Well, I can safely say I survived the flu epidemic of 2013… just barely. While I would have probably enjoyed just knowing I could recover from the flu, better than experiencing the natural benefits of a fever, it is at least reassuring to know that my body can withstand the devastating effects of the New York superbug without any added antibiotics. And, while it was unpleasant to feel my body temperature go from a scorching 104.4 to what felt like 30 degrees in a matter of seconds, I can happily say I was not alone during my suffering. In fact, I was joined by a few friends: Bill Murray, Tim Robbins, Dustin Hoffman, and Will Ferrell.
As anyone who has spent a day or two in bed knows, being sick puts a damper on just about everything in your day. Trying to accomplish the most basic tasks like making a cup of tea or deciding which movie to play becomes almost impossible, and just the thought of eating a full meal falls well beyond any logical reasoning. In anticipation of this, I pre-organized a section of my movie collection to make film picks a breeze. Now, to be honest, the sorted list was actually done for when I have to partake in a fast day (Yom Kippur), and I just need something to play in the background, but, the list is applicable nonetheless.
I had a few rules when making my list though. The list must only incorporate movies I have seen at least 15 times; there must be one Oscar nominee/winner in the cast; And most importantly, the films need to be long enough so when I fall in and out of consciousness I can semi accurately predict how long I was out for.
Case in point, Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. I have seen the film probably 20 times. Bill Murray was nominated for an Oscar for Lost in Translation. And, if I start the movie at around 5AM (a typical start time when sick with the flu), if I awake to find Bill Murray resuscitating a homeless man, I know I was out for about an hour and forty minutes. If however, I arise to Bill ordering sweet vermouth on the rocks followed by a resuscitation of a prayer for world peace, I know I have only been asleep for about an hour. Even though it probably makes no difference whether or not I slept for the additional forty minutes, it’s all about mental toughness with the flu – and those forty minutes mean the world.
Along with Groundhog Day, another great example of a sick day film is Shawshank Redemption starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. Not only is it a great tale of overcoming oppression by having to crawl through a tunnel of fecal matter (which is not all that different from the flu), it is a great film to gauge how long you slept for. If for example, your fever knocks you out at about the same time Andy Dufresne convinces Captain Hadley to let him do his taxes, and you awake when Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore) hangs himself, you know you’ve been out for only about a half hour. Even though you realize in that moment that you will have a long long day ahead of you, since the movie is almost three hours long, you still have plenty of time to make up for the lost sleep. Perfect.
Finally, my last example of a great sick day film is Stranger Than Fiction starring Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. To this day, the film remains one of my favorites and no matter how many times I want to bad mouth Ms. Gyllenhaal (God, Hysteria was bad) , I always rewatch the film and fall back in love with her. Since not as many people have seen the film I will refrain from pointing out the different timestamps, but suffice it to say it is worth a watch when you are feeling ill. Dustin Hoffman is phenomenal and Will Ferrell plays a role like you’ve never seen him.
Good luck to everyone still battling the New York superbug and I hope you recover quickly. Feel free to post a list of your favorite sick day movies in the comment section below, and don’t forget to vote on today’s poll.
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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off