Parks and Rec is, 30 Rock isn't.
December 22, 2020 11:01 AM   Subscribe

"Kindness is a separate paradigm from genre, tone, or even basic ideas of good and evil. For instance, Superman and Captain America are Kind Heroes (at least, outside of Zack Snyder movies), while Batman and Iron Man aren’t, even though they’re all good guys. And Kind Movies are also distinct from comfort food, escapism, or guilty pleasures. Romantic comedies are my go-to feel-good viewing, but they aren’t always Kind Movies. (The Wedding Singer is, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days isn’t.) Kind Movies can feature moments of violence or tragedy, and they don’t necessarily have happy endings. The most important thing is that they view the world through a gentle, empathetic lens and largely center on gentle, well-meaning characters." 2020 is the Year of the Kind Movie - and It Couldn't Have Come at a Better Time, by Caroline Siede for Polygon.
posted by Navelgazer (214 comments total) 141 users marked this as a favorite
 
Was coming in to suggest Ted Lasso as one of the 2020 embodiments of this, but I see the article got there first.
posted by nubs at 11:14 AM on December 22, 2020 [26 favorites]


Yeah, this year I've gravitated towards kind, empathetic, heartwarming stuff. Too many things have happened this year, the mental burden has been too much, and being able to escape into something so tender and human-focused has been one of the things getting me through the year.

TV it's been the year of Joe Pera, Ted Lasso, and How To With Jon Wilson (although that one is a little more cringy than the others). I've watched through Ted Lasso three times now, and it is so good. There's a scene near the end of the show where Ted gets a serious win and it had me in tears. It was so powerful and meaningful for me.

For movies the Paddingtons are always a home-run. The one that came out of left field for me was Hubie Halloween. I heard good things about it and usually I don't like Adam Sandler because most of his output has this meanness to it that I don't like and Hubie's central core is kindness. First Cow was beautiful, I wasn't expecting it to be so affecting and yet, there it was. It's much older, but Harvey with James Stewart always puts a big smile on my face.
posted by Neronomius at 11:14 AM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Palm Springs, oddly.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:16 AM on December 22, 2020 [27 favorites]


Since the title talks about tv: I remember people telling me Brooklyn 99 was so great, but it's not right away. You can really see a break point between season 1 and season 2 when the show decides it wants to be kind and do good.

Still waiting to see what they do in the wake of this summer, but B99 is about the only cop thing I'm willing to give a chance right now.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:20 AM on December 22, 2020 [29 favorites]


My family and I felt that Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is kind, but Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey is not and I'd love to know which the third movie is.
posted by straight at 11:22 AM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


It gets into Kind TV Shows a bit, but a mention of some Kind Reality TV Shows would have strengthened the argument. While the Great British Bake-Off or Blown Away have conflicts, they're rarely directed at other people so much as they are frustration at a particular situation.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:22 AM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


I'd disagree with the title; I stopped watching Parks and Rec because of the repeated bullying of Jerry.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:22 AM on December 22, 2020 [31 favorites]


If this thread just becomes a big festival of people recommending kind films/shows/books/music then it will indeed be the greatest of all holiday gifts
posted by minervous at 11:23 AM on December 22, 2020 [42 favorites]


okay then The Good Place

Any of Becky Chambers' _Wayfarers_ books that start with The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet. Note: bad stuff still happens.

Maybe Murderbot?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:25 AM on December 22, 2020 [33 favorites]


Detectorists.
posted by Poldo at 11:27 AM on December 22, 2020 [33 favorites]


usually I don't like Adam Sandler because most of his output has this meanness to it that I don't like and Hubie's central core is kindness

I couldn't get past the first 15 minutes of meanness, personally, but then again I have a super-low tolerance for Sandler as a whole.

But fully agreed with the premise of the piece. I watched less TV this year than I might have, but I did watch a lot of Great British Bake Off (kind), the Mandalorian (surprisingly, kind), and Ted Lasso (which, as pointed out, is the pure archetype for kind comedy). I also really enjoyed Godmothered which, although I do agree was kind, didn't strike me as especially so.

But I've also read (aloud) something like 100 kids' chapter books this year, which has sort of raised a keen awareness of kindness. If I need to make an aside more than once or twice in a book about something unkind that goes un-remarked-upon in the text, it's probably not a kind book. I have felt the same way about TV and movies lately, probably for obvious reasons.

(As an aside: what the actual f is up with Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator? There are entire pages of racist eye dialect! We bailed on that one so fast.)
posted by uncleozzy at 11:28 AM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


I mean, The Good Place, obviously but importantly.

The Mandalorian is 100% about a man trained for killing trying to be a Kind Dad and also helping people.

This article highlights movies from 2020, but in 2019 we had Little Women and The Personal History of David Copperfield for some classic kindness action. And Captain Marvel from last year also fell on the kind side of the superhero movie divide.
posted by feckless at 11:30 AM on December 22, 2020 [13 favorites]


>>Since the title talks about tv: I remember people telling me Brooklyn 99 was so great, but it's not right away. You can really see a break point between season 1 and season 2 when the show decides it wants to be kind and do good.

I think the same is true of Parks & Rec, actually. Must be a Michael Schur thing (co-creator of both shows).
posted by AndrewInDC at 11:30 AM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Community often mixes kindness with deep personal flaws.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:31 AM on December 22, 2020 [18 favorites]


My family and I felt that Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is kind, but Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey is not and I'd love to know which the third movie is.

"Bill & Ted Face the Music" is an absolute embodiment of kindness, mentioned as such in the article.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:31 AM on December 22, 2020 [16 favorites]


It's 25 years old, but That Thing You Do! fits perfectly in this genre. It's a joy to watch.

David Lynch's G-rated The Straight Story is, too.
posted by AgentRocket at 11:33 AM on December 22, 2020 [23 favorites]


Since the title talks about tv: I remember people telling me Brooklyn 99 was so great, but it's not right away. You can really see a break point between season 1 and season 2 when the show decides it wants to be kind and do good.

Still waiting to see what they do in the wake of this summer, but B99 is about the only cop thing I'm willing to give a chance right now.


I agree with this (Holt warming up to his detectives, and Boyle getting over his problematic crush on Rosa to become an actual friend to her are big improvements in this regard) and have a lot of faith in B99 to handle BLM and the George Floyd protests in a good way. They announced forever ago that it was going to be an element of the next season, and since the pilot B99 has basically been a show about a woke precinct in a still-unwoke NYPD.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:34 AM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite things about Ted Lasso, and Kind Media done right in general, is that it shows that kindness takes work, it isn't facile or easy. Too often, we seem to take it as a given that complex characters must be gritty and morally grey and doing terrible things to be interesting. Plenty of people think, for example, that the likes of Captain America and Superman are "boring" because they're good people.

But goodness isn't boring! Goodness and kindness take work! That work can be both very moving and very interesting to watch. And Ted Lasso, both the show and the character, show that. Ted isn't just a blissfully unaware, naive guy who's too good to be true. He's a man who chooses kindness. He knows that people think he's naive, he knows that people think he's dumb. But he's not, he's just choosing kindness and compassion, and sometimes he can't quite manage it, sometimes he fails. But he's always trying, and when he fucks it up, he apologizes.

Also, there should be more kind comedy in general, because it's genuinely an absolute delight in a way that other comedy isn't. Ted Lasso does the really fun thing where the characters themselves take delight in wordplay and being funny, and the show gives space to those moments of people just being pleased with themselves and with each other for having executed a joke well. Community had this a bit too, where you can clearly see that comedy is part of the way these characters communicate with each other, it's not just there as a thing to make the audience laugh.
posted by yasaman at 11:36 AM on December 22, 2020 [42 favorites]


Schitt's Creek, for sure.
posted by scruss at 11:37 AM on December 22, 2020 [54 favorites]


If you're a fan of Great British Baking Show mainly because of the kindness factor, then I highly suggest that you give Making It a try.
posted by NoMich at 11:40 AM on December 22, 2020 [18 favorites]


"Bill & Ted Face the Music" is an absolute embodiment of kindness, mentioned as such in the article.

I wasn't sure if other people, including the author of the article, felt the difference we did between the first two movies so have been unsure how to take recommendations of the new one.
posted by straight at 11:42 AM on December 22, 2020


The book version of this is Deacon King Kong by James McBride which I feel like I've recommended in multiple threads this year. It's just . . . exactly what I needed to read this year.
posted by thivaia at 11:44 AM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


I'd disagree with the title; I stopped watching Parks and Rec because of the repeated bullying of Jerry.

This is a really strong sour note that runs through all of P&R and it feels like the thing you’re not allowed to discuss. Honestly, there’s a fair amount of casual acid that runs through the Schuriverse, and there’s probably a lot to say about that in relation to this notion of “kindness”.

Community often mixes kindness with deep personal flaws.

To disagree pointlessly, I would say that Dan Harmon’s characters always come off as very flat to me (Community, Rick & Morty, etc.) They lack a certain realness to themselves, perhaps because the repeated collection of brilliant gimmicks forces all character depth to the background.

David Lynch’s G-rated The Straight Story is, too.

I would agree about this for me, but then someone on MetaFilter linked me to a quite valid, disturbing read of The Straight Story that you can feel free to hunt down on your own time if you want to taint an otherwise mild experience. (Some people might find it enriches the film -or perhaps still leaves it as “kind” -which would be fair as well.)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:44 AM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


straight: I can't say for sure that I feel the same difference you feel (I love Bogus Journey but it definitely feels harsher than Excellent Adventure) but Face the Music is truly a thing of joy and love and goodness. I highly recommend it.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:44 AM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


But in a normal year, Kind Movies are often overshadowed by big blockbusters or showy Oscar-bait fare.

I think Moonlight would qualify as kind, which perhaps is part of why it was surprising that it won.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:47 AM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


It's 25 years old, but That Thing You Do! fits perfectly in this genre. It's a joy to watch.

A hundred times this.

Also, The Dish is an old favorite of mine and Mrs. Mosley that we watched in the theater when we were first dating.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:51 AM on December 22, 2020 [12 favorites]


Julie and the Phantoms is a lovely example of this.

I second the sour note in Parks and Rec, honestly, I couldn't get past the first two episodes because of the sheer cringe-ness.
posted by teleri025 at 11:51 AM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Kipo and Age of Wonderbeasts is all about being kind. Everyone is having conflicts with everyone else and Kipo's ongoing strategy is to make friends.
posted by Wetterschneider at 11:52 AM on December 22, 2020 [18 favorites]


I’m so happy to see kindness being used to categorize tv/films. It is one of the main lenses through which I am coming to view the world, but I’d never considered it as a way to consider media. It definitely explains a lot of my media choices.

I used to think of things in starker terms of morality, or fairness, or compassion, or justice, or mercy. But as I grow older, all of those values seem to be subsuming under a broader heading of simple kindness in the way we treat each other and ourselves.

My greatest achievement in life, I think, is that all of my friends are kind people, who value kindness, too. That, somehow, I’ve become a person that kind people want to be around. The older I get, the more this seems to matter to me.
posted by darkstar at 11:52 AM on December 22, 2020 [34 favorites]


Also, as I've noted before, the seemingly odd paring of The Addams Family and Phineas and Ferb share something crucial: Both are centered on incredibly odd people who are unerringly nice people and are kind to others.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:55 AM on December 22, 2020 [23 favorites]


I second the sour note in Parks and Rec, honestly, I couldn't get past the first two episodes because of the sheer cringe-ness.

When people talk about how Parks & Rec is warm and affirming, they are most assuredly not talking about the first season. The standard advice is to skip it and just go straight to Season 2; the tone shifts significantly at that point.

But I do agree that the "everyone yells at Jerry/Garry/Larry" running gag was never really funny. The show seemed to try to recognize this in later seasons and gives him a good life off-screen (loving & beautiful wife and family, becomes mayor, lives to 100 years old & dies peacefully in his sleep), but his on-screen treatment is still a bit off-putting.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:59 AM on December 22, 2020 [30 favorites]


posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:55 AM on December 22 [+] [!

Midnight Run?
posted by Going To Maine at 12:00 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


The categorizations of the films I'm familiar with, mostly superhero ones, don't make sense to me. I could see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as “kind”, given that it depicts a kid's family and school life in touching ways, and that Batman isn't kind, but I don't get how the recent movie portrayals would make Superman and Captain America “kind” but not Iron Man.

I mean the ideals of the first two characters are that they'd be kind—I have a foggy memory of a twentieth-century newspaper comic strip of Superman rescuing a little girl's cat stuck in a tree for example—and in recent films they behave nobly and politely, I just don't recall any recent depiction showing them as particularly kind.

The “all superheroes are fascist” thing may have impaired my ability to suspend disbelief somewhat.
posted by XMLicious at 12:02 PM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


I recently saw Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey for the first time this summer.

I agree that Excellent Adventure is kind, while Bogus Journey isn't.

Excellent Adventure is about working to achieve something. All of the characters are clearly having a fun adventure, and there's this wild optimism throughout the film that maybe if these two morons can get their act together, the rest of the world will follow suite. (spoiler: they do!)

Bogus Journey is more insular and sullen and undoes the accomplishment of the first film just so it can repeat the same future-saving stakes but this time with a villain.

I haven't seen the third one yet because the second was such a derail. Maybe now I will.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 12:10 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Midnight Diner is this, for me. It’s perfect pandemic watching.

(On Netflix, the first 2 seasons are called Midnight Diner and the final 3 are called Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:18 PM on December 22, 2020 [12 favorites]


There’s a reason I just binged the entirety of Deep Space Nine for like the third time this fall.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:21 PM on December 22, 2020 [18 favorites]


I have always been a soft-hearted, wholesome, sensitive, kind person. I have been shit on most of my life, sometimes by people close to me and those who i love, for being this way. I've been called stupid, naive, boring, lazy, ineffective, unrealistic, out of touch, for working towards making the world a kind place. Even in the past month or so, my dad has told me it's just not human nature to be the way I am, that the world can't work full of people like me, that anything i do is futile. My world growing up had no kindness in it, not at home and not at large. In the 90s it was all the rage (pun intended) to be a mean and angry person, and in the 2000s that switched to aloofness and irony.
This thread is giving me so many feelings. I just finished watching Ted Lasso and cannot adequately express the gratitude I have for that show. Kidness IS work. It's not the easy way out. Creating and building a structure that allows people to grow while also taking care of both people who are harmed and people who do the harm is lots of effort. and I still believe it's possible!
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:21 PM on December 22, 2020 [69 favorites]


Both the Good Place and Parks and Rec have some serious built-in cruelty that for me calls this whole premise into question.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:28 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


But I do agree that the "everyone yells at Jerry/Garry/Larry" running gag was never really funny. The show seemed to try to recognize this in later seasons and gives him a good life off-screen (loving & beautiful wife and family, becomes mayor, lives to 100 years old & dies peacefully in his sleep), but his on-screen treatment is still a bit off-putting.

Even the happy home life is kind of frustrating, since the allegedly "kind" characters keep asking Jerry/Garry to return to the workplace where people bully him, even after they find out that he's enjoying retirement with his family. There's one episode where he's asked back specifically because the office needed someone to be the designated bullying-victim, and Tom Haverford didn't handle it well when it was him.

On a more positive note, last night I read a sweet Christmas fic called Meowy Christmas, which is original fic, Cat Goddess/Woman Who Cares For Stray Cats (F/F). If you love femslash with cats and kindness, this is for you.
posted by creepygirl at 12:28 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


FirstMateKate, that scene in Ted Lasso when he's got the wager going on a game of darts, and he talks about how people have always underestimated him because they weren't curious... I felt that in my bones.

My Grandma died a year ago this month, aged 96. She was just pure love in human form. She was overlooked and ridiculed for it, most often by her own sons, who still struggle in their elder years with toxic masculinity. A great gift in my life is that my wife started saying to me a couple years ago, "Your Grandma loves you dearly. Make sure you're receiving that love while she's here to give it."

I'm here all damned day for kind media, and I intend to contribute to it myself.
posted by sockshaveholes at 12:31 PM on December 22, 2020 [35 favorites]


This is why I watch the animated Justice League Christmas special ("Comfort and Joy") every year: combines two Kind stories with a Deranged, which is about the right holiday media ratio for me. One of the parallel stories has no villain at all except grief and loneliness.
posted by praemunire at 12:39 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


I love this and want to apply it to everything I ever create:
"...it’s possible to be honest without being cynical and optimistic without being Pollyannaish."
posted by ancillary at 12:40 PM on December 22, 2020 [15 favorites]


You've got to be cruel to be kind. In the right measure.
posted by SoberHighland at 12:42 PM on December 22, 2020 [16 favorites]


I am very here for this right now. I find I just can't watch most prestige TV because it's all too mean. Even before the pandemic, I was seeking out more nice shows to watch and since, I just struggle to watch anything where the core characters aren't basically decent people.

And yet somehow, I watched all of Scandal.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:46 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


A kind movie recco: "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" (2016) written and directed by Taika Waititi. It's on Netflix. Not saccharine sweet, but funny, quirky and overall a good watch.
posted by SoberHighland at 12:46 PM on December 22, 2020 [49 favorites]


I had a coworker who wouldn't watch the Simpsons because she thought the humor was often mean, and I'm gradually coming around to that (although I actually enjoy mean humor much of the time).
posted by aspersioncast at 12:48 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Compared to The Office (UK), The Office (US) is the epitome of kindness.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 12:51 PM on December 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


Wilderpeople is so good, I watched that with my parents on a whim a couple years ago and afterwards we couldn't stop talking about what a nice movie it was.
posted by ghharr at 12:51 PM on December 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


SoberHighland stole my recommendation while I was typing it. I too recommend Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It's delightful!

I'm putting the new Bill and Ted on my list for Christmas and reminding myself to make time to watch Always Sometimes Rarely Never. and saving this list for future reference.
posted by vespabelle at 12:51 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Kindness and niceness are often conflated.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 12:55 PM on December 22, 2020 [15 favorites]


The second season of the Amazon version of The Tick is one of my favorite kindness shows. The theme ends up being: "choose love."
posted by UltraMorgnus at 1:00 PM on December 22, 2020 [14 favorites]


The show is pretty nice but there is a ton of food/fat shaming in Brooklyn 99. At least in the first few seasons; I haven't watched it all the way through yet.
posted by Mitheral at 1:01 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


This year's viewing has been about kind people we like hanging out with:
Steven Universe; She-Ra and the Princesses of Power; Schitt’s Creek; Deep Space Nine; Galaxy Quest; Mulan (animated); Emperor's New Grove; Last Holiday; Jojo Rabbit; FAQ About Time Travel...
posted by k3ninho at 1:07 PM on December 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


Brockmire. When it starts you think it's going to be vile people being vile, but it becomes increasingly poignant and kind.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 1:13 PM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


Compared to The Office (UK), The Office (US) is the epitome of kindness.

I couldn't watch the UK Office at all just for that reason. I might have gotten through an episode and a half before bailing.
posted by octothorpe at 1:14 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


As an aside: what the actual f is up with Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator?

uncleozzy, I’m in the same boat - despairing of Dahl while reading to my kid. If you haven’t read the AA Milne Winnie the Pooh books (not the Disney), it is the most kind, most wonderfully-written set of books. It stands up.

Also, if anyone’s after kind comedy, BBC R4’s Fags, Mags and Bags always strikes me as kind. And very funny
posted by stanf at 1:14 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


I'm just going to come in here and tell anyone who will listen to head over to Hulu and watch the two seasons of the wonderfully kind "Lodge 49".
It's bonkers, as if The Big Lebowski walked into a Freemason Lodge, but it's just so wonderful.
And Wyatt Russell?
Kurt and Goldie's son. BONUS.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 1:24 PM on December 22, 2020 [23 favorites]


The Birth of Kindness from the Spirit of Superman and Captain America
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:35 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


It's from 2019, and it's not cuddly, but Babyteeth was a fundamentally kind film.

Maybe Unpregnant?
posted by Beardman at 1:35 PM on December 22, 2020


It might sound strange, but Enlisted (a one-season wonder) has been this show for me. N-thing Ted Lasso too.
posted by atlantica at 1:37 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Once I finished this year's GBBO I binged the Canadian version...so much kindness! Now I'm watching the Great Flower Fight which is a competition to create giant plant sculptures. Same vibe. We tried watching Nailed It! but it is so loud and meanspirited we couldn't make it through the episode.
posted by Biblio at 1:42 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


A kind movie recco: "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" (2016) written and directed by Taika Waititi....

What We Do in the Shadows? Pretty kind as I recall. Some gory, but also kind.
posted by polecat at 1:47 PM on December 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


I think if people are going to get into Schitt's Creek for the kindness factor, they need to understand that it takes a while before that happens. The first season is the Rose family being awful people and that turned me off the first time I tried to watch it. I bailed on it then a year to two later, a friend told me that they really grow as human beings. OK, sounds good, so I started watching it again from the beginning and my friend was 100% right. However, you do need to watch the first season to really appreciate how they grow into their humanity. Then it turns into a show that requires them making a holiday special every year. It's a requirement from me.
posted by NoMich at 1:52 PM on December 22, 2020 [26 favorites]


Once I finished this year's GBBO I binged the Canadian version...so much kindness!

Great Australian Bake-Off is really kind too. Season 4 has a finalist offering a significant amount of help to their closest competitor after closest competitor has a bit of a disaster on their final showstopper. Matt Moran and Maggie Beer are lovely, kind judges as well.
posted by creepygirl at 1:52 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Adventure Time. The first season Ice King stuff is not great, but as the show progresses, it becomes incredible, and Finn has, in many ways, a heart like Ted Lasso in kid form. (I should also say that the new movie-length episodes on HBO Max have been a little disappointing though)
posted by gwint at 1:56 PM on December 22, 2020 [13 favorites]


Where are you able to watch Australian and Canadian Bake Offs?
posted by NoMich at 1:57 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


You've got to be cruel to be kind. In the right measure.

my thoughts exactly. Too much emphasis on KINDness and things wallow off into niceness, cuteness, small fluffy things that end up crawling into your ears and eating your brain.

One movie that manages to do this (ie: walk the kindness tightrope effortlessly, with no net below) is Bill Forsyth's Local Hero, which for whatever reason is currently available for free over at Youtube.

Robert Ebert gave it his highest rating way back when

What makes this material really work is the low-key approach of the writer-director, Bill Forsyth, who also made the charming Gregory's Girl and has the patience to let his characters gradually reveal themselves to the camera. He never hurries, and as a result, Local Hero never drags: Nothing is more absorbing than human personalities, developed with love and humor.
posted by philip-random at 1:57 PM on December 22, 2020 [12 favorites]


Non-obvious: The Queen's Gambit
posted by signal at 1:57 PM on December 22, 2020 [14 favorites]


Amelie fits the bill, I think. I really liked that film.
posted by zerobyproxy at 2:01 PM on December 22, 2020 [16 favorites]


As an aside: what the actual f is up with Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator?

At risk of temporarily derailing away from kindness, Roald Dahl was an extremely unpleasant person, apparently.

Back on the note of kind shows, The Great Pottery Throw-Down is one of my very favorites. When Keith Brymer Jones is moved to tears by the beauty of someone's work, I get weepy too (in a good way).

I also love the Sky Arts series Portrait Artist of the Year. It's one of the few shows for which I put down my phone/tablet/other devices because I really want to pay attention.

On the YouTube front, recently we've been engaging in a comfort binge on the Try Guys channel and SORTEDfood for how they seem to be people who actually like each other and enjoy creating things together.

In a similar vein, I've been enjoying watching subtitled episodes of Run BTS! for the same air of a group of people who like and care about each other. Because it's a variety show about watching them playing games, there's a bit more backstabbing (several Mafia/Werewolf type games, with spy/spoiler players) but it's coming from a place of good will, which makes it fun to watch. (I'm allergic to cringe humor and the comedy of excruciation, but a recent episode in which one member exclaimed "the world is full of lies!!" at the game's revelation had me weeping with laughter.)
posted by Lexica at 2:02 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


beste sangers is kind reality tv: 6 singers from different genres get together, get to know each other, and then each perform a song for the other five that is by them or meaningful to them, hoping not so much to impress with technique as to honor and move.
posted by Clowder of bats at 2:03 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


NoMich, I watched Great Australian Bake Off on Dailymotion and Reddit (I think the Reddit was called notapanelshow). Haven't watched the Canadian show yet so I'm not sure about that.
posted by creepygirl at 2:07 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


To avoid abusing the edit window: I also skipped Season 1 of Great Australian Bake Off, which had different judges and hosts than 2-5. Can't vouch for the Season 1 judges.
posted by creepygirl at 2:09 PM on December 22, 2020


What We Do in the Shadows? Pretty kind as I recall. Some gory, but also kind.

The characters are endearing, but I wouldn't describe it as a kind show--those endearing characters are all narcissistic murderers who are frequently unkind to each other and to Guillermo. There's only one moment in the show that I would call kind: the way the story of Nandor and his old familiar plays out.

I'm a little surprised to see Brooklyn 99 considered a kind show. So many fat jokes! And fat suits! I loved the episode with Hitchcock and Scully's origin story, but the payoff at the end is basically a fat joke. Anyway, I care more about a high joke density in a comedy than kindness, so the frequent mean spiritedness doesn't bother me (unless it fails to be funny, like the fat murder victim in S1), but I would hesitate to recommend to someone looking for kindness in media.
posted by betweenthebars at 2:09 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I think if people are going to get into Schitt's Creek for the kindness factor, they need to understand that it takes a while before that happens. The first season is the Rose family being awful people and that turned me off the first time I tried to watch it. I bailed on it then a year to two later, a friend told me that they really grow as human beings. OK, sounds good, so I started watching it again from the beginning and my friend was 100% right. However, you do need to watch the first season to really appreciate how they grow into their humanity. Then it turns into a show that requires them making a holiday special every year. It's a requirement from me.

I think if somebody starts it and REALLY hates it, it would be fine to just watch the pilot and then skip to season 2. I get that watching them be really terrible at first helps drive the later message home, but that first season was rough going for me (especially the mayor, ugh).
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:09 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Bob's Burgers. The kindness of that family was sort of therapeutic for me during a rough patch in which it seemed the whole world was cruel.
posted by flamk at 2:10 PM on December 22, 2020 [44 favorites]


One thing that is unusual about the wonderful Ted Lasso is that there are very few shows in the middle of the Venn diagram with both kindness and dirtiness. It's not a particularly dirty show overall, but there are very few kind shows where people swear (especially like the British swear), enjoy having sex, or discuss whether one character has a curve in his penis.
posted by Superilla at 2:12 PM on December 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


Compared to The Office (UK), The Office (US) is the epitome of kindness.
Compared to both, Derek (also by Ricky Gervais and set in a council-run aged-care home) is a large marshmallow custard bowl of kindness and goodwill.
posted by Thella at 2:15 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


If you, like me, are reading this whole thread to find suggestions, here's one for you: Better Off Ted. I have always suspected its cancellation was due in part to its kindness.
posted by dbx at 2:17 PM on December 22, 2020 [32 favorites]


you have to be cruel to be kind.

No, you don't. You really dont, and I'm tired of pretending that kindness is only doable as long as someone, somewhere, is doing the "dirty work". I refuse to live in a world where dirty work needs to be done. Cruelty, by definition, is relishing in pain and suffering. No, we cannot live in a world devoid of pain and suffering. There will always be pain and suffering, but that doesn't mean there isn't work to be done. All you're doing by accepting that cruelty is par for the course is missing out on opportunities to reduce pain. It's not mature, it's cynical and lazy. It's the status quo, it's centrism, it's defeatist.
Kindness isn't niceness, nor placating, nor manners. Kindness is disruption. It's dismantling. It's work. For a society that only cares about a few, kindness is radical. It breaks etiquette, questions authority, and demands more.
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:30 PM on December 22, 2020 [64 favorites]


Like a lot of others posting here, I've been seeking these out more fervently as a relief to what seem to be the two other common genres of the age: trauma.show and miserablebastards.show
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 2:33 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


I submit for your consideration Star Trek: Picard.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:34 PM on December 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


head over to Hulu and watch the two seasons of the wonderfully kind "Lodge 49". It's bonkers, as if The Big Lebowski walked into a Freemason Lodge, but it's just so wonderful.

Hear, hear. This show has it all, especially kindness. And not just kindness, but the good, real, non-sappy-TV kind. It's one of the only things to come out in the last couple years that doesn't add fuel to the old personal misanthropy furnace, but rather really makes me dig livin' as a human.
posted by heteronym at 2:38 PM on December 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


Hilda is my current go to for kind and sweet, but still acknowledging the difficulties and ways that works. The ongoing "teen girls" thing in particular is something I appreciate, and the art is sublime.

I would also suggest that Brooklyn 99 and Community are far more on the mean side of funny - my ex has a scale of mean and funny, where the funny has to outweigh the mean. Neither show nail that (same with P&R) regularly. There is often just mean, or not funny enough.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople definitely is kind and I adore it, but there is a lot of sadness. Not as sad as Boy but kind and funny.

Gourmet Samurai is absolutely gorgeous and kind and beautiful, and absurd. I've watched it with my neck beard friends and my ten year old, and it's always a hit.

I think there is something of a conflation of kind and funny going on in the thread - funny shows, even if they are woke, aren't always kind. And having redemption/good people doesn't make it kind either.

Similar the the cruelty to be kind thing - kindness is a disruption, sometimes the kind thing isn't nice, but that doesn't mean it has to be cruel in some way to be kind. Hunt for the Wilderpeople doesn't shy away from the reality of foster care, racism, policing, toxic masculinity, or aging. It doesn't focus on those things, but they are there showing how the kindness is a disruption and reaction to those things that shows a better way. SimilarlyHilda doesn't pretend that her personality isn't overwhelming to others sometimes, and that she can hurt them by being so overpowering, but it shows ways she sees that and shifts and makes amends. But those are kind shows because that background level of cruelty or unkindness is just that, the background for the more important bits of being kind.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:41 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


I quite liked Space Force for just this reason. Though some of the supporting characters were unpleasant, the interactions between Naird (Steve Carell) and Mallory (John Malkovich) spoke of a deep friendship. Also Naird's interactions with his daughter throughout the series were just wonderful.

I am done with cringe comedy and entertainment which exists to demean its characters and derive enjoyment from their suffering. I have never liked it, and now that other options are out there, I never need expose myself to it again.

...when will John Wick 4 be released?
posted by JohnFromGR at 2:44 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Jeff Who Lives At Home
Stranger Than Fiction
Everything Must Go
Safety Not Guaranteed
Skeleton Twins
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Ladybird
Book Smart

harrowing, yes, but ultimately empathic and human in great depth: The End of The Fucking World.

+1 The Half of It (sooo charming)

from the pantheon of kindest movies ever: Groundhog Day
posted by j_curiouser at 2:46 PM on December 22, 2020 [10 favorites]


...when will John Wick 4 be released?

You like how he gives away all those free bullets?
posted by biffa at 2:48 PM on December 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


What is the lead photo in the article from?

I wish they had better captions.
posted by doctornemo at 2:49 PM on December 22, 2020


What is the lead photo in the article from?

"Will Ferrell’s Netflix comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga"
posted by slimepuppy at 2:59 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


What is the lead photo in the article from?

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

edit: jinx!
posted by JohnFromGR at 2:59 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


I'm so stoked to see this kind of discussion and I'll demonstrate why with ONE of the themes of Mad Max: Fury Road

That theme, on a shallow level, is something like "treating people like things is wrong", which is a very common theme in media of all kinds

But the film is not really about right or wrong, and what it's really depicting is "treating people like things makes them rebel against you, and treating people like people builds solidarity and alliances and works a lot better"

But on closer look it's saying "IT'S REALLY HARD to be a human being in this world, only a handful of people in this film make this leap of trust and kindness, because this inhuman system itself makes people traumatized and inhuman and creates its own stability, so it actually works quite well, and the force of kindness has many many odds stacked against it"

And then it also says "kindness and humanity are in fact really powerful, people respond to them, even people who are deeply traumatized and inhuman themselves, there is still some seed of humanity that grows and blossoms when it's nurtured, and this nurturing is a gift that people can only give to each other, not take or steal, nor even manufacture for themselves"

That makes the film incredibly kind and even somewhat healing, in my opinion, but this is all COMPLICATED and it's hard to access and put into words. And it all comes from the WRITING. And classical media journalism typically humps all over the DIRECTING and the acting choices, not just because of the prestige of directors and actors, but because quite frankly those decisions are easier to understand and talk about. It simply takes more time to think about the story itself, and let it soak in so you can take it apart and look at the pieces. And journalists tend to equate "writing a movie" with the shallow act of writing the dialogue, not with the process of deciding what the fuck happens in the story. (So Fury Road, with it's lack of dialogue, illuminates that dynamic as well.)

I also want to shout out to cinematography, which is a it of a sidetrack but also somewhat undercovered in media journalism, and the cinematography of Fury Road is in fact also kind in itself

Anyway so people resonate and respond to the writing choices, the shape of stories, even when they can't explain what they're responding to or why, and the greatest value media critics can give is putting into words these things that are most difficult to put into words. I think they've been getting better at it and an article like this is a very very good trend imo.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 3:02 PM on December 22, 2020 [46 favorites]


It's been a while, but I recall Bill Forsyth's Local Hero and Comfort and Joy as genuinely sweet films. Northern Exposure, kind of an unlicensed Local Hero adaptation/rip-off, had a kind heart too. So did Percy Adlon's Bagdad Cafe and My Dinner with Andre. (Hmm. I may be showing my age a bit here.)

If you're looking for reality TV with some kindness, I loved the SyFy show Face-Off. The first season had some BS reality show back-stabby drama, IIRC, but then they got rid of all that and the show really focused on the creative process of these special effects makeup artists and they were always helping each other out during the challenges and stuff. There was zero trash-talk, everybody was supportive of everybody else. It was just neat.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:07 PM on December 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


I really like the premise of the article and would've loved to have seen the idea explored further and deeper. Some great recommendations and thoughts in this discussion as well.

Somewhat related, part of the reason I thoroughly enjoyed the latest Mission Impossible (Fallout) was because the story was explicitly about the protagonist's unwillingess to accept "the ends justify the means" when both his allies and enemies are constantly pushing him towards that conclusion. I don't think I'd call the film overall "kind" in the way this article talks about but there's something refreshing about a protagonist with a explicitly stated moral centre that he is ultimately rewarded for having, rather than it proving ultimately unrealistic/idealistic. The comparison between Snyder Superman and Captain America (at least in Winter Soldier) has been made before: Superman's story arc ends with "I'm going to kill you", while Captain America's arc ends with "I'm not going to fight you".

There's a few recent games that fit this criteria as well; Hades and Spiritfarer both felt very kind with central characters who are defined by their kind hearts and unrelenting belief in others.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:29 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Miyazaki made a couple of true classics in this category, if I’m reading the parameters correctly.
posted by atoxyl at 3:29 PM on December 22, 2020 [18 favorites]


But I think I’m a little unclear on whether a “kind movie” is a movie in which characters are generally kind to each other or have some level of permanent mutual affection despite their differences, versus just a movie in which the value of everyday virtues is ultimately affirmed? Because if it’s the latter

Kind Movies challenge the unspoken critical hierarchy that places more value on violent, pessimistic, masculine, or “edgy” art.

I feel like I want to challenge a little bit how much this critical hierarchy is actually a thing? There are plenty of critically respected “feel-good movies” in film history, even if some of them - like It’s a Wonderful Life - pass through very dark territory.

“Grim n’ gritty” goes through periods of being in vogue, but once the novelty wears off it sure doesn’t buy that much critical respect on its own - see a lot of bad grim superhero movies.
posted by atoxyl at 3:38 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Not a movie, but I enjoyed the heck out of a novel, The Lager Queen of Minnesota by Ryan J. Stradal, this year. It has a lot of kindness happening in it. Also beer.
posted by zenzenobia at 3:40 PM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


It was 2018, but Michel Gondry’s Kidding (with Jim Carrey) was big of heart. (If podcasts are allowed... Beautiful Anonymous, You’re Wrong About, the Adam Buxton Podcast, Heavyweight and The Blindboy Podcast are all five, each in their own way, high-empathy fare.)
posted by progosk at 3:48 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Oh, and in movies, The Peanut Butter Falcon.
posted by progosk at 3:53 PM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


David Lynch’s G-rated The Straight Story is, too.

I would agree about this for me, but then someone on MetaFilter linked me to a quite valid, disturbing read of The Straight Story that you can feel free to hunt down on your own time if you want to taint an otherwise mild experience.

Sorry about that.
posted by mhoye at 3:59 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Lars and the Real Girl is the kindest movie I have seen in my life and I was not at all expecting it to be when I started it.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:03 PM on December 22, 2020 [19 favorites]


I have two more titles to add to the pile:

- Good Boys (I think this may have been overlooked because the trailer made it look like Superbad Jr.?)
- the special-effects makeup reality competition show Face-Off (every single episode someone needs a little help, and gets it from the other contestants)

and seconding The Peanut Butter Falcon!
posted by queensissy at 4:06 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


All I wanted to say in terms of warm fuzzy media that I was happy to consume lately is that this year's Strictly Come Dancing celeb winner is comedian/musician Bill Bailey.

How nice and sweet is that? Bill seems like he's a really kind person.
posted by droplet at 4:11 PM on December 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


But I think I’m a little unclear on whether a “kind movie” is a movie in which characters are generally kind to each other or have some level of permanent mutual affection despite their differences, versus just a movie in which the value of everyday virtues is ultimately affirmed?

As I read it, neither. I think the author of the piece is using the term "kind movie" to refer to a movie in which kindness, specifically, is central to the narrative. It's not just that there are characters that are kind to each other, nor that the movie has some sort of moralizing message, it's that kindness actually drives the story in some way. In the same way that, say, a horror movie is one for which fear or dread help drive the story, or an action move is one for which physicality and violence help drive the story. Maybe that's just my idiosyncratic read, though.
posted by biogeo at 4:11 PM on December 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


I think Big Mouth would qualify as kind. While also being hysterically crudely funny. It kinda helps that the show's about kids going through puberty, so there's a bit of an inherent "this is all temporary and will pass" quality which lowers the stakes a little - OTOH i think the latest season has done a really good job in starting to examine the ways in which things that happen to you or that you do may have long-ranging effects and repercussions.

The Repair Shop is definitely kind in tone and in a moment-to-moment way, although taken as a whole it's got some inherent class issues.

Nthing Kipo and The Age of Wonderbeasts, although the latest season is having some issues in this regard - they're running up against the problem that sometimes people are so invested for so long in being UNkind that converting them is not a problem with a quick and easy solution. And the show isn't really taking the time to delve into that, so some of the character turns are coming across as facile and cheesy.

Schitt's Creek - Mmmmmm yeah, this one's complicated. Not only is the first season not kind, yet kinda required viewing to set the base for the further seasons, but i kinda had to take a pause on the show somewhere around the 4th season. Moira (the mom character masterfully played by Catherine O'Hara) is by this point in the show not as . . . integrated into the town and their current life as the rest of the family, so it felt to me that a lot of the humor was "cringe" stuff about Moira being wildly inappropriate or unrealistic. Which started to feel grating, especially when it's one of the main female characters that's the butt of most of the humor.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:15 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


The Castle, the classic Australian film, is pretty much just a profile of a kind and loved guy. Its a weird form of satire that kinda satirises the viewer for being cynical and judgemental of a humble but great life.
The show Last Man on Earth is a mean to kind bait and switch. About a very mean selfish guy who grows and grows and it goes from selfish gag humour and meanness to a really unexpectedly romantic love story and show about tolerance and bucking expectations (spoiler: theres this little running gag by the last season where the two straight main male characters kiss goodbye every scene when one leaves like a couple would just because they want to be affectionate).
posted by hotcoroner at 4:31 PM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


Doubling and tripling down on the rec upthread for Bob's Burgers.
posted by ishmael at 4:48 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


I would not call The Rest of Us from 2019 a great movie, but it's definitely about people just trying to do right by each other.

The documentary Jasper Mall is also just a lot of "nice people being nice."

Saint Frances has it a bit -- definitely in the end.

(I also agree about First Cow -- there is certainly some darkness to that movie, but what a good movie about a couple of people just being sweet and naive.)

I felt like I had more to add but I can't quite think of them right now. But "good people being good to each other" is definitely an underappreciated genre of film and I want more of it.
posted by edencosmic at 5:04 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]



The movie Brigsby Bear, which I saw for the first (and second) time this year, could have easily been so cynical and cruel, but was truly kind and joyful. I highly recommend it.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 5:07 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


For me it's as simple as I do not want to see people being mistreated, I don't care if it's "for the plot", there are just things I like pointing my eyeballs at and that's not one of them. I feel like "watching ugly people be ugly to each other" was the go-to plot point of most popular movies & tv shows up to this decade and it's refreshing to see it change in real time.
posted by bleep at 5:27 PM on December 22, 2020 [13 favorites]


^ and also I feel like in Schitt's Creek "Ugly people being ugly to each other" is a large driver of the comedy (the horrible mayor character) so I don't know why it gets a mention here at all.
posted by bleep at 5:28 PM on December 22, 2020


Midnight Diner and the new She-Ra on netflix are very good.
posted by Reyturner at 5:39 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Seconding atoxyl. Miyazaki villains always end up being people (or creatures) you commiserate with.
posted by homerica at 5:40 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


I would recommend Gravity Falls, which centers on maintaining and repairing sibling relationships and friendships, and courage in the face of the apocalypse and impending teenagerhood.

I would also recommend T. Kingfisher's two horror novels, The Twisted Ones and The Hollow Places. In both books, a young woman returns to a relative's home she visited often to recover from a painful breakup, only to battle an otherworldly menace with the help of friendly neighbors and an animal companion (who always lives). The menace is defeated. The woman overcomes her heartbreak and forms life-long bonds with the neighbors.

Or her romance novels, Paladin's Grace and Swordheart. Or her MG/YA novels, A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking and Minor Mage. All about normal people, often women, rising to circumstances, doing what's right, along with a team, and succeeding.
posted by JawnBigboote at 5:45 PM on December 22, 2020 [11 favorites]


Someone mentioned Murderbot upthread.

I mentioned on Twitter that I liked to fall asleep listening to the Murderbot books. Someone replied saying "uh, murderous cyborg lulls you to sleep??"

Well, yeah. Murderbot is violent. It'll also take a LOT of abuse to protect its clients. And even though it often finds humans insufferable, it's loyal to the group of clients that, to its chagrin, sees it as an acceptable being. Murderbot is the recipient of kindness, and in spite of itself, it sometimes acts in a kind manner, though sometimes violently.

I think of it kind of like Schwarzenegger's character in Terminator 2, with more computer hacking savvy, a few more feelings, and more serials. Apparently I find that comforting.
posted by Archer25 at 5:49 PM on December 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


and also I feel like in Schitt's Creek "Ugly people being ugly to each other" is a large driver of the comedy (the horrible mayor character) so I don't know why it gets a mention here at all.

You definitely got a point with Chris Elliot's mayor character - he was so thoroughly obnoxious in the first season that the show runners were clearly starting out with an "ugly people vs. different ugly people" direction.

But people are mentioning it here because lots of folks (including me) feel there really was a turn from the second season on, where the Schitt family starts to accept that this is their life now, they are part of the community, and the conflicts are more "misunderstanding" and "unlearning habituated bad behavior" than simple ugliness.

The show still isn't unadulterated kindness - like I said, I feel the Moira character gets stuck (for a while at least) in a not great place - but the tone and character development progress towards kindness as the show continues, and they took home a bunch of Emmy awards in 2020 largely (IMO) for that.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:00 PM on December 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


I'm definitely curious about the definitions here, since this is both something I'm very into, but also I'm looking at some of the suggestions and going "Wait, how is that a kind show/movie?"

Example: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, above. I loved that movie, but the whole thing is learning how abusive & terrible the two leads are and closing off with a "Welp, we're going to be abusive but if each of us can tolerate that better than directing it at others?"

I think I mostly just want to be done with, per above, terrible people being terrible to each other; cringe-comedy; whatever you want to call it; particularly in the realm of comedy. Thriller, horror, I know what I'm getting into. But expecting a *smile* paired with emotional pain/harm is grating to me.
posted by CrystalDave at 6:20 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Compared to both, Derek (also by Ricky Gervais and set in a council-run aged-care home) is a large marshmallow custard bowl of kindness and goodwill.

I love Ghost Town, a movie where Gervais plays an asshole dentist who learns to be a better person after he starts to see dead people. It's like a nice warm hug (wild considering Gervais' real-life schtick).
posted by grandiloquiet at 6:22 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


(Have your conversation, but heads up that "You've got to be cruel to be kind. In the right measure." is a reference to a song lyric featured in Shakespearean teen movie 10 Things I Hate About You, and not necessarily a philosophical stance.)
posted by team lowkey at 6:56 PM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best thing that everybody involved in that movie has ever done, imo, but, it is complex. Hard to reduce to any axis, I think.
posted by Chitownfats at 7:00 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Detectorists.
posted by medusa at 7:03 PM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


I feel like Jacques Tati's Playtime might fit into this category. It's certainly a social satire but the main characters in this nearly dialog-free film, who spend most of the movie barely missing each other, are both gentle, sweet, well-meaning archetypal fools in their own way, equally lost in mid-century industrial excesses and stumbling hilariously if a bit tragically through them, despite one being an American tourist and the other being a Parisian. It's one of my go-to's when I'm in the mood for a great film, want to laugh at the absurdity of everything, but not in a mean way.
posted by treepour at 7:08 PM on December 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


Leave No Trace was basically a series of people being kind to each other in extremely small and subtle ways. It's the second movie from the woman who directed Winter's Bone and it's fantastic.
posted by windbox at 7:20 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Ghosts! C'mon Americans, if you have HBO Max you can watch it (otherwise, hoist the mainsails me hearties).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:26 PM on December 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


heads up that "You've got to be cruel to be kind. In the right measure." is a reference to a song lyric featured in Shakespearean teen movie 10 Things I Hate About You, and not necessarily a philosophical stance.

EXCUSE ME no disrespect intended but AHEM NO not quite (the song was released in 1979 way before the movie).
posted by Lexica at 7:38 PM on December 22, 2020 [26 favorites]


I take issue with the title of this post because I strongly believe that 30 Rock is a kind show. Yes, sure, on the face of it Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon are awful humans who are terrible to each other, but I am absolutely sure that if push came to shove and tragedy hit, they would have each other's backs. Underneath all that sniping was genuine affection for each other as humans. Kenneth the page was kindness personified. Jenna Maroney was bonkers, but ultimately too human to be anything but kind in the end. Even Tracy Jordan had his epiphanies of the soul.

And Schitt's Creek is the kindest show I know. Like a big warm blanket in this COVID-y times. What shines through most in the end is how much the Roses love each other. Moira is ridiculously over the top, and full of quirks and foibles (true story - I know the woman Catherine O'Hara partially based this character on) but she loves her family more than anything. She adores her long-suffering husband, and she pretends to ignore her children, but wants their happiness above all else. The whole show is about love and acceptance. I mean, that final episode with David and Patrick's wedding? Come ON! I'm weeping just thinking about it. A giant rainbow explosion of kindness. If you don't think Schitt's Creek is a kind show, you are probably dead inside (I'm sorry).
posted by Go Banana at 7:47 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Better Off Ted is one of my favorite shows ever and in better world it got six seasons and a movie.

I'd also recommend Canadian sitcom Corner Gas, which is about a small town in the middle-of-nowhere Saskatchewan and has an amazing cast.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is surprisingly kind for a story involving the world at war and the destruction of an entire nation. The redemption of Zuko gets me every time, and then when you bring in Uncle Iroh...

I watched Parks and Recreation one time, and I think that was enough. Between the treatment of Jerry and real-life antics of Ansari and Pratt, I think I'm done. I'll rewatch The Good Place again any time because Janet, though.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:57 PM on December 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


Nthing Kipo and adding Los Espookys
posted by (Over) Thinking at 8:02 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Clearly and understandably this year has led to something of a reset in how we view popular media. I generally really enjoy ridiculously violent superhero nonsense, and so very mush enjoyed the first season of The Boys last year. However, this year I made it only half way through the first episode of the second season before noping out. Everyone in it was horrible. On the other hand, I greatly enjoyed the equally blood-thirsty Old Guard, mostly I think because it showed people being genuinely fond of each other and (most strikingly) a scene in which someone was kind to a total stranger for no obvious reason.
posted by Fuchsoid at 8:11 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


The first time I noticed this as a separate category of TV (which I've described before as "you can be a total weirdo, but people will still like you") was probably Spaced.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:17 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


I am 4.5 episodes in and can report that (for my definition of kindness) Ted Lasso is just the thing

but ALSO how on earth did no one mention that Giles shows up playing deliciously against type?!?!?
posted by minervous at 8:21 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Reading many of the recommendations here, I feel like alot of people are not getting it. A few people do get it though.

Reccomendations that get it...

1. Movies by Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away etc.)

2.Most of Taika Waititi's work (including JoJo Rabbit, Eagle vs Shark, Boy and also his character in What We Do In The Shadows (the movie not the series).

3. The excellent, insightful commentary on Fury Road.

4. The Peanutbutter Falcon

Other kind movies avaible for streaming now...

Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Big Little Farm (a documentary)

The Florida Project

Little Miss Sunshine

Sunshine Cleaning
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:28 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Oh, also Lars and The Real Girl, yes, definitely a kind movie!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:31 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


I think I'd even throw Juno out there as a kind movie.

I haven't seen Ted Lasso, but now I'm gonna go find it. Maybe I'll have another one to add to my list. I treasure these "kind" movies. They're few and far between, but all the more important because they are so rare.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:38 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Just watched the pilot of Lodge 49 on the strength of the recommendations here. It’s lovely! Takes the exact same starting conditions as the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down and goes... somewhere else entirely. In a good way.
posted by sockshaveholes at 8:47 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


An entirely kind movie is About A Boy. It's a Christmas movie that is so much more than that. It's a Hugh Grant movie that is so much more than that. It's one of my favorite movies ever. About A Boy. Watch it.
posted by hippybear at 9:06 PM on December 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


The thing that kept us watching season one of Schitt's Creek, besides a ridiculous number of recommendations from people we trusted, was a few early indications that the show was creating space for its characters to transform. I think it's Ep 2 where Dan Levy's character insults his dad's nightshirt with "you've got a whole Ebeneezer Scrooge thing going on." As soon as we finished that episode we were intensely debating whether A Christmas Carol level of 180⁰ turnaround was where the series and characters were headed. Within the next few episodes I became convinced that the show was pitched as Un-arrested Development: what if you took similar characters to AD, but instead of leaving them stuck perpetually in the same dysfunctional family relationship loops, you made them capable of personal growth?

Lots of other things I've enjoyed in this thread (Steven Universe! Avatar! Bill & Ted! The Good Place & Parks & Rec except the Gerry jokes), but clearly I need to give Ted Lasso a try.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:10 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I feel that a lot was said about Murderbot upthread, but seriously, it's so good. Every time, the poor robot is torn away from just WATCHING SOAP OPERAS IN PEACE, because Murderbot can't let those poor idiots get hurt. That's it, that's the synopsis of every Murderbot story, and it just gives me the feels every time. Ah.


Anyway, it seems like nobody yet has mentioned either of my favorite Scandiwegian kindness books/movies (in both cases, the adaptation was quite good).

Elling is about two recently de-institutionalized Norwegian men, venturing out into the confusing world and making friends. It could have been some slapstick, "ha ha look at the crazy people" thing, but it goes in some very surprising directions.

A man called Ove is about a recently widowed, suicidal middle-aged man, prickly as hell and actually figuring out how emotions work. And the whole damn thing ends up being about people being kind and helping each other, with periodic shouting. I'm not crying.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:25 PM on December 22, 2020 [10 favorites]


It's been a while since I watched it, but I think The Station Agent qualifies.
posted by praemunire at 9:42 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


True Stories (the Talking Heads musical) is one of my very favourite movies, and I think folks looking for kindness would like it. It’s an hour and a half of warmth, community, curiosity and wonder wrapped up in amazing music.
posted by oulipian at 9:52 PM on December 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


Honestly if Avatar: The Last Airbender counts, the distinction is meaningless. (I'm singling this out because this is one of the few shows mentioned in this thread that I can challenge with some authority!)

Like certainly non-violence is a frequent solution because the main character is a pacifist who is charged with stopping a war, but that's effectively the limit of the show's 'kindness'. It is, at its heart, an action show for kids, that has to reserve empathy for main characters and those villains who will at some point join Team Avatar; even minor characters like Toph's parents, or the travelling hippies in The Cave of Two Lovers, are portrayed as annoying stereotypes to be tolerated and left behind. It is, occasionally, even kind of mean-spirited (e.g. both the original canyon episode, and the episode that calls back to it, the stage play episode that recaps and parodies the show).
posted by Merus at 9:56 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


This year has taught me how much I value stories about kindness, generosity and friendship.

Queer Eye
The Detectorists
The Repair Shop
Tokyo Diner
Oddly enough, I find a lot of Grand Designs pretty kind, although not always.
The first season or so of Grace and Frankie, before it became too formulaic.

Books:
Anything by Becky Chambers
Murderbot
The Goblin Emperor (so lovely!)
Anything by Elizabeth Enright
I love Arthur Ransome 's Swallows and Amazons series, although some aspects of the language dealing with race hasn't aged well.
Anything by Tove Jansen
posted by Zumbador at 10:30 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Very 2020 (multi-awarded on the festival circuit) and a riveting double-tale of kindness is The Painter and the Thief (available for Europeans too on Vimeo).
posted by progosk at 10:39 PM on December 22, 2020


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt deserves a mention.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:08 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


While Elliot Page is amazing, Juno is definitely not a kind movie. It's not, like, especially an unkind movie, but kindness is not a defining feature. It was a movie that I liked a bunch at first, but then liked less and less the more I thought about it. If you want a good teen pregnancy movie from around the same time, watch Saved instead.
posted by eviemath at 11:18 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Movies that feel kind or compassionate to me include anything Miyazaki. Agree with the assessment of Fury Road. Also, one of my favorite films: a Japanese movie whose title in English is After Life. And Unicorn Store, of course!

In recent tv: Kipo, Doom Patrol, Teenage Bounty Hunters.
posted by eviemath at 11:22 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I write this as a fan of Schitt's Creek; I think it's a show that promotes kindness in a lot of ways. I cried at so much of the last season! But...

But I found it particularly and personally painful to watch a rich, white, family get second, third, fourth, and fifth chances to figure out how to not be unfathomably horrible to non-rich, mostly white people.

Like they get to do stuff over and over again that would get the rest of us fired or arrested, and the people in the town just have to take it. I love the slow emergence of the humanity of the Rose family, but it's at the cost of the de-humanization of an entire town of (mostly) unfailingly kind people. Is that ultimately kind or not?
posted by el gran combo at 12:59 AM on December 23, 2020 [11 favorites]


If we're allowed to rec Nordic movies could add Italiensk for begyndere / Italian for Beginners: troubled people get help and forge micro-community.
posted by BobTheScientist at 1:12 AM on December 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


Sky's Portrait Artist of the Year is a kind reality TV show. They have a Landscape Artist of the Year series which also qualifies.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:10 AM on December 23, 2020


the horrible mayor character

Yup, fair comment: Roland is an awful character who is lazy, ignorant and offensive. But — whether because of his name, or more likely in a small town, no-one else wants to do it — he has to run the place. He does so incredibly ineptly, yet the place stays together despite that. The character grows a bit — from leering pervert in S1 to loving/lovable/generous/almost reliable bozo in the last — but is a constant stand-in for the town itself and the way the Roses relate to it. Plus it gives Chris Elliott the chance to masterclass his lifetime "Man With No Redeeming Features Whatsoever" role.

Definitely some YMMV applies here: I noped out hard on both Derek (Gervais gets paid to make fun of caregivers) and Bob's Burgers (annoying characters and badly drawn). But yeah: Bill Forsyth movies, Jacques Tatí (I mean, Mon Oncle? Hulot is chaotic kindness in the face of lawful industry), A Man called Ove (serious TWs about suicide attempts, and yet he tries to return the rope that broke to the hardware store), … so many to watch.
posted by scruss at 2:56 AM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


one of my favorite films: a Japanese movie whose title in English is After Life

Me too!

I immediately thought of that. And Lodge 49, especially if you can access both seasons (only S1 on Prime in the UK, I had to resort to... other means).

I've always felt that Tati's through-theme was that people are people in the face of apparently overbearing structures, but the structures are made by people, too. However much work people might put into making a passionless upscale restaurant, just beneath the surface there's a laid-back bistro waiting to happen.

I have no idea whether it fits with the original concept (which has, perhaps, crept everso slightly), but Dean Spanley seems to fit in here. It certainly raises dust in the room for me.
posted by Grangousier at 3:18 AM on December 23, 2020




I have been actively trying to only watch kind movies and TV recently recently without realising that was the common denominator, thank you all for these recommendations.

Better Off Ted is reuniting for a charity table read on the 27th!
posted by ellieBOA at 4:31 AM on December 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


I totally agree with The Last Black Man in San Francisco.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 5:32 AM on December 23, 2020


Also I think the Station Agent does qualify.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 5:33 AM on December 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


Oh and, yes, count me as another vote for True Stories. Knowing that David Byrne started Reasons To Be Cheerful which is, essentially a website devoted to kindness, makes me certain that the gentle kindness I find in True Stories is intentional and indeed the whole "point" of the movie.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 5:40 AM on December 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


The ultimate kind reality show is, of course, The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:38 AM on December 23, 2020 [6 favorites]


Adding my voice to the Local Hero choir and I'd add Playtime, both of which are among my very favourite movies.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:39 AM on December 23, 2020


People who really love Playtime: I haven't seen it since I was a teen, but do you feel any... affection for the characters? The lack of close shots really kills that for me, as I recall, but I should give it another watch. My grandparents were extras in that film, and we lost my granddad to COVID in September. Apparently Tati cut him out of more takes after he kept, uh, walking weirdly in front of the camera, but my grandmom's in the group of American tourists in several scenes.
posted by deludingmyself at 6:56 AM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


If you can find it, The Castle is my go-to when I'm feeling really down about the world. You can smell the serenity.
posted by snwod at 6:57 AM on December 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


Honestly if Avatar: The Last Airbender counts, the distinction is meaningless. [. . .]

Like certainly non-violence is a frequent solution because the main character is a pacifist who is charged with stopping a war, but that's effectively the limit of the show's 'kindness'.


Nah - "kindness" in this context is more of a spectrum rather than a sharp dividing line, and it's about more than non-violence; the article itself counts the Netflix film The Old Guard as being relatively kind, and that's a really violent movie, in terms of fights and killing and gunfire and explosions.

The kindness in The Last Airbender is from how this group of really disparate people learn to work together - to the point of eventually including a former enemy - and actually spend a lot of time and effort encouraging and supporting each other while they do. Like, how many scenes and/or plot points are there that rest on "You can do this, Ang, and if you're stuck we'll try to figure out a cooperative way around the problem"? And the other group members get similar story lines fairly often.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:04 AM on December 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


Nailed It on Netflix is another aggressively kind TV show in the GBBO vein, for the two people on the planet who haven't seen it yet. Contestants are clearly set up for failure (and often fail spectacularly), but the commentary is relentlessly positive. It would absolutely be possible to do this show in a mean, snide, or cynical way, but they don't.

I get the same feeling from the new Supermarket Sweep on ABC, but maybe that's just me.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:14 AM on December 23, 2020


If you can find it, The Castle is my go-to when I'm feeling really down about the world. You can smell the serenity.

I'm guessing it's not an adaption of the Kafka novel, then?
posted by Paul Slade at 8:37 AM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


While Elliot Page is amazing, Juno is definitely not a kind movie. It's not, like, especially an unkind movie, but kindness is not a defining feature. It was a movie that I liked a bunch at first, but then liked less and less the more I thought about it.

If Juno wanted to be a kind movie it would have completely excised the "creepy old fuck who wants to cheat on his wife with a pregnant high schooler" plot. Make him and his wife BOTH be good supportive people and the script becomes instantly 80% better.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:44 AM on December 23, 2020 [6 favorites]


Nailed It varies more strongly than I'd like depending on whether the contestants seem more like people funnin' on themselves or people who are a little delusional about redeeming themselves somehow, or people who legit just don't know shit about nuthin'. Sometimes it reminds of the old Daily Show gawking at the alien butt baby guy.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:49 AM on December 23, 2020


Showbiz_liz, I put it in there because a majority of the characters showed great kindness and Juno's family were surprisingly kind parents in a delightfully unfamiliar way (to me). But I wasn't 100% committed to Juno being a kind movie. Still, I think the point is not that ALL of the characters in a movie are kind, but that the film has an overall story that is kind.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:12 AM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Kubo and the Two Strings comes to mind - when the central conflict is resolved, it's through compassion and rehabilitation rather than vengeance or violence.
posted by FallibleHuman at 9:22 AM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


They Look Like People has some very tense (and maybe scary) moments, but in the end, it's a kind and even loving movie. The friendship between the two main characters, both men, is something that's stayed with me for a long time after seeing it.
posted by holborne at 10:18 AM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Come From Away
posted by Poldo at 10:34 AM on December 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


Oh, man, eviemath - Doom Patrol is a fantastic recommendation. Superheroes as a metaphor for a community of trauma survivors coming together, growing, and supporting each other? YES PLZ.

So well done, especially the Danny the Street stuff. I never imagined they'd even attempt that, much less just knock it out of the park the way they did.
posted by FallibleHuman at 10:41 AM on December 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


People who really love Playtime: I haven't seen it since I was a teen, but do you feel any... affection for the characters? The lack of close shots really kills that for me, as I recall, but I should give it another watch. My grandparents were extras in that film, and we lost my granddad to COVID in September. Apparently Tati cut him out of more takes after he kept, uh, walking weirdly in front of the camera, but my grandmom's in the group of American tourists in several scenes.

It's neat to hear about your grandmom being in the tourist group and I'm very sorry to hear about your granddad. I definitely felt affection for both characters, but the film does hold them at arm's length and you don't get a sense of who they are "from the inside". I think it's a style that isn't going to work for everyone. Myself, I was so captivated by the visuals, the comic situations, Tati's physical performance, and just the sheer charm of it all, that it worked for me.
posted by treepour at 11:35 AM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Master Cheng. It is a Finnish/Chinese film about a Chinese chef who brings his son to Finland so they can repay a Finnish man who helped them when they were struggling. He stumbles into a struggling rural roadside cafe, and everyone transforms each other. It's small, it's quiet and it has stuck with me all year.
posted by rednikki at 11:45 AM on December 23, 2020 [10 favorites]


Mike Mills is my kindness superhero.

Thumbsucker
Beginners
20th Century Women
posted by rhizome at 11:50 AM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


In Japan, there is a narrative genre which emerged after the Tokyo nerve-gas attack and the Kobe earthquake in '95. Iyashikei means "healing stories," and they tend to be very quiet, peaceful, and kind stories about people. I think Tokyo Diner definitely fits into this genre, although most others are usually manga or anime. Many have a rural setting, or an emphasis on nature.

Some of the best examples (that aren't Studio Ghibli) are things like Flying Witch, Laid Back Camp, Non Non Byori, Isekai Izakaya, Silver Spoon, Sakura Quest, and A Place Further Than The Universe. Even Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid probably counts.

Also, if you haven't seen From Up On Poppy Hill, which was directed by Hayao Miyazaki's son Goro, it is an incredibly charming and kind film about young people in Yokohama in the late '50s.


deludingmyself- Playtime is not only my favorite Tati movie, it is one of my all-time favorite movies. I have a great deal of affection for many of the characters, from the sad-sack waiter who gets stuck out on the terrace, to Hulot's buddies from the army, to the dumpy German tourist. Even the loud American in the restaurant. For me, it is almost a perfect film.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:09 PM on December 23, 2020 [11 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull - I saw Playtime on 70mm a number of years ago and it was akin to a religious experience for me.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:27 PM on December 23, 2020


treepour & TheWhiteSkull, thanks. I know it's beloved by many, and apparently being on that huge, huge set was one of the highlights of their time as military expats in Paris. I'm planning to rewatch it in the new year.
posted by deludingmyself at 12:35 PM on December 23, 2020


Kind media can overlap a lot with “feelgood” or “heartwarming”. I’m not sure how, exactly, it is distinct, except to say not all kind media makes me feel good at the end. Some of it is kind of sad. But there is always a sense of compassion for the characters and the subject matter that goes beyond just “happy ending”.

Kind media I’ve recently watched/re-watched:

Amelie (mentioned upthread).

A Man Called Ove (also mentioned upthread)

Groundhog Day.

The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Inner Light” (season 5, episode 25)

The sci-fi short film The Surface. (Post-apocalyptic, but with a kind core.)

The Green Book. (About infuriating history of racism in the US South.)

Were the World Mine.

Central Station.

Call Me By Your Name.

Bob’s Burgers (though I have to agree it can be annoying as hell at times.)

Forrest Gump.

The Grand Seduction.

Blow the Man Down

In contrast, I’ve tried repeatedly to get into 30 Rock, Schitt’s Creek, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Parks and Rec — all of which have come with high recommendations — but I just can’t get past some of the meanness that pervades a lot of the character interactions others have mentioned above.
posted by darkstar at 12:51 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Huh, I hadn't seen Curb mentioned, which to me is one big advertisement for self-harm. It even caused me to invent a new genre: Social Horror.
posted by rhizome at 1:00 PM on December 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised no one mentioned Lilo & Stitch, which is incredibly eager to extend dignity and respect to a lot of different creatures (new single guardians, small children, child welfare agents, nerdy aliens, sentient bioweapons, mosquitos).

A lot of Brendan Fraser movies probably make the cut, too -- Blast from the Past, George of the Jungle, etc.
posted by grandiloquiet at 1:06 PM on December 23, 2020 [14 favorites]


Call the Midwife
Really surprised to not see it mentioned already. Such an amazing story that centers women's work unlike any show I know, and so damn kind. Also, NHS propaganda for those of us missing out.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:13 PM on December 23, 2020 [9 favorites]


george of the jungle. a+ lighthearted fare. thanks for the reminder!
posted by j_curiouser at 1:30 PM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


For anyone who enjoys movies like Amélie, Playtime, and The Grand Seduction, I would also heartily recommend Juzo Itami's Supermarket Woman. It's sweet and hilarious and anti-capitalist, the music is wonderful, and there's an unexpectedly epic dekotora car chase. It's also one of those movies that shows someone being incredibly competent at their job. It's streaming on Criterion Channel.
posted by oulipian at 1:46 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


[re: Schitt's Creek] I love the slow emergence of the humanity of the Rose family, but it's at the cost of the de-humanization of an entire town of (mostly) unfailingly kind people. Is that ultimately kind or not?

See, that's interesting, because I never viewed the townsfolk as being dehumanized. I looked at the show's early dynamics as: the townsfolk of Schitt's Creek are all inside a [metaphorical] warm cozy living room, and the Rose family are outside, looking in the window at everyone. They are freezing cold but they are still scoffing at the warm living room and the people in it, and refuse to come inside even though the people inside are smiling and beckoning them in. So the townsfolk inside wisely leave them be, knowing they can't force them to become a part of the community until they're good and ready.

The townsfolk inside the warm place might feel sorry for the freezing cold, miserable Rose family, but they're not feeling wounded or dehumanized; they're just living their own pleasant, close-knit lives until the Roses are ready to come join them.

I mean certainly that may not fit the definition of "kind" media, but I definitely don't see that the show portrays the dehumanization of anyone, except maybe the Rose family at the beginning, when they have become completely detached from what it means to be a human being.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:52 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Will obviously echo many of the recommendations and sentiments upthread.

Onto the pile, I'll add the following:
- Pushing Daisies
- Whip It
- The Chef Show
- Detectorists
posted by The Outsider at 2:48 PM on December 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


I don't get the isolated outsiders metaphor for Schitt's Creek because while the Roses are certainly outsiders, they actually own the town and in that way manage to impose themselves on the community constantly. Examples: all of them running up a tab at Cafe Tropical and being rude about it, staying in Stevie's motel for free, etc. Some of the townspeople, like Twyla, seem to just roll with it, whereas others, like Jocelyn and the Jazzagals, appear to just grin and bear it.

For me, the aspect of the show that mostly redeems the above for me is that the Roses generally eventually experience the consequences of their actions towards others (good and bad), which is a thing the show accurately presents as a foreign notion to the very wealthy. Those consequences appear to drive a lot of their growth into kinder versions of themselves.
posted by el gran combo at 3:43 PM on December 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


Big Eden is a gentle, considerate, rural gay romance movie that often functions as my happy place. Currently on Amazon Prime.
posted by MrVisible at 4:11 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


This just popped into my head: Hugo. Maybe the only kind movie that Scorsese has ever made.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:37 PM on December 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


Groundhog Day: which is even better because it pivots mid-movie from cruel to kind.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:48 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Kind movies:

Inside Out
Stargate
A Bug's Life

Kind TV shows:

Mad About You
Red Oaks
Scrubs (4 episodes)

I think that's an unassailable list.
posted by Carillon at 6:34 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


This has been my favorite thread in ages. And I realized a few minutes ago that I actually have a contribution/recommendation of my own to make:
Babe
&
Babe: Pig in the City
posted by minervous at 7:00 PM on December 23, 2020 [7 favorites]


Big Fish
posted by darkstar at 7:05 PM on December 23, 2020


I've always thought the James Garner/Sally Field December-May romance Murphy's Romance has kindness at its core.
posted by KingEdRa at 7:25 PM on December 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


I love this thread and am bookmarking it for all of the recommendations!

I hadn't realised it until now, but the past few years have been a real sea change for me in what media I like. I never liked gore, but I used to like "gritty" way more than I do now. And now I have a really hard time with stories that aren't kind in some way at their heart. Stories where kindness is seen as the difficult but very important thing it is. I don't even require the stories to be full of kind characters or bereft of meanness -- one of the books that affected me most this year was Primo Levi's autobiography about living in a concentration camp -- but ones where niceness exists and matters: I've needed to see that.

Younger me used to think kindness was rather boring, but it's not at all. I also had a hard time distinguishing it from niceness, or fear of confrontation, or politeness, but it's not those things either. Kindness takes courage and strength and work. If at the end of my life all that I can say is that I did my best to be kind, I helped others to be kind, and I managed to surround myself with similarly kind people, I think that will have been a life well lived.
posted by forza at 7:36 PM on December 23, 2020 [8 favorites]


One of what I consider the sacred songs of Rock And Roll is Uncle John's Band. (Here performed by Indigo Girls, because I love this version.)

"Well the first days are the hardest days, don't you worry any more
'Cause when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door
Think this through with me, let me know your mind
Woah-oh, what I want to know, is are you kind?

It's a buck dancer's choice my friend better take my advice
You know all the rules by now and the fire from the ice
Will you come with me won't you come with me
Woah-oh, what I want to know, will you come with me?

Goddamn, well I declare, have you seen the like
Their wall are built of cannonballs, their motto is don't tread on me
Come hear Uncle John's Band playing to the tide
Come with me, or go alone, he's come to take his children home

It's the same story the crow told me; it's the only one he knows
Like the morning sun you come and like the wind you go
Ain't no time to hate, barely time to wait
Woah-oh, what I want to know, where does the time go?

I live in a silver mine and I call it "Beggar's Tomb"
I got me a violin and I beg you call the tune
Anybody's choice, I can hear your voice
Woah-oh, what I want to know, how does the song go

Come hear Uncle John's Band by the riverside
Got some things to talk about, here beside the rising tide

Come hear Uncle John's Band playing to the tide
Come on along, or go alone, he's come to take his children home"

It's hard to describe how much that first stanza made an impact on me and how the entire song has sort of affected my worldview. Are you kind? Yeah, that's a very important question for me.
posted by hippybear at 7:43 PM on December 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


I'm bummed that TV show "State of Grace" hasn't been mentioned yet. It's about two girls forming a deep friendship in 1960s North Carolina. A pre "Arrested Development" Alia Shawkat was the new girl in town. I taped the show when it was on ABC Family and I kept the tapes for a long time after I no longer had a VHS player -- that's how much I loved the show.

For folks mentioning the British Baking Show and Blown Away up thread, I'd also recommend the charming "The Big Flower Fight" on Netflix.
posted by of strange foe at 8:12 PM on December 23, 2020


OK, I just watched the first episode of "Midnight Diner" on Netflix, and I can already tell I am going to love this show. Thank you, Mefites!
posted by seasparrow at 8:18 PM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


One definitely and two maybes to add to the list:

Definitely: Samurai Gourmet (Japanese retiree spends a lot of time savoring his meals and thinking about food and imagining himself as a samurai)

Maybes: Mr Right (Sam Rockwell is a killer-for-hire who has decided not to do that anymore, romcom with Anna Kendrick - lots of violence but the main characters are trying to be better people) & Alive (a reality show where it's individuals vs. nature, so there are basically no interpersonal dynamics, it's all trying to survive).
posted by joannemerriam at 10:23 PM on December 23, 2020


OK, I just watched the first episode of "Midnight Diner" on Netflix, and I can already tell I am going to love this show. Thank you, Mefites!
posted by seasparrow at 8:18 PM on December 23


We have only one season left and tonight I turned to my partner and said, “I think I’m gonna have a hard time coping after we finish watching this and there are no more episodes left to watch.”
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:53 AM on December 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Scrubs (4 episodes)

I'm not disagreeing with you but, out of curiosity, which particular episodes do you have in mind?
posted by Paul Slade at 3:50 AM on December 24, 2020


Alright, I'mma come in with a Hot Take - well, warm-ish, anyway, based on a rewatch a year or so ago.

Amélie is maybe not really a very kind film, at least as the article seems to be considering kindness in media.

Yes, it's charming and clever and very funny, beautifully shot in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, Amélie is cute as a button, most of the characters are meant to be sympathetic, and it's got a happy ending. I love it.

BUT . . .

Well, read the IMDB description: "a young woman who discretely orchestrates the lives of the people around her, creating a world exclusively of her own making."

IOW, what we have here is a young person who is even more isolated and inexperienced than most secretly manipulating people. Sure, she intends to do this as a way to make their lives better, but in a lot of ways it's her fantasies and imagination that are driving what she does and how she does it. And, again, this is a person who doesn't have much real world experience or real emotional connection with the people around her. She's not approaching people where they are, or consulting with them - she's observing them from a physical and/or emotional distance and then deciding for them how to "improve" their lives. On some level, she's playing puppet master with real people's lives based on her flights of fancy. How many film noirs and horror films and thrillers are based on the villain doing exactly that?

This is not being kind to the other people in the movie. This, frankly, is kinda creepy.

Yes, some of this works out for her subjects. But then her complex machinations and misunderstandings are on the verge of sabotaging her budding relationship with Nino, and that plus her conversations with her painter neighbor lead her to (IMO) realize that clever plots and games are no substitute for emotional honesty, and may even be blocking real emotional connections.

I think you could make a strong case for Amélie being a "road to hell is paved with good intentions" redemption movie. Is that a "kind" movie? I got doubts.

Which then kinda means that as far as Jeunet movies go, Delicatessen is a kinder film, despite being about, y'know, dystopian cannibalism.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:13 AM on December 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


I didn't want to go there this being such a kind thread ... but yeah, let's just say I'm not in Amelie's target market. And this goes for many films and/or TV shows that end up attracting the adjective "quirky". As I noted above with regard to Local Hero (which I think still stands up), it's a tightrope walk for a creative team -- to be true to the quirks and frailties of everyday folks without plummeting into the realm of bogus feel-goodism.

Yet still we must aspire ...
posted by philip-random at 11:33 AM on December 24, 2020


Not a movie or TV, but one of the things I like about John Irving novels is that the characters are quite flawed (one could say quirky), but their story is told with compassion (and the main characters at least ultimately all try to do the right thing). I definitely think of "quirky" as being the compassionate + eccentric version, but there's definitely some cultural pressure to excuse or write off some unkind behavior as "quirky", yeah.

This is completely tangential from the strong recurring themes that can make ready too many Irving novels in a short period of time feel repetitive. They are like Christmas movies in that respect - you can take in a different one each year and still be reading something new, but similar enough that, on the right schedule, the familiar elements can provide some comfort.
posted by eviemath at 11:43 AM on December 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


I'm watching The Great Pottery throw down was mentioned above and it's so much kinder than the other reality show on HBO Max about floral arrangements. (Also, Good Lord, ceramics seem to involve lots of opportunities for sex jokes.) Maybe because the prize is a nifty ceramic trophy rather than $100K, but they all seem like they will be best friends forever by the end. I love Tim Gunn on Project Runway but the show itself isn't kind. Of all the US competition shows I have seen I think that Jennifer Lopez's "World of Dance" seems kindest to me. There's a lot of focus on the trials and tribulations of the dancers which, eh I don't find "kind" honestly, but the judging just seems kinder (there's no mean one, for one thing); they are SO into everyone's performance and really encouraging even when giving criticism. (I haven't watched the Voice, or American Idol etc.)

If you're looking for recommendations I feel like Ebertfest has a knack for picking kind films like:
In the Family (warning: very sad!)
Museum Hours.
Delovely was surprisingly kind to me.

Also some amazing documentaries about interesting people.

Note that after Roger Ebert died that his wife Chaz and the director Nate Kohn took over choosing films for the festival and I'm not sure I find the movies quite as kind, (Something About Mary?! is not really my favorite movie) although still kinder than most. There are definitely some "gritty" movies on the lists, so worth reading the description.
.
posted by DarthDuckie at 11:58 AM on December 24, 2020


Delicatessen is a kinder film

Or MicMacs, despite the fact that it's a revenge story that no one's ever heard of.

(Or, come to think of it, The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, though it's quite a slight Jeunet, and not really Jeunetesque.)
posted by Grangousier at 12:10 PM on December 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


I'm not disagreeing with you but, out of curiosity, which particular episodes do you have in mind?
posted by Paul Slade at 3:50 AM on December 24


I can't speak for the other episodes mind you, but s2e12, s3e20, s4e9, and s4e10.
posted by Carillon at 4:05 PM on December 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


I just noticed Joe Pera has a special about choosing a Christmas tree streaming on Adult Swim, that’s not with the others on HBO Max. The whole series is gentle and kind.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:33 PM on December 24, 2020


As noted above, was interested in seeing a version of this thread that didn't include saturated "feel good."

I just rewatched a film that fits this bill, a little-known indie from 2013 called All Is Bright starring Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd as two French-Canadian ex-crooks trying to go straight by taking a gig as Christmas tree salesmen in NYC. The tone is mostly melancholy with touches of slightly dark humor throughout, but as it goes on you begin to get an increasingly clear sense of the characters’ fragile humanity until it ends on well-earned note of emotional release. I consider it a minor holiday classic.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:11 PM on December 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Ctrl-F Muppet Movie.
MUPPET MOVIE
posted by matildaben at 10:01 AM on December 25, 2020 [10 favorites]


In case anyone needs a few more picks: The Baker is an odd but definite qualifier; also, two movies that have really held up: Sneakers (with hellla good cast) and Searching for Bobby Fischer.
posted by Arch1 at 5:02 PM on December 25, 2020


Ted Lasso is deliberately all about kindness, and it's wonderful.

Already mentioned and I agree:
The Castle
The Dish
Fury Road
Hunt For The Wilderpeople
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Hilda
Gravity Falls
Great British Bake-off

I love these but disagree that they are Kind (although they include kind characters):
The Good Place
Schitt's Creek
Amelie
What We Do In The Shadows (movie, haven't seen the show)
Groundhog Day

Can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet because I'm certain I heard about it on MeFi, and I reckon fans of Ted Lasso will like it:
Happy Go Lucky
posted by harriet vane at 3:59 AM on December 26, 2020


Did anyone mention Moonlight yet?
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:17 PM on December 27, 2020


Oh, and a little seen (apparently) movie available on Netflix called Dumplin. Which I highly recommend.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:19 PM on December 27, 2020


Dumplin? Really? The two-dimensional magical drag queens kind of made the rest of it feel a bit shallow for me, which I found undermined the intended body positivity message. But I can see where it would hit that feel good mark for some folks. At least, looking up reviews just now, "feel-good" seems to be how it is generally described. Which is maybe not quite the same thing as kind, but I guess close enough.
posted by eviemath at 10:50 PM on December 27, 2020


Wow. I feel like i'm not watching Schitt's Creek properly. The mayor is one of my favourite characters but then I am watching mainly for comedy and not for kindness. The cruelest thing he did was when the father needed him as a reference for unemployment benefits and he pretended the father worked for him in a very subordinate role. He milked it but it was comically masterful. To be fair they were patronising about the town he cares so much about. I find him quite a sweet character.

Interesting that people here find Ricky Gervais' Derek affectionate. I would say it's the program that turned Brits "against" him. It was slaughtered. Especially since for a long time he was a big fan of using ableist terms so this looked like a disingenuous ploy to save face and make him look like he's really a good person deep down. I watched one episode and they were making fun of a woman for not being attractive but the show seemed to reason that because the Jo Wilkinson character found her f*ckable that it was okay to do so. Love me some of that warm and fuzzy misogyny.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 12:11 PM on January 2


"Box of Moonlight" - Sam Rockwell in his prefrontal phase
"Bubba-Hotep" the King gets an honorable death

Yes, Detectorists and the Durrells in Corfu
posted by Mesaverdian at 12:44 PM on January 3


« Older shinrin-yoku   |   Winner Winner Chicken Dinner Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments