How I keep calm: Throwback movies

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How have you been keeping calm during the pandemic? Carillon

Inspired by HeyAlma.com, How I keep calm is our new series featuring different ways students are finding peace and contentment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As I sit here writing on a Saturday night at the beginning of the school year, I can’t help but reminisce on how Saturday nights were when I was a kid. Most weeks, Dad made homemade pizza, and then we would go to the local gas station and rent movies.

Now, I was well aware that Netflix was the newest, innovative streaming platform when I was eleven, and despite the urging proclamations from myself and other family members, my Dad refused to subscribe. Now, my Dad does not know how the internet works and probably never will, and since we only got rid of our old box television a year ago, Netflix was out of the question. To make do, we either watched movies on our trusty DVD/VCR player or rented from the gas station.

Since I left home a few weeks ago, I have been weathering the stresses of online learning by enjoying some of my all-time favourite throwback movies. I started with the Dreamworks classic, Kung-Fu Panda. The animated film stars Po, an out-of-shape panda struggling to learn kung-fu as he trains to fulfill his duty as the Dragon Warrior and defeat the villainous Tai Lung. The movie is hilarious from start to finish, as viewers watch Po’s struggles and successes with ridiculously enjoyable fight scenes peppered with comedic remarks.

Kung-Fu Panda will remain one of my favorite nostalgic movies for its action and humour. Po always makes me laugh, particularly when his food-oriented goals lead to his success in the Jade Palace. Furthermore, I will never forget walking out of the theater with my Dad giggling about Master Shifu’s secret move, the Wuxi Finger Hold.

I love a good adventure story, which is why I then moved on to rewatching The Princess Bride. After her love, Westley, dies at sea Princess Buttercup – unfortunately engaged to Prince Humperdink – Is kidnapped. Buttercup’s kidnapping is soon thwarted by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who turns out to be Westley all along. With Westley and Buttercup reunited, they have to stop Prince Humperdinck from separating the two from their happily ever after.

The Princess Bride is a fabulously fun film filled with quick quips and fast paced action sequences, including sword fights, chase scenes, and one epic swamp. Not only are all the characters loveable, but the side characters really elevate the story. From Vizzini shouting “inconceivable” at every possible moment to swashbuckling swordsman Inigo Montoya and the loveable Fezzik, the film is fabulous fun tied together by true love. The movie is a great stress relief, with an easy to follow plot and lots of laughs. 

The nostalgia tour continues with my favourite Disney musical, Hercules. Following the journey of Hercules on his road to success, dodging all obstacles the evil Hades throws at him, Hercules is a Greek dream uplifted by its fantastic soundtrack. The dynamic Megara is a unique take on an anti-damsel-in-destress which is refreshing to see in a Disney movie. The Muses, a Greek chorus of five awesome women, narrate the movie with outstanding, powerhouse musical numbers including “Zero to Hero” and “The Gospel Truth.” The Hercules soundtrack was always a source of enjoyment for me and my mom – the lighthearted, joyful tunes kept us tapping our toes until the final scene. 

A few honorable mentions to my throwback movie list include Indiana Jones, Flushed Away, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. My family particularly loves adventure movies, musicals and comedies. 

The movie that circulated on repeat in my home was the claymation film Coraline. Coraline, a curious, adventure seeking girl who is fed up with her parents, ventures one day through a mysterious door in the wall that leads to a utopian world. Her “Other Mother” gives her anything she wants, but Coraline soon finds out she has ulterior motives. 

Coraline’s plucky and loyal personality is a dynamic combo, and her talking cat sidekick is a scene-stealer. Furthermore, Coraline’s wacky neighbors add a bit of flair to the unique plot. The story of Coraline might be unusually spooky for a children’s movie, but since my mom and I both love Halloween, we ate it up. 

Growing up, watching movies with my parents on Saturday evenings was a highlight of the week. While watching by myself has not been the same as watching with them, it brings back memories of the times my mom made popcorn and I made pillow forts for the complete family movie night experience. 

At the end of the day when I return to my dorm, and bury myself in bed with my laptop, I find a lot of comfort with watching movies from my childhood. It still gives me something to look forward to as I continue to search for even more movies to add to my nostalgia playlist. 

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