I think we can all agree: its only been a a month and a half of real change, but feels like we’ve been in this quarantine for a long time. I’m hoping everyone is living well despite the circumstances. Personally, I’m really missing being able to see my buddies, grab a beer, or just feeling like I can walk in public places without risking my health – and I imagine everyone else is feeling the same way.
It kinda feels like Groundhog Day without the humor, save the repetition and monotony. Or Edge of Tomorrow without the action and excitement. If I had to compare it to something, society would be like the Coen Brother’s A Serious Man, where an timid, mild-mannered Jewish father named Larry continues to encounter worse and worse situations in a seemingly never-ending pattern (it’s actually funny as hell, though). Except we are Larry and it’s really not funny.
It’s easy to compare our situation to films about actual catastrophe like World War Z, 28 Days Later, I am Legend, and Contagion (which is WAY too real, watch if you dare). But if anything, like I said in a previous post, these will probably make you feel better in a small way in that these situations are 100x worse than what we are experiencing. That doesn’t really make it any easier, though.
But if I had to think about a positive out of all of this, I’m drawn to Lost in Translation and The Persuit of Happiness. Two great movies that exemplify the pleasure of taking limited circumstances and making the most of them, albeit in very different ways. If we come out of this situation with anything, I’m hoping we can all feel a little better human connection. Maybe a little kinder, a little more open, a little less judgmental before understanding a situation. A pipe dream, maybe, but it’s something to think about.
I want to point out a handful of films I’ve watched over the years with friends and family that made me genuinely happy, particularly in times when I wasn’t prior to watching. These are movies that will hit you in the feels, so to speak – aka they make you feel a deep emotional connection to the characters in a way you can relate to. I’m listing these here as my attempt to make you feel a little bit better. It’s as good a time as ever to escape in a good flick by yourself or with a loved one, so make sure you set some time aside to do so for your mental health. Because sometimes we all need a little escapism. Here are my selections… I did two categories for you.
Keep in mind as always, these are MY 11 favorites that make ME happy. Not all are just joy all the way through. In fact, I think the best in this list are the ones that actually have a little melancholy in them. Sometimes it takes a little bad to get the good, you know?
- Lost in Translation – Murray’s best, and possibly Scarlet’s too. A must see comedy-romance-drama. Understated, atmospheric, and incredibly effective. Can’t say enough about this one.
- Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind – God this movie is sad but its also incredible, and really damn funny at times. This is a FEELS film if there ever was one. Amazing.
- Almost Famous – A movie for music and movie lovers alike. Timeless, funny, happy – and truly epic.
- Big Fish – Ewen McGreggor and Albert Finney star in this colorful, funny, feels-inducing film that is good for the whole family. This one feels like a good dream – where when you wake up, you’re sad it’s over.
- Dazed and Confused – The ultimate “happy” film for me. Hits that peak, late high-school feeling perfectly with a sense of excitement for the future. Can’t go wrong with this one if you’re looking to feel better.
- Little Miss Sunshine – Funny as hell and actually reflective on life. I think we can all learn something from this one. Won Best Writing in 07′ – deserved it.
- American Beauty – Spacey at his best, so real. Beautiful slice of life film that touches on every major emotion at least once.
- Before Sunrise– Such an engaging, incredible film. I usually stray away from rom-coms, but this is so far above the rest that it makes all the others look bad. Incredible acting from Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. I recommend this one often.
- Annie Hall – So organically funny, original and clever – this is Allen’s masterpiece and it has a little something for everyone. Classic, classic film.
- Midnight in Paris -Fun, different, happy and colorful. I’m a Woody Allen Fan as you can tell, but this is worth a watch.
- Chef – Colorful, fun, funny. This is plain happy all the way through, and it showcases a lot of unreal-looking dishes…
Honorable Mentions: Good Will Hunting and Dead Pets Society (because Robin Williams can always make us a little happier)