Photo by Tracy Fuentes
As much as I love to watch depressing dramas, it is nice to occasionally put on a movie that puts me in a good mood. Depending on what I watch, my overall attitude towards the day can be greatly influenced, so if you’re anything like me and looking for a little bit of a break from the Blue Valentine’s of the film world, these are my recommendations.
Frances Ha (2012), dir. Noah Baumbach
Frances Ha is a movie about being 19. None of the characters in the film are actually that age, but the feelings of directionlessness and uncertainty about the future are exactly what it feels like to be 19. It’s like, “okay, I’m an adult now – I have a job, I pay taxes, I have significantly fewer friends than I used to – but what now?” The feeling can be so overwhelming at times that every passing day feels like a waste of time when you have no idea what you want to do with your life. That’s why Frances Ha is so comforting. Frances doesn’t know what the future holds, and that is okay. She still lives her life her own way despite all of the uncertainty. This movie will forever hold a special place in my heart and never not make me smile.
The Social Network (2010), dir. David Fincher
Unlike Frances Ha, The Social Network is special to me because of the way it has manifested itself into my friendships. I cannot tell you the number of times my friends and I have absolutely fiended for a “Caribbean Night”, or how almost once a week we are quoting “he’s wired in” or the notorious “fuck you flip flops” scene. As a movie itself, The Social Network is fantastic, including some of the decade’s best dialogue and my personal favorite performance of Andrew Garfield, but the conversations with my friends that include references from it are what will always make it a favorite of mine.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999), dir. Gil Junger
Heath Ledger is arguably my favorite actor ever. Words cannot describe the immense talent he had and the impact he made on this world. With that being said, 10 Things I Hate About You had me smiling from ear to ear for almost the entire duration of the film. I actually watched this after much of his filmography, so after being used to seeing Ledger in roles riddled with tragedy, such as in Candy or Brokeback Mountain, this was such a heart-warming change of pace. I mean, come on, the charisma, the kindness, the beauty! Heath Ledger was truly a treasure.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), dir. Stanley Kubrick
Now a film about the impending threat of complete nuclear fallout created by military and government incompetence is definitely not what one would typically put on a list of movies that put you in a good mood, BUT, this one just so happens to defy that expectation. Dr. Strangelove has such a terrifying premise that it even prompts a disclaimer at the opening credits, but man is this movie hilarious. To tackle such a dark subject matter (at the height of the Cold War, nonetheless) with a light tone of humor and absurdity is a tall task, one that Stanley Kubrick executes perfectly. President Muffley’s (played by Peter Seller) phone call with Dimitri was one of the most clever and subtly hilarious scenes I have ever seen in a movie. If you ever feel overwhelmed with the immense amount of potentially horrifying outcomes for the human race to experience, just watch this film and learn to laugh at the absurdity of it all.