Five Movies to Watch When the World’s Got You Down

Sometimes the best remedy for bad times is to wait it out, especially with a good movie.

July 12, 2019 at 8:16 am


There’s no denying that the world can be a cold, indifferent, and often cruel place. Sometimes when we’re Going Through It, it’s because of bad luck, sometimes it’s growing pains, and heck, sometimes it’s just taking stock of the world as it is. When things feel really low, it always helps to remember that the tough times, as heavy and inescapable as they might feel, are always temporary

When I find myself in a slump, one of the most comforting (and effective) courses of action I take is simple: I get into my comfiest pair of sweatpants and oversized shirt, grab a blanket and pillow, and put on a feel-good movie of my choice. It’s a nice reminder that there are still moments of lightness in the dark. So, here are five of my most recent go-tos that I hope can help you feel a little better, too.

Legally Blonde (2001)

Five Movies to Watch When the World's Got You Down - Legally Blonde
Just LOOK at her!! An icon.

The classic tale of Elle Woods getting into Harvard Law School (what like it’s hard?) to get her man back and finding so much more is one as old as time. Girl wants Boy back. Girl pushes herself to make it in. Girl discovers the power of female friendship and independence and wins it all. I mean, who doesn’t want to stand up and cheer at the end of the famous courtroom scene?? It has everything to help you get out of a slump: a silly, bright atmosphere, centering female friendships, and an enduring message. When in doubt, just remember:
“You must always have faith in yourself.”

Waitress (2007)

Five Movies to Watch When the World's Got You Down - Waitress
Will we ever deserve Keri Russell? Who knows!

While this movie deals with heavy themes like domestic violence and unwanted pregnancy, Waitress is a hopeful film. Its protagonist, Jenna, is stuck in a horrible marriage and a mundane life. She vents her frustration through baking pies named after life events (“Bad Baby Pie”) at the diner she works at, and moves through life as best as she can. However, when a pie baking contest, and a charming doctor roll into town, Jenna sees a potential way out. If you think you know how this movie ends, I encourage you to reconsider. The tone (whimsical, but still concerned and invested in Jenna’s wellbeing) is what makes this a film worth diving into when the going gets rough — preferably with a slice of pie.

Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (2018)

Five Movies to Watch When the World's Got You Down - Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit
Ohh La La knows how great she is. Channel her, always!

If this documentary taught me one thing, it’s that the Canadian catshow circuit might be the purest (in the wholesome sense) form of competition on earth. Come for the cats — they are glorious, especially Ohh La La — but stay for the empathetic and interesting dive into the catshow circuit culture. It’s a fun, wholesome watch for anyone interested in a movie with very minimal ~*catfights*~.

Shirkers (2019)

Five Movies to Watch When the World's Got You Down - Shirkers
The colors here are just perfect tbh!

Do you like film? How about mysteries? Spunky teen heroines with a lot of heart? Then you’ve come to the right place, friend. Shirkers is the documentary with all of these elements, and then some. Filmmaker Sandi Tan takes a look back on a film she and her friends had made as teenagers. She’s looking to find out what happened when their mentor ran away with the physical reels of film, preventing the movie from being seen — until now that is. It’s a powerful and engaging rumination on making art, betrayal, growing up, and trying to come to terms with the past. One of the most satisfying things about this documentary is seeing all the women who made this movie as teenagers still working and engaging with film today. This watch is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat, and to maybe make you appreciate your teenage endeavors a little more.

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (2019)

Five Movies to Watch When the World's Got You Down - Homecoming

Look, I don’t have to tell you Beyoncé is a damn queen but she is!! Her first film on Netflix (the first of a reported three-film deal), Homecoming is an undeniable document of her creative acumen and a hell of a party. You get the Coachella — ahem, excuse me — Beychella experience in the comfort of your own home and you get to see the incredible work and artistic thought process of one of our greatest living artists. What more could you ask for? It’s incredibly personal (Beyoncé rarely, if ever gives interviews, but here she’s recorded her own thoughts on video for us), allowing us a small glimpse into the life and work of a living legend. Also, like I said earlier — it’s a primo opportunity to sing/scream along to every song on the setlist. She has truly given us everything.

So, whether the world has you down because of personal hardships, growing pains, or just the State Of Things take some time for yourself. Consider diving into your comfiest pair of sweatpants, grabbing your favorite snack or drink (in my case some nice, coffee boba will do) and escaping into one of these movies for a bit. Life may not always have such neat endings, but at least you can look forward with one of these uplifting titles! 

Alejandra Martinez

Alejandra Martinez is a Tejana archivist, writer, and scholar. When she's not thinking about preservation and access, you can find her reading a good book, watching a David Lynch film, or writing about pop-culture at your local coffee shop.