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Grab the Hankies

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What is is about a good cry? After the puffy red eyes and running nose settle down we feel a lot better---sad tears are even shown to be chemically more complex than regular tears! So grab the hankies and prepare to cry your eyes out with the saddest movies I could think of. Be warned, there are some devastatingly sad choices here!

Terms of Endearment---1983. With Debra Winger, Shirely MacLaine, and Jack Nicholson, this one garnered a lot of Oscar nods, and a win for best director to James L Brooks. A tear jerker of the highest magnitude.

Awakenings---Robert De Niro and Robin Williams turn in great dramatic performances in this 1990 movie about a catatonic patient and the doctor struggling to help him.

Steel Magnolias---from 1989 there are almost too many big names in this one to mention, including Julia Roberts who received an Oscar for best supporting actress. This also has Shirley MacLaine, who come to think of it has done a few weepers over the years.

Pay it Forward--- from 2000 about a boy who tries to make the world a better place. This one might require extra hankies.

Brian's Song---Based on the real-life relationship between football teammates and the bond established when one of them discovers that he is dying. Might even wring a tear from the menfolk with this one from 1971. Starring James Caan and Billie Dee Williams.

Old Yeller---A perennial Disney heart-breaker; if you own a dog, this movie will rip your guts out.

Recommended by a co-worker as heart-wrenching try out (with sub-titles) I've Loved You So Long from 2008 with Kristen Scott Thomas.

Currently being acquired by CPL, put your hold on this oldy but goody from the Bette Davis collection...Dark Victory from 1939. Also starring George Brent, Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan (you did remember that he was once an actor, right ?). A little melodramatic, but still a great cry.

If you aren't already wrung out like a dish rag, try the following, although you will have to look elsewhere as CPL does not currently carry them. Mask from 1985 with Cher, Sam Elliott and a young Eric Stoltz. This is a real favorite of mine and I never fail to watch it when it turns up on television. Always with Richard Dreyfus, Holly Hunter and the last performance by Audrey Hepburn. And the movie that I'm sure is on most lists as the saddest movie ever made...Beaches from 1988 with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.

Black Books in Our Good Books

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If you are a fan of British comedy as the movie maniacs are, you'll love the short television series Black Books.

Dylan Moran, who often appears on Montreal's Just for Laughs' stage, plays "shambolic" bookstore owner Bernard Black, whose business is declining without staff to help him out of the mess of his life.

Tamsin Grieg plays Fran, the hapless shopkeeper next door. Brit comedy regular Bill Bailey plays Manny, a sort of Igor to Moran's Bernard. Hilarious episodes include one involving a Frankenstein parody and Papal wine and another involving Manny in photoshoot for "Big and Beardy" magazine, sending up Midnight Cowboy in the process.

Faulty Towers' customer service is 5-star compared to Black Books'. Bernard's drunken ranting and nihilism make Black Books essential viewing for retail workers...don't, just don't, follow suit.

Black Books is a 3-cd set with only a few episodes each, so it's a quick run, the first and second seasons being the strongest.

Guaranteed Embarrassment Free 7

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Guaranteed Embarrassment Free 7

This post has proved consistently popular, so here is another round of movies for everyone--- grab the kids, the grandparents, and everyone in between and check out some of these for freedom from bad language, inappropriate sexual content and otherwise embarrassing moments. Want to see what else has been recommended in this category? Click on the family oriented tag on the left and the six previous posts will come up.

The Witches - 1990. Based on the popular Raold Dahl story and featuring Angelica Houston, this might be a little intense for the under 8 crowd, as the witches are really quite scary. Especially in the big 'reveal' scene towards the end. But all-in-all a very good retelling of a good story.

Peter Pan- Three to recommend here. Of course we all know the original 1953 animated Disney version which still holds up well.

But also try Hook from 1991, with Dustin Hoffman trying his hand as the nefarious Captain, playing opposite a grown up Peter, as portrayed by Robin Williams. Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell rounds out this all-star cast.

And last, but in my opinion the best of the three, is the 2003 Peter Pan; with Jason Issacs (Lucias Malfoy from the Harry Potter series) as a very menacing Hook. The actions scenes in this are especially good. As is the crocodile.

Enchanted - 2007. A twist on the classic fairy tale, Princess Giselle is sent to modern day New York by an evil witch, and must arise to the challenges she encounters. This one is a lot of fun with some wonderfully catchy tunes.

Brother Bear - 2003. A young Inuit hunter seeking revenge against a bear, is magically changed into a bear. A classic ' walk a mile in my shoes' story, this movie will really appeal to the younger crowd. Nice message, nice animation, overall a nice look to this movie.

Anne of Green Gables I'm sure no one needs too much of a synopsis for this classic Canadian coming of age tale set on Prince Edward Island. This mini-series was made for television in the 80's and has several sequels, all equally engaging, all available at CPL. It is worth revisiting if you haven't seen it in awhile, and is definetely worth introducing your children to.