Hey movie buffs! Gather 'round, because we're diving deep into the cinematic realm where people live, laugh, fight, and make up—all in the name of that elusive but magical term: "community." Now, I know what you're thinking. "Community? You mean, like, a bunch of houses and a grocery store?" Sure, but let's think bigger—much like a neighborhood potluck where everyone brings something unique to the table. Movies about community can encompass everything from small towns to high-rise apartments, from singing Swedish islanders to hobbits with oversized feet. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you might even feel compelled to attend the next homeowners association meeting. So, without further ado, let's dig in.
1. The Sandlot (1993)
Ah, "The Sandlot," the classic coming-of-age story that makes you nostalgic for the childhood you may or may not have had. Set in the early 1960s, this film follows Scotty Smalls, the new kid in town, as he befriends a group of baseball-loving neighborhood kids. Through a series of heartwarming and hilarious events, they form an inseparable bond. It's a walk down memory lane, except this lane has a scary dog named 'The Beast' and a Babe Ruth-signed baseball. And let's not forget about the quintessential community pool scene that gave us the unforgettable phrase: "You're killing me, Smalls!" If that doesn't scream community, I don't know what does.
2. Stand By Me (1986)
No list of movies about community would be complete without the iconic "Stand By Me," based on a Stephen King novella. This film combines adventure, friendship, and a dead body—because nothing says bonding like a quest to find a corpse. The movie illustrates that even though we might grow up and grow apart, the bonds we form during those formative years stay with us forever. This is a community of kids seeking to understand the darker sides of life and ultimately, each other. It's like summer camp, but instead of arts and crafts, there are life and death stakes.
3. Steel Magnolias (1989)
Break out the tissues, because "Steel Magnolias" will make you laugh and sob in equal measures. Set in a small Louisiana town, the film focuses on a group of women who gather at Truvy’s Beauty Spot. The film touches on love, loss, and the strength of women but also explores the sense of community that comes from just being there for one another. It's like the literary book club of your dreams, but instead of discussing "War and Peace," they're gossiping and supporting each other through life's ups and downs.
4. Sister Act (1992)
Whoopi's in the house, and she’s got more than just killer vocals; she's got a community to build! In "Sister Act," Deloris, a lounge singer, finds herself in witness protection, pretending to be a nun. What begins as a story of an outsider becomes a story of community rejuvenation through the power of song. Think of it as "The Voice," but the prize isn't a record deal; it's unity and friendship.
5. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
In "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," we get a look into the lives of a loving, but overbearing, Greek family. If you've ever had a family member overly invested in your love life (Aunt Susan, I’m looking at you), you'll relate. It celebrates not just the uniting of two people, but two cultures and communities, all while making you crave baklava. This movie is a smorgasbord of culture, comedy, and community—just like your last family reunion, but with fewer awkward conversations.
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
This Wes Anderson gem offers a community within the walls of a lavish, pink hotel. If you've ever thought of running away to live in a hotel, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" will either cure you of that desire or double it. With its eccentric characters and tightly knit hotel staff, this is a community bound together by more than just a paycheck; it’s a commitment to a dying art of service, and to each other.
7. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Five high school students from different cliques are stuck in Saturday detention. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, right? But "The Breakfast Club" shatters stereotypes as these students realize they’re more similar than they are different. It's like that awkward high school reunion where you find out the jock loves poetry and the nerd can breakdance.
8. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
In this holiday classic, George Bailey discovers how he has positively impacted his community after contemplating ending his life. Sometimes it takes a near-death experience—or an angel named Clarence—to remind us of the vital roles we each play in our respective communities. It's a sentimental, heartwarming affirmation that yes, one person can make a difference.
9. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Struggling with life's setbacks? Take a road trip with the quirky family in "Little Miss Sunshine"! This film shows how a family, flawed as they may be, can function as a mini-community that supports each other unconditionally—even if that support includes pushing a dilapidated VW bus.
10. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
This heartwarming drama set in the South revolves around the stories told by an old woman to a depressed housewife. The narrative bounces between the past and present, weaving a tapestry of community bonds that defy time, space, and even fried food. Like grandma’s patchwork quilt, each story adds another layer of depth and warmth.
11. Remember the Titans (2000)
Sports can unify like nothing else, and "Remember the Titans" proves just that. Based on a true story, this film is about how a racially integrated high school football team learns to work together, against all odds. It's not just about football; it’s a playbook on building community, one touchdown at a time.
12. Coco (2017)
Last but definitely not least, we have "Coco," Pixar’s tribute to the Day of the Dead and the concept of family as an eternal community. Through vibrant colors and catchy tunes, this film will make you want to call your grandma and dust off that old family photo album. After all, community is not just about the living; it's about remembering those who came before us.
13. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson strikes again, and this time it’s about a pair of young misfits who run away from their small, island community, sparking a town-wide search. Even the most quirky and misunderstood among us are still an integral part of where we come from. This film captures the magic and innocence of young love while illuminating the community’s role in raising its children. It's like your teenage years but with more scouting and less awkwardness—well, maybe the same amount of awkwardness.
14. The Full Monty (1997)
When a group of unemployed men decide to form a male striptease act, you know you're in for a ride. Set in Sheffield, England, "The Full Monty" is not just about bare bottoms; it's about the struggles of manhood and the uplifting power of community. This group of unlikely strippers finds dignity, camaraderie, and a sense of purpose—all while shaking what their mamas gave them. It's like a job fair but with fewer suits and more... well, you get it.
15. Do the Right Thing (1989)
Set on the hottest day of the year in a Brooklyn neighborhood, Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" delves deep into racial tensions and community dynamics. It's an incredibly relevant film that pushes viewers to think critically about society and their own neighborhoods. Community isn't always rosy, and this film serves as a necessary reminder that sometimes it takes a crisis to bring underlying issues to the forefront.
16. Pay It Forward (2000)
Based on the notion that good deeds can create a ripple effect, "Pay It Forward" is about a young boy who sets out to change the world through acts of kindness. It might sound like a lofty goal, but the sense of community that emerges from these individual acts is palpable. It's a touching film that will make you want to perform a random act of kindness, like paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line. Think of it as a game of kindness tag, and you're always "it."
17. Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
At its core, "Bend It Like Beckham" is about a young Indian woman in London who defies her family's traditional expectations to pursue her dream of playing soccer. Throughout her journey, she discovers a new community of like-minded women who become a source of strength and inspiration. It’s a story of how communities can expand and evolve, merging old traditions with new aspirations. It’s as if a Thanksgiving dinner of turkey and stuffing suddenly featured sushi—a surprising but delightful combination.