When I’m feeling my worst, gruesome murder mysteries seem to multiply in my Netflix suggestions. Friends seem to be just discovering shows like Dexter and movies like Beaches. Seemingly innocuous little indie films take a left turn three quarters of the way through and are suddenly about the molestation of children.
I can’t handle it. Or, rather – I shouldn’t. Real life is hard enough right now. And you know what? I’m done feeling lame about that. While those shows and movies might be fantastically good, they’re not for me. Not right now.
We don’t have to suffer through media that makes us feel tense. There’s plenty of stuff out there that’ll help you relax, stuff that’ll make you laugh. Here are some suggestions.
www.subbable.com – Not only do you get tons of free, entertaining, and educational material, you get a chance to support independent content makers.
I Am – An uplifting search for meaning by the director of Ace Ventura and other hit comedies. Available on Netflix.
HitRecord – The first episode focuses on the number one, with themes of interconnectedness and companionship. I’m a sucker for the song at the end. Available on YouTube.
Amelie – The ONLY bad thing about this movie is that it’s hard to fall asleep to because it’s in French and you won’t want to close your eyes. And the soundtrack is what we should all be waking up to every day. Fantastic. Available on Netflix.
Roman Holiday – One of those rare romantic comedies that doesn’t make you feel like shit for being a woman.
Defending Your Life – A strange little comedy from 1991 in which Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks must prove that they lived their lives courageously in order to stay in heaven.
Alaska: The Last Frontier – This is just a little reality show about a family that’s lived on an Alaskan homestead for four generations. Not a lot of drama, just people fixing machines, herding cows, and hunting and fishing. Available on Netflix
Angel’s Share – Though the whole thing’s in English, you might need subtitles for this one. A Scottish ne’er-do-well tries to escape the slums with his girlfriend and his new son. Scotch enthusiasts will enjoy the distillery tours. Available on Netflix
(SPOILER ALERT: This movie did make me pretty tense because it’s not at all clear that the likable main character is going to make it through. Spoiler, he does.)
Other ideas: The Muppet Movie, 30 Rock (Netflix), The Cosby Show, Reading Rainbow, The Joy of Painting (clips and some full episodes on YouTube), Everybody Hates Chris, Myth Busters (Netflix), Antiques Roadshow (YouTube and Netflix), Between Two Ferns.
Suggestions? Know where I can watch or rent any of the above? Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org