Tuesday, September 10, 2013

10 Movies I'll Be Watching While Snuggling Under Blankets This Fall

Autumn is my favorite season of the whole year, but it tends to bring out the hermit in me. There is just something that I find so scrummy about throwing on some cozy clothes (yoga pants, oversized flannel shirt, scrunchy wool socks, big slippers I stole from the Hubs, all topped off with a great big scarf...ahhhh), grabbing a mug full of Apple Cinnamon Herbal Tea (seriously? Autumn in a mug, I'm telling you.), throwing something on the knitting needles, and planting myself in front of Netflix for a full-on FallFest. It just speaks to my soul. If possible, I'll crack open a window nearby to let in the crunchy smell of drying, mouldering leaves, crisp air, and pine smoke from the neighbors' fireplaces and bonfires. On the hottest days of summer, when I feel sticky and lazy, I cast my mind back to the last autumn and try to imagine myself there, to stay cool.

With that in mind, I've already been planning my knitting projects and what I will be watching while they click away, making scrumptious little bits and pieces for my shop and for Christmas gifts. Here's the list that I've come up with so far!

1. Hocus Pocus
Because obviously. I vividly remember the first time I saw this as a kid (I was around 9 or 10) and how much I loved it. We owned it on VHS and I watched in constantly in September and October, dreaming of the day that I, too, would have zany, magical adventures riddled with witches and talking cats. Also, I was in love with Max, the male protagonist in this. *siiiiiiiiigh*

2. Funny Farm
This movie is great from fall to Christmas! It's very funny and full of images that make me long for the country life even more than I already do. The house in it is darling (even if it is a money pit!), and the New England autumn foliage is to die for. As a bonus, the '90s country style Christmas decorations make me think of my mom, and that is always welcome.

3. Bell, Book, and Candle
This is the movie that inspired the t.v. series, "Bewitched," though they seriously toned down the sexiness of the Samantha character (called Gillian in the movie) to make it more family-friendly for television audiences. All your favorite "Bewitched" characters are here- the crazy uncle, her unsupportive mother, and the nosy neighbor. The only difference here is the plot twist- witches aren't supposed to be able to fall in love and if they do, they lose their magical powers. Dun dun dun! The scenes in the '60s beatnik club are the cutest and I love all things Jimmy Stewart, so this is a win for me.

4. Arsenic and Old Lace
This movie is the cutest! Confirmed bachelor newpaper columnist (Cary Grant) secretly elopes on the afternoon of Halloween with the next-door neighbor's daughter. They run home to pack their bags and tell her father and his two maiden aunts the good news when Grant discovers something most unsavory: his aunts have concocted a most unique charity. They've been offering up a spare room to lonely boarders and, upon discovering that the poor souls have no family or loved ones to speak of, have been bumping them off and burying them in the basement. It's a dark comedy, to be sure, but it still manages to be charming. It's just spooky enough for Halloween night, and is perfect for snuggling on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate full of tiny marshmallows.

5. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

A romantic movie perfectly fit for autumn! Mrs Muir, eager to ditch her horrible in-laws, falls head over heels in love with a gorgeous cape-side manor house only to discover she's jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. See, the manor house already has a resident - the ghost of hot-tempered Captain Gregg (played in a wonderfully campy way by Rex Harrison). The ghost discovers that Mrs Muir is as stubborn as he is cantankerous and they set about learning to live together until the ghost discovers that his heart is most certainly able to be given away, ghost or not. Love, love, love this one.

6. Jane Eyre
I can't seem to get myself to reread this gloomy work of Charlotte Bronte in its entirety, but the movie is just splendid, particularly this version of it. Charlotte Gainsbourg just is Jane Eyre and a wee Anna Paquin is perfect in her role as young Jane. The story is so delightfully gothic and gloomy, with mysterious screams in the night, dark corridors, a mysterious and brooding leading man, all set on the misty moors of England. This movie makes me want to knit lacy shawls and cozy fingerless eyelet mitts to wear while strolling pensively across overcast fields.

7. Bewitched
Yep, I know that this movie was panned by the critics when it hit the theatres and nope, I don't care. I think it's delightful and a super fun break in the gloom of Halloween festivities. The television show was always a favorite of mine growing up (Nick@Nite's Blockparty Summers hold many fond memories for me and I deeply wish that they still ran them!), so this movie touches something nostalgic in my heart. Will Ferrell is his goofy self, Steve Carrell is absolutely perfect as her zany Uncle Arthur, Shirley MacLaine simply is Endora, and Kristin Chenoweth and Heather Burns are lovely as Samantha's sidekick friends. The story is, of course, different from the television show, but it's no less adorable. The story goes that a television studio decides to resurrect the old television show "Bewitched" and options Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) to play Darrin. Wyatt, whose film career is foundering after multiple flops, decides that the focus of the new show ought to be on Darrin rather than Samantha, who is played by complete unknown Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman). Isabel believes Wyatt to be genuinely in love with her and, at the launch party for the new show, decides to trust Wyatt with her biggest secret- that she really and truly is a witch. Wyatt flips his lid, insults Bigelow who has a suitably witchy meltdown, and hilarity ensues.

8. The Good Witch
Oh. Camp, camp, and more camp. This movie is the first in a series of (so far) five Hallmark films starring Catherine Bell as Cassie, the titular Good Witch. These movies are seriously soft fare, but I love them just the same. I guarantee that the Hallmark Channel will run a marathon of these films at Halloween time and I will be tuning in. In the dark, often moody evenings of fall, these light-hearted films are a sweet break and, with their "be kind" messages, are great for watching with the family. The scenes of her stirring up lovely concoctions in her kitchen and selling herbal lovelies in her store make me want to jump into the kitchen and whip up something yummy of my own, even if it's just pumpkin soup with a loaf of crusty bread.

9. Wuthering Heights
There's just something about gothic romances that demand to be watched in autumn, and this is one of the best. Those Bronte sisters knew what they were doing! Unlike Jane Eyre, I have read this particular novel many times since I first read and fell in love with it in high school and this is my favorite film adaptation of it so far. The manors, the moors, the wildness of Heathcliff and Cathy and their tragic romance...*sigh* This story is beautiful and sad and wistful...it's just heartbreaking in the most perfect way.

10. The Great Gatsby
I saved this one for #10 because it's based on my favorite book of all time. ALL TIME,  you guys! I just love this book (apparently I have a penchant for tragic love affairs?) and I think that this is the best film version of this movie that I've seen. This movie lends itself perfectly to watching at the very beginning of fall...the hysteria of the parties in the middle and end of summer winding down to the final, tragic act of the book at the beginning of the chill of fall...*sigh* Tears in my tea. Incidentally, thanks to the infamous "beautiful shirts" scene of the book and movie, this makes me want to completely reorganize my closet which I have to do once a season anyway so it's perfect in that regard as well. Love.

I'll throw in a bonus movie for you, just in case you need an alternate for one of these others that you don't like, or if you watch all of these before autumn is up and you need a spare:

11. Anne of Green Gables
This one isn't particularly fall-y, but it is so very cozy and sweet that I just had to add it to the list. Anne taught me so very many things growing up, from the importance of staying in a guest room to the festivity rose-painted china lends to a luncheon, to the fact that "tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it." I adore Anne, Marilla, Gilbert, Matthew, Diana, and all the rest (except for Josie Pye. You know that there's just no accounting for a Pye.) and any chance to return to Avonlea for a time is a joy. Just please, for the love of all things holy, stay away from the third installment in the film series. It is an abomination and an insult to the entire franchise. Ugh.

Enjoy these, everyone, and if you watch any of them, I'd love to hear your take on them! Happy fall, y'all!

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