Movies have always been a source of emotional comfort for me. When I was really young, before I could even walk, my parents would sit me down between the two of them on our worn couch and turn on a movie every Friday night. Now, during these uncertain, anxiety-provoking, and unfamiliar times, I’ve once again turned to watching movies for comfort and distraction. This is a list of some of my all-time favorites, as well as ones I’ve recently watched that I think you should, too.
(Disclaimer: I am in no way a seasoned movie critic, and I don’t really know any movie jargon or anything. These are just some movies I find really interesting/funny/lovely to watch!)
Basic Plot Summary: A couple travel to Sweden to visit their friend’s rural hometown for its fabled midsummer festival, but what begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Holy moly this movie was crazy. Personally, I had been avoiding it because I don’t do too well with really, really gory stuff, and from what I’d heard about Hereditary (Ari Aster’s other big movie), I didn’t think I could handle it. However, quarantine boredom combined with a burning curiosity led me to watch it one fateful night. It was crazy. The gore was intense at times, and there were certain scenes I watched from behind my fingers (like the cliff scene). However, the story was enthralling and disturbing all at once, and I could not tear my eyes away (except for the cliff scene- it escalated quite quickly). The cinematography is beautiful, and the bright colors and beautiful shots almost make you forget you’re watching a nightmare-fueled film. It almost makes me want to join a Swedish cult. If you like movies where you get a pit in your stomach from the first scene that doesn’t leave until the end, then you should definitely watch this one. Just do it. It’s worth it, in my opinion. Except for the cliff scene. That was tough.
Where you can find it: Kanopy, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video
Basic Plot Summary: Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
I watched this one a few weeks ago, and it literally has not left my mind since then. I know it’s gotten a lot of hype because of its award-show success, and let me tell you one thing: it deserves more. I went in blind, and came out at a loss for words. The story is eye-opening and makes a cut-throat commentary on classism and the struggle of the working class. It’s also a really interesting concept for a movie, and I thought Bong Joon-Ho did an incredible job at executing it. I definitely think watching this movie has made me much more open to watching foreign films (not that I was ever against it), and the subtitles don’t take away from the drama at all. I wish I could brainwash myself so that I forgot I watched it just to have the experience of watching it for the first time again.
Where you can find it: Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Youtube
Kill Bill, Volume 1 and 2 (2003 & 2004)
Basic Plot Summary: A former assassin, known simply as The Bride (Uma Thurman), wakes from a coma four years after her jealous ex-lover Bill (David Carradine) attempts to murder her on her wedding day. Fueled by an insatiable desire for revenge, she vows to get even with every person who contributed to the loss of her unborn child, her entire wedding party, and four years of her life. After devising a hit list, The Bride sets off on her quest, enduring unspeakable injury and unscrupulous enemies. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Okay, so remember how I mentioned how I was bad with gore? This movie probably is the one I’m most surprised I actually made it through. My mom persuaded me to watch it, because a.) she thinks I’m a baby and b.) Quentin Tarantino is one of her favorite directors. I was definitely a little nervous going in, and I will admit that the violence was pretty…violent. However, I’m still happy I watched it. The drama, cinematography, soundtrack, badass female assassins, and satisfying story of revenge made it all 100% worth it. Uma Thurman is really cool, and good at killing people, and I found myself captivated by the story from the first (gun)shot. I would recommend this movie if you’re bored of the usual rom-com or jump-scare Netflix original, because it was really refreshing and, honestly, inspirational. Not the killing part so much, but the perseverance and versatility of the main heroine. Also, it’ll give you a slew of new ideas to murder someone, so there’s that!
Where you can find it: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video
Basic Plot Summary: When precocious teen Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) becomes pregnant, she chooses a failed rock star and his wife (Jennifer Garner) to adopt her unborn child. Complications occur when Mark, the prospective father, begins viewing Juno as more than just the mother of his future child, putting both his marriage and the adoption in jeopardy. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Doing a complete 180 from the previous movies, Juno is funny, quirky, and cute. I watched it a little while ago, so it’s not as fresh in my memory, but what I do remember is how much I loved it. You immediately fall in love with Juno and become sympathetic to her story, as well as most of the other characters. It’s slightly dramatic, too, as complications arise surrounding the relationships that are made, and jeopardized, over the course of the movie. I personally also really enjoyed the soundtrack and the dry humor of many of the characters. The movie shows an accurate portrayal of what it means to be on the cusp of adulthood and learning what it means to be an adult, because they’re not so perfect either. I’d recommend watching this movie with some friends (over Facetime!) and laughing at the awkward, heartwarming interactions of the characters (especially whenever Michael Cera’s in the scene).
Where you can find it: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube
500 Days of Summer (2009)
Basic Plot Summary: Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), greeting-card writer and hopeless romantic, is caught completely off-guard when his girlfriend, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), suddenly dumps him. He reflects on their 500 days together to try to figure out where their love affair went sour, and in doing so, Tom rediscovers his true passions in life. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Okay, I’m not really a rom-com person (in case it hasn’t been apparent in this list), but this movie will always be an exception. I’m a sucker for people falling in love, and then falling out of love, because I think that’s one of the saddest and most inevitable parts of being in a relationship that isn’t quite perfect. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a wonderful job at portraying a star-struck romantic trying to love a girl, or maybe just the idea of her, who doesn’t really believe in love at all. The movie is very cute, very sad, but ultimately speaks to the naïvete of young love and how it often makes us blind to reality. Despite the heartache that comes from holding out hope that the two will end up together, despite knowing from the first couple minutes exactly how it ends, this movie is definitely one of my favorites and worth the watch. The soundtrack is also really, really, really good in my opinion. Watch with your friends if you’re looking for a good cry, or with your significant other if you’re looking for an awkward conversation afterwards about why you two might fall out of love. Enjoy, lovebirds!
Where you can find it: YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play