How’s everyone feeling right about now? Those of us in Illinois (and a few other states) have a government mandate to “shelter in place,” and people in countless other areas around the country are doing the responsible thing and self-quarantining in order to not inadvertently spread the often-symptomless coronavirus. Many schools are closed for the foreseeable future, millions are working from home and it’s … well … A LOT. Even if you’ve never suffered from anxiety before, this upending of normalcy over the past few weeks is enough to shake the most calm and stoic soul.

What to do, what to do, with all this extra time on our hands? Keeping busy — and staying off of social media — have both been critical for my sanity. I’ll be using some of the days ahead to go through the piles and piles of clutter that have built up in my home office, filing cabinets and closets over the years. I’ll be dusting off some free weights and resistance bands I bought a long time ago and never use. I’ll be scouring the Internet for the latest celebrity who’s hosting fun activities for kids, like author Mo Willems and actor/voice of Olaf Josh Gad have been doing. Maybe I will even FINALLY organize all of my thousands of digital pictures that are spread across old and current phones and laptops. (Ah, who am I kidding. I’m never going to do that.)

I am actually looking forward to cracking open all of the dozens of books I’ve downloaded to my Kindle and then forgot about. I’ve got a list of TV shows to binge. And I have 20 “comfort movies”’ to turn to for escapism. These movies work just like comfort food: they make me feel safe, wrap me up in their wonderfulness and — as Billy Joel sang in “Piano Man”— help me “forget about life for a while.”

The Princess Bride – Because it’s my favorite movie. And because what’s happening in the world right now is truly “INCONCEIVABLE!”

The Lord of the Rings series  – These movies can keep us entertained for more than 9 hours! And this quote from Gandalf (Ian McKellen) seems quite fitting: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”  

Old School – We may not be able to go streaking through the quad right now, but Frank the Tank (Will Ferrell) still can.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Save Ferris. Save the world!

The Goonies – A young Samwise Gamgee and his meathead brother Thanos set off with their friends in search of pirate treasure that could save their town.

Double feature: The Time Traveler’s Wife and About Time – Both star Rachel McAdams, both have time-traveling twists, and both help me keep my priorities straight.

The How to Train Your Dragon trilogy – My kids are out of school until at least April 21. One of the days between now and then will definitely be spent watching all three of these most excellent animated movies about a boy and his dragon.

Julie & Julia – Despite the fact that I myself don’t like to cook, I find there’s something calming about watching others do it. In this true story, a writer (Amy Adams) recreates all 524 of Julia Child’s (Meryl Streep) recipes within 365 days.

The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Movie: The Second Part – Much of our lockdown has been spent together as a family playing with our kids’ beloved little bricks, so these movies help inspire us to keep building and dreaming up new creations.

Crazy Rich Asians – A gorgeous cast, an exotic setting and a classic love story make for the perfect escape from reality.

This is Spinal Tap – We all need to “go to 11” right now! And laugh like no other “mockumentary” about clueless rockers can make us laugh.

Ever After – Gotta have a fairy tale in the mix because we’re all hoping for a fairy tale ending to this crisis.

You’ve Got Mail – A classic rom-com starring two of America’s most beloved people, taking us back to simpler times.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – This documentary should be on everyone’s list to help remind people that a little kindness goes a long way — especially during a crisis.

What are some of the comfort movies you’ll be watching in the days ahead? 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,