Gwnewch y pethau bychain

When I find myself in times of trouble…

So, having made a solemn pledge to start updating again, I promptly stopped updating. Which isn’t to say things have been boring around here. [personal profile] runnerwolf came to visit, which was shiny and awesome, and then I went to California for Consonance, which was also shiny and awesome, and then I came home and had the plague, which was dingy and boring, and then Marian Call was in town for a concert, which was back to shiny and awesome.

So, rather than talk about those things, each of which deserves at least a post unto itself, I want to talk about Pop Culture Comfort Food.

This past weekend was mentally fragile for me. I do pretty well most of the time these days, but depression still sucks, and every so often it gets the better of me. There are some things that reliably help, but it’s mostly a matter of just getting through them until my brain chemistry balances out.

Since I had managed to lure [personal profile] kitanzi into playing The Old Republic with me, I got the notion over the weekend to rewatch Star Wars. I followed it up with The Empire Strikes Back because, well, it comes next, doesn’t it. And a couple of things struck me while I was watching it:

1) The Special Editions are fine. Seriously. There’s really nothing wrong with them. (Before you start, I want to note something: Han still shoots first. Really. Go watch. He shoots Greedo, whose gun discharges at strikes the wall. At the very worst, they shoot simultaneously. It’s Not Even A Thing, stop griping about it.)

2) These films are, for me, the cinematic equivalent of a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. I’ve seen them enough times now that they really are like comfort food. I go back to them and I’m 10 again and the world is okay.

[personal profile] kitanzi and I were discussing this last night, and she said that she couldn’t really think of a movie that fit that category for her, but she certainly had books which did, most notably Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, which she claims to have read more times than she can actually count anymore.

So what are *your* pop culture comfort foods? When you just need something warm and familiar, what entertainment do you turn to?

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32 Comments

  1. Georgette Heyer’s books are my comfort reading. Often Karl’s, too. That, and the 163x books by Eric Flint et al.

  2. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in “The Great Race”. How many clichés and spoofs can you fit in 160 minutes! When one of our local cinemas had its 50th anniversary they let the projectionist choose the films for a week, this was one of them. I went to the afternoon showing to find myself the only paying customer, although most of the staff wandered in and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • I was working the ticket-taking booth at our local theater the week that played in my home town when it first came out.
      I’d always manage to sneak to the back of the auditorium to watch the sword fight with Ross Martin, and Martin’s dive into the rowboat.

  3. Arthur Ransome, though Bujold’s not bad.

  4. Definitely Star Wars. When we were kids, my brother and I wore the tapes out from watching them too much. I think Chicago officially falls into that category now too, considering I can sing along with all the songs (not well, of course) and repeat a good portion of the lines. For music, I always seem to fall back on show tunes or older Metallica. My book used to be Black Beauty, a book I read more times than I could count as a preteen/teen. And finally, we have Mad Libs. I’m not sure they count, but they always make me feel better.

    • When I did try to come up with a comfort movie, Chicago was the closest I could come. I can certainly sing along with all the songs, and sing good chunks of most of them alone, and I’ve watched it more times than any other movie I can think of. Princess Bride probably comes close, though.

      • Chicago is good. Princess Bride probably does qualify, yes. Our whole household can quote most of it, including the little kids. Another one for me would be Dead Again.

  5. I’d have to say the original Star Trek series. I watched every episode at least once, and mostly several times over, in syndication in the early 70’s, and a year or two back, I watched the whole shebang on DVD. Exactly as dated as you’d expect it to be, though sometimes the precision of its snapshot of the 1960’s is remarkable.

  6. star wars, pakksenerion, curse of chalion, The hobbit, feed,

    Most classical music. Mozart, Beethoven, Hyden. (even if I can’t spell his name)

    lots of comfort.

  7. Old comics, Star Trek, early Simpsons, MASH

  8. The Lord of The Rings- both book and movies. The earliest Star Wars trilogy. Firefly. The Anne and Emily books by L.M. Montgomery. Robin of Sherwood.

  9. Anonymous

    LM Montgomery’ Anne and Emily books. Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. Sharon and Steve’s Liaden universe. But mostly, Emma’s _War For The Oaks_. No cinema fits, but The West Wing if I’m in need of political porn, or Dr Who if I’m in need of the good Doctor.

  10. Watership Down is something I read yearly at least. My Dragonriders of Pern series, H.Beam Piper’s Fuzzy books and Valdemar.

    Movies: Support Your Local Sheriff, Robin Hood (Flynn), Zorro (b&w), the Star Wars saga and Princess Bride.

    • There is a book I read about once a year, and have for the last 23 years since I first read it: Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin.

      What I find most arresting about it is that after having read it over twenty times over the course of two decades, I still find something new every single time I read it. Sometimes it’s just a detail that I never spotted or a foreshadowing I never connected the dots for before, but it always reveals a new facet to me on each revisit.

      It’s about time to go dive into it again, now that I think on it.

      • Winter’s Tale was recommended to me a number of times when I had the bookstore. I finally started it, and I think it’s wonderful.

        “As you can see, this is a real policeman’s helmet, and I have to go.”

      • That’s one of my favorites too. Have I told you my theory about how it’s set in the same universe with John Crowley’s Little, Big?

        Those are both comfort books for me. I also reread The Last Unicorn, The Westing Game, A Deepness in the Sky, A Fire Upon the Deep, My Most Excellent Year, Brightness Falls From the Air, Hellspark, Sunshine, The Armageddon Rag, Fevere Dream, Bridge of Birds, One For the Morning Glory, Beaches, Practical Magic, Tam Lin, The Homeward Bounders, Sister Light, Sister Dark, the Windling/Datlow fairytale anthologies, and probably two dozen others.

        For television/movies, I watch both of the Anne of Green Gables miniseries, Purple Rose of Cairo, the Back to the Future movies, Happy Days, Fraggle Rock, The Muppet Show, most of the Muppet movies, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers’ speech to congress, The Electric Company, Leap of Faith, The Princess Bride, The Court Jester, Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Stardust, etc. etc. etc. as they say in the The King and I.

        Comfort listening is infinite. Favorites include Train of Thought by Chris Conway, Hold On by the Cottars, You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon. There are thousands.

      • Oh yes. Winter’s Tale is one we have read, and read aloud, many times.

        Also John Crowley’s “Little, Big”. Which has sections I simply insist on reading over and over out loud because they are so chewy and lovely. (Words are my life, after all…)

  11. The Temeraire books. Bujold. Patricia Briggs.

  12. The Princess Bride. Firefly. Almost anything by Joan Aiken or Diana Wynne Jones. Edward Eager books. Guy Gavriel Kay books. The Daughter of Time. Suunshine (Robin McKinley). Probably more I’m forgetting.

  13. Princess Bride and Firefly, definitely. For books, it’s gotta be Mary Brown’s “Playing the Jack.” It’s a historical novel about traveling carnies in 18th century Britain, with strong “Jane Eyre” overtones. The main character goes through hell and back and somehow still comes out on top. Kind of like Miles, now that I think about it.

  14. Heinlein juvenile books, H. Beam Piper, 90’s era Batman cartoons, 1632 by Eric Flint, and legacy video games (Doom, Metroid on the GameBoy, Metroid Prime (now) on the Wii).

  15. There are actually many in both categories.

    Some books:

    Dark is Rising series -- Susan Cooper
    Jack and Jill -- Louisa May Alcott
    Mrs. Pollifax series -- Dorothy Gillman

    Some movies:

    Victor/Victoria
    Groundhog Day
    Defending your Life

    You Tube videos:

    Bollywood dance numbers 🙂

    I also have a number of foods on this level and oh my yes I resort to comfort “foods” in all categories and levels.

    *hugs* and thanks for this topic :).

  16. Georgette Heyer. I read her a LOT right after Nine-Eleven.
    I just wanted OUT of the 21st Century for awhile.

  17. I like the Special Editions. In particular, I think he rescued the end of Return of the Jedi (and its musical numbers). And as cool as it may be to hate Jar-Jar, the part of Episode I that I always skip is the pod race.

  18. The only book I ever really re-read is, “Imajica,” by Clive Barker, and I’m not sure why, since it’s not particularly nostalgic or comfort-foody for me. But nonetheless, I read it every once in a blue moon, and I don’t do that for any other book. I’m kind of overdue now, but the last time I checked it wasn’t available as an ebook, so that may break the chain.

    Other things… that’s tough. I have a real recency effect with music, so I’ll often go to the most recent thing that I’ve really worn thin. Right now, I find myself putting on the Julia Holter album, “Ekstasis,” for that, but in actuality I’ve only owned it for a couple of weeks. I do once in a while curl up into, “Abacab,” by Genesis. Oh, and maybe this is embarassing to admit, but I put on my own albums as “comfort food” listening a lot. I find myself doing that more and more over time, actually. And Philip Glass.

    I don’t really relate to any TV shows that way, but movies, I’d say Powaqqatsi, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Baraka, Solaris (most people at this point will clarify that they mean the Russian version, but I actually like both versions, differently), Alien, Blade Runner, um, anything that has a lot of atmosphere.

  19. Comfort data:

    Movies: Real Genius, Bull Durham, RHPS

    TV: Babylon 5 (seasons 2-4), Star Trek (TOS, TNG, and especially DS9), Rocky and Bullwinkle, Marc Brown’s Arthur, Doctor Who (except Five and Six, but especially Seven, Nine, Ten, and Four, and particularly “The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End” (the finale of New Who, Series 4))

    Books: Heinlein (Friday, Time Enough for Love, Stranger), Diana Wynne Jones, Diane Duane (especially the Cat Wizards trilogy), Glenn Cook’s Garrett, PI series, and the Callahan/Lady Sally stories.

    ETA: MUSIC, of course: Mostly all live. Renaissance. Genesis (mostly with Hackett, plus the eponymous album era, plus shows by Gabriel and Hackett). Bruce Springsteen. Dire Straits. The Decemberists. Filk (Less Than Art, Super Secret, Serious Steel, Fossil Fever, Tom Smith: Homecoming, Pretty Little Dead Girl, and First Contact, to name a few).

    Those are the ones that come straight to mind as being rewatched and reread and listened to over and again.

  20. Anonymous

    Comfort Entertainment

    So far as movies go, I get the most comfort out of Fallen, An American President, and Princess Bride.

    Books are far harder to pin down. I’d say the list would have to include Card’s Ender’s Game, Heinlein’s Starship Trooper’s, David Edding’s Elinium and Tamuli series and Boujold’s Curse of Chalion.

  21. Books: Lord of the Rings, David Copperfield (for some reason), Spider Robinson, many more

    Comics: Old issues of Legion of Super-Heroes, my sentimental favorite — though usually either the 1960s runs (written by the likes of Edward Hamilton, Jerry Seigel and Jim Shooter) and the 1980s Paul Levitz run. Also, Fables and its spinoffs and auxiliary material. (Though Jack of Fables grew tiresome.)

    Music: Most filk. Vixy and Tony’s Thirteen is my go-to disc for just about any mood I’m in; Ookla the Mok and Seanan and Mary Crowell and Randy Hoffman and many others function similarly. And one of my personal conceptions of paradise involves listening to Peter Alway and Amy McNally making musics together at length. Also, various local groups of my acquintance — I can go and hear them do very similar sets from one month to the next, but they never get old. Also, the Beatles, because c’mon. And blues, despite its reputation, tends to make me feel content and fed and soothed. Johnny Cash. Satchmo. Beethoven. Most of the bands in the Terry Scott Taylor orbit. Big swaths of Motown and Stax and early new wave and outlaw country and seventies Jesus-rock and and and. I’ll even cop to Jimmy Buffett and Neil Diamond.

    Television: Doctor Who — old Who, new Who. Firefly. Most iterations of Star Trek — while Voyager and Enterprise didn’t do much for me, they were still Trek. M*A*S*H*. Anything with the Muppets, especially The Muppet Show, of course. Various bits from SNL over the years — the classic 1970s period, of course, plus I have a great affection for the Hartman-Farley-Rock-Sandler-Jackson-Myers-Carvey-Meadows era that brought us the likes of Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker who lives in a van down by the river. And formulaic as it is, sometimes NCIS marathons will suck me in. I loved Lost and am enjoying Battlestar Galactica (making my way through the DVDs on the latter), though I don’t know that they’re something I’ll return to as comfort media.

    Film: Casablanca. The Princess Bride. The better Bond films, like Goldfinger. (“No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die.”) The LOTR films and the original Star Wars trilogy, of course. Many more, I’m sure. Reliable laughter fodder, as in Monty Python, the Spinal Tap crew, Mel Brooks (usually).

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