So…… today is a difficult one to swallow. I’ve been in a deep denial over the state of politics in our country. I don’t want to acknowledge what is happening, even though it’s impossible to ignore.
So today I’ve decided to distract myself in the best way I personally know how: films.
I adore films, I watch at least 2-3 films a day and am always looking forward to new films coming up in theaters and netflix. I really love to watch the same films repeatedly, a practice a lot of my friends and family don’t understand. It gives me comfort to see characters I know and love, I find familiarity in the storylines and enjoy quoting my favorite lines.
So to bring some comfort to myself, I’m going to start a list of my favorite rewatchable films and include why each film brings meaning to me. It’s going to be an ongoing list, I’ll update it regularly, but I hope that those who are reading will comment to suggest their favorite comfort films for me to check out.
Godzilla (1998 starring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Hank Azaria)
I’m starting off with a quirky one that a lot of people really love to hate. My first memory of seeing this film was in a hotel room in Canada, we were visiting family and my Papa (my paternal grandfather) had come to spend some time with us. My brother and I had been flipping through the television channels when we came across a gigantic lizard making a nest out of Manhattan. I had never seen anything like it outside Jurassic Park, and I was absolutely in love with it.
My brother and I can quote this movie backwards and forwards, we watched it until the VHS tape literally broke (and even then we still watched it despite the fuzzy picture quality). I’ve owned every version of the film (VHS, DVD, Digital Download, Blu-Ray). In the 1st grade I excitedly took my Godzilla lunchbox to school, ignoring the teasing and stares I got from all the other kids for my extreme love of this oversized lizard.
A lot of people hate the film, and most of them really enjoy telling me how bad it is, but haters and gonna hate and I’m gonna keep on enjoying the hell out of something that (to me) is so great.
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
Oh man, where do I begin? Anachronistic references to the future? Archimedes, a highly educated owl? The Magnificent Marvelous Mad Madam Mim? This has been a film that I’ve constantly returned to for smiles and laughter. Whenever I feel bad I find myself humming “To and fro, stop and go, that’s what makes the world go round.”
It’s bright and fun, full of color and life. It teaches lessons in taking control of your destiny and educating yourself beyond the restrictions of social standing and popular opinion. Though really, the Wizard’s duel is one of the coolest things Disney has ever animated.
Sabrina (Starring Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford, Nancy Marchand, Greg Kinnear)
I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never seen the Audrey Hepburn version. I know, it’s a crime! But ever since I was browsing Harrison Ford films on netflix and came across this gem, I’ve never been able to bring myself to watch any other version. John William’s score is as beautiful and iconic as any other film he’s done. The sets are lavish and full of color and personality as we explore the grand Larrabee estate and follow Sabrina on her journey of self discovery to Paris.
Harrison Ford is charming playing essentially a richer version of his grumpy self. He wears Indiana Jones glasses while in a tux that makes me swallow my tongue every time he enters the Solarium. Julia Ormond is glorious as a quiet mousy wide-eyed girl who finds empowerment within herself whilst exploring feelings of unrequited love for undeserving men. This movie has me constantly dreaming of going off to Paris to walk along the Seine until I find a bridge that I love, where I will go to daily with my journal to sit and listen to the river and keep our secrets between us.
The overall lesson of the film is so eloquently expressed that I’ve carried it in my heart ever since. On the subject of unrequited love and crushes, a French woman tells Sabrina, “Illusions are dangerous people, they have no flaws.” This is so very true.
Only You (starring Marissa Tomei, Bonnie Hunt, Robert Downey Jr., Fisher Stevens)
I new the name Robert Downey Jr. for years, but I never saw a face to pair with the name. I had absolutely no idea who he was, other than he was an actor who had some drug issues. I was up on a Saturday evening flipping through my movie channels when I stopped on TBS; A movie was just beginning but I’d miss the announcement of the title. One of my favorite games was trying to guess the film that was playing if I missed the title sequence. I saw Robert Downey Jr.’s name flash up as a star, and my curiousity was piqued.
The first time he appeared on screen felt a lot like the first time I saw a future crush: my heart completely stopped. He’s charming and handsome, quirky and funny as hell. I don’t condone the character’s actions, but I do get a good long laugh from watching him charm his way through Italy.
The Town (starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, John Hamm, Blake Lively)
Loving Ben Affleck was never hard for me to do. Sure he’s had his ups and downs in film roles, but when he wears both hats as an actor AND a director he is able to do astounding things. Set in his beloved Boston, Affleck plays a former hockey player who’s in the business of robbing banks with his buddies. He falls in love with one of the victims of a robbery and struggles to figure out how to get out of the game and restart his life.
All around an amazing film, the story has so much heart and is acted so well by an amazing cast. I’ve watched it hundreds of times, it always makes me hold my breath with nervous anticipation.
Frankie and Johnny (starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino)
This movie is how I fell in love with Clair de Lune. Their chemistry is explosive, Al and Michelle make electric magic when they share the screen with each other. The story is of a man recently released from prison who gets a job working as a fry cook in a New York diner. There he meets Frankie, a waitress who has no time for him and turns him down at every turn, until she finds herself ready to let someone into her life again.
Told with heart and humor, the film tackles deep and heavy subjects while showing you the beautiful small quirks in life that make you smile. With a fantastic supporting cast, this is my favorite Garry Marshall film.
This is an ongoing list I plan to update as often as I watch and expand my film library.