You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With cold and flu season coming up it seems vitally important to ask what movie you always watch whenever you get sick. What’s your “chicken soup movie”? – Denise S.
When I’m feeling under the weather, down in the dumps, or if I’m suffering some ill effects from a previous evening’s over-indulgence, I turn to my favorite movie, Scorsese’s boisterous gangster romp, Goodfellas, to cheer me up. The wacky shenanigans of that mischievous scamp, Henry Hill, and his band of strong-armed cronies never fails to lift my spirits and take my mind off what ails me.
Perhaps it isn’t everyone’s idea of comfort viewing, but when I’m feeling sorry for myself I like to see people worse off than me get drunk with power and then suffer a spectacular fall and get their comeuppance. The story of a gutless mob rat who throws everybody under the bus to save himself is often just what the doctor ordered. It amuses me. Like a clown…
In all seriousness, I’m a huge fan of Scorsese’s crime dramas and for the most part I find them wildly entertaining. Goodfellas has been my favorite since I first saw it about 15 years ago and it’s my go-to movie in times of trouble. And in times of contentment for that matter.
The Big Chill is the only movie that’s made me nostalgic for a time I wasn’t alive in — no, not 1983 (though I wasn’t alive then, either), but the 1960s college years that these characters re-engage with (thankfully) not through flashbacks, but through nostalgic social ritual – playing old records, reflecting back on memories and their shared friendships.
This movie is to me what I assume Broadcast News is to Hunter (we all need our feel-good 80s). Sure, it isn’t all warm and fuzzy (which is, actually, also why I like this movie), as some old wounds are reenacted, lingering tensions are explored, and a loss of idealism dealt with (they are, after all, attending the funeral of a friend who committed suicide), but the bitter and sweet combination make for a sincere yet unthreatening atmosphere. The movie is magnetically warm even though the setting is cold. You feel like you’re amongst old friends even though you’re meeting these characters for the first time, mainly due to the talents of the incredible ensemble cast.
The movie is even good enough to make you overlook Glenn Close’s hair and Tom Berenger’s mustache, and that funeral montage to The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” gets me every time.
Taxidermia if I feel like I need help vomiting. Other than that I don’t rewatch films very often unless TBS or TNT makes me.
Usually, if I have a day off and I’m not moving from the couch I’ll throw in something I haven’t seen. But, in the instance where I can’t find something on TV to watch passively and I don’t feel like I have the energy to invest in a new story then I will toss in something that I’ve seen and enjoyed so often that I don’t mind falling asleep to it. Usually, it’ll be an action film. Something that carries very little emotional weight and I avoid comedies completely because laughing heavily with a sore throat and a headache is like being tickled when you can’t breathe.
So, in those instances I’ll reach for the first 3 hour plus film I see on my shelf that won’t make me cry from throat pain or heart-string tug. It used to be any one of the Lord of the Rings films until I picked up the extended editions which required me to get the hell up and switch discs to watch the second half. Now, it’s the blu-ray of the Kingdom of Heaven Director’s Cut which has no second disc (but, sadly, no intermission music either). Perfect film for me when I’m under the weather for if no other reason than to see that even if I came down with leprosy I could still be a King.
I’ll take this opportunity to answer the question as if I was still 10 years old. Young Cole (besides desperately wanting a Rambo-styled Power Wheels) probably watched The Secret of NIMH a grand total of four hundred bajillion times. Half of them while sick.
I remember vividly a day at the beach that left me completely covered in the kind of sunburn that would cause my father to jokingly mock me as a Lobster Boy. It was head to toe. And it hurt.
So there’s little me, laying as still as possible, covered in Aloe on a beach towel in our living room (back when the TV was in the corner), and I’m enjoying the breeze of a fan while a single mouse mother fights a group of scientists in order to save her sick son and move her family to safety before the harvest threshers kill them all. There’s something about the slightly dark tone, the sheer beauty of each setting, and the elevator that went under water that calmed me down every time. Or maybe it’s the parallel between the plot and how my own mother took care of me. Either way, it’s cinematic comfort food that helps the medicine or the sunburn go down.