10 films that don’t depress me

I watched Annie Hall twice yesterday. The first time I paid attention because it’s a film I love. The second time i let it play quietly in the background again while I dipped into my new book. Diane and Woody were the perfect accompaniment to a rainy grey Sunday afternoon.

I’m quite a film buff and own a lot of DVDs, but the ones I watch the most, I realised, are the ones that don’t depress me. I have a lot of films-that-make-me-weep. And films-that-make-my-brain-ache. But it’s the ones that leave me feeling okay by the end that I tend to watch the most. They don’t necessarily have to be comedies or even particularly uplifting — they simply mustn’t depress me. You know what I’m saying, right?

So here’s my top ten films that don’t depress me:

1. Annie Hall
2. The Day After Tomorrow, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Indepence Day — in fact, any pseudo sci-fi blockbuster with the word ‘day’ in the title
3. Desperately Seeking Susan — the film that defined my teenage still makes me happy
3. The Bourne trilogy
4. Ocean’s Eleven. In fact, anything with a slice of Clooney (he’s film star prozac)
5. The Prestige
6. The Matrix (the first one — the sequels are a bit meh)
7. Shaun of the Dead
8. Anchorman
9. Practical Magic
10. Event Horizon

What’s in your top ten?

41 responses
  1. rowena

    You are so me with the non depressing movie thing. My husband gets annoyed because he likes art films and films that are about guns, death, violence, etc. Me, I like Jane Austen (anything), 50 First dates, School of Rock, Moonstruck, Harry Potters, SciFi or Fantasy blockbusters, and almost anything with superheroes, like Spider Man or the X Men.

  2. susannah

    ohhh yeah X Men! and Moonstruck!

  3. Rhianne

    Any Pixar and studio ghibli are on my list, they make me so happy but I also have the same sci-fi’s too. The Matrix is my complete favourite as well as the Fifth Element, Indepedance Day, Minority Report, I love them. I’m also loving classic comedies at the moment like Bringing up Baby and Operation Petticoat…

  4. Sarah

    Susannah, have you watched the original Oceans 11? With the Rat Pack? Also, I was recently asked what my top 5 favorite movies were. Top 5? So hard to place. Top 10, much easier—>Pride and Prejudice, Moulin Rouge, Interview with a Vampire, Stand By Men, The Labyrinth, Disney pre 2000s, ack! Even 10 is hard! I’ll get back to you :)

  5. Sarah Rooftops

    Yes, I’m with on you this. And Desperately Seeking Susan? I credit it with turning me into an eccentrically dressed cinema projectionist for several years.

  6. kristen

    i watched annie hall sitting outside in a cemetery a few weeks ago, god i love that film. the ending kills me…because sometimes we need the eggs. sigh.

  7. Marcela

    LOTR, anything with Sandra Bullock (a personal favourite is While you were sleeping), Amélie (that’s top 1), Picture Bride, anything and everything from Tarantino, Everything from Woody Allen (I adore the old ones, such as love and death, Murder in Manhattan -“Every time I listen to Wagner, I get the urge to invade Poland” ;), and also new ones such as Scoop). I also watch re-runs of Friends and Will and Grace.

  8. Angie

    Great choices – I could easily watch all those films in one sitting given enough popcorn (sweet and salted mixed together, please)!

    This is my favourite genre of film – I don’t always want an emotional journey. Not that that means these films are in any way lacking in quality though; gems like…

    Ferris Beuller’s Day Off
    Bringing Up Baby (or anything with Cary Grant and/or Katerine Hepburn)
    War Games
    So, I Married An Axe Murderer

    I could go on (and on and on…) but I am sneakily compiling this list whilst at work. I couldn’t not comment though – great post!

    Angie xx

    PS – LOVE that photo a LOT!

  9. Debbie

    My all time favourite film has to be the Princess Bride – the book is good too.

    Others – Music and Lyrics, the Lake House, Labyrinth, Mamma Mia and my oldie but still goodie favourite, the King and I.

  10. Rockyann

    I am so picky about which films I’ll spend my precious time watching so I know what you mean about not wanting to watch depressing movies. There’s enough hard stuff to deal with without a movie that will bring me down. Two movies that never depress me are Secretariat and that other horse movie with Toby McGuire (sorry… I’m menopausal and can’t remember things anymore) A movie that ALWAYs makes me laugh out loud is John Candy in The Great Outdoors.

  11. susannah

    no i haven’t seen it, but always meant to — you’ve inspired me to watch it soon! :)

  12. susannah


  13. Paige

    I love:
    Cast Away with Tom Hanks ;such a great ending

    Mama Mia for scenery, song and goofy good fun

    Sound of Music

    The Buddha, narrated by Richard Gere, lovely commentaries by poets who are Buddhists – WS Merwin and Jane Hirschfield

  14. gillian!

    What a great list. I too gravitate towards things, films, people, etc…that don’t depress me. I love to be lifted up and inspired.
    So that said, I’ll share a couple that make me happy:
    50 First Dates
    Despicable Me
    The Big Chill

    My go-to list when things need picking up. I think I’ll watch Annie again, I’ve always loved that film, particularly for Diane’s wardrobe. Another great wardrobe film (but depressing, so don’t watch it) is Love Story, with Ally McGraw. Great outfits. Terrible story!


  15. Jo

    Ooh yes..Annie Hall (or any early Woody)
    Bourne Trilogy…yup
    Fried Green Tomatoes
    Anything with Fred Astaire in it
    Star Trek (the JJ Abrams one)
    Pretty Woman (I know, I know…prostitute…stupid story…blahblahblah…shuddup)
    Love Practical Magic
    The Man With Two Brains (or any Steve)
    And YES! Interview with the Vampire

  16. Laura Fragiacomo

    Oooh what choices! I loooove Desperately Seeking Susan and the Bourne Trilogy… I would put ‘Say Anything’ on my list too… Iona Skye and John Cusack are so sweet :)

  17. leaca

    I have not watched Desperately Seeking Susan in years. My pick me up movie is You’ve Got Mail or Crossing Delancy…..oldies but goodies.

  18. jane (faerian)

    the princess bride
    monsters inc
    (bum humour alert) Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
    Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure

    yep i am shallow and love it <3

  19. Danielle

    Anything with Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Bogart & Stewart, any Hitchcock films , Love Actually, Stealing Beauty, Sliding Doors, (Love Event Horizon , Bourne Trilogy & The Prestige btw), definitely early Woody Allen, & anything with Ryan Gosling (even if its depressing).

  20. Briana Morrison

    Good list! I’m a big fan of Practical Magic and The Prestige. I also tend to watch the feel good movies over and over. Some of my faves are (in no particular order):
    1. Amelie
    2. Back to the Future trilogy
    3. Pride and Prejudice (the newest one)
    4. Fur (a fantastical biography of Diane Arbus)
    5. Interview with the Vampire
    6. Fried Green Tomatoes
    7. Vicky, Christina, Barcelona
    8. Secretary
    9. Stranger Than Fiction
    10. Much Ado About Nothing

    I guess I kinda like the chick flicks with a little sci-fi for good measure. lol

  21. sas

    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

  22. Betty

    I’d have to agree the early 90’s disney is WAYYYYY better than have the animated family junk they put out these days. The Lion King still makes me misty… @gillian I swear it feels like me and you are the only one that like 50 first dates. anywho I’d have to agree with #’s 2, 4, 7, 8…. by the way you have 11 ;)

  23. Nina

    My list of favourites includes a lot of depressing/miserable ones… But on the silly front, ‘Back To The Future’ and ‘Sister Act’ have got to be up there! For pure laughs, Dudley Moore and John Gielgud in ‘Arthur’ – do NOT make the mistake of seeking out the sequel, though. For something a bit different (non-silly), New York City Ballet’s recent film, ‘NY Export: Opus Jazz’. Depressing (and violent) but excellent: ‘A Prophet’ by Jacques Audiard.

  24. Catalina


    Love the first Matrix and Harry Potter (Azkaban Prisoner the most)

    but my favorites are:
    -The seventh seal from Bergman (not SO happy one all the time but SO poetic and beautiful sometimes)
    -Mamma mia makes me instantaneously happy since the beginning
    -from Woody Allen I prefer Manhattan and Memories
    -Jesuschrist Superstar
    -The Lord of the ring (the first one the most)
    -Corpse Bride from Burton
    -Indiana Jones


  25. Diane

    I love “You’ve Got Mail”.

  26. Rachel Cronin

    yes yes yes to Annie Hall (i went through a hats and waistcoats phase when I was a teenager) and Practical Magic, but i would have to add to that The Purple Rose of Cairo (my fave Woody), Tremors, Sideways, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Money Pit, ‘The Burbs (love me my 80’s classics), Groundhog Day, Sleepless in Seattle, Chocolat, Grosse Point Black (John Cusack needs to be in there somewhere) the Usual Suspects and Ladyhawk. I’ll go away now and think of some more!

  27. Amber Goodenough

    OMG I heart Annie Hall so much one of my favorite movies of all time. Also love:
    Pulp Fiction
    Saving Grace
    Kicking and Screaming (Noah Baumbauch, not Will Ferrell)
    Party Girl (old Parker Posey girly film)
    Better Off Dead (old John Cusack, brilliant)
    French Kiss
    I Heart Huckabees (sooo good)

    Ok ok I could go on and on…movies are my thing.

  28. Jen

    What a great list!! I’ve never seen Annie Hall before, but one day I will.

    I agree with Shawn of the Dead. I love that movie. In fact, I love any movie that Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright is in together.

    Here is my small list:

    1. Hot Fuzz
    2. Larry Crowne (such a good movie)
    3. Dazed and Confused
    4. Knocked Up
    5. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

    I’m loving August Break, so far I’e been doing it everyday. I am quite proud of myself. HAHA.

  29. susannah


  30. Rachel @ suburbanyogini

    Annie Hall, check
    Desperately Seeking Susan, check!
    Pretty in Pink
    You, me + Dupree (worth watching for the mothership speech alone!)
    Waynes World 1 + 2
    The Lost Boys
    A Bugs Life
    Billy Liar
    The Good the Bad + the Ugly

  31. Melissa

    So many good choices!

    Annie Hall!
    Terminator 2 (not sure if it’s a happy movie-but I love it)
    Hideous Kinky
    X-Men (mostly wolverine movies)
    The Company (I love dance movies)
    Before Sunrise and Before Sunset
    Reality Bites
    Stealing Beauty

  32. Melissa

    OMG-the Burbs! Love that movie, I think I can quote it line for line. Any older Tom Hanks movie makes me howl. Chocolat is fab too.

  33. MeMe

    Favorite movies
    Out of Africa
    Love, Actually
    Lars and the Real Girl
    Prince of Tides
    Meet Joe Black
    Vicky, Christina, Barcelona
    House of D
    Bull Durham

  34. Melissa Jaine

    Wow. I feel a bit like a loser. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned films written by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings, Notting Hill, Love Actually…)

    Shall I crawl away in shame? ;) At least The Girl In The Cafe was thought provoking … (just a little?) xx

  35. Angela

    Hmm I love Studio Ghibli films, LOTR, Princess Bride, Star Wars, Gunsmoke and Newhart and Cosby show reruns, artist documentaries, Ken Burns films (except baseball), old Eddie Murphy films, all kinds of stuff. Thanks for sharing your list of non-depressing films. ;)

  36. Liberty Montano

    I am right there with you. We have oodles of movies, and when I have the time to enjoy one – it had better be fun. I love flicks like Moonstruck, Wedding Singer, Get Him To the Greek, My Big Fat Greek Wedding oh oh and anything Miss Marple. Love the saturated colors used in Marple. So cozy! =D

  37. Jo

    I heart Bill & Ted :)

  38. Jo

    …Bill Nighy? Siiiiiiiigh :)

  39. Karen D

    love me some Princess Bride! ;-)

  40. Karen D

    as you wish

  41. Sam Brightwell

    I don’t know about your film choices but I love your Hasselblad. x

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