As C-3PO once so eloquently pointed out “we seem to be made to suffer, it’s our lot in life”. He was, of course, talking about himself and R2-D2 stranded in the dunes of Tatooine, but I’ve often felt the exact same sentiment in my own life. Over the past couple of years, I’m sure I’m not the only one, so I wanted to share some of the content that’s helped me through.
This 1996 classic, directed by Danny Devito, based on the Roald Dahl book is a staple of my life. It’s an adaptation that captures the charm and whimsy of the source material whilst providing one of Hollywood’s greatest villains with Headteacher Agatha Trunchbull. Whose heart wasn’t warmed by Miss Honey?
PIXAR Studios’ first feature film and the first fully animated feature-length motion picture is still a perfect hit of nostalgia. It has a great plot, likable characters, and one of the greatest scores ever written but it’s also a franchise I’ve grown up with. Realistically, any PIXAR film could go here, although The Incredibles is a close second.
The Lego Batman Movie
Batman, as a character, is most entertaining to me when he’s not being too serious. Batman ’89 captures the comic book vibe and the 1960’s Adam West show captures the perfect camp nature but this film achieves both. It’s also overflowing with warmth, in-jokes, and obvious respect for the character. It’s a perfect introduction for children and I love it more on every rewatch.
I started watching this British sci-fi classic when it returned to our screens in 2005 and it’s those few years that I find myself rewatching the most. It’s the era where I fell in love with this show, with superb scripts from Russel T Davies and a stunning score from Murray Gold, but in particular, it’s that first series I fall back on most regularly. Never skip 9.
The first few seasons of this show, which started airing in 1999, contain some of the funniest moments ever aired on television. Again, this is a show I grew up on because it simply saturated Nickelodeon thanks to reruns. Stephen Hillenberg created some of the most likable, entertaining characters and educated us on Sea Life without us noticing. He is missed constantly.
This animated adult comedy about a man, his family, and their burger restaurant is one of the best shows currently airing. I started watching during The Pandemic and quickly fell in love with these characters as well as the various forms of comedy employed by the show. Slapstick, sarcasm, and one-liners all have a part to play in making this semi-sitcom as quirky as it is.
Primarily known for his asdfmovie series, Thomas “Tomska” Ridgewell and his friends create some of the funniest videos on the platform. Whether it’s their Content series on the second channel “Tomska and Friends”, the live-action sketches, or even asdfmovie itself, I’m constantly dipping back into his videos. Content is especially neat because it feels more like hanging out with the boys than watching a video. The very wholesome boys.
Youtube is home to a bounty of educational content and Tom Scotts channel is home to much of it. From visiting amazing places to his series Things You Might Not Know, as well as the roundtable games he plays with his friends, Tom is a bastion of knowledge and entertainment. He also has one of the most relaxing voices I’ve ever heard.
Harry Brewis is known for his zany energy and only uploading twice a year, but every time he uploads he raises the bar for video essays. They are always well researched and manage to keep me engaged despite their, occasionally rather long, runtimes. Television, gaming, and real-world events all get a look in with his often thought-provoking work.
I don’t really listen to music but I grew up listening to classic artists like Bowie, Abba, and Queen. Honestly, any of their works could go here, but I find myself returning to Queen’s catalog the most. There are all-time greats like Bohemian Rhapsody but songs like Hammer To Fall are just as wonderful.
The Lord of the Rings OST
Considering my love of movies, it should come as no surprise that I lean towards soundtracks instead of mainstream music albums. John Williams’ work is unparalleled but if anyone came close, it was Howard Shore with his compositions in the Middle Earth films. Not only are they hauntingly beautiful, but they make me feel at home. Concerning Hobbits never fails to make me smile.
West Side Story OST
If it’s not film soundtracks, it’s musicals. I grew up with the likes of Hairspray and Grease but more recent productions like School of Rock and Beetlejuice: The Musical arejust as great. My focus often shifts, as does my mood, so I go through a wide variety of scores but for today’s recommendation, it felt right to pick West Side Story. Steven Spielberg recently released his own film based on Sondhiem’s musical and Sondheim recently passed away. If you have somehow missed out, now is the time to jump in.