Next week is finals week at Ohio University, which usually causes stress for students who are studying to ace those tests. Afterward, there may be a lot of pent-up energy deep within your body that is in dire need of expulsion. To wind down your mind and body, here are five movies — ranging from silly action movies to carefree rom-coms — to watch during the relaxation process.
We’re starting strong with Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man,” released in 2002. The superhero movie is filled with action and drama as it follows nerdy Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) discovering himself and becoming your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The film is filled with great performances from Maguire, Willem Defoe as Norman Osbourn, aka The Green Goblin, and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. Although the early-2000s CGI is a little outdated and the plot is a bit strange, it’s still a fun movie with a lot of heart. It’s sure to get you in the right mood, especially if you need to let off a little steam after finals week.
“The Princess Diaries” (2001)
Next is the heart-filled classic “The Princess Diaries” (2001), directed by Garry Marshall. In this film, we follow 15-year-old Amelia “Mia” Thermopolis, played by Anne Hathaway, as she transforms into the princess of Genovia. The acting in this film from both Hathaway and Julie Andrews as her grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi, is excellent. This is another heartfelt story filled with drama and comedy that has lasted 22 years since it came out. “The Princess Diaries” is definitely for the nostalgic folks who need to relax.
Do you need something a little more brooding for your relaxation plans? If yes, then I suggest Joel and Ethan Coen’s crime drama, “Fargo,” released in 1996. Although this is a bit of a curve ball on this list, I assure you that the film is cozy and intriguing with its snowy Minnesota setting and silly, almost cartoonish characters.
The movie follows Jerry, a small-town car salesman, who hired two criminals to kidnap his wife so he could receive ransom money from his rich father-in-law. We also watch police chief Marge, a woman with a bubbly personality and a very visible baby bump, who tries to catch the two men after plans go haywire. It’s truly a fantastic movie, and now is the time to watch it if you need to escape reality and indulge in a thrilling tale for a moment.
“13 Going on 30” (2004)
Going back to comforting rom-coms, next on this list is Gary Winick’s “13 Going on 30,” released in 2004. The film follows Jenna Rink, a 13-year-old girl who wishes to be 30 after being humiliated on her 13th birthday. Her wish is granted and she has to navigate living as a 30-year-old woman. Jennifer Garner’s performance as Jenna Rink is truly the highlight of the film as she embodies the goofiness, innocence and drama of being a 13-year-old girl.
The film holds several memorable moments, like the scene where everyone dances to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and does the choreography from its iconic music video. There’s also the unmistakable chemistry between Garner and Mark Ruffalo, who plays her love interest Matt “Matty” Flamhaff. The romance is heartwarming and sweet to watch. Overall, it’s a great comfort movie, and it’s sure to leave you in a state of relaxation as you recuperate from finals.
Last on this list is the beloved Jason Reitman coming-of-age comedy, “Juno” (2007). Written by Academy-Award-winning Diablo Cody, this movie follows Juno MacGuff (Elliot Page) after she is faced with an unplanned pregnancy and has to decide her unborn baby’s future. Page’s performance as the highly loveable Juno is the highlight of this film. Other characters like Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), J.K. Simmons (Mac MacGuff) and Vanessa Loring (Jennifer Garner) are pure comedy but become more in-depth as they interact with Juno.
The plot is heartwarming and heartbreaking, but it makes for a happy ending in the finale. It’s certainly a time capsule of 2007 teen culture, which makes it all the more nostalgic and comforting — even if it can seem like a lot at times. Nevertheless, “Juno” is full of captivating performances with a beautifully crafted script that will leave you nice and relaxed after finals week.