Feel-Good Films for Self-Isolation

Something that rarely gets brought up in disaster film narratives is how boring said disasters can be, especially if they’re not the kind seen in 2012 or Independence Day. With this in mind it’s important to find not only solace in each other (from a safe distance) but also the right things to keep us entertained so we don’t sink too far. I thereby present a list of some feel-good films to pass the time with until this all blows over.

With this in mind it’s important to find not only solace in each other (from a safe distance) but also the right things to keep us entertained so we don’t sink too far.

Hairspray (2007)

Let’s start with this singalong musical set in 60s Baltimore that deals with racial segregation, aerosol sales and embracing one’s own identity in a changing time all centred around the illustrious Miss Hairspray competition. The music is often exuberant, up-tempo and optimistic, though for anyone who may think it too saccharine, there’s often an undertone of something darker beneath the surface. The cast is a joy, with Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifa, Christopher Walken and a pre-musclebound Zac Efron, though John Travolta is often a point of discussion, though maybe audiences will empathise more now considering she’s self-isolated for 15 years when the film starts. If in need of a film with its heart in the right place but also a grip on reality, this is the one worth trying.

Galaxy Quest (1999)

Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman are among a cast of former actors in a Star Trek-esque show who discover not only have aliens been watching but taken their adventures to be actual history. Now, years after the show has finished, they’re beamed aboard with only their knowledge of the show and their strained comradery to get them through. Galaxy Quest is a wonderful science fiction parody with loveable characters, the aliens especially are a treat with their line delivery. At its heart though it is a film about appreciating what you can create for other people through your art of how silly you may feel making it.

THE LEGO MOVIES (2014-2019)

Despite being entirely CGI there’s a stop-motion quality to these films, almost as though you can see the finger-marks and hand crafting which has come to define many of our early attempts at filmmaking.

Honestly, I could put any of the recent LEGO movies on this list, with maybe the exception of Ninjago as they’ve by and large been awesome pieces of entertainment for all. Despite being entirely CGI there’s a stop-motion quality to these films, almost as though you can see the finger-marks and hand crafting which has come to define many of our early attempts at filmmaking. The humour is self-aware, the characters are refined archetypes with an added touch of anarchy and extra heart, and the films often poke fun at everything pop-culture from Chris Pratt’s filmography to the history of Batman in all its iterations. Try a marathon, may make the day fly much quicker.

The Naked Gun (1988)

While the film the Zucker brothers is best known for is Airplane, one of the funniest spoofs of all time, their lesser known Naked Gun trilogy is just as worthy of your attention. A fun mix of slapstick, puns, absurdity and unforgettable visuals, The Naked Gun films follow Detective Frank Drebin as he confronts criminals and terrorists in New York, usually causing more mayhem than actually solving crimes. Featuring Leslie Nielson at his best who blunders through every set-piece with expert timing, this is classic comedy refined within an inch of its very big gun.

Booksmart (2019)

The most recent film on this list and a raunchy fun time, Booksmart follows two girls graduating high school who realize they’ve not had nearly as much fun as their piers who are likely to do as well as them in college. So, it’s now onto them to party and have a memorable experience, even if the universe has other ideas about that. The comedy is whip-smart, the characters are enjoyable and the film has all the awkwardness of teen life and sexual awakening with a modern sensibility and near-perfect pacing.

So that’s it for this list, look after yourselves in the meantime, find ways to keep exercised and healthy between films. Streaming services have thankfully noticed the crisis at hand, and there are a variety of deals worth looking to if you’re cooped up.

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