Some are more comedy-dramas, as I don’t often find out-and-out ha-ha type of films appealing. All are witty and deeply fun to watch.
Robert De Niro’s bounty hunter has to take Charles Grodin across the US by any means possible to get his reward by a deadline. Once you throw in the FBI and the mob, and a genuinely brilliant plot, it’s an exhilarating ride.
This stars Jon Favreau as the man who can’t get over his last relationship, and Vince Vaughn who is keen to help him recover by bringing out the girls. A modern cult classic. Film classes love showing excerpts from this to demonstrate the clever devices you can use to tell a story.
A Room With a View
I don’t need to watch this Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala film any more because I know all the lines by heart. Between Helena Bonham Carter’s headstrong Lucy Honeychurch, Maggie Smith’s poor Charlotte, and Daniel Day Lewis’s hysterically funny and astutely observed Cecil Vyse, I oscillate between helpless giggles and howls of laughter. A perfectly crafted, well-paced gem.
Hannah and Her Sisters
The various characters’ stories in Woody Allen’s film interweave as they search for meaning through love, marriage, divorce, infidelity, faith, friendship and family. Funny and illuminating in equal measure.
Eat Drink Man Woman
I am a HUGE Ang Lee fan and this, along with Sense and Sensibility, are some of my favourites of his films. Set in Taiwan, about a retired chef and his three daughters. This multi-stranded story has many romances, but the most delightful one comes unexpectedly at the end.
Sense and Sensibility
With Emma Thompson’s impeccable script and Ang Lee’s gorgeous direction, I think this is one of the most flawless films ever made. Aside from the BBC/A&E version of Pride and Prejudice (of course! We will love Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy forever), this is the best Jane Austen adaptation out there in the universe. I will love it and admire it till I die.
- His Girl Friday (top) It feels light as a soufflé but it’s made with grit.
- Father of the Bride (above) Barrels of fun, including its Fellini-esque dream sequence in the middle, with Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor.
- When Harry Met Sally A well-established gem; as much as I love the main story, I particularly love the in-between segments of old couples talking about their relationships.
- Splash Tom Hanks at his most lovable meets Darryl Hannah’s mermaid.
- Clueless The best adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma.
- Groundhog Day About one day that repeats itself – pushed to every comedic angle possible – with Bill Murray in droll perfection.
- This Is Spinal Tap The best mockumentary ever.
- Broadcast News James L Brooks’s look at life in the newsroom.
- A Hard Day’s Night Crazy, weird and fun; John Lennon especially is like a wit-spouting machine (apparently all done on the cuff).
- The Full Monty An exploration of men’s sensitive issues via stripping.
- Grease Kitsch heaven – and the best musical ever.
- Cactus Flower With Goldie Hawn, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau.
- Vicky Cristina Barcelona Are you a Vicky or a Cristina?
- The Odd Couple Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as roommates in 1960s New York.
- Après Vous A gentle French comedy played with exquisite haplessness by Daniel Auteuil.
- Anything by Pixar, especially the three Toy Stories, Finding Nemo and WALL-E (though the first twenty minutes of Up is probably the most moving twenty minutes in the history of animation).
• Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons