Let’s be honest: we’re all still in recovery mode from Tuesday, right? The election has been taking it out of us for more than a year now, and even with it “over,” we’re stuck in the immediate backlash and psychic fallout period, where we can’t quite believe things can be different in the coming weeks, months or even years. Really, we’re just… tired.
With that in mind, it’s time to consider a recovery list. Something to bring some relief to the internal stress and angst that we’ve all been feeling for as long as we can remember… Something like, say, a classic comedy or two. Or, indeed, ten. Something to remind us what we love about this country, when we’re not at ideological war with each other, and harken back to simpler times. When, you know, America was “great.” Although, as these movies suggest, maybe that greatness was always just a little… off.
Sit back, relax and don’t think about politics for awhile. You’ve earned it.
MONKEY BUSINESS (1952)
A potential “cure” for the aging process goes wrong, leaving Cary Grant acting particularly goofy and childlike, but who can blame him when Marilyn Monroe is around as the beautiful, unsuspecting secretary of his boss?
THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1955)
More Marilyn, as the former model who lives upstairs from Tom Ewell, the frustrated husband and father who is fantasizing about roads less traveled just a few years into married life. Things don’t exactly end as he images, but that’s probably for the best.
Sure, this piece of 1960s satire might be a retelling of the classic Faust story, but there’s so much more to enjoy that recreations of Satanic legend—like Peter Cook and Dudley Moore clearly enjoying the chance to vamp on a larger scale, and Raquel Welch as the personification of lust. Because why not?
Talking of 1960s sexcomedies, it’s still surprising that Jane Fonda agreed to play the oversexed space starlet in this piece of camp joy. Come for that opening sequence, stay for the orgasmatron and wondering why we didn’t get to see a million sequels for this.
THE STING (1973)
Has Robert Redford ever been more charming than he is as one of the two professional con men—Paul Newman being the other—who decide to rip off a local mob boss? The answer is no, because almost everyone involved in this movie peaked right here. It’s a masterpiece.
MODERN ROMANCE (1981)
Can we finally admit that Albert Brooks is the Woody Allen that was less problematic and never managed to disappear into his own ego? If you’re unconvinced, take a look at this relationship comedy and get ready to apologize.
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)
From the sublime to the intentionally ridiculous, with John Carpenter’s enjoyably over-the-top action comedy that sees one trucker save the day, the U.S. and true love itself thanks to a case of being in the wrong place at the right time.
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1986)
If there is any movie in the last thirty years that has felt more like the guidebook for the way the modern world wants to work than this one, I’d like to see it. Doesn’t everyone want to be Ferris, even if we all end up much more Cameron than we’d hope for.
COMING TO AMERICA (1988)
While we try to recover our patriotic love of the nation, here’s a tool that might help: Eddie Murphy’s love letter to the U.S. (and his own talent; he plays multiple roles in this movie, of course) and a reminder than the late ‘80s were a hell of a time in so many ways. (No, really; this movie hasn’t aged particularly well, but in the best way.)
GROSS POINT BLANK (1997)
And then there’s this alternate take on the American Dream, as John Cusack, Minnie Driver and more address their unhappy high school pasts and even unhappier adult lives, with a helping of hit man humor and some gleeful murder. It’s not as if you’ve not thought about killing a few people in the last couple of months, let’s be honest.