For mesothelioma patients and their families, laughter sometimes can really be the best medicine. Laughter won’t cure mesothelioma. But it can elevate the spirit. And that in itself is a gift. Comedy can give us a shortcut to laughter. Movies always provide us with an escape hatch from our daily lives and well-made comedies give us the bonus of laughter.
But something not so funny has happened to comedy films in recent years. Some of them unexpectedly veer into not-so-funny things. Dark humor, it’s called. But it’s not everyone’s idea of a good time. For people like mesothelioma patients who just want to enjoy themselves and relax, it can be disappointing when a movie labeled as a comedy takes an unpleasant turn.
We are fortunate to live in a time when we can summon any movie we want to our televisions or computer screens via the internet or DVDs. For those of you who prefer not to pay for subscription services like Netflix, YouTube and the public library offer many older comedies for free. And Amazon may offer them for one-time rent at a lower rate than the latest box office hits.
Here are some wonderful comedies, culled from the American Film Institute, Readers Digest and other lists that provide humor without violence and vulgarity.
- Modern Times (1936) – Charlie Chaplin’s comic masterpiece about life in the early 20th century.
- The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming (1966) – A Russian sub accidentally runs aground on a Cape Cod beach during the Cold War era, stirring up the locals.
- Midnight in Paris (2011) – Woody Allen directs a charming tale about an American writer in Paris who time travels to meet the literary and artistic greats of Paris in the 1920s.
- Orange County (2002) – A bright kid who gets a college rejection discovers his high school sent the wrong transcript and tries to fix it.
- Big (1988) – Tom Hanks learns that being a grown-up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
- Meet the Parents (2000) – Ben Stiller tries to ingratiate himself with his fiancée’s mom and dad.
- Tootsie (1982) – Dustin Hoffman stars as an unemployed actor who pretends to be a woman to land a job.
- The Odd Couple (1968) – Two newly divorced men, a slob and a neat freak, make for hilariously incompatible roommates.
- The Producers (1968) – A couple of comically dishonest guys try to produce a Broadway flop so they can keep the backers’ money.
- Father of the Bride (1950)- Spencer Tracy is the dad fretting as daughter Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding plans escalate.
- The Road to Morocco (1942) – Reputed to be the best of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby’s seven road movies.
- Ninotchka (1939) –Greta Garbo as a frosty Soviet envoy who learns how to enjoy life in the West.
- Sleeper (1973) – Woody Allen gets transported to the future and tangles with robots and the authorities.
- Mother (1996) – A middle-aged man boomerangs back home much to the dismay of his elderly mother deftly played by Debbie Reynolds.
- The Out-of-Towners (1970) – When an Ohio businessman Jack Lemmon arrives with his wife in New York for an important job interview, things go humorously awry.