I’m twenty-one and still pretty much a kid. I enjoy a consistent bedtime of 10 p.m., have a strong dependence on sugar cereal and a deep obsession with cosmic brownies. Being a kid is much more fun than being an adult; adulthood comes with car insurance, hangovers and responsibilities. Who the hell wants all that when you could be shoveling Goldfish into your mouth while singing the entire “Camp Rock” album into your hairbrush?
I think it’s healthy and acceptable to indulge your inner adolescent once in a while, especially when life gets too intense and you just need a break. There’s no better cure for being overwhelmed than grabbing a box of Snowcaps and snuggling into bed with one of these nostalgic Netflix finds.
1. “Lilo & Stich” (2002)
Get ready to revisit two of the cutest characters in Disney movie history. Lilo is a little badass; she may not always know how to control her anger, but her sass is so unreal and well-placed that I barely notice her manic tendencies. Lilo and Nani, her older sister, have an unconventional family as their parents were killed prior to the start of the film, but have a bond stronger than anyone could imagine. They love each other but, like all sisters, have their shit-head moments, too. The film really kicks off when a little blue alien named Stich crashes onto their island. Lilo adopts Stich and the two slowly, but surely, become best friends. I can’t get over the constant Elvis references, they are so adorable and add to the film’s already hilarious presence. Jokes and fallen mint-chip ice-cream aside, this film holds the timeless value of family at its heart. “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”
2. “Scooby-Doo” (2002)
I’ve always been a fan of the animated T.V. show “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You,” which originally aired its first episode in 1969. When I was little, my parents owned a couple VHS tapes: “You’ve Got Mail,” “Ace Ventura” and a few seasons of the Scoobster. My dad worked second shift, so I would wake myself up on Saturday mornings and watch a few episodes while he was still asleep. Adapting a cartoon to a live-action film can be challenging, especially when it involves such a colorful cast of characters.
The 90s comic stylings of Freddie Prince Jr. (Fred), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Daphne), Matthew Lillard (Shaggy) and Linda Cardellini (Velma) make every line of dialogue hilarious, even though we know they are delivering them to a non-existent CGI of a great dane. The Mystery, Inc. gang still solves mysteries in their surprisingly stylish outfits, but the film takes a risky approach by delving a little into each character’s personality and picks them apart feeling by feeling. Gellar gives Daphne a bad-ass feminist vibe in her swordfight scene, while Prince portrays the classic full-of-himself Fred with ease. It’s a pure fun, heartfelt film that leave me laughing at pathetic Scrappy-Doo every time.
3. “Mean Girls” (2004)
I’m fucking insane if I don’t put this on the list. By the time I was sixteen, I could quote every line and knew the “Santa Baby” choreography by heart. I own five quoted shirts, two of which are simple white with black lettering that reads “You go, Glenn Coco!” I will be forever obsessed with Aaron Samuels, those adorable Mathletes jackets and the quest to see if butter is actually a carb. What makes “Mean Girls” as fetching as it was thirteen years ago is its relatability; the film defined a generation of teenagers previously untouched by the entertainment industry. Everyone, at some point in their lives, has felt like a Cady Heron, a Regina George and even a Gretchen Weiners. The film has developed into a cultural icon, with a brilliantly-written and refreshing script at its center. It’s a high school movie we can all identify with, although I wouldn’t recommend a crash cranberry juice cleanse to anyone.
4. “Read It and Weep” (2006)
The Panabaker sisters star in one of my favorite Disney Channel originals about a young writer named Jamie Bartlett, played by Kay, and her fictious alter-ego Isabella, played by Danielle. The film has all the classic components of a teen comedy, from Jamie’s best friend Connor, who trails behind her like a puppy dog, to her oblivious attitude and obsession with popularity.
To help her cope with the daily struggles of high school (like working at a pizza place…ugh…so terrible), she keeps a daily journal. However, Jamie doesn’t just chronicle her day, but instead writes empowering chapters of fantasy-fiction that semi-correlate to her own life. This cutesy DCOM presents a simplistic, watered-down version of high school, but is nonetheless an adorable film with an original premise and nice execution.
5. “13 Going On 30” (2004)
This is hands down, my favorite guilty pleasure movie. Jennifer Garner is absolutely hilarious and undeniably charming, and the entire idea of a teenager waking up in the body of her thirty-year-old self is fucking side-splitting. Mark Ruffalo will forever be my heartthrob, if I can manage to look past his horrific dance moves in the “Thriller” scene. I really enjoy the soundtrack of the film, packed with 80s hits like “Love is a Battlefield” and “Ice Ice Baby.” Jenna Rink made me excited to grow up, but showed me there’s really no “proper” way to do it. The most important thing is not to lose yourself or what’s meaningful to you along the way. I will say, the exposition is overly straightforward (“I am Jenna Rink, big time magazine editor.”) and the ending bummed me out. I always wondered if Wendy ever got her happy ending, she didn’t seem like a crazy awful person, just not a good fit for Matt. No matter, this movie really helped me to see what I should never lose sight of: family, friendship and the constant pursuit of Razzles.