Everyone feels a little bad from time to time, it’s part of life. So when life gives you bad health, what is the best solution? Well, after a doctor’s visit and a nurturing broth, the best thing to do is settle down on the couch with a perfect movie.
But the perfect movie is elusive, it depends heavily on the circumstances – and selecting the perfect movie without feeling one hundred percent is very different from selecting when firing on all cylinders. The melancholy mood of being sick demands a film with an opposite spirit; it must have energy and identity, or be conceptually broad enough to distract the viewer from their aches and/or pains.
‘The Princess Bride’ (1987) – I’m not left-handed!
The princess to be married is the perfect movie to watch while sick, especially because it’s presented as a grandfather (Peter Falk) reading the story to his sick grandson (Fred Savage). Its invigorating charm will brighten even the most troubled moods.
Just like the grandfather assures the grandson about the book in the movie, this movie has it all: Adventure, romance, sword fighting, giants, magic, unusually sized rodents…everything. These details make this film timeless and endlessly re-watchable, making it the perfect choice to return to whenever the situation calls for a boost.
“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) – Are you reading me, HAL?
2001: A Space Odyssey falls firmly into the category of “distracting yourself from how you feel”. Its visual intrigue and rollercoaster of lofty concepts mean it’s impossible to think of anything other than this movie while playing it.
In a film that many consider director Stanley Kubrik’s most compelling work, the towering concepts of space travel and the nature of mankind act as mere jumping-off points to even more complicated philosophical dilemmas. With an ending that requires multiple viewings (at least) to form a cohesive opinion, it’s nearly impossible to have other topics on your mind (like feeling bad) while trying to pull this movie apart.
‘School of Rock’ (2003) – Turkey Under
There are few cures for a bad day as effective as the infectious energy of Dewey Finn (Jack Black) in school of rock. Black is electric in the role, and the performances from the young cast are impressive, especially since most of them were hired for their musical abilities rather than their acting skills.
What sets this movie apart from some other music and rock & roll movies is that the music is spectacular and incredibly catchy. There’s no doubt that this classic movie inspired a whole generation of young people to pick up a guitar and learn how to shred.
‘Plane!’ (1980) – Don’t Call Me ‘Shirly’!
Everyone knows the old saying that “laughter is the best medicine”, which, if true, means that the movie Plane! is one of the best drugs out there. A comedy classic ‘Plane!’ is a literally non-stop stream of tunes, jokes and puns from start to finish.
This movie is great to revisit on a sick day because of its comedic density; it’s easy to blink and miss a hilarious joke or a clever visual gag. And if somehow all that focused comedy isn’t enough to lift your spirits, fear not, there’s a sequel: Airplane II: the sequelwhich offers even more laughs.
‘Amadeus’ (1984) – I Absolve You All
This highly decorated biopic (eight Oscars!) about the musical genius’ turbulent rise and fall Amedee Mozart (Tom Hulce) is one of the best films of the moment, period. So what better way to dispel a murky disposition than by watching academy-nominated performances while listening to beautifully executed Mozart music?
Besides acting and music, Amedee also boasts spectacular sets and costumes, which transport the viewer from their advil-strewn modern couch to the gilded court of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II (Jeffrey Jones) leaving any cloudy weather behind.
‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979) – Napalm in the Morning
Sometimes it can be good to remember that no matter how bad things are or how bad we feel, things can always get worse. And frankly, it doesn’t get much worse than some of the situations in Apocalypse now!, which shows some grizzly realities of the American war in Veitnam, and explores some of the darkest corners of the human mind.
On top of that, it’s simply an entertaining movie, with some classic performances from Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando, and a well-curated selection of Veitnam War-era rock and roll music. Not to mention some highly quoted moments – “Napalm in the Morning” being perhaps the most famous example.
‘La La Land’ (2019) – Classic Rope-a-Dope
A romantic musical is essential viewing in bad weather, and the academy’s darling film The Earth fits the bill perfectly. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling remind us why they’re considered some of Hollywood’s finest lead actors by portraying relatable characters in near-fairytale circumstances.
However, the talent of the lead actors would have been wasted on this movie if not for the spectacularly fun music and dance choreography that came with it. Each musical piece in the film is full of distinct character and identity, which combined with all the other details elevate this film slightly above some of its contemporaries.
‘The Breakfast Club’ (1985) – When You Grow Up, Your Heart Dies
The breakfast club is such an 80s classic that it sometimes feels more like a time capsule than a movie. This movie can be surreal to rewatch because it’s easy to forget how classic each scene is. Nothing more than the dance montage, which sees an incredibly horny scene Emilio Estevez perform wicked moves on a desk.
While there may be some outdated notions in this film (it’s almost 40 years old), it’s definitely brimming with 80s nostalgia and an endlessly relatable, or at least anti-main, anti-authoritarian energy. .
‘Knives Out’ (2019) – Donut Hole
Knives out is the kind of film that hooks a viewer and never lets go. A modern classic thriller, expertly modeled on Agatha Christie-esque directors, it resembles some of cinema’s most legendary murder mysteries.
What really brings this movie together is the excellent cast of actors who portray the morally thin family at the center of the mystery, including: Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Christopher Plummer, Chris Evans, Kathrine Langford and Michael Shannon and the investigation team Daniel Craig and Lakeith Stanfieldas well as the nurse, playby Ana de Armasaround which the mystery swirls.
‘Bridesmaids’ (2011) – Maid of Dishonor
Bridesmaids is another example of laughter being the best medicine put to the test. This movie is so full of funny people it’s hard to know where to start. The multi-faceted Kristin Wiig directs the set, she is flanked by the hilarious talent of Melissa McCarthy and Maya RudolphAnd that’s just the beginning.
This film’s humor provides a bit for everyone; there are rude moments, cringe-worthy moments, clever moments, and slapstick moments. Bridesmaids is truly one of the most universal comedies of the 2010s.
NEXT: Best Comedies of the 2010s, Ranked