Jonesy's Top 5 Study-Break Movies
Hey guys, gals, and non-binary pals!
So ever since I started this segment a whopping 3 months ago, I’ve wanted to do a top 5 list. It’s one of my favorite things about Lunaria’s blog and they’re usually super helpful for me (I say usually because I could not craft anything if my life depended on it).
(Hey lovelies, Lunaria popping in for a moment! Some of the movies in this list are rated R! Just a heads up! Back to Jonesy!)
For many of us, May is the month of testing. A lot of college finals are scheduled in May, most AP and state-mandated tests, and a lot of late nights cramming for standardized information regurgitation that increases disillusionment with education and its importance. And since it’s likely that movies help you relieve that stress knot in your stomach, I decided to a list that I would want to read if I were still in that situation.
I hope to do more top 10s and 5s in the future as well as give you reviews, but let’s start with something that might help you right now. Now, these aren’t my favorite movies. I personally prefer movies that force me to reevaluate myself- but sometimes, I like a little bit of mindless fun with a good ending. Without further ado, here are:
Honorable Mention: Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Often in tight competition with Die Hard for “Best Action Movie of All Time,” Terminator 2 is just so much fun to watch. It’s an absolute thrill ride the whole way through, but still allows time for the viewer to breathe and enjoy just how much compact awesomeness you can throw into one film- and I think it’s worth a mention.
I could sit here for hours dissecting just why the linear action is so great and how groundbreaking the effects are, but let’s be honest- sometimes, you just want to watch a robot blow up a car. And there’s no shame in that.
Now, being an action flick, not all of it is easy to watch. The stakes of the movie are high the whole time, and it is very, very gory and violent. It’s rated “R” for a reason, which it didn’t make the final list. But if you’re willing (and have parental permission) to put up with some on-screen pain, this is definitely the flick for you.
Number 5: Amélie
I know, I know, reading subtitles is hard and films not in your native language are more challenging and French films are pretentious and whatnot, but this is my list and Amélie awesome.
Hear me out.
I know when you think “stress relief” you don’t think “extremely fast talking/reading in a language that isn’t my own,” but with Amélie, you hardly even notice. That that’s because the dialogue isn’t that important at all. Film is an audio/visual language, and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet knows that.
While the narration characterizes Amélie herself very well, it’s not as soothing as the pure symmetry of the cinematography. Every film person and their mother can tell you that Amélie is a weird movie, but one of the best feel-good flicks of all time.
Amélie is a quirky French girl who finds a box of toys in her apartment from the previous owners, and goes on a wild goose chase of self-discovery to return the box to whom it belongs. It’s a fun flick to watch, with soothing color and composition and a lot of hilarious moments.
However, it does have VERY sexually explicit themes (I mean, it’s European) and is rated R in America, which is why it’s so low on the list. Don’t worry! After this one, all other films are totally appropriate!
Number 4: Inside Out
We all knew Disney would make it on here.
What do I even need to say about Inside Out? If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re really missing out. It’s a buddy road trip comedy inside of a coming-of-age drama, and that’s brilliant right there.
In addition to having incredible performances (Amy Poehler can do no wrong), breathtaking animation, and a couple of heart-wrenching moments, Inside Out is an adorable flick that teaches both adults and kids that ALL emotions, even ones that feel bad, are valid and important. It’s a rare message, especially for kids, and it creates a universe within ourselves to explore and have a blast looking at.
It’s okay to cry. It’s good to cry. Yesterday, I cried because my dining hall didn’t have the promised oven-roasted potatoes at breakfast. And after I cried, I felt great. In stressful times like these, that’s a great thing to remember.
Inside Out is rated PG, but it is difficult to find in good quality online for free. (pssst- kisscartoon.io has a good copy of every animated movie on this list if you have adblock!)
Number 2: Bee Movie
Bee Movie is weird. Bee Movie is really, really, really weird. Saying “it’s a wild ride” does not begin to explain how freaking weird it is. I’m going to try very hard not to spoil anything, because this movie’s three act structure comes way out of left field.
Chances are that, if you own internet connection, you’ve heard, seen, or read something about Bee Movie. It’s all true. All of it. A bee falls in love with a human woman. A bee sues the human race. A bee saves the human race. Jerry Seinfeld is a bee.
Source: youtube.com (This is actually just in my recommended feed. That’s the person I am).
While the movie is wild with inaccuracies via visual jokes (if you’re a huge bee person like I am, this might peeve you), it’s still an absolute blast to watch. Even if you don’t enjoy the flick itself, watch it just to understand the various memes and analysis about it. The site where I got the screenshot that introduced this pick argues that it’s an analysis of Marxist social theory. And heck, MAYBE IT IS. BECAUSE THIS MOVIE IS SO. SO. WEIRD.
Seinfeld wrote the flick the same way he wrote his amazing television show. There are so many jokes and the jokes are fast. If one doesn’t land for you, there’s another joke in the next frame that does. It makes the film as enjoyable (and weird) as the memes it spawned.
And hey, a PG environmental movie that does suck? I’ll take 2!
Number 2: Paranorman
You may know Laika, the stop-motion production company behind Paranorman, for their acclaimed work on Corpse Bride, Kubo and the Two Strings, and the well-decorated 2009 film Coraline (which barely missed this slot). Paranorman is a stop-motion journey of a boy who can see and speak to the dead. But don’t write it off just because an overdone central idea- Coraline was a movie about a girl who found a magical portal to a world where she gets everything she wants, Lilo and Stitch is about a pet, Aladdin is about a boy who wants to get rich.
The simple premise allows for a simple, yet deep, plot. I love every single character in Paranorman, and the production design is absolutely stunning. Did I cry my eyes out at the resolution? Yes, yes I did. Is it still an incredible journey without forcing to much thought? Yes. Yes it is.
If you like spooky imagery, enjoyable characters, and a relatable protagonist, Paranorman is the perfect PG-probably-should-be-PG13 flick for your study break. And it’s a little bit gay. Which is awesome.
Before we get to our Number 1, some more honorable mentions: The Lego Movie, Lilo and Stitch, Silver Linings Playbook, the Harry Potter series, The Nightmare Before Christmas, the original Star Wars trilogy, and Spirited Away.
Are you detecting an animation theme? I really like animation. But let’s veer away from that for our Number 1 for all six of you out there that don’t like animation.
Number 1: Legally Blonde: The Musical
Is this cheating? This is probably cheating. But this is my top 5, darn it, and I want a musical! Besides, MTV cinematically filmed the whole thing completely legally and put it on Youtube for free (link below is a conglomerate of all the parts with no ads)!
I wasn’t too big a fan of the movie Legally Blonde. Not because it didn’t appeal to me or I thought it was bad or “too girly,” it just wasn’t a movie that struck a strong emotional chord with me. The musical, however is… what’s the word I’m looking for… better. It’s better. It only could possibly be better if Reese Witherspoon herself played Elle.
Legally Blonde: The Musical is a pop-rock musical about a girl who goes to Harvard to try and ensnare an ex-boyfriend. It is the best musical about self-discovery that isn’t incredibly depressing at the same time. It may appear overly-girly on the outside, but it’s truly a story about how anyone can do anything they work hard for, and why they should do it for themselves.
It’s about 3 hours long but never drags or is even slow-paced.
It’s funny, it’s witty, it’s catchy, it’s powerful, and it’s a little bit gay. I would give it the same rating as the movie, PG-13. If you want to feel powerful and confident, give it a watch here.
That’s my top 5 best study break films. Do you agree with my list? Am I missing any of your favorites? Are you frustrated that I chose a musical? Tell me below!