My Comfort Movies

If any time has expressed a need to sit back with some comfort watching, this last year (and a half) have certainly answered the bell. I used Firefly as a part of that process by watching a couple of episodes every Friday night (and lamented that we only got the partial season). But when it comes to movies, I certainly have cycled through ones throughout my life where the amount I saw them was in direct correlation to what kind of mood I might be in.

A little Depressed as a teenager – Pump Up the Volume was the go-to for that version of me. I’m not sure exactly why as the movie isn’t really a “feel-good” movie. I’m sure it had more to do with Christian Slater and pretty much loving any movie he was in for the longest time.

Enjoying a night in during college attempting to destroy people in Duke Nuk’em? – Clerks and Mallrats to the rescue. My college roommate and I watched those two so much that I doubt we really needed to have them on, we could have pretty much done the movie dialogue in our sleep.

So when I go to my comfort movies it doesn’t necessarily mean happy-go-lucky or something that has a happy ending. Instead, I think for me, it has to be something that I simply find joy in. Something that puts me in a better mood through the skills of the writers/editors/directors/actors/etc working their crafts to perfection for those couple of hours.


I probably watch this about 2-3 times a year. Aside from the fact that I love playing and watching poker, so a poker movie was a no-brainer. With Rounders there is an ease to the characters, to the story, and to the idea of overcoming one’s own shortcomings. At the end of the day, it really is about placing your faith in someone and having them not live up to your expectations. But really, all that does is cast a light on our own issues. How can we ask someone else to be someone they are not when we aren’t exactly sure who we are?

That struggle feels all the more real at 2 in the morning as I try and write or edit. While I’m not one of these people who can crank out a book in a few weeks, and while I should challenge myself with lofty goals, I shouldn’t lose sight of what I have accomplished and what I’m accomplishing.

Office Space

When you need to reflect on the idea that people weren’t meant to sit at desks for 40 plus hours a week doing various jobs until our brains begin to melt and all our motivations slip away. There is the fantasy at play here that we’ve all wanted to do in some form or fashion. Maybe you want to tell your boss off? Maybe you just want to quit? Or maybe you just want to get a game of Tetris in before your meeting with the Bobs…

This one features in pretty heavy rotation on Comedy Central. It has the sort of gravitational pull on me where I end up stopping on it and before I know it, I’ve watched the whole movie again. It genuinely makes me realize that all those times when you just want to call out sick to work: You don’t need to tell them what you are sick of.


This is one that I came upon because of the actors involved. Somehow, it slipped under my radar for a long time, and though I’ve never worked at a restaurant, watching this movie lets me know that was the correct decision to have made for my life. Even if the situations behind the scenes are over the top, we’ve all been in a restaurant when someone begins making a huge deal out of something with their food. Those moments ring true in more ways than I can even count.

The thing about this one, aside from the absurdity or its crass nature, is that it shows us a day in the life (much like a Clerks or Mallrats). Our lives can get this way very easily. The mundane becomes routine and before we know it a month has passed. For me, this is about enjoying the moment as best you can, even if they take place somewhere you might not want to be.


Wait. This is basically a tragedy. A tale of woe where Wyatt Earp loses almost everything dear to him and goes on a hunt for the people who perpetrated the crimes on his family. So how can this be a comfort movie? And my answer is that it probably comes from that simple idea of one man who just wants to get away from his past and start a career in this new town. Be in on the ground floor, as it were.

But our past is always there. It helps to shape the person we are today. The challenges from those earlier times allow us to have a better idea on how to prepare for the next obstacle. I don’t know why it helps ease my thoughts and any burdens I might be carrying. Maybe it is the power of friendship? Family? Revenge?

Or perhaps I’m just a sucker for a good western?


John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

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His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at