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My Favorite Feel-Good Flicks

While the free time that quarantine has allowed me is sometimes wasted on meaningless contemplative stupors and short-lived existential crises, it has also given me plenty of opportunities to read, write, spend time with my family, go for walks and just veg out. Since Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race, I’ve attempted to cope with my grief by gravitating toward wholesome and uplifting movies and television series. The following are some of my favorites:

“The Great British Baking Show”

This show is easily the most wholesome spectacle I’ve ever seen and has ruined the Food Network for me forever. I know that “Bake Off” is incredibly popular, but if you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Over the course of 10 weeks, 12 amateur bakers compete in a series of different challenges that test different facets and techniques in baking. At the end of each season, there are two runner-ups and one person is declared “Star Baker.”

Despite the fact that this is a competition show, everyone ― including the judges ― is so nice to each other. I think what makes it so great is that it’s bursting at the seams with vivid colors, natural scenery and genuine passion, joy and comradery. It’s so refreshing to see talented people support one another, goof around, sip tea and bake spectacular creations. 

It’s near-impossible to pick favorites because you always find a way to get attached to every competitor. But that’s a good problem to have.

“Shine On With Reese”

Two words: Reese Witherspoon. Need I say anything else?

This series is made up of nine 22-minute episodes of Reese Witherspoon living out her dreams of being a talk show host as she travels around the country, interviewing women who inspire her. These women are often titans of their respective industries, so not only is the show informative and motivating, but it’s also bubbly, spunky and incredibly addictive. It’s filled with incredible pieces of advice that are applicable to a scope of professions, careers and industries.

Each episode is short and sweet, serving as the perfect pick-me-up between Zoom calls. It’s also a great show to binge on a Sunday afternoon if you need to brace yourself for the week ahead.

“Jerry Maguire”

This movie is packed with some of cinema’s most memorable quotes and is almost the epitome of the all-American success story. Don’t let the fact that it’s a sports drama or a romance turn you off. There are so many heartfelt, impassioned and downright hilarious moments that make this film so human and authentic yet deeply inspiring. 

The cast is so, so great and it feels so good to see something that revolves around the stories and successes of passionate, supportive and well-intentioned characters. I adore Tom Cruise with all my heart, and this is easily one of his best performances. And while Cuba Gooding Jr. won his Oscar for this performance, Tom Cruise certainly deserved one too.

God, I love Tom Cruise.

“The Fundamentals of Caring”

This film is a Netflix original starring Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts and Selena Gomez. And although there’s a little bit of underlying romance, the overarching focus is on the beauty and richness of unlikely friendships. Each character struggles with deep-seated emotional trauma as they all wrestle with the pain of bewilderment and rejection. Strange circumstances bring them all together, but despite that, they forge a profound relationship with one another which allows them to cope with their personal adversities. 

Paul Rudd is so good, so funny and just…. a gem. We don’t deserve him. Craig Roberts and Selena Gomez are equally funny with their hilarious sass, banter and sarcasm. It’s an unlikely bunch, but the astonishing clash in each of their personalities makes it all the more relatable. Every time I watch this, I can’t help but send a message to some of my best friends.

It’s a good movie that reminds you to be grateful for all the love and friendships you have, which is important to remember in times like this.

Now more than ever, it’s important to uphold our emotional and physical health, and the best place to start is by doing things that make us feel good. For me, movies and television are great reminders of all the hope and good in the world. Hopefully, something on this list sparked your interest and is able to remind you to focus more on all the kindness and positivity surrounding us.

Niki is a third-year student at UMKC pursuing double majors in history and English along with a minor in film studies. Outside of writing and re-watching her favorite Tom Cruise movies, you can find her listening to audiobooks while on strolls through the park or walks around her neighborhood. She enjoys talking about travel, literature, health, wellness, and skincare and can never turn down a good cup of tea.
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