By Megan Bianco
With coronavirus and hysteria gripping the world right now, the film industry is basically going on hiatus until at least June.
Not only are major releases like A Quiet Place 2 and the new Mulan feature being postponed, but all studio productions as well. It is truly an unprecedented event in pop culture and human history. Some studios, like Universal, have embraced streaming as an alternative, though many of the films being offered online have already been released theatrically in the last couple of months.
No surprisingly during a viral pandemic, Steven Soderbergh’s sci-fi thriller Contagion (2011) has blown up on streaming because of its eerie relevance to current events. But as good as this movie is, I’m struggling to see the appeal of watching something like this while in the middle of a real-life health crisis. The same goes for other dystopian films like Perfect Sense (2011) and Children of Men (2006).
My recommendations for a time like this are some of Hollywood’s most light-hearted and feel-good movies. The following are my personal favorites, which always cheer me up when I’m down.
There’s nothing better than the classic romantic comedy Annie Hall (1977), which unfortunately has been tainted by the personal life of its writer, director and star, Woody Allen. If you can “separate the art from the artist,” then also consider some of Allen’s other comedies like Love and Death (1975), Manhattan (1979) and Midnight in Paris (2011).
Timeless classics like Disney’s Beauty & the Beast (1991), The Wizard of Oz (1939), ET: the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and A Hard Day’s Night (1964) will always improve your mood.
Musicals, especially family-appropriate ones, are generally good for pick-me-up material. Faves like Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965) are usually popular for this reason. While Chicago (2002) isn’t necessarily family friendly, it belongs in this group.
Comedy is another perfect genre for this pandemic, whether classic comedies like Bringing Up Baby (1938), Blazing Saddles (1974) and Caddyshack (1980), or cult classics like There’s Something About Mary (1998), Zoolander (2001) and Horrible Bosses (2011).
Teen movies, which are often a rather nostalgic comedy subgenre, shine with hits like Clueless (1995), Bring It On (2000) and Superbad (2007). And romantic comedies like The Philadelphia Story (1940), Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) are always appropriate.
The season is going to be interesting, to say the very least, but maybe we can distract ourselves from the chaos with some upbeat films.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.
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