READER REPORT:

Movies to make you laugh and cry

CRAIG SMITHIES
Last updated 05:00 21/01/2014
The Princess Bride
EXCITING FILM: Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride.

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Ah, movies. I love them; always have. They allow an escape from the day-to-day grind, and for an hour and a half or so you can go anywhere and do anything.

The best of them get you involved; they elicit an emotional response.

A quick Google search says there are six basic emotions - happy, sad, excited, tender, scared and angry. Let's run with that and do a top-six films that elicited those responses from me.

As always, one man's treasure is another man's cheesefest, so post some of your choices below.

Sad - My Life (1993)

I may be manlier than a sea eagle, but this film had me blubbering like a brokenhearted schoolgirl. How's this for a synopsis? A dying man tries to come to terms with his life as he leaves messages through homemade video tapes to his unborn son. It has been many years since I saw this, so a lot of the details have faded, but there's something undeniably powerful about a guy filming a video on how to shave for a son he may never see. Now that I have kids, I'm not sure whether I could make it through a repeat screening.

Happy - The Avengers (2012)

This film was a perfect storm for me. I liked all the previous Marvel films, I'm a big Joss Whedon fan, I hadn't been to the movies in months and I used to date Scarlett Johansson.

I went in with high expectations and they were exceeded. I left the movie grinning. Just when it got too talky, there was an action bit. Just when the tension was getting too high, there was a decent joke. I also loved the fact that it was released in New Zealand a week before the United States, so I could hit the film sites and say, "Oh, you haven't seen it yet?" Here's hoping the sequel is half as good.

Angry - Alexander (2004)

Oliver Stone and some classy actors take one of the greatest military leaders in history and make a film that's all bad accents (Angelina Jolie), bad makeup (Val Kilmer) and scrotums (Colin Farrell). Whereas the trailer that got me into the theatre promised great war scenes and action, my memory of it (and I refuse to watch it again) is all longing looks at his soldiers and a strange and unnecessary focus on his sex life. It's the closest I've come to walking out on a movie. The only reason I didn't was that I was waiting on the horse versus elephant scene from the trailer, which of course was the very last fade-out scene of the movie. I will always be angry I wasted money on this.

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Scared - Signs (2002)

Signs has some of the best scares ever put on film, starting with a simple dog growl, flowing through to a foot in a cornfield, an awesome video camera shot and the undie-filling hand under the door. It also taps into a deep-rooted fear of mine - when Mel Gibson looks out the window and there is a shadowy figure just staring back at him. Sure, the plot makes no sense, but if you want scares, then this is the film to watch. Another great scare on film is in The Descent (2005), so look that one up too.

Tender - 50 First Dates (2004)

So "tender" would have to be a rom-com and I can't bring myself to publicly say I really like Notting Hill, so let's go for 50 First Dates. It's a very warm and happy film in between Adam Sandler's usual childish jokes. You get the feeling that Sandler and Drew Barrymore really get along well and everyone had a great time making it. Shot in Hawaii, it also looks amazing.

I like the main love story, but there's also a great relationship between Lucy (Barrymore) and her father/brother as well as the sense of family and protection shown by her workmates and friends. Add a truly touching ending and you have a film that both guys and girls can enjoy.

Excited - The Princess Bride (1987)

This movie could have fitted into most of the sections above. It is a feel-good (tender) movie with plenty of jokes (happy), the death of the main character (sad), scary, shrieking eels, and if anyone should make you angry, it's the father-killing, six-fingered man. So why put it in as "excited"? Because a week ago I shared this film with my daughter. I saw her go through some of the emotions above and it reminded me again of the impact of a truly great film. I'm excited at the prospect of sharing many more movies with her in the years to come.

But enough about me. Do the Paranormal Activity movies give you nightmares? Did you cry at the end of Toy Story 3? Are you ropeable over how poorly done the rugby scenes were in Invictus? What films do it for you? 


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