Messy love

Julie Andrews appears in the 1965 film "The Sound of Music."  (Gannett News Service/Fox Video/File)

With my Netflix membership, I wind up watching a lot of crappy movies.  “Noble Things” was awful.  “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” made me want to gouge my eyeballs out.  “Billy: The Early Years of Billy Graham” was the hokiest thing I’ve ever seen.  “The Invention of Lying” was I CAN’T EVEN TALK ABOUT IT.

These are horrible movies.  Never watch them.  I added them to my queue out of curiosity, but curiosity killed the cat and Annie Parsons.

However, I’ve discovered a few gems that are worth mentioning.

The Greatest

Everybody’s Fine

The Boys Are Back

Last Chance Harvey

These are movies about messy people, and painful events, and broken families, and broken hearts – but also, love.  Not Nicholas Sparks love – but complicated, nuanced, imperfect love.  They leave you feeling both sad and hopeful – which, isn’t that just like life?

(Also, when I did a Google search for “‘The Greatest’ movie,” this is what it rendered:

I can’t say that I disagree.)



  1. rachel on September 13, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    i have everybody’s fine on my list to watch one of these days.

    and admission: i found invention of lying intriguing. don’t get me wrong – not going to win any oscars or even hit up my list of top 100 movies. just… intriguing is all.

    also bad? i do & i don’t. i had to turn it off.

  2. Christina on September 13, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Hmmm, as you know, I tend to like my people a little on the messy side; so much more interesting, so much more real.

  3. Rebs on September 13, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Rent “City Island” with Andy Garcia.

    It’s one of those films where the pressure and discomfort keep growing and growing till you think you’re going to implode and then suddenly – RELIEF – and you’re laughing and crying all at the same time.

    I think you’ll enjoy it. ;)

    Rebs xoxo

  4. Lanie on September 13, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    Funny…i made my friends watch the sound of music over labor day and they all thought it was crazy how much i love that movie! Glad you agree that its great:)

  5. kendall on September 13, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    oh, don’t miss “It Might Get Loud, ” though. That is a surprise of inspiration…. not to mention it makes one want to play guitar… loud.

  6. Shannalee on September 13, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    How did you know I have a 30-day Netflix trial and no idea what to put in my queue? Just added them. Every one.

  7. Little AP on September 13, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    The best ones on Netflix are the TV shows that are both great and bad at the same time. The first two seasons of the BBC’s Robin Hood are excellent little gems that we found in our instant queue one day, but then the third and final season takes a nosedive into the realm of Nick and Norah.

  8. Penny on September 13, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    Sound of Music is my all time favorite. We recently became acquainted with a young woman who is a college senior. She was asking me if I like movies and which movies. I replied, “Anything with Julie Andrews.” She looked at me with a puzzled look and said, “Who is she?”

    Oh my, I’m old.

  9. Riley McCormick on September 13, 2010 at 11:19 PM

    have you seen “love story”? If you haven’t, you should.

  10. Greta Weisman on September 14, 2010 at 7:04 AM

    Thanks for the tips! The ONLY movies I like these days are about messy people who have been hurt and yet find reasons to hope again. The rest comes across as drivel. The romantic comedy genre has started seeming like an annoying yapper dog. Gah.

    One of my new AP students– who is actually the daughter of my wonderful mentor teacher– is “messy” in the most vibrant way. She’s passionate and feels tragedy and feels great hope and love, and is honest about where she fails and where she succeeds, she’s terrifically, sometimes erroneously creative… and I was trying to find a word to describe her to Lorene– because “messy” admittedly has a negative connotation– and I said, “Lorene, she’s VIVID.”

    And I think– messy people are the most vivid of all. And I’d rather be a blaze than a muffin. :)

  11. Katie on September 14, 2010 at 7:04 AM

    I confess I haven’t seen any movie on either list. Except The Sound of Music. My favorite.

  12. annie on September 14, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    That’s precisely what I love about Netflix: you can watch any movie that SEEMS interesting, and even if you hate it, you didn’t waste any money renting it! Maybe you waste 90 minutes of your time, but at least you now KNOW that said movie is not worth watching again (and you can warn your friends or blog readers).

    I agree with Little AP about the TV shows, too. I totally LOVE watching them one after another without the commercials!

  13. kim on September 14, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    hoot — you MUST rent ‘sunshine cleaning’ if you haven’t seen it already. it has such a great story line.
    agreed on nick & norah. what a freaking trainwreck of a movie!

  14. Laura on September 14, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    Thanks for the suggestions, I’m always looking to add good movies to my queue!

  15. Andrea B. on October 23, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    I just finished “The Greatest” and had to search my google reader to find out which blog I had read about it on. Thanks so much for the recommendation. What a sad and happy movie all at the same time. I love it that you can’t appreciate either of those feelings without having experienced the other.

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