These films aren’t comedies. Nor are they strictly dramas. The films are sure as hell not action or horror. They could be sci-fi (think Interstellar, not Star Wars), but probably aren’t sports films.
I speak of the “quiet” film. It’s not an official category (or even a microcosm of a sub-sub category), but they probably should be. These films are generally light-hearted with some dry and wry humor, aren’t thrill rides for the ages and can be watched without the volume screaming. Often, for me anyway, my go-to quiet films are things that I watch when I’m sick, when I’m trying to escape and want something familiar, or just when I’m trying to chill.
I have a number of these films on my shelf, but here are my Top 5 go-tos in the quiet film category.
A Good Year
I swear this film came about because Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott wanted to make a movie together in the South of France. Sun soaked, sweet and a lot of fun, this is a different take on the family drama and a familiar one in the romantic comedy area. Features a lot of Oscar-winning talent.
The Big Chill
Lawrence Kasdan, the writer/director, only got this passion project film made because he wrote for both the Star Wars and the Indiana Jones franchises. The movie tanked at the box office (largely because it’s very difficult to market), but has become a true classic over the last 30 years. The prototype adult comedy/drama.
A film about family, entrepreneurship and taking risks. Napa wine may be known the world over today, but was looked on as crap in the early 1970’s. This is about how a few farmers from California unwittingly took on the French wine establishment. Based on a true story, and featuring a boat-load of talent, including Chris Pine, Bill Pullman, Alan Rickman, Dennis Farina, Bradley Whitford and more.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
This film comes up on virtually any list of films I make, mostly because I consider it to be one of the Top 5 films of all-time. It’s got a little of everything – drama, comedy and action; western, history; romantic comedy, drama and thriller. It’s slow by today’s frantic standards, but that makes it all the more timeless. Looks like it could have been shot last week, and the chemistry between leads Paul Newman and Robert Redford make it one of the best buddy films ever made.
Paul Newman 25 years after Butch in one of the best novels by one of the top living American authors. Though the book is far superior (they usually are), the creators of this film took an unusual tack to crafting this screenplay: they cut out MAJOR pieces of the book, rather than try and cram things in, and focused on a couple of main stories. The resulting film keeps the spirit and pacing of the original, with all of the wry humor. Few people could deliver a one-liner like Newman.