest thing is that they aren't the things you'd expect, but the things that help you accept.

BTW: In that scene you could see in Matt Damon's face that he knew he was listening not to a script delivery, but that Robin Williams got it.

leslyn said...

@Gary Rosen. Touche'. I forget that I need to try all the time.

leslyn said...

creeley23: "Thank you" is not good enough for your post, but all I can come up with.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ameryx said...

Pay It Forward

Ameryx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ameryx said...

Pay It Forward

wildswan said...

Open Range and The Broken Trail, two Robert Duvall westerns, both with a plot and blazing guns. But the heroes manage to stay nice; they fight but they don't sink to the level of their enemies in order to win.
Being brutalized by taking some needed action is, I think, the theme in Westerns and other action movies like Rambo or Clint Eastwood pix made during and after the Sixties. Previously the characters in action movies struggled to keep their moral sense while they went to war or struggled with the cattlemen or whatever.
I'm reading regimental histories of Civil War regiments which are online now. They show men in extreme situations who were nice afterward. (273 men from the First Minnesota were ordered to charge a division in order to keep a line from breaking at Gettysburg)

Julie C said...

Sullivan's Travels

creeley23 said...

leslyn: You're welcome!

Come to think of it there was a tradition of niceness in American culture from the thirties, forties and into the fifties, a sort of "Hall fellow, well-met" friendliness where people were good to each other across class and ethnic lines.

For instance, I could say the Thin Man films made me want to be a nicer person because of the way Nick and Nora got along so beautifully with everyone.

(The Thin Man series also made me want to be smart, handsome, well-connected and able to hold my liquor.)

ampersand said...

Scrooge ,the 1951 film with Alistair Sims. The very best of all the Christmas Carol adaptions.
Sentimental without being cloying.


Great Expectations,1946.

The Taming of the Shrew 1967

Michael K said...

"Deborah, there's no need to see Saving Private Ryan. It is war porn. The knifing scene alone makes me warn people off this movie.

It is supposed to make us all Better People by making us see how awful war really is. Which makes me hate it even more. War is always horrifying and sometimes necessary, sometimes noble."

This is an example of modern Hollywood's nihilism. There is a line about saving the private may be the only good thing they are accomplishing. The Jews and the conquered people subjected to Nazi cruelty might disagree but nothing is worth while to Hollywood. You couldn't make "Casablanca" now. Not with that ending.

Alex said...

Gigli?

Alex said...

what's wrong with war porn? Is war nice and clean? Do you know what a 50 caliber machine gun does to the human body?

Scott Spiegel said...

Every film by Whit Stillman. Every film by Eric Rohmer. Or Wes Anderson, or Louis Malle. Are you kidding? There are tons.

creeley23 said...

Scott Spiegel: Thank you for mentioning Whit Stillman! He's very much about the civilizing effort necessary to be kind and decent in a complex world. He also offers some of the smartest dialog around.

Big Mike said...

@Chip, why do you need a movie?

Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.

You shouldn't need an atheist to tell you this.

Lem said...

To watch this movie so as to be a nicer person is a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion and other behavioral problems like voting for an unvetted candidate for president of the United States.

You may rely on anything they say about themselves in this movie.

Howard said...

As Good As it Gets

Indigo Red said...

Harvey.

"Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she'd say: 'In this world, Elwood,' she always used to call me Elwood. 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you can quote me." - Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApVtAN-Hq3k

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

The African Queen. Both Charlie and Rosie become nicer. And braver and happier.

Shall We Dance?--especially the original Japanese version.

Toy

MadisonMan said...

And of course, if you want to be a sharper arguer, you needn't watch a movie.

This will suffice.

ricpic said...

I'm glad Pogo mentioned Marty. After writing Marty, Paddy Chayefsky wrote a teleplay which he then adapted for the screen, The Bachelor Party. If nicer person means more human person, or at least a person more reconciled to the human condition, that's the effect of The Bachelor Party on a receptive viewer. It's simply a film about a young married man who is vaguely but chronically dissatisfied with his life, though he has a loving wife and a decent job, who, in the course of a fellow office worker's all night bachelor party goes looking for "life," and finds...desolation, and then returns to his city apartment and his sleeping wife at dawn. It's immensely moving. I wish we could return to Chayefsky's human scale.

Revenant said...

Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you can quote me.

Given the forum we're discussing this in, a more relevant quote from that film would be:

"Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it."

CWJ said...

With Chipsahoy in mind, I suggest Amelie.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

Oh, and one I just saw recently--The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. One character (Maggie Smith's) in particular improved her niceness quotient, unexpectedly.


Speaking of "nice," it didn't always mean pleasant. Older meanings included wanton, dissolute, coy, reticent, finicky.

Toy

Gary Rosen said...

ricpic, Chayefsky also wrote the devastating screenplay for "Network". Not exactly "nice", but one of the most pointed commentaries in screen history.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

Annie--She made Daddy Warbucks nicer.

Toy

furious_a said...

The Fisher King

Do the Right Thing

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