Updated: Jan 12
So with it being winter break, the walls of my house feel like they're closing in on me. Between the cold which I simply despise, and a new variant popping up every other week, leaving my house feels worlds worst idea. To cope I've been watching so many movies that I feel like Francis Ford Coppola. I could direct a Emmy awarded movie right now for no other reason than I have that much faith in myself.
With the idea of how many movies I've consumed over the break I thought that I would recommend some of them and the reasons why I think they should be part of your next movie night or movie binge night. So, with all that being said, grab your favorite snack or the leftover pork fried rice in your fridge, grab a cup of tea, your comfiest clothes and your favorite snuggle blankie and let's go through my very special list. I'll try to make these as spoiler free as possible but I can't make promises.
Also, as I'm writing this, I've come to realize that a lot of these movies are based off of books. So maybe read the book first and then watch the movie? That's what I try to do so I get the full story. I'll put the director and authors for all movies for y'all.
1) The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Directed by Frank Darabont
Authored by Stephen King
A movie that I didn't know I needed to watch until I was a sobbing mess in the middle of the night. Centered around character Andy Dufresne a man we understand from the get go is innocent of the crime that he's jailed for. Along the way we see how powerful hope can be in a place where it doesn't belong or maybe isn't a thought for a lot of the characters.
I watched this movie thinking it's just like every other prisoner commits a crime and finds something special where it doesn't belong type of movie. That was a lot. Apologies. I found in actuality that I can't describe how the movie made me feel. It angered me, it made me smile, it made me sob every five minutes.
In the end, everything gets tied in and all the little instances we the audience see but don't really pay much attention to all get tied to together and makes everything make sense. Honestly, the movie is brillant and the acting by big names like Morgan Freeman really suck you into the movie and keep you there.
I think what really got me was the finding out that this was based off a book written by Stephen King. Another movie that I was also shocked to learn was based off a book of his was The Green Mile. Would I watch the movie again? Yes. Would I watch on a day where I need a really good cry? Yes. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.
2) The Help (2011)
Directed by Tate Taylor
Authored by Kathryn Stockett
This is a movie that I can quote and often will have as background noise whilst doing homework or anything where I can't be looking at the actual film. The movie is centered around the setting of Jackson, Mississippi in 1963. We see little hints of the civil rights movement. The movement being the precursor to what actually happens in the movie plot.
Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan is one of the main characters alongside Aibileen Clark whose a housekeeper or the "help" of one of Eugenia's friends. Within the film we're faced with the idea of doing what's right in a time period where it's illegal and frowned upon by your peers.
With secondary characters that you will love from the minute they hit the screen like Minny Jackson, Celia Rae Foote and her easily lovable husband Johnny Foote. Anatongist characters like Hilly Holbrook and her good ole fashion Southern "values". There's just a plethora of funny, serious, heartwrenching moments that make this a easy movie to love. Two enthusiatic thumbs up.
3) Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Directed by Joe Wright
Authored by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice is one of those films and books that makes you miss a certain time period you've never been a part of. Like wanting to go back in time just to live like the characters lived. In Regency Era England, we're tossed into the Bennet family and my God, do I love the Bennet family. There's something cozy about their house, the family dynamic, and the love between two people who have this crazy attraction right from the beginning but miss! all! the! signals! It's not only the story itself but the clothing that I want to wear.
Big claps to the costume designer Jacqueline Durran who was the Oscar winner of 2005 for three movies including Pride and Prejudice.
I know that there's some discourse on the internet about which film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is better. There is in total 17 movies based on P&P. But for the sake of time and confusion, let's just stick to the big three. The 2005 version vs. the 1995 version vs. the 1980 version. My personal conclusion is the people who lived through that certain year when the movie was released is going to love that particular version. I haven't watched the 1980 or the 1995 versions. Maybe I'm biased. I don't know, but I do know I love Kiera Knightly.
4) The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Authored by Victor Hugo
I want to know whose singing in the choir parts of this movie because whatever the number, it wasn't enough. Between the classic 2D animation, the beauty of the dialogue and the songs! The songs and the singing in this movie are up there with Phil Collins putting his everything in the Tarzan and Brother Bear soundtracks.
You'll feel so human and humbled at the end of this movie. I've watched HBOND so many times but it's the soundtrack that I obsess over more than the actual film. Like actual geeking over the soundtrack. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the choir that's sounds like angels one second and devils dragging you along the way another second. Maybe it's Tom Hulce's beautiful singing and acting as Quasimodo. Either way, the soundtrack is magic. Enough said.
Hunchback of Notre Dame like previously mentioned makes you feel so human, because there's something so humanizing about the characters and how they're portrayed. You see their flaws, you see how the world treats them. The people who should be loved by the people are casted aside, and the people who hold power but are heartless are the ones the world knows and accepts. It's almost poetic, and so true.
5) The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Directed by David Frankel
Authored by Lauren Weisberger
As the iconic Miranda Priestly says "Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us." Within this quote we see the movie. Character Andy is a newly graduated Journalist major who needs a job and lands one being the second assistant for Miranda. Throughout the film we and Andy are thrown into the fast paced and cutthroat world of fashion and the fictitious magazine Runway (based off of Vogue).
Honestly, its the fashion in this movie that really solidfies it. Costume designer Patricia Field took items from designer vaults, making most of the costumes borrowed pieces of high fashion. Pieces worn by Miranda and the first assitant Emily and later on in the movie eventually Andy as well, tell a story of how they see themselves,and how they're seen by others in the movie.
It actually explains how fast fashion comes and goes. How a style is trendy one day and yesterdays news tomorrow. These are the people in control of the fashion we seen on the runways of high fashion. The people in charge of what we see in the magazines presented at newspaper stands. Even though it's all fictious, it's not. We're a world that wears clothes, and what's the hottest piece of clothing isn't picked out by the people of everyday but by the people who live, breathe, and sweat fashion. Commited to find the best outfit and the person whose designing it. In a way, the characters in The Devil Wears Prada symbolize the fashion world. They are fashion. We're just wearing what they deemed wearable.
6) The Book Thief (2013)
Directed by Brian Percival
Authored by Markus Zusak
Imagine being thirteen years old, you just read the book. The book broke your heart in more places than one. Now with a ducttaped heart you're sitting down in front of the computer and you're watching the film adaptation of the book. Again you're a screaming crying mess.
That was me in 2013. I think I felt more connected to the main character Liesel Meminger and her best friend Rudy Steiner at the age of thirteen because the characters were the same age as me. I could myself in their shoes and was having the same feelings of having first crushes on best friends and it never happening but still it's thrilling.
Now when I watch the film, I put myself in the mothers shoes. The worrying of having enough food, protecting my family from the outside world, hoping that everybody stays safe and feeling scared when they're not. I put myself in the Papa's shoes, trying to make the best out of an awful situation. Playing music not because it's wanted but because sometimes its needed. Always putting a postive look on the situation because making it more negative does more damage than good.
In a way, I grew up alongside the characters, whose actors are my age. I feel less like the main characters and more like the parents because in the world we live in right now, I had to grow up a little bit and we all had the world fall on our heads. I wonder if that's how the characters all felt about living during World War II.
Here's my little list of films based off of books that I think y'all need to watch for your next movie night. Let me know what you think and which ones you watch. :)
You can follow Cat on her instagram at https://www.instagram.com/catcalabro/?hl=en This where she posts lil tid bits of her life and a few kitty pics of her adorable two cats.