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Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) R

goodmorningvietnamI’ve seen the clip of Robin Williams saying, "Gooooood morning, Vietnam!” loads of times and always wanted to watch the film; I finally viewed Good Morning, Vietnam for the first time after his death.

As an irreverent airman and a DJ in 1965 Saigon, Adrian Cronauer is in Vietnam to provide a bit of comedic relief to the troops (and as a bonus, irritate his superiors). Williams’ comedic talents are on full display. His monologues, voices, and impersonations, as well as his physicality, keep your eyes glued to the screen. And while he excels as a comedian, he handles the dramatic turns admirably as well.

The music is amazing, highlighting many hits of the 1960s. Check out the soundtrack that nabbed Williams a Grammy (it features a mix of Williams’ comic routines and music).

Check out Roger Ebert’s take on Williams’ performance and the film.
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The Lego Movie (2014) PG

legomovieA fun, funny, and somewhat crazy movie! It was amazing to see the familiar Lego blocks transformed by 3D computer animation in The Lego Movie.

Music and Lyrics (2007) PG-13

musicandlyricsHugh Grant plays a has-been pop star from the 80s doing backwoods promotional appearances when he is approached by a teen sensation to write a song for her. His strength has always been music, not lyrics. He unexpectedly finds a struggling young writer (Drew Barrymore) who insists she is not a lyricist. In the tradition of romantic comedies, we can figure out what happens but it is an entertaining journey complete with good old fashioned 80ish songs and music videos.

Despite the gap in their ages, Barrymore and Grant make a believable couple with chemistry bouncing off the screen in Music and Lyrics.

The Guilt Trip (2012) PG-13

guilttripJoyce and Andrew Brewster embark on a cross-country trip that tests the limits of their mother/son relationship. Underneath all the overbearing mothering and the know-it-all son attitude, they discover some basic truths about life and each other. Barbra Streisand's comedic timing makes The Guilt Trip a fun pick. All it's missing is a good sing-along on the road!
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Love Is All You Need (2012) R

Here’s a perfect movie to watch when you feel like you need a “romantic comedy.”  This sleeper-of-a-movie stars Pierce Brosnan as a wealthy but grumpy widower who travels to Italy for his son’s marriage to a young Danish girl. As the two very different families meet to prepare for and celebrate their children’s wedding, love and hope for a wonderful future materialize. Quirky but warm and funny, Love Is All You Need just might fit the bill.

Despicable Me (2010) PG

Despicable Me is a laugh out loud movie that you can watch even if you don’t have kids. Steve Carrell is perfect as the voice of Gru, a super villain scheming to steal the moon. What he doesn’t bargain on are three orphan girls who steal his heart. This is a very funny movie.

And the fun continues with Minion Madness and Despicable Me 2.
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Unfinished Song (2012) PG-13

This is the story of the healing power of music. It has the power to unlock long forgotten memories and feelings no matter what age. Great actors: Terence Stamp plays Arthur, the curmudgeon husband, and Vanessa Redgrave plays his ailing goodhearted wife, Marion. They have one son who mother cherishes and father disdains. Marion sings in the local senior choral group lead by Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton). They decide to enter a local contest singing their favorite heavy metal tunes. The crowd loves them and they go onto further competition.

But the touching part of Unfinished Song is the relationship between Arthur and his wife. How we live every day is what counts is the message here. Have your Kleenex ready.
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Sports Night. The Complete Series (1998-2000)

Before The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin created Sports Night. My only complaint for the snappy series is that it only lasted two seasons…but what an entertaining 45 episodes. Sports Night focuses on a group that produces a lives sports newscast, much like ESPN’s SportsCenter.

The snappy, rapid-fire dialogue, the witty banter, and the entertaining cast of characters will make the episodes fly by. And this isn’t just for sports fans – while the events of the show are centered around sports, it’s more about the characters and the clever dialogue. I’ve gotten friends who don’t follow sports hooked on Sports Night. Warning: if you try an episode or two, you may be compelled to finish the series immediately. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you need a bit more convincing…you’ll find Felicity Huffman pre-Desperate Housewives, Peter Krause before Six Feet Under and Parenthood, Josh Charles before The Good Wife, Joshua Malina pre-The West Wing and Scandal, plus Robert Guillaume.

The Simpsons Movie (2007) PG-13

Okay, if you like The Simpsons television show at all, you will laugh out loud at the movie more or less all the way to the end. It’s basically a supersized version of the TV show, and it even has moments that touch your heart (in a Simpsons’ sort of way).

In The Simpsons Movie, Homer has polluted Lake Springfield, which prompts the evil head of the EPA, voiced by Albert Brooks, to have a giant dome placed over the entire city. Meanwhile, the Simpson family goes on the lam to Alaska only to return to try to save their hometown which has been slated to be nuked. There is the typical Simpson family dysfunction, there is the entire Simpson cast of characters, and most importantly, there is Spider Pig. This is a fun movie!
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Midnight in Paris (2011) PG-13

Did you ever wonder what Paris was like in the 1920s? Here is your chance. Owen Wilson is visiting Paris with his fiancé and her family. He is a writer with writer’s block. One evening he decides to take a walk to clear his mind. When a limo pulls up and the passengers offer him a ride, he accepts. This is the start of his adventure and a chance to go back to the Paris of the 1920s.

Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein and Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali welcome him into their world. When Owen’s fiancé and her family become suspicious of his disappearing every night, they hire a detective. The results lead one to believe this may or may not be a dream.

Midnight in Paris is one of Woody Allen’s best. The acting is great and the literary characters are true to life.

It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010) PG-13

It's Kind of a Funny StoryIn this quirky tale, teenager Craig (Keir Gilchrist) checks himself into the psych ward after experiencing suicidal thoughts. There, he meets a crazy mentor (Zach Galifianakis) and Noelle (Emma Roberts), a young girl his age.

This set of unlikely characters help Craig begin anew and learn more about himself in one week than he ever expected. It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a coming of age tale that makes you appreciate how lucky you are and appreciate the good things in life.
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Identity Thief (2013) R

Identity ThiefJason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy really had fun making this movie! Diana (McCarthy) is a con artist who is living it up thanks to stealing Sandy Patterson’s (Bateman) identity.

Before his world comes crashing down around him, Sandy travels from Colorado, where he lives, to Florida in a desperate attempt to find Diana and clear his good name. Of course, to make life crazier, throw in a couple of “bad guys” and a bounty hunter who are also chasing Diana. Identity Thief is a funny movie – great for a Saturday night at-home date!
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The Heat (2013) R

In this female buddy comedy, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy deliver laugh-out-loud performances. In The Heat, a drug case forces a straight-laced FBI agent to pair up with a rough-around-the-edges Boston cop. The two hours will fly by as you enjoy the complementary antics of two comedic stars (plus the great supporting cast).
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The Kings of Summer (2013) R

Three teenage boys decide to leave their homes and live in the wilderness. They build a house and plan to live off the land. Their parents are unaware of their plans and, let’s face it, these parents aren’t going to get any patenting awards in the near future.

The Kings of Summer is a coming of age film with a light comic touch.
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A Fish Called Wanda (1988) R

This is a laugh-out-loud movie from start to finish. Otto (Kevin Kline) and his girlfriend Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) team up with Ken (Michael Palin) and Tom Georgeson to rob a jewelry store. When Tom is arrested, the others scramble to find where he has hidden the loot.

While Wanda woos Tom’s lawyer Archie (John Cleese) to find out the location of the jewels, Ken, who has an uncontrollable stutter, goes through many hilarious, botched attempts to kill the one witness to the crime. Kevin Kline steals the show, though, in his Academy Award winning role as the mindless thug, Otto. A Fish Called Wanda is a must see!
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