At times, law school can get stressful, boring, monotonous, and overwhelming. So what to do to get away? How can I find a mini-vacation from my life of obligatory reading and studying? Aside from pub night, which suits some but not all, perhaps a movie? There are other outlets of course, but a good movie asks the viewer to suspend their routine beliefs. For example, in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the viewer is asked to suspend their belief that children can’t float and therefore don’t need lead shoes. If the movie is well done, then maybe I can temporarily forget/suspend my belief that I have hundreds of pages of text to read. However, being in law school also means that I don’t want to watch something that is going to add to my stress. Although I enjoy meaningful, heavy, and intelligent films, I would have to say, at least for me, they are not to be watched during my academic year. I don’t want to commit my mind to a stressful experience right now. I kind of just want to watch fluffy happiness and Princess Poppy. So, for the some of you who are like me, let me list the 5 Happy Movies to Watch While You Are In Law School.
Yes, it’s a cartoon musical starring Anna Kendrick as Princess Poppy and Justin Timberlake as Branch. It follows the two as they set out to save their Troll friends from being eaten by the unhappy Bergeons who believe that happiness can only be attained on the eating of a Troll. As you watch the film, it’s evident that Branch is different from the other Trolls. He’s not colorful, he hates hugging during routine hug-time, and does not sing. In accordance with Troll norms, Branch would appear to be unhappy. During this lovely, fluffy adventure, Branch learns that happiness is inside of all of us, but that sometimes you just need a pal to help you find it.
For those of you who love Tim Burton, this is for you. This movie however, is a different breed of the twisted-Burton films. It’s not dark: it’s quite beautiful. The film features Ewan McGregor as a young man living an unlikely life in a small town. He knows he is destined for bigger things and on leaving town goes through an unlikely adventure where he befriends giants and werewolves and all kinds of fantastic characters. I really can’t say more without spoiling too much of the film, but this is one of my favorite movies ever. This film will require more of a commitment than Trolls, but I assure you, this film will not disappoint. While Trolls reeks of fluffy happiness, this movie is truly enchanting.
There’s a new Disney lady in town! Moana is an animated film featuring the Auli’i Cravalho as Moana and the Dwayne Johnson as the legendary hero-flop Maui. This is an amazing musical about a young lady who is destined to save her island from death and decay by setting off to sea in pursuit of Maui. Her goal is to, with the help of Maui and his legendary power, return the heart of Tafiti in order that nature and life can be restored to the surrounding islands. Along the way, both Moana and Maui meet an incredible series of characters, including a fantastic singing, shiny, crab, Tomatoa. Although Trolls was fluffier, Moana has more substance to it and leaves you feeling totally happy.
Hugo is an animated film about an orphaned 12-year-old boy, Hugo Cabret, who secretly lives in the walls and watch-tower of a Paris train station. He lives alone and bears an intense fascination with wind-up toys and clocks. This fascination is key in discovering Hugo’s most precious secret. This film is directed by Martin Scorsese and features Jude Law as Hugo’s father, and Ben Kingsley as shop-keeper of wind-up toys. Hugo and the shop-keeper embark on a strange, and fascinating relationship, one which is difficult to discern at first. The film also features Sasha Baron Cohen as a train-station attendant fixated on the capture of the elusive Hugo. Like Big Fish, this movie is beautiful and enchanting, and one of my personal favorites. Total magic!
La La Land
This musical film bears huge Oscar-buzz right now, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as a couple falling in love and pursuing their dreams. The film is reminiscent of something older, like old-Hollywood glamour meets 2017. It’s been a while since I’ve seen something like this, bearing the likes of old-school Chicago, or Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. I literally smiled ear to ear during various parts of this movie. I felt like I was in La La Land.
OK, so this is not a happy movie at all. However, I justify putting it in this list on the basis that many law students are in their early-to-mid-twenties, and may have not had the opportunity to watch this 1995 Martin Scorsese-directed masterpiece. This movie stars Robert Di Niro as Sam Rothstein alongside Sharon Stone as Ginger McKenna. The film also features Joe Pesci as Nicky Santoro, Sam’s best buddy. Sam, originally a bookie in his home-town makes his way to an 80s-era growing Las Vegas as part of a plan to manage a large-scale hotel-casino. During his early management days, he meets Ginger. For Sam, Ginger’s THE girl for him. In my view, it’s really the relationship with Ginger that disrupts what should have been, a smooth mob-run casino. I can’t give away much more, but I must say, the acting is superb. Additionally, you can’t go wrong with the costumes–both Ginger and Sam’s wardrobes are on-pointe. There you go, the fashion was the happy part.