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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Irvine chapter.

One whiff of pumpkin spice and I think of auburn leaves, pumpkin patches and sweater weather that signals autumn is here! But this isn’t Connecticut — this is California, where the autumn season only lasts long enough to leave us wanting more. So why not turn down the A/C and create your own fall vibes at home, while watching my fave fall movies!

1. Stepmom

Warning: this comedy-drama holds some feel-good vibes and tear-jerker moments that will melt your heart! Why is it on my list? Well, just take a look at that autumn paradise – orange and golden colors fill every outdoor scene! New York fashion photographer and determined stepmom, Isabel (Julia Roberts) competes for the good graces of her two step-children who despise her — and that of their mother Jackie (Susan Sarandon). So it’s the classic younger step-mom and the spiteful ex-wife dynamic, but it soon becomes blurred when Jackie forcibly has to step down and depend on Isabel to take care of the kids (it gets sad from here). Isabel and Jackie find themselves unexpectedly bonding over their love for the kids, putting aside their differences or griefs with each other (ahem- Jackie!). Great watch overall!

2. Mystic Pizza

Next on my list is a 90s rom-com co-starring–guess who–Julia Roberts! But if that’s not enough, the legend himself, Matt Damon, made his directorial debut with this movie. The film makes the list because it’s set in this cute, small-town in Mystic, Connecticut (I guess that counts?!), where everyone knows each other and there’s not much going on. This cult-classic is focused on three peculiar pizza waitresses, Daisy (Julia Roberts), Kat (Annabeth Gish), and Jojo (Lili Taylor) who all work at Mystic Pizza and grew up together in Mystic. Just before Kat attends Yale that fall, we see these characters reach a limbo where each young woman must choose a fate that could determine the rest of her life, even though the decision may separate them from each other and all they have ever known. There’s love, commitment issues, affairs, and more! 

I will say that one big con for me is that Julia Roberts played a Puerto Rican character. Like why, Matt Damon? It just makes for an awkward and confusing scene when her boyfriend’s mother makes a comment about her “ethnicity”.

3. Runaway Bride

Julia Roberts is also in this one because we stan! This movie made it on the list because of its cinematography, which displays tons of rustic scenery and a small-town feel that comes from the movie location in Maryland. Ok, sidenote: why are all my fall favs in the east coast? I think it might be a sign. 

Anyways, don’t get me started on the character leads in this movie. The Pretty Woman duo is back together again, but this time Richard Gere is a columnist (Homer) who writes a savage article about Maggie’s (Julia Roberts) commitment issues, which has led her to abandon every wedding she has held. Yeah, so she doesn’t really like him in this one! And Homer (Richard Gere) has a really bitter view about women, but is amused to find out that they’re a perfect match. Will she commit or flee? 

This film is so worth watching, especially if you’re looking for some romance in your life because their chemistry is everything! Richard always knows how to challenge Julia with his eyes in the most banterous way and it’s really hot, not gonna lie!

4. Good Will Hunting

The city of Boston and Harvard campus really screams autumn as we observe foggy days and golden trees in the background. All the colors in this movie are mostly earthy and warm too. I always watch this movie around back-to-school season too because it really motivates me to do better and not waste my opportunities. Like it really gets me blubbering thinking about how Will (Matt Damon) was a genius who worked as a janitor and didn’t see anything more in himself because of his rough childhood. It’s just an emotional rollercoaster, especially in the scene where Robin Williams softly tells him that “it’s not your fault”. Truly powerful stuff! Just watch it, don’t even think about it.

5. Practical Magic

I’m aware that there are some critics that hate this movie, but I’m here to say f*ck them! I absolutely adore this 10/10 film because every detail makes it feel like fall, from the setting to the clothes! The clothing, I must mention, is iconic for being on point with 90’s fashion (long midi skirts, leather jackets, knit tanks, etc)! .

Besides serving us looks, Sandra Bullock (Sally) and Nicole Kidman (Gillian) star in this whimsical film as the town witches that come from a long line of cursed witches, who’s husbands parish for being loved by them. At a young age, Sally swears off love, only allowing herself to love a man she made up in a love spell. But her crazy aunts intervene and mess up her plans!

In the midst of all this, she reunites with her sister Gillian who’s been partying it up this whole time, but gets herself into some trouble with her vicious boyfriend, dragging Sally into it and having her clean up her mess! Little sisters, am I right? 

So now, a cop is snooping into this mess looking for her boyfriend, but Sally and Gillian must unite and use their witchy powers to defeat Gillian’s gross, ghost boyfriend! I think it would have been easier if they had followed the spell exactly, but who knows?


Taking in the warm cinematography and autumnal setting always makes it feel like fall for me, even when it’s 100 degrees outside! But if all else fails, just re-watch “Gilmore Girls”!


Molly Peach-Girl With Fall Leaves Outsidee
Molly Peach / Her Campus

Kimberly is a California-native who draws her inspiration from nature, culture, her Spotify playlists and French-pressed coffee. She is passionate about giving her opinion on culture, media and tech.