By EW Staff
April 16, 2020 at 08:30 AM EDT
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With almost all of us housebound for the foreseeable future, it's easy to feel pressured to finally watch that movie you've been putting off for ages — a three-hour-plus historical epic, perhaps, or an acclaimed international film you just know you should see. (Or maybe both; now is the time to knock out A Brighter Summer Day!) But the truth is, times are tough right now, and maybe what you really need is not so much a full meal as some good, reliable comfort food. Fortunately, there's plenty of that available for your quaran-streaming pleasure right now. Chances are you have your own movie you typically turn to when you're feeling down, but if you need some suggestions, EW's staffers have shared their own go-to feel-good titles for your benefit. Read on for our picks, all of which are currently available on one streaming service or another.

Some Like It Hot (The Criterion Channel)

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While Billy Wilder is often celebrated for the darker side of his work (Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard), this comedy classic is my go-to choice if I need to feel better about the state of the world. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon star as Joe and Jerry, two jazz musicians who disguise themselves as women and join an all-female band when they need to escape some gangsters hot on their tale. As Josephine and Daphne, they meet Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), a chanteuse who’s tired of always getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. If you need to laugh until tears run down your face, you can’t get much better than the antics of Lemmon and Curtis here. Not to mention Monroe, who gives one of her deftest, most deeply felt performances ever. Some Like It Hot is an ahead-of-its-time send-up of gender norms and truly one of the greatest comedies ever made. “Nobody’s perfect,” but Some Like It Hot just might be. —Maureen Lee Lenker

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Netflix)

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I have a working theory that it’s impossible to be in a bad mood while watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; at the very least, it's never failed to lift my spirits. Maybe it's because Ferris' (Matthew Broderick) efforts to get his tightly-wound best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) to loosen up and have a good time can't help working on the viewer, too. Maybe it's because writer-director John Hughes captured a laid-back, hangout vibe so well that watching the film is almost like taking a day off yourself. Maybe it’s just because I love going to art museums. Whatever the reason, this '80s classic is one of the most reliable pick-me-ups out there, with an endless stream of iconic scenes (The shower mohawk! The teacher! The Ferrari! The parade! The Ferrari again!) and a charm that's more infectious than any virus. To Hughes, I say danke schoen for gifting us with this masterpiece. —Tyler Aquilina

Always Be My Maybe (Netflix)

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Always Be My Maybe gave comedic standouts Ali Wong and Randall Park a chance to show just how charming they both are. This rom-com pairing gave a love story that was equal parts hilarious, heartwarming, and goofy. In addition to being an absolute riot, this Netflix film told a story about Asian-American characters in a way that is rarely seen. So, put your pajamas on, sit at your screen, and get into this feel-good romance. Plus, there’s a Keanu Reeves cameo you definitely don’t want to miss! —Alamin Yohannes

Love Actually (HBO)

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Under normal circumstances, I would say Love Actually is a movie best watched around the holiday season. But these aren’t normal circumstances, and Christmas movies are the cinematic epitome of comfort food, so here we are. The ensemble rom-com that sparked a Hollywood trend, Love Actually follows the various love stories of different friends, co-workers, strangers, families, and couples in London around the Christmas holidays. The humor is so quintessentially British and the cast is so charming, that no matter how many times I’ve seen it, I never tire of watching Hugh Grant dancing to “Jump (For My Love),” or Andrew Lincoln holding up his unrequited love signs to Keira Knightley, or Colin Firth somehow learning Portuguese and convincing a woman he’s just met to marry him, language barriers be damned. It’s just that delightful. —Lauren Huff

Superman (DC Universe)

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The movie I turn to most often for comfort is the first one I ever remember watching, 1978’s Superman. I saw the Richard Donner classic for the first time as a 2-year-old at a Philadelphia-area drive-in where my tiny brain couldn’t understand how a man could fly. I spent the rest of my childhood rewatching the film via a crappy VHS copy but despite that, the film’s charms still shone through. From the gritty realism of big city life in Metropolis to the fact that Lois Lane and my mom both happened to be newspaper journalists, the film seemed grounded in the world I lived in which made it easier to imagine that one day a hero might sweep out of the sky one day to save the day or just maybe the neighbor’s cat.

As I grew older, a big part of the film’s continuing appeal was the sparkling chemistry between Christopher Reeve’s Superman and Margot Kidder’s spunky Lois Lane, culminating in my favorite scene in the film as the normally cool Lois interviews Superman on her outdoor terrace and is flummoxed to find that the Man of Steel is quite the flirt. While the film is also filled with '70s acting heavy hitters like Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando, it simply would not work without the graceful charms of Reeve himself, who had the rare magic of making decency seem captivating. He wasn’t the first actor to portray Superman, nor the last, but his portrayal still remains the gold standard for onscreen superheroes because he made a god seem human. Though it’s been four decades since I saw this movie for the first time, I return to it every time I’m feeling sick or the world seems especially scary. And in the time of a global pandemic, spending a few hours with the last son of Krypton is the most comforting thing I can imagine. —Lauren Morgan

Fast Five (HBO)

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Nothing is more important than family. No one believes that more than The Fast Saga's Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), and 2011's Fast Five is probably the purest expression of the franchise's overarching theme. Not only does it represent a step forward in the central characters' relationships — thanks to Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) expecting their first child — it also ambitiously brings together fan favorites from all of the other movies up to that point and challenges them to embrace each other fully. Remember, this movie was released a year before the Avengers assembled. There was no guarantee that people would flock to theaters to see a mega crossover for a recently-revived franchise. Fast Five's cast and filmmakers put everything into their larger-than-life adventure. The result is a hilarious, action-packed romp in Brazil that thrives on teamwork and people caring for each other. Plus, Vin Diesel fights Dwayne Johnson! There's no downside. —Chanelle Berlin Johnson

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Netflix)

You know what they say about laughter and its medicinal effects, and no film gives me a guaranteed serotonin boost like Monty Python’s unhinged Arthurian adventure. Even though I have seen Holy Grail approximately nine zillion times and can quote every French taunt, it still never fails to make me giggle. This is the movie I would put on in college when drowning in final-exam anxiety, or the movie my family would watch together in times of stress. Really, any Monty Python does the trick when I need a pick-me-up or a reminder to always look on the bright side of life, but Holy Grail is the, well, holy grail. —Devan Coggan

The Big Lebowski (Starz)

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I’ve already watched The Big Lebowski once during quarantine, and I suspect it won’t be the last. The Coen brothers’ 1998 masterpiece is a lot of things to a lot of people (high point of Jeff Bridges’ career? Insightful check-in on where American culture stood at the end of the 20th century? Relentless laugh riot?) but to me it’s a source of comfort and strength. For one thing, The Big Lebowski rewards multiple rewatches, so coming back to it in a crisis can also reveal incredible details or through-lines you never noticed before. When I was on my way back from studying abroad in Paris in college, I made a goof and missed my flight — which meant I had to spend 24 hours in Charles de Gaulle Airport waiting for the next one, disconnected by both time and space from almost everyone I knew. I rewatched The Big Lebowski then, too. The camaraderie between Bridges, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi is warm and delightful for all its insults and put-downs. Whenever the rewatch gets to their first scene together in the bowling alley, it feels like checking in with your own old friends. Most of all, as played so brilliantly by Bridges, the Dude is a perfect avatar for those of us who sometimes feel overwhelmed by the modern world — and hey, he makes it through okay! The Dude abides, and so can you. —Christian Holub

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