This January, I embarked on an Exodus that spanned 3,000 miles of open road, barron wasteland, and terrible BBQ out in St. Louis to move to Mars — oh I’m sorry, California. Since I showed up here, it’s been nice, but like most East Coasters going out West in search for gold, you get struck by the culture shock that shoots down your body like a bullet from a gun to make you feel just as shitty (sometimes), but one constant I always have no matter where I go are my movies. The great escape into worlds and time periods that help you forget about the hardships of struggles you’re facing for those two hours.
I haven’t done a Top 10 List in quite some time, but maybe I’ll get back into them for you guys, depending on how you all respond to them, and I thought this was the most appropriate topic to make a list about this time around. The films I’m going to list off are some that have traits that make you appreciate and/or realize that moving is difficult, but there is always a silver lining. Who knows, maybe there are some films on this list that help you realize you need to move ASAP, but all in all, these are films that I find are great to watch when you are missing home or the people that at least make it feel like home.
10. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
You ever just kind of resent your family for being dysfunctional and weird only to miss them when they go? Well Little Miss Sunshine is for you. You will probably see a little bit of someone in everyone of the characters you meet on this dark, family road trip film, and realize that you miss all the idiosyncrasies that makes up your family.
9. The Prince of Egypt (1998)
When I was driving across this flat, long country, I kept replaying all the Hans Zimmer scores from the film that became Moses elegant theme music. Whether you believe in God or not, there’s plenty to take from a film that follows the plight of a man who thinks his home is somewhere it truly isn’t. His Exodus changes him for the better, but in this underrated DreamWorks masterpiece, we get stellar animation and music that will put you in a trance like a baby to a lullaby.
8. Brooklyn (2015)
This film is literally about homesickness and transitioning to a whole new lifestyle in order to chase your dreams and ambitions that may not have been there for you back home. It’s a story about finding love in the most unexpected places while also feeling welcomed by different walks of life along the way. It’s a story of maturation through the hardest of times and overcoming them when you think you’re alone, but in reality, someone always has your back.
7. Big Fish (2003)
An optimists tale on venturing into the unknown or into a world that you don’t find familiar, Edward Bloom’s story is almost too cool to be true, but that’s for you to find out. One of Tim Burton’s best films, in my opinion, gives us colorful characters and a plot equally as rich which follows Bloom’s journey as the small-town hero into someone he never expected to become. He learns new skills and always keeps his head held incredibly elevated even when life tries to knock he and his companions down.
6. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
This may only make your homesickness worse if we’re being entirely honest, but on the opposite side of the coin, there is a long lasting magic to the story of Dorothy being sucked into the wonderful Land of Oz. She meets friend’s she didn’t expect to meet along the way while also learning about herself in the process. For me, I didn’t like anyone in California, but you learn to look past the surface of a person to discover their true character, and The Wizard of Oz encapsulates that perfectly.
5. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
In a bittersweet way, I hope you all can experience the emotional fall and rise that Will Smith’s Chris Gardner goes through. I hope and pray none of you are ever homeless with your child on the streets, but if you gain anything from that extreme experience is this, “Don’t let somebody tell you can’t do something”, and if that doesn’t inspire you on your new journey than I don’t know what will.
4. Toy Story (1995)
“You’ve got a friend in me” is what came to mind when I was putting Toy Story on the list. It’s all about the people you meet on your journey away from home and what you ultimately learn about those people that help you stick it out in the end. Toy Story also doesn’t hurt to watch because if you put in the first one then you’re going to watch the other two, and the trilogy in it’s entirety is ultimately about growing up. No one wants to actually be an adult, but it’s a part of life we all have to face at some point.
3. Karate Kid (1984)
I have never been bullied, but I’m no stranger the victims of such cruelties face. I like the Karate Kid as a film to watch when I’m homesick simply because it’s one of the ultimate motivational movies about a young man who moves to a completely opposing city and state to what he knows (East Coast to West Coast). That’s definitely something I relate too overall because it can make you feel like you’re an alien in comparison to the other martians around you, but sometimes you need to push back and overcome whatever dramas are out there trying to swing at you.
2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-03)
Not sure it gets more dramatic than being in your bubble in a shire drinking and eating 14 meals a day to trekking across the deadly lands of Middle Earth. The whole journey is motivated by making a change in a world that wants to take you down. With plenty of battles, temptations, and missteps you can ultimately succeed. It won’t be easy, but hopefully you have friends like Sam Wise and Gandolf along the way to help.
1. Spirited Away (2001)
You may be thinking “why would Spirited Away be number one on this list?”. For me, it’s very simple, and I look at Spirited Away through my cinemaphile lenses in particular. It starts off with a young girl driving with her parents to he new home where she clearly doesn’t want to go. She misses her friends and just is mad at the world while a beautifully constructed score by Joe Hisaishi plays on. It’s a film that you need to watch when you are feeling sad one night and are just in need of a bowl of popcorn and a hot drink. For me, this is my ultimate favorite time to watch Spirited Away, but you can’t go wrong with Studio Ghibli in general and you could pick any of the films from their arsenal to watch when feeling homesick.