Did you know today is National Thank You Day? Well, it is!

While I’ll be sure to show gratitude to the real people I know who’ve made my life better or easier in a number of ways, I’m also feeling like I need to give a shout-out to some movie characters who’ve made an impact on me.

Here are 8 movie characters I’d like to thank:

For the nightmares: Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase) from The Ring

OK so maybe this first one is a bit of a joke, but I truly am still haunted by some of the imagery in this horror movie that I saw against my better judgment way back in 2002. Naomi Watts stars as Rachel, a grieving aunt who begins looking into her niece’s mysterious death, which happened 7 days after she watched a supposedly cursed videotape. Eventually Rachel finds that Samara, a disturbed girl with unusual powers, may be connected to the whole grisly affair.

For the laughs: Frank the Tank (Will Ferrell) from Old School

There are so many scenes that can bring me out of a funk in this movie about grown men who create a fraternity for others going through midlife crises. From Frank singing “Dust in the Wind” at his boy Blue’s funeral, to the Mitch-a-palooza rager where Frank invites Snoop “Snoop-a-loop!” Dogg to go streaking through the quad with him, to Frank admitting his “nice little Saturday” consisting of running to Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond, I find myself quoting him every few weeks.

For the (good) tears: Billi Wang (Awkwafina) from The Farewell

In this dramedy inspired by writer-director Lulu Wang’s real family secret, Awkwafina stars as the black sheep of her family who returns to China to get one last visit with her grandma, Nai Nai. The whole family knows Nai Nai has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, but they’ve decided not to tell her and instead stage a fake wedding as an excuse for a gathering. There are some sad moments, yes, but they’re offset but the hilarious antics of Nai Nai’s large and loving family. The tears you shed will be happy ones, I promise!

For opening my eyes: Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) from Hidden Figures

These are the only movie characters on this list who were real people as well! This inspiring true story about the African-American women responsible for NASA’s success in the Space Race had me shaking my head in anger and disbelief at the prejudice, sexism and racism these literal-genius women encountered from their male co-workers. But the joke’s on those guys, because thanks to Hidden Figures being a Best Picture Oscar nominee, everyone knows Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson’s story now!

For conjuring my inner child: Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Oh, how I love Mr. Wonka. For his fantastical chocolate and candy creations that I dreamt about as a child and still wish were real, for his devilish snarky wit, for his ability to see people for who they really are, and for his incomparable sense of style, he still can bring out the kid in me decades after I first laid eyes on his chocolate factory.

For the perspective: Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) from A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place Part II

It hasn’t been a walk in the park attempting to work from home while also dealing with a kindergartener and third-grader remote-schooling just feet away from me for 1.5 years — much less raising kids during a pandemic overall — but hey, I’m not trying to keep a newborn and two tweens alive under the constant threat of being eaten by aliens, am I right? Evelyn reminds us all that it could always be worse!

Which movie characters would you want to thank today?

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