Shelby Says: Feel-good favorite movies

Recently, while my husband Kyle was out with his brother for the day, I turned on some of my favorite movies in the background while I did laundry.
I sat down and watched them all while folding laundry. But the actual folding took almost all day so it was a very slow process.
With the bitter cold and snow that day, it didn’t seem like a good day to venture out, so I had to find ways to entertain myself at home. And while I did end up getting quite a few chores done, I got to rewatch some of my favorite movies.
Kyle isn’t a fan of rewatching movies, so this was a fun day for me, and I thought I’d share some of them with you, in no particular order.
“The Half of It”
This is a modern retelling of the play “Cyrano de Bergerac.” The movie follows Ellie, who lives in a small town with her father, and she makes extra money by writing essays for her classmates in school.
She is approached by Paul, who asks her for her help writing a love letter to a girl, since he isn’t very good with words or expressing his feelings.
It’s a wonderful coming-of-age story about finding love, both platonic and romantic, and it’s been a favorite of mine since I first watched it.
“Knives Out”
I’ve always said I was a mystery novel fan, but I’ve never been a mystery movie fan. I find movies use too much gore, or take the film too seriously, at least for my taste.
That being said, “Knives Out” feels like an old mystery novel.
It follows detective Benoit Blanc as he investigates the death of bestselling author Harlan Thrombey after his birthday party, where his whole family are suspects. There are so many great moments in this movie, and I love the golden-age feel and humor.
I think the mark of any good mystery fiction is the ability to watch or read it over and over.
“This is Where I Leave You”
Based on the book of the same name, this film follows a family after the death of the patriarch. All four now-adult kids are asked to return home to sit Shiva, which is a week-long mourning period in Judaism.
But all four of the children of the family are struggling in their own personal lives, and aren’t fond of spending the time with each other or their mother, who is a therapist and published a tell-all book about her children.
Over all, this movie covers going home and getting on with your life despite everything falling apart, with humor and heart.
This is the one time where I can say I liked the movie better than the book. The story follows Willowdean Dickson, only daughter of former beauty queen Rosie Dickson. She was raised primarily by her aunt Lucy, who introduced Willowdean to her best friend Ellen, taught her how to be confident despite her weight, and fostered a love of Dolly Parton.
Six months prior to the start of senior year, Lucy dies and leaves Willowdean with a chip on her shoulder and a strained relationship with her mother. To prove a point, Willowdean enters the beauty pageant her mother plans, along with her best friend Ellen and a few other girls.
I will say one thing that made the movie so good was the soundtrack, full of Dolly Parton classics, but I love the story just as much. And the book was also wonderful, but in my opinion, every story is enhanced by the addition of Dolly Parton songs.
“Secondhand Lions”
This movie has been a long-time favorite of mine. Teenage Walter is left in the care of his bachelor great uncles, Hub and Garth, for the summer by his irresponsible mother.
Despite the three of them not knowing how to interact with each other at first, as neither Hub nor Garth ever had kids of their own, they spend the summer learning how to be a family. Plus, Hub and Garth are rumored to have a huge fortune somewhere on their farm. No one is sure how they got wealthy, but Walter hears their version of the story over the summer through a subplot about Hub and Garth’s time with the French Foreign Legion.
The name of the movie comes from Jasmine, the lioness that Hub and Garth buy second hand that they intend to hunt. Walter ends up convincing them to keep the tame lioness as a pet. This movie has remained one of my favorites for it’s theme of defining family, loving animals, and that the most important things in life aren’t always material.
I think one of my favorite cold-day activities is curling up with a favorite movie.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite feel-good movies as well. Send your comments to

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