For many of us, movies are a central part of our lives. We can relate to them, they make us laugh, they make us cry and they offer us an escape from the trials and tribulations of daily life. As Jeff from the CE team eluded to in a recent post entitled 10 Movies That Could Change Your Understanding Of Life, movies can also seek to answer profound life questions and address themes we are curious to explore. In this list, however, I’m going to talk about 5 movies one would likely never expect to learn life lessons from, but yet offer wonderful food for thought.
Before starting the list I would like to give a spoiler alert. The core themes/ message of each of these movies will be mentioned in the write-up of this article, so if you prefer to keep it a surprise simply make a mental note of the title and skip onto the next one. I’d also like to note that these 5 films are comedies that were marketed as comedies, so films that were centered around powerful messages or heartfelt stories that also had comical bits to them were not considered (ex. Forrest Gump, Patch Adams). Here are 5 comedy movies with surprisingly powerful messages:
1. Don Jon
The 2013 film Don Jon was Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s writing and directorial debut. The comical story centres around a typical New Jersey male whose main priorities in life are his family, his friends, his faith, his body and “hooking up” with as many women as possible. On the surface this certainly doesn’t seem like a film to offer much deep meaning, especially when you add in his addiction to pornography, but the film very effectively delves into the unwanted side effects that regularly exposing ourselves to porn can have; effects such as desensitization, the setting of unrealistic expectations and an inability to connect with someone at a deeper level.
The experiences that the main character ‘Jon’ go through throughout the film are incredibly funny yet relatable at the same time, and offer us the viewers something to think about it when it comes to what we do and do not expose ourselves to regularly.
The potential side effects of regularly watching pornography is a subject we’ve covered a number of times here at CE, be sure to check out all of the following 3 articles to explore it further: LINK 1, LINK 2, LINK 3.
2. Mr. Destiny
The 1990 classic Mr. Destiny centres around Larry Burrows, an unhappy and unfulfilled married family man, who is given the opportunity to see how his life would have transpired had one key event gone differently. The film is both comedic and lighthearted throughout, but it offers quite a bit of food for thought surrounding the theme of regret. Much like the old adage ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ alludes to, the film effectively shows how our mind can make anything other than our current reality seem optimal.
Using the concept of alternate timelines and a mysterious/ spiritual guide character, played by Michael Caine, Mr. Destiny is much more than your average comedy. It gives us a reminder to better appreciate our lives for what they are and to choose to live in the moment, rather than bog ourselves down in regret.
3. Yes Man
Starring the hilarious Jim Carrey alongside the adorable Zooey Deschanel, Yes Man follows the story of a depressed divorcee in a dead-end job who finds new life in a seminar he stumbles into by chance. The seminar introduces him to the concept of saying “yes” to everything in life, the polar opposite to what both Jim’s character and so many of us are used to doing in our daily lives. Although the end results are absurd and unrealistic at various points throughout the film, it serves as a great reminder for us as the viewer to step outside of our comfort zones. It effectively shows that we are more in control of our reality than we often give ourselves credit for, and that we further harness that control when we open ourselves up to more than just what we are used to.
As with most Jim Carrey films, the movie is incredibly funny, the bonus is that it will more than likely leave you wanting to try something new in life. Given Jim’s close relationship and admiration for the teachings of Eckhart Tolle -who regularly speaks on embracing life -the underlying message of the film is not overly surprising -but I could just be making an unnecessary link here.
The 2006 film Click, starring Adam Sandler, follows the story of a man that discovers a universal remote that gives him the power to pause, fast forward and rewind through his life. What starts off as a comedic venture through time ends up touching upon -and quite profoundly I may add -the lack of appreciation that we tend to have for the less colourful and more mundane aspects to our lives. The film also serves as a social commentary on how much of our lives we spend on auto-pilot, when really every given moment is something to behold, and has the potential to be as profound as any other moment that we for one reason or another choose to cherish and value.
Like all the other films on this list, the movie manages to remain lighthearted and comedic throughout but really drives home an unexpected powerful message in what my opinion is one of Adam Sandler’s best performances. The message presented at the end reminds me of the powerful message in the article The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying, you can read that by clicking HERE.
5. Shallow Hal
The 2001 film Shallow Hal follows the story of Hal, a stereotypical superficial male in his thirties who, thanks to the help of Anthony Robbins, is given the ability to see women for their inner beauty rather than their actual external appearance. With this ability Sal finds himself incredibly interested in a series of women that based on societal expectations any superficial male would never have any level of interest in. The comedy delivers a powerful message on the importance of inner beauty and offers incredible social commentary on how superficial and judgemental so many of our minds have been programmed to be.
The concept of redefining beauty is something that we at CE have touched upon on numerous occasions, including the articles: Why Do So Many Cultures Idolize The Western Caucasian Image Of Beauty? | Why We Can’t Let The Beauty Industry Shape Our Children | It’s Time We Retire The Statement “A Real Woman”
Do you have any other suggestions for comedies with a surprisingly powerful message? Feel free to share them via the comment section below! Also be sure to check out another list I put together back in 2012 of over 80 films with truth or consciousness within them.
In this new film called Prosperity, you can learn the ways in which companies are changing the game in order to change our world. CE's founder Joe Martino is in this film talking about CE's business practices.