I don’t know about you, fellow mamas, but with everything going on in the world, I am enjoying escaping reality through movies more than ever. When I watch movies with my son, we usually go for something animated by Disney/Pixar, Dreamworks or similar (his current favorites are the Toy Story series). When I watch movies with my husband, we usually go for something tense (recent choices include The Shining, Uncut Gems and Captain Phillips).
However, when I get a chance to watch alone, I want something funny or heartfelt (but not sad), and something that I probably wouldn’t watch with my 5-year-old. Here are some suggestions if you’re needing a good laugh or just a warm feeling in your heart. I’m also including where they are available for streaming or rental, which are accurate at the time of this writing.
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): This is my favorite movie of all time, and it’s not just for the holiday season! First off, the casting is brilliant. And the feeling of disappointment when, despite your best efforts, your life does not go quite as planned is universal. Then, there’s the ending, when George learns that his life has affected so many people in such positive ways… tears every time. Also, in my opinion, the scene with George and Mary sharing the phone is one of the greatest moments in all of cinema. It’s a Wonderful Life is available to rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Google Play.
- Tommy Boy (1995): I’ve seen this more times than I count, and it never ceases to give me belly laughs. The pairing of Chris Farley and David Spade is comedy gold, and the absolutely silly plot does not in any way take away from how truly funny they are in this. As a bonus, a lot of it is set in Ohio, though in reality, you would never take a flight from Sandusky to Cuyahoga Falls. Tommy Boy is available to rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Google Play.
- Uncle Buck (1989): If you’re around my age (38), you were probably a big fan of John Candy as a kid. This movie absolutely demonstrates the brilliance of that comedic force that we lost too soon. It’s another movie I’ve seen more times than I can count, but each time is like watching it for the first time. Also, you may see more than you wish of your teenage self in the character of Tia. Uncle Buck is available to stream on HBO Max, and available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
- Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997): Again, if you’re around my age, you probably had a friend in junior high or high school that you would argue with over who’s the Mary and who’s the Rhoda. This movie is so light and fluffy, it’s like cotton candy. In addition, the 80s soundtrack is absolutely killer. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion is available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
- Wayne’s World (1992): Goodness, this is a classic. It’s endlessly quotable and endlessly hilarious. I don’t think there’s really anything else I need to say about it – to know it is to love it. Wayne’s World is available to rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Google Play.
- Back to the Future (1985): Was Michael J. Fox among anyone’s first celebrity crushes? He definitely was for me! This movie has it all – comic relief, the underdog defeating the bully, stellar casting, a DeLorean… It’s also made everyone that has seen it dream that they could harness 1.21 gigawatts of electricity and travel through time. Fun fact to make you feel old – if this movie was made today, Marty would travel back in time to 1990. Back to the Future is available to stream on Netflix, and available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
- The Blues Brothers (1980): Here’s another movie that is not only funny beyond belief, but also has a great soundtrack (as a kid, my family had it on vinyl). The cast is made up of two original Saturday Night Live stars, a backing band of talented musicians and slew of amazing supporting characters (Aretha Franklin, Carrie Fisher and the aforementioned John Candy, for example). What more could you want? The Blues Brothers is available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
- A League of Their Own (1992): There’s no crying in baseball, other than the happy tears you’ll get from the comedy and the heartwarming ending of this movie. I think that we could definitely use more sports movies featuring women, especially if they’re as wonderful as this one. A League of Their Own is available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
- Dirty Dancing (1987): Weren’t we all crazy for Swayze in the late 80s/early 90s, and for good reason? Oh, this movie. The dancing, the music (I think everybody at the time had the soundtrack), the romance, the final scene – sheer perfection. Dirty Dancing is available to stream on Amazon Prime, and available to rent on Apple TV and Google Play.
- Clue (1985): This movie probably isn’t as well-known as the others on this list. However, if you haven’t seen it yet, you are truly missing out. The cast – outstanding. The connection to the board game – surprisingly strong. The mystery – silly, but hilarious. The multiple endings/solutions to the mystery – each is better than the one before. If you’ve ever seen the gif of a woman in black saying “Flame-flames on the side of my face,” this is where it’s from. Clue is available to stream on Amazon Prime, and available to rent on Apple TV and Google Play.
What did I miss (Hamilton! Of course!)? What are your go-to movies that are guaranteed to put you in a good mood? Truly, this list could’ve been 10 times as long for me, so I just went with personal favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Happy watching!