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The biggest misconception out there is that autumn begins on Sept. 22. This is a lie. Fall starts the same day September does in my book. In the spirit of the season, here’s a list of comfy-cozy movies best watched this time of year. I should also mention that it is illegal to watch any of these without some Pillsbury pumpkin sugar cookies. And if you happen to live in a dorm, steal some cookies from the dining hall and just tell yourself you are eating Pillsbury pumpkin cookies until you start to believe it. 

Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting is one of my all-time favorite movies. Matt Damon plays an MIT custodian who happens to be a math genius despite his lack of formal schooling. One professor discovers his talents and takes him under his wing. In the process, Will Hunting (Matt Damon’s character) must speak to a therapist to examine his life and relationships. The cast is great and the Boston setting does not go unnoticed. If it helps to convince you to watch Good Will Hunting, just know one of the top search questions for this movie is “Why is Good Will Hunting so good?”

Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society has two things in common with Good Will Hunting: Robin Williams and academic vibes. John Keating is a new English teacher at an all-boys elite preparatory school. He uses untraditional teaching techniques to offer his students life lessons through poetry. All I have left to say is seize the day and watch this one. You won’t regret it (and you will understand that reference afterward). 

Harry Potter (series)

I would be wasting my “breath” here if I explained what these movies are about but if you don’t know, what are you doing with your life? This one may be a little bit controversial because many consider the Harry Potter movies as Christmas movies. I, however, wholeheartedly disagree with this opinion. Just because the students have Christmas breaks for approximately 15 minutes in most of the movies it does not give viewers the right to categorize the entire series under Christmas. They are perfect for autumn because they offer a warm and homey feeling that cannot be found anywhere else. 

When Harry Met Sally

If you don’t like rom-coms, skip over this recommendation. And if you do, then you’ve probably already seen it. But just in case there is someone out there who hasn’t already watched When Harry Met Sally, it’s about the time Harry met Sally. Following their college graduation, Harry and Sally share a car ride from Chigaco to New York City and the topic of opposite-sex friendships comes up. Harry is of the opinion that men and women can never be just friends while Sally believes that they can. Over the next decade, Harry and Sally continually bump into each other and eventually do become friends…or is it more? The movie is set in NYC fall giving us beautiful shots of colorful leaves in Central Park. 

Remember the Titans

Remember earlier when I mentioned that Good Will Hunting is one of my favorite movies? Well, Remember the Titans is my favorite movie. Under federal law, two Virginia high schools, one white and one Black, are forced to integrate. The football team is the pride a joy of this town, and Coach Boone is tasked with not only uniting the team but leading them to success. It may not be comfy-cozy, but Remember the Titans is such a beautiful story that I had to include it in this list. 

Halloweentown (series)

Full disclosure: nostalgia is the only reason these movies are good, but the nostalgia is unmatched. Maybe I am projecting my own childhood, but I can’t be the only one who grew up watching these every year. I can sing the theme songs on demand and am still a little upset that they changed Marnie’s casting in Return to Halloweentown.

October Sky

If the name is any indication, October Sky is the ultimate autumn movie. Homer lives in a small Virginia town and is expected to follow in his father’s footsteps as a coal miner. He becomes fascinated by rocket science, however, and aspires to build his own rocket with the help of his friends and a teacher. This last recommendation gives us both the small-town fall aesthetic and an inspiring story. 

Happy watching!

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Jillian Hughes

U Mass Amherst '23

Jillian is a junior at Umass Amherst majoring in biology and public health. She currently serves as the UMass chapter's treasurer. Her favorite things are traveling, chocolate chip cookies, and listening to podcasts on long walks.
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