Movies to Watch when Sad

Down in the dumps? Let’s rediscover joy in life with five movies

It’s a shared experience, isn’t it? We all have those moments when the joy of life seems to fade, and the days start to feel like a heavyweight, pushing us deeper into the pit of despair.

Of course, this is nothing to be ashamed of since, even in the most optimistic scenarios, no one can be happy 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

While there’s no magic solution to all our problems, there are ways to lift our spirits. One of my go-to methods is to settle in front of a good movie, whether it’s a solo session or a cozy gathering with friends and family. It’s a therapeutic escape that can work wonders.

For at least a few hours, we disconnect from the unhappy reality we currently find ourselves in, perhaps in front of a good comedy, stretching our faces into a sweet smile that reconciles us (at least temporarily) with the world.

So, having lulled you slightly with this premise of mine, let’s move on to the article’s centerpiece and look at what movies are on today’s menu.

Help yourselves.

Super Troopers (2001)

Super Troopers 2001 movie
Amazon Prime Video

We begin with a film that was supposed to be the first episode of a series that never made it to TV. It is a story about the borderline between Canada and the United States, where we follow the ordinary days of some Vermont state police officers.

A job that gives them a living but without much joy, controlling traffic and speed limits, so they create endless messes to combat boredom.

But fate lurks in the form of the region’s budget cuts, which could shut down their station for good.

Now resigned to losing their jobs, the state highway boys face local police rivals in the double case of a girl’s murder in a trailer parked along the highway, where they also find a quintal of marijuana linked to a trucker and drug dealer racket.

All right, we’re not talking about the refined, cutting irony of Mario Monicelli or Frank Capra. Yet, Super Troopers is one of those comedies I recommend saving for darker days.

It’s a chance to spend some time together with a group of men or kids in uniform amid silly dormitory shenanigans and hilarious gags for a naively funny and lighthearted adventure.

Jay Chandrasekhar directs without infamy or praise with good editing and sparkling dialogue in addition to playing the moral leader of the rest of the cast, united in the famous Broken Lizard group, a commune of comedians and friends working together forever.

Also, let’s point out the presence of a top-level actor like Brian Cox, who is here as a gruff captain of the dastardly police precinct and is close to being fired.

In short, we have cops against cops, bad jokes, and barracks jokes seasoned with a bit of drug and sex; do we really need anything else?

A Good Year (2006)

A Good Year 2006 movie
Amazon Prime Video

We continue with one of the lesser-known (and lesser-loved, among those who know him) films by Ridley Scott, famed director of such big hits and cinematic cornerstones as Alien and Blade Runner.

This is an excellent romantic comedy in which we can admire a more relaxed-than-usual Russell Crowe, here as Max Skinner, a cynical city broker with a sudden existential turn.

All his life, Max has lived in London dealing only with his career, with the sole purpose of having more and more money and prestige.

Until one day, he is informed that his Uncle Henry, his only remaining relative, has died, leaving him to inherit the country estate where he spent summers during his childhood and the end of his parents’ unhappy marriage.

So Max flies to France with the sole thought of selling the property as quickly as possible, but he finds the house in a disastrous state. To make matters worse, the mysterious young Christie Roberts comes from America and claims to be Henry’s illegitimate daughter, who may be stealing part of the inheritance from him.

So he decides to stop and unravel the matter, but when he meets the beautiful Fanny Chenal, owner of a restaurant in town, the morals of the job begin to give way to feelings.

Ridley Scott packs a relaxing hot bath in French culture and passion, which the gorgeous Marion Cotillard embodies to perfection with her hysterical madness and brusque, direct manner, but just as charming and irresistible as the sexy cousin played by Abbie Cornish.

Rounding out the cast is the charismatic Albert Finney, a wise and cunning uncle who continually appears in the protagonist’s memories to remind us all that life is not always happy and fair and to hold on while waiting for a new day to dawn.

Daddy’s Home (2018)

Daddy’s Home 2018 movie
Amazon Prime Video

When you’re down in the dumps, there’s nothing better than a couple of hours with Will Ferrell, whether he’s starring in Anchorman or a supporting character in Zoolander, because this actor can always be counted on for a few healthy laughs.

In this case, good Will plays Brad Whitaker, an honest, shy worker who, after marrying the divorced Sara, tries to win his new children’s affection and trust.

All in all, amidst joy and misunderstandings, theirs is a good life, in the comfortable security of their beautiful home and a family beginning to live and understand each other.

At least until suddenly, the stormy ex-husband, Dusty Mayron, a charming and swaggering rebel who is always getting into trouble, returns.

At first, his visit seems to be just a temporary one, but everything changes when he starts working at the same company as Brad with the obvious intention of taking back the love of the children and ex-wife.

It’s hard to look as bright as Will Ferrell as an idiot without resorting to the usual easy vulgarities, so director Sean Anders casts him in the superb versatility of his natural bent for comedy.

Equally funny is Mark Wahlberg, usually the rugged, muscular alpha male in action movies like Four Brothers or The Italian Job, always tough-minded and smiling and ready to willingly beat the shit out of people.

But even good Mark occasionally does not disdain comedies like Ted, the irreverent teddy bear born from the mind of Seth MacFarlane, author of the very un-politically correct The Griffins.

Two fine actors, different from each other but working together, great for a blockbuster film, perfect for cheering us up when we, like them, navigate the myriad messes of family, work, and friends/enemies.

Freaky (2020)

Freaky 2020 movie
Amazon Prime Video

Today’s recommendations could not miss a couple of horrors, where comedy can reach excellent peaks, albeit in the context of blood and murder.

Lead actor Vince Vaughn is experienced in comedies with Ben Stiller or the aforementioned Will Ferrell, but he is also capable of more challenging and dramatic roles, such as Brawl in Cell Block 99 or Gus Van Sant‘s remake of Psycho, in which he inherited the role of the famous serial killer.

Here we find him again as the serial killer called “The Blissfield Butcher,” a tireless teenage slayer maniac who, after the last massacre in a wealthy mansion, steals an ancient dagger called “The Dola,” then tries to kill Millie Kessler, a shy and insecure little girl who was waiting for a ride at the school exit.

But the Butcher doesn’t know that The Dola is a magical weapon, swapping his mind with Millie’s, so the little girl finds herself walking around in the shoes of this psychopath while the latter starts killing again with even more enthusiasm in the guise of this innocent little high school blonde.

Director Christopher Landon had already tried mixing horror and fun with the two “Happy Death Day” movies (quite entertaining the first, not so much the second), and he repeats the same slasher/comedy recipe here.

Fortunately, this time, the murders are more ferocious and exaggerated, always within the limits and boundaries of comedy, and charming Vince raises the overall level along with the lovely and cute Kathryn Newton, who does more than decently well in both roles of innocent misunderstood little girl and death machine in a leather jacket.

Dance parties, funny gags, first love, and murder on repeat… in short, this movie has everything you need to lift your spirits while nostalgically reminiscing about school days.

Love and Monsters (2020)

Love and Monsters 2020 movie
Amazon Prime Video

We end in fine spirits with a beautiful apocalypse still in teen/horror sauce in a world where humanity lives in protected shelters to resist attacks from the monsters that populate Earth.

Monsters that, ironically, we created with radiation, bombarding a meteorite on a collision course with the Earth with nuclear missiles.

One of the survivors is young Joel Dawson, who lives all too safely in a peaceful community of boys and girls where, however, sadly, everyone has a partner but him.

No longer able to endure sentimental loneliness and a sense of worthlessness in his meager contribution to the group, Joel decides to go out into the open and embark on the long journey to his ex-girlfriend Aimee’s shelter.

He hadn’t seen her since the day of the disaster when they had separated to flee with their respective families, although the pair continued to talk to each other after he managed to find the frequency of the bunker near the ocean where she went.

Without any combat or survival experience, Joel ventures into a world where danger lurks at every corner in the form of harmless animals and insects that have mutated into giant, deadly crabs, toads, and killer moles.

Fortunately, along the way, he meets several friends and a faithful dog who save his skin several times, finally bringing him out of his shell to protect what he loves most.

Director Michael Matthews packs a good family affair without pushing the horror side much but makes good use of the initiatory journey and light humor to keep the protagonist’s spirits high at all times.

Equally without infamy/less praise is Dylan O’Brien as the main hero, lending good credibility to the growth arc of a character whose weaknesses and insecurities remain sympathetic to the end.

In short, fewer laughs and more feelings for this rom-com in survival/fantasy sauce that I saved for last for today’s list, where between more or less severe tragedies and equally tragic laughs, for a couple of hours, we can forget everything that makes us sad and pissed off in real life. Sorry if that’s not much.

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