I love making lists, and here’s a list of seven of my favorite movies about happiness. They don’t necessarily make me feel light-hearted, but they’ve all inspired me to think deeply about the nature of happiness and love.
As I look at my choices, I see to my surprise that as a group, they’re a bit strange. And also quite R-rated.
Happiness and…the porn industry? Happiness and…strangers beating each other up? And yet I think that each of these movies is very transcendent, in its own way.
1. Junebug — a haunting movie about the deep mysteries of family; what we know about each other; how we show love and respect for each other
2. Saturday Night Fever –– the disco music is better than I remembered, and the movie is also about sharing a passion with another person, and the bonds that can create
3. All That Jazz — I talk about my crazy love for this movie in episode 57 of the podcast
4. Boogie Nights — true, this movie takes place in the porn industry, but it’s also a movie that makes me think about friendship, work, and how we find out path in the world
5. Terms of Endearment — funny, sad, thought-provoking. I’ll never forget the scene where the mother demands pain medication for her daughter
6. Fight Club — the novel is also brilliant. Strange, yes. Deeply strange, yes. But brilliant.
7. Husbands and Wives — I’ve seen this movie five times, and I see new things every time. A fascinating picture of a place (New York City), a time of life, several kinds of romantic relationships.
A version of this article originally appeared on Gretchen Rubin’s website.