No one could have predicted the intense and never-ending stress that has doggedly followed us from 2020. The uncertainty and negligence of our national, state, and local governments left me so mentally fatigued that I was often unable to focus on anything longer than 10 minutes. Walking around in a mental fog that never seemed to lift, I began limiting my news and social media consumption, which helped, but I was desperate for escape and comfort.
I’d always used movies and television shows for chatter and to soothe my mind, letting a show watch me more than I watched it, but watching in the pandemic hit different. So, I figured now would be a great time to share the things that help me zone out, laugh, shed a tear, and sometimes even leave me with a little hope.
Need a laugh?
Living Single Kadijah 👏🏿 Max 👏🏿 Regine 👏🏿 Sinclair 👏🏿 Kyle 👏🏿 Overton Wakefield Jones 👏🏿! No explanation necessary.
Sex and The City Everyone knows Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda. The show that started in the late ‘90s and took us through the early aughts has never really left the pop culture conversation. No matter how many times I’ve watched it over the two decades since its end, I can almost set my watch to the next time I watch it through. While the show hasn’t aged as well as Living Single or The Golden Girls, you’ll still get riled up over Carrie and Burger, or find yourself rooting for Samantha as she delivers the iconic line, “I love you, but I love me more.”
With the revival, “And Just Like That…,” heading to HBO Max sometime next year, now’s the perfect time to revisit Manhattan and the fab four—even if only to relive the best moments of Samantha Jones.
Those (good) feels again!
Sometimes I need a little drama, a little romance, and a lot of sexy. These are the ones that really do it for me.
Sweet Magnolias This is a new addition to my comfort watch list. The Netflix series, released in May of 2020, follows three southern best friends Helen, Maddie, and Dana. The ladies are all facing life’s challenges – starting a family, getting a divorce, and figuring out self-care – but no matter what, they gather once a week to “pour it out” over margaritas.
The show is a little Hallmark-esque, but with spice—which is why I enjoy it. They have an ethnically diverse cast, body diversity, and male eye candy as far as the eye can see. I’ve re-watched it two times since release and can’t wait for season two!
Claws Niecy Nash plays, Desna, a business owner, main caregiver to her autistic brother Dean, mentor, and friend, who gets mixed up with the Dixie Mafia. Things don’t go exactly as planned and Desna must save herself, her business, and her friends.
This campy, dark-comedy drama is all heart and insanity, but the love between the main characters rings authentic. Watching Nash, Judy Reyes, Jenn Lyon, Karrueche Tran, and Carrie Preston breath life into women the world often ignores is a pleasure to watch. No matter what life throws their way, they stand together and stand strong. You’ll enjoy the time you spend with the crew at the Nail Artisan of Manatee County Salon, just make sure your wig is secured.
Movies that never get old
A mini-marathon worth your time Ashley Judd made some of the finest thrillers from 1999-2002. They’re made even better because she co-stars alongside veteran actors, Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones. Settle in for a slow burn thriller with ‘Double Jeopardy,’ a real who done it with ‘High Crimes,’ or a deadly game of cat and mouse with ‘Kiss the Girls.’
Under the Tuscan Sun I love Italy, romance, and a book, movie, or TV show that features someone renovating their house! Under the Tuscan Sun has all three of those things.
After a devastating divorce, Frances decides to take a solo trip to Tuscany. While there, she makes the life-changing decision to buy a villa on a whim. I love this movie, and Diane Lane’s performance as Frances, strikes perfect chords of longing, frustration, and burgeoning hope that bubbles up when you set out to create the life you dreamed of.
The Old Guard Released on Netflix in 2020, The Old Guard immediately became a new favorite. A story about a group of mercenaries, all centuries-old immortals, discover someone is onto their secret, and they must fight to protect their freedom.
Starring KiKi Layne and Charlize Theron, this film has everything: travel, bad-ass women, fighting, a villain who really gets what’s coming to him, and a splash of romance. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood – director of Love and Basketball – it’s one of the most successful films in Netflix history.
Need some sleep?
Sleep is a precious commodity and when it’s elusive it can make life seem more difficult. However, there is one show that has never failed to send me into sweet, DEEP, slumber.
Midsomer Murders This British, murder-mystery show has been on American TV screens since 1998 and follows Chief Inspector Barnaby. Between the soothing tones of the theme song, and all those British people that never seem to raise their voices, it has worked like melatonin for me over the last year and a half. I can turn on an episode and doze off within 30 minutes. While its ability to induce sleep is wonderful, it’s also a good show; though sometimes I have to watch an episode three times to get to the end because I’m so often suddenly unconscious.
We all deserve time to unwind and relax. I hope this list will give you a nudge to try something new or revisit something you haven’t seen in a while. You can find out where all the movies and TV shows listed here are streaming at www.justwatch.com.