10 movies to help you feel good

Treat yourself to some good vibes with these films

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ANNIKA ZEIGLER

The right movies to put you in the right mood.

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen columnist

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to feel what I have officially titled “stream fatigue.” No, I’m sure I’m not the first to mention this phenomenon, but I have actually been lucky enough to find some of the hidden gems across Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and other popular services that I have obtained through means I am not in a position to disclose.

Here are 10 kind of “feel-good” movies for your quarantine viewing pleasure. 

10. “Perks of Being a Wallflower” dir. Stephen Chbosky – Netflix 

I hold deep ties to this film. In the year of its release I was just turning 13 and entering high school, so this is one of those age-defining movies. If you don’t get the hype it can come across as cheesy, but overall I think the film is true to the source material and has a soundtrack that is eerily similar to what my mom played from her CD collection growing up.

9. “Lady Bird” dir. Greta Gerwig – Amazon Prime 

I’m usually not one to support trillionaires, but Prime has kept Lady Bird on its service for years now, and I go back to it every few months. It’s like the big sister you never had. OK, I did have a big sister, but she didn’t have pink streaks in her hair and wear berets. Anyway, this is a refreshing girls-girl movie without being what most “chick flicks” are known for being — terribly written with a terrible plot. 

8. “Jeff Who Lives at Home” dir. Jay and Mark Duplass – Amazon Prime 

Though I didn’t expect to enjoy this movie, I do think it holds the feel-good theme really well and is surprisingly well-made, with deliberate editing and character choices that make the climax feel well-deserved. It’s not groundbreaking or an exceptional piece of art, which is why you’ve likely never heard of it, but I enjoyed it and it’s free if you have Prime. 

7. “Silver Linings Playbook” dir. David O’Russell – Netflix 

This film came out in 2012 and, as we’ve already covered, that was pivotal to my life. Even on rewatching, it does have staying power as a critical analysis of how we treat people in our community who have mental health issues. It’s well-written and is fun to watch if anything. 

6. “Sunshine Cleaning” dir. Christine Jeffs – Amazon Prime 

Starring Emily Blunt and Amy Adams on the cusp of their post-2010’s fame, this movie isn’t really “feel-good” so much as cathartic. The film takes its time telling the story of sisterhood in a way that doesn’t feel melodramatic even though it’s subject matter is bleak. 

5. “Spider-Man” dir. Sam Raimi – Hulu

This is the cheesiest inoffensive movie that was very recently put onto Netflix. Yes, this is the Tobey Maguire version of Spider-Man that includes outdated effects and the sporadic directing style of Sam Raimi from the early 2000s. If you want to shut your brain off and take a break from the heavier movies on this list, I’d recommend this one. 

4. “The Beach Bum” dir. Harmony Korine – Hulu

This film gained some pre-release notoriety from photos of Matthew McConaughey walking around in loose touristy garb and scraggly hair, so I was slightly surprised to enjoy this movie. It has a fittingly laid-back directing style and writing reminiscent of “The Big Lebowski.” It’s a movie you don’t have to over-analyze without being vapid. 

3. “The Skeleton Twins” dir. Craig Johnson –  Hulu

Starring Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader of Saturday Night Live fame, this film follows twins as they navigate middle-adulthood and confront their mental health. Once again, this movie surprised me with its ability to explore dark themes without becoming over-the-top in its drama. The natural chemistry between Wiig and Hader helps make this story more believable. 

2. “La La Land” dir. Damien Chazelle – HBO GO. 

I have my issues with this movie, but I recently rewatched the very popular film from 2017. I saw it basically alone in a theater with my best friend and can really appreciate the effort that went into these shots. The music, as watered-down as it may be, does catch your attention. If you want to really feel good and cathartic after a movie it’s not a bad choice. 

1. “Moonlight” dir. Barry Jenkins – Netflix 

Luckily this movie is still on Netflix and if you have not seen it I’d definitely recommend it. While sad, the film is a very refreshing take on a story not told enough about sexuality and racial inequality in America. As it competed with my number-two slot for Best Picture, it’s also interesting to watch “La La Land” and “Moonlight” back to back and get a glimpse into how different the two films are in terms of theme, approach and worldview.