There are some films I can put on and they do the trick of making hours pass and maybe I even feel a little better at the end of them. Not new films, films I can rewatch, because there are just so few brain cells working. Here are my top five:
I don't even like car racing. But there's something about the simple storyline pitting a playboy and a nerd against each other that's wonderfully soothing. There's a great quote in it by Niki Lauda (the nerd): 'A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends'. When I'm feeling feverish, the flu can feel like the enemy and this theme, uh... makes everything feel very profound... in a way that won't quite so much when I'm well again. ...I really love this film.
2. Cyrano de Bergerac
I think this is my all-time favourite film, I watched it three times in cinema (Seattle's Seven Gables) when it came out. I love how it's funny, and sometimes solemn, even tear-jerking, but never takes itself too seriously. So I can weep about how I'm going to die a poetic, flamboyant death from this flu and then afterward feel like I'm doing something heroic to crawl my way to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Also, if my schnozz is all swollen up, Cyrano's nose will always bigger and he will always be more self-conscious about it.
I wouldn't have thought of this except that last time I got sick I was in such a state that I just watched it four times back to back and it got me through an awful day. I think Maleficent has an awesome costume and is bad-ass enough to take care of everyone's flu.
4. Babette's Feast
This film potters along slowly, but never painfully slowly, and has a very small-world cosiness to it. It's sweet and romantic and sad,
...and everyone eats all the food I can't quite manage to get down. But I feel gently pleased for them.
5. When Harry Met Sally
I think this is the rom-com that most rom-coms after it tried to be. I can lie back and be gently reassured that Harry and Sally are going to keep meeting up and exchanging well-written lines and feel gratified that Sally is more OCD than I am.
Worst films to watch when I'm sick: I actually love these films, just NOT when I'm ill.
1. Lawrence of Arabia
My other favourite film, since I was twelve, but if I watch it with a dry scratchy throat, the long desert scenes will drive me insane.
You know, when you're so feverish that you seem to have left your soul somewhere down the road? When I'm like that, this film makes me feel even worse. The gorgeous pulsating soundtrack somehow changes to sound like throbbing sinuses. I don't want to be trapped in a helmet in some airless environment.
3. Empire of the Sun
Too much slow fever and dying along roadsides for the likes of me. I watched this one yesterday and really wish I'd watched it while in better health. The book was so good, too. The little boy singing felt like my own funeral music. And then I thought it was over, and there was still half an hour left.
4. Bridget Jones's Diary
I love you, Bridget, but please just go away right now. You'll save for a better day when I can get upset about things like bad cooking and stage fright but right now I'm too ill to care. I feel bad, I should care, because look, we're both here in our pyjamas. But you're drinking wine and I'm drinking Lemsip.
5. Fantasia (1940)
Beautiful film, but feels SO slow when I'm in a daze, and all the things that are cute about this film will suddenly become loathsome and make me want to hurl things at the screen. Just LEAVE THE BROOM ALONE, MICKEY.