We’re halfway through the year, and 2018 shows no signs of letting up the breakneck pace of horrific news that we’ve been subjected to since November, 2016. The only thing more brutal than the horrific state of affairs is how quickly we have adapted to it. You know it’s bad when you’re watching The Handmaid’s Tale to wind down from the news. In times like these, it’s easy to feel scared, overwhelmed, anxious, and helpless. Last week, Vivian shared her top seven feel-good TV shows, and it got us all thinking about our pop culture self-care faves. Here’s my list of my top seven comfort films for when the world is a dumpster fire.
1. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion
This 1997 comedy about two awkward best friends road-tripping to their 10-year high school reunion has become a cult classic, and I’ve always loved it with a fangirlish passion. Romy and Michele features brilliantly funny leading performances from Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow, as well as brilliant supporting cameos from Janeane Garofalo, Alan Cumming, and Camryn Manheim (you can even catch baby Justin Theroux in an early role as Clarence the Cowboy). This film is a must-see for anyone who felt left out or made fun of in high school, and its unabashed celebration of female friendship makes it as heartwarming as it is hilarious.
2. Sense and Sensibility
While there have been countless adaptations of Jane Austen’s beloved novel, Ang Lee’s 1995 award-winning film is considered the gold standard, and with good reason. The film is beautifully shot, the costumes are gorgeous, and the central performances by Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet never fail to choke me up. The script, written by Thompson (who won an Oscar for her work), perfectly captures Austen’s sly and subversive humor with regards to class, marriage, and power. There’s nothing better than curling up with a blanket, a cup of tea, and this movie on DVD.
3. The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel
If you haven’t seen 1995’s The Brady Bunch Movie and its 1996 followup, A Very Brady Sequel, then you are missing out on two of the funniest, most quotable comedies from the ’90s. Both films lovingly mock the stuck-in-the-’70s family, and the now-dated ’90s setting adds a fun new layer of nostalgia. Plus, both movies are helmed by female directors (Betty Thomas and Arlene Sanford). How can you not like a series that gave us one of the most relevant GIFs of our time? If you don’t believe me, you can take it up with my husband, George Gunther Glass.
4. Tank Girl
Tank Girl was ahead of its time. When the adaptation of the cult comic book was released in 1995, audiences didn’t know what to make of a foul-mouthed female anti-hero who drank, smoked, and slept with kangaroos. Hollywood clearly didn’t know what to do with her either, and the movie crashed and burned as a result.
But the film has gained a cult following of ’90s alt girls who swore by the Courtney Love-curated soundtrack and loved Lori Petty’s take-no-prisoners portrayal of Rebecca. This film also had a female director, Rachel Talalay, who has since gone on to direct such geek fare as Sherlock, Doctor Who, and The Flash. Besides, you have to love a comic book movie that stops halfway through for a full-on Cole Porter musical number.
5. A League of Their Own
Yeah that’s right, two Lori Petty movies in a row. #SorryNotSorry. No feel-good movie list would be complete without Penny Marshall’s heartfelt tribute to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The film is brilliantly funny and features Geena Davis and Tom Hanks in two of their most memorable performances. Even Madonna is good in this movie, you guys; that’s how strong it is. Abbi Jacobsen is adapting the film for a new TV series on Amazon, and we honestly cannot wait.
Pleasantville tells the story of a pair of ’90s teens, David (Tobey Maguire) and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon), who get magically transported to the fictional universe of a ’50s television sitcom. What starts as a wacky fish-out-of-water fantasy turns surprisingly relevant and socially conscious as the teens begin to change the narrative of the fictional town and bring some much needed color (literally and figuratively) to the landscape.
Pleasantville showcases stunningly beautiful special effects and stirring performances from a supporting cast that includes Joan Allen, William H. Macy, and Jeff Daniels. My favorite, however, is Don Knotts’ cameo performance as the sly but sinister television repairman.
7. Singin’ in the Rain
Picking a favorite film is an almost impossible task. How do you compare your favorite comedies to your favorite dramas? How can you stack up an indie darling against a feel-good summer blockbuster? Whenever I’m asking this question, I always come back to the same film. Singin’ in the Rain earns the top spot for me because it is truly joyful to watch.
The 1952 send-up of the Hollywood studio system remains delightfully smart, subversive, and funny 66 years after it came out. With incredible dancing and warm, charismatic performances from Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor, this film functions like cinematic Prozac. Just try to watch it all the way through and not crack a smile at Jean Hagen’s performance; I dare you.
Did your favorite feel-good film make the list? Share yours in the comments!
(image: Touchstone Pictures)
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