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Movie Medicine: What To Watch When You're Ill

Posted: 14/09/11 13:55

I am ill. I used to semi-look forward to my biannual bouts of inter-seasonal influenza in my youth, as it meant missing school, being waited on and a chance to finally unwrap the cellophane cocoons of the DVDs I hadn't got round to watching. Now, I am missing paid work, pathetically helpless in my solitude and, as someone who watches films for a living, can only seek solace in what is essentially a budget busman's holiday. I know, boo hoo for me. But as I lounge about in an over-the-counter stupor in my ivory tower, surrounded by my snotty Kleenex moat, I will share with you my 6 golden rules for selecting the perfect flick to nurse you back to health.

1. Nothing too complicated
When your immune system is working in overdrive and you've ingested enough rancid max strength Lemsip for you to slip into a chemically induced coma at any moment, the last thing you want to do is bother your already discombobulated brain box with more to concentrate on. Complex Inception-esque plots or Bergman's existentialist dilemmas are likely to reduce your poor mind to a state of delirious mush. Keep it simple, and maybe even select an old favorite, as familiarity is comforting and you can guarantee there won't be any nasty surprises.

2. Keep it down!
Chances are, unless you're bunking off, you'll have a splitting headache, and so it is wise to avoid any big action set-pieces. Avoid Michael Bay at all costs (although that is a rule best adhered to in all aspects of life) and if you do have to watch something with car chases and exploding helicopters, make sure you keep the remote close by and don't, whatever you do, let it slip down into the eternal, feathered labyrinth of your duvet, as the chances are you won't find it again 'till tomorrow. Try watching something set on a beach (but not Saving Private Ryan) or in a rainforest (but not Predator), and let the soothing sounds send you off into a much needed bit of kip.

3. The longer the better
Regular readers/listeners will know that I have a problem with over long movies, but this is the only instance in which I will suggest- the longer the better. Sleep is the Holy Grail when you're under the weather and the longer the flick, the more chance you have of nodding off. Again, a film you know well can be a helpful way of knowing how many winks you've managed to steal away. For example, if I nod off as Frodo and Sam are leaving The Shire and awake to see Sean Bean getting a breast for of arrows, I know I've done quite well and can celebrate with another dose of Ibuprofen. Hurray!

4. Avoid on-screen mastication
This applies mostly to those with dickey tummies, as the last thing you want to do when your digestive system is doing its finest impression of a sluice is to watch other people eating. Scenes set in restaurants or kitchens could well prove to be the metaphorical "waffer thin mint" that sends you running to the bog and, let's be honest, nobody wants that.

5. Stay on terra firma
When we're ill, we all feel a bit wobbly. Even during the short trip from the sofa to the kitchen, one can be seen weaving about and bouncing off walls like someone in Reading town centre on a Saturday night. When choosing your film, it's best to stick to solid ground. Avoid potentially nausea-inducing modes of transport such as boats and horses and anything starring Jim Carey. Films shot in Greengrassian, hand-held, wobbly documentary-style can be equally problematic.

6. Nothing too depressing
If you're slumped on the sofa with a hot water bottle and drowning in your own mucus, it's more than likely that you're feeling more than a little down in the dumps. Although a really tragic flick could give you an at-least-I'm-not-in-Colditz lift, it could also have the adverse effect. Romantic comedies and life-affirming, coming-of-age dramas are usually the best way to go- think more Annie Hall than Interiors and you're on the right track.

Get well soon!

Jack Pelling

 

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