by Alex Organa, staff writer
As a true red-blooded American, when I get home after a long day of work, I want to watch something that does not demand anything from me. Life is hard, and movies offer an easy hour and a half escape from the madness. Over the years, I’ve come to find a handful of movies that always seem to do the trick. Though there does not appear to be a common thread in this somewhat random list, each film is able to work its magic in different ways.
Starting off strong with the best Broadway to movie adaptation of our time, Mamma Mia! takes the iconic music from ABBA and combines it with a star-studded cast to create an hour and forty-eight minutes of joy. The casting, location, and overall vibe that this movie gives makes it feel like maybe it is possible to escape from the monotony of day-to-day life to sing on a Greek island. Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth- just to name some of the iconic cast members- deliver a memorable performance that makes my brain feel nice without having to think too much about why it does.
Where to watch: Available to rent on Amazon Video, Apple TV, YouTube
Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Yet another movie with a stacked cast, Scott Pilgrim is iconic. The comic book style of filming sets this movie apart and creates a unique feel that is sure to lull the brain into a sweet state of simple entertainment. The title’s namesake Scott Pilgrim, played by Michael Cera, is thrust into an odd situation of having to fight the seven evil exes of his newest infatuation Ramona Flowers, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, if he wants to be with her. The fight scenes are over the top, the characters are funny, and the story is accessible even without any context.
Where to watch: Netflix, Peacock TV
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
An oldie but a goodie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is must-see. The 1975 film follows King Arthur and his quest to find the Holy Grail. In true Monty Python fashion, this quest is filled with odd characters, questionable choices, and forever quotable lines. It offers good laughs, or at least small chuckles, throughout, making it a perfect movie to watch after a day that was less than great.
Where to watch: Netflix
Though many Studio Ghibli films could be on this list, Ponyo is as feel-good as a movie can be. Ponyo, a goldfish princess, ventures out of the sea onto land where she meets a young boy named Sosuke. The two form a close friendship, and together face the consequences of Ponyo’s desire to live with humans. Ghibli films hold an inherent sense of wonder that is exemplified by the way Ponyo plays into the simplicity of childhood. The stunning film makes it easy to get lost in the world its created.
Where to watch: Max, Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV
Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Though the first Princess Diaries is always going to be a classic, there’s something about the sequel that put it on this list. Anne Hathaway and Chris Pine are stunning, making this movie not only funny but easy on the eyes. Mia Thermopolis’ journey to becoming queen of Genovia makes for an enjoyable escape. Wouldn’t it be nice to live as a princess, who’s biggest concern is who to marry? There’s no 9-5s to be seen in this movie, letting the viewer forget about what they did that day, and what they’ll probably have to do the next.
Where to watch: Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV, Prime Video
Even if you haven’t seen Mean Girls, you know it. The incredibly quotable movie from Tina Fey is the typical high school, drama filled comedy. In case this is still somehow an unwatched film for you, Lindsay Lohan plays Cady Heron, a previously home-schooled student who is thrust into the world of high school where she meets The Plastics, the three most popular girls in school. Encouraged by her friend Janice, Cady takes it upon herself to bring down Regina George, the leader of The Plastics. Every part of this movie is iconic, and predictable, making for a simple watch.
Where to watch: Netflix, Showtime, Paramount+
Before there was Shrek and Donkey, there was Wayne and Garth. Wayne’s World stars Michael Meyers as Wayne, just a guy living in a small town who runs a popular TV segment with his best friend Garth. When a big, mean businessman wants to buy their show, Wayne and Garth must fight to save their artistic integrity. As expected from Michael Meyers, the movie is a little absurd but does not demand much from its audience. And after a long day of working for the man, it’s always nice to watch a movie where someone gets to win when facing the terrible monster that is capitalism. Excellent!
Where to watch: Max, Prime Video, Apple TV
The best way to explain this movie is that it’s a girl Superbad, but that does not do it justice. Booksmart follows two girls, Molly and Amy, who realize that while they spent high school working hard and not partying to get into good colleges, everyone else got into the same colleges while having a social life. Determined to have a complete high school experience, the pair try to find a party to go to the night before graduation. Of course, this does not go to plan. Starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Devers, this is a movie that offers a refreshing take on high school comedies when the classics just aren’t doing it anymore.
Where to watch: Peacock TV, Prime Video, Apple TV
The biggest thing to happen to acapella Pentatonix, Pitch Perfect stars Anna Kendrick as the ultimate edgy girl that’s stumbled into the world of college acapella. Even if musicals aren’t your thing, the songs only play a small part in what makes this movie so amazing. This movie is aca-iconic, aca-awesome, and aca-easy-to-enjoy! If none of that makes any sense, you just have to watch the movie.
Where to watch: Available to rent on Amazon Video, iTunes
A little bear in a jacket and a hat? Who loves marmalade? And is just trying to find his place in the world? Only someone without a heart could dislike Paddington. As the final movie on the list, this 2014 film stars Ben Whishaw at the loveable bear and Nicole Kidman as the villain set on capturing Paddington so she can add him to her taxidermy collection. Though this is a children’s movie, the undeniable charm that it holds provides a nice way to end a hard day. It’s like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket and sipping on hot chocolate.
Where to watch: Netflix, Prime Video