by Cecilia Karl & Alyssa Soetebier | Photography by Brhea Koneman
As much as we love the idea of reveling in Chicago’s beauty 24/7, sometimes we need a bit of downtime too. On a cold, gusty day, there’s no place we’d rather be than buried under a blanket in front of our TVs. Here we bring you some of our favorite movies for wiling away a gray afternoon. All of our film picks are streaming through online programs like Netflix or Hulu—or are rentable through iTunes. So get the popcorn popping and settle in for a few of our favorite flicks.

There is something to be said about the rejuvenating powers of a sentimental movie. Let’s face it, sometimes you just need to bawl your eyes out. And when the mood strikes, there are no better options than what we’re offering up right here.

1. Beaches
Is there a woman among us who hasn’t had her heart warmed and simultaneously broken by the Beaches duo? This is rite-of-passage material and, be forewarned, prescription grade stuff when it comes to antidotes for clearing your tear ducts. Two girls from different worlds meet happenstance on a beach and strike up a friendship that spans over 30 years. Through love, heartbreak, and god-awful jobs (that rabbit suit!), these women see each other through it all. Of course it’s cheesy, too. What do you expect from an ‘80s film starring Bette Midler singing “The Wind Beneath My Wings?”

2. IlPostino
Famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, is exiled to a sleepy Italian island for political reasons. An uneducated postman forms a bond with Neruda as he hand delivers his mail each day. When the postman meets the love of his life—an unattainable island beauty—he enlists Neruda’s help to win her over. This sweet story of friendship and love will draw you in—but be warned, like any good classic love story, it has its tragic ending. Bring on the Kleenex.

3. The Tiger in the Snow
Set in Baghdad during the second Gulf War, The Tiger in the Snow tells the story of a relentless romantic with his heart set on moving mountains to save the woman he loves. Tom Waits moonlights. The dream woman falls into a coma. And our hero employs every idea—hello, scuba gear!—to ensure his lady love comes to. The results are heart-swellingly sweet and funny too.

We can’t go home again (thanks for that, Thomas Wolfe), but we can revel in the flicks that make us feel 13 and carefree again. Press play on one of these when you’re in the mood for a dose of sweet nostalgia.

1. Clueless
Need we say anything about this classic ‘90s movie? For this one, you’ll have to turn to iTunes, but we think it’s well worth the extra $3.99. For one thing, there’s Cher Horowitz’ iconic closet. And another? A baby version of Paul Rudd. Miss out on this one? As if.

2. Adventures in Babysitting
While Jonah Hill's stint at babysitting adventures gone wrong in The Sitter had its share of laughable moments, Elizabeth Shue's antics in the original will not only bring you back to the glory days of the ‘80s, but bolster your Chicago pride as well.

Girl power? We’ve got it right here in this diverse grouping that will have you bursting with pride in no time.

1. Real Women Have Curves
One of our favorite heroine actors, America Ferrera, proves that you can live your dream no matter your size, background, or relationship status. Real Women Have Curves tells the story of first generation Mexican-American Ana Garcia as she struggles to bridge the gap between her family’s home life—and the life she hopes awaits her.

2. The Winning Team
A former basketball pro, estranged from his daughter and struggling with alcoholism, reluctantly takes a high school girls’ basketball team under his wing. In a somewhat formulaic turn of events, he and the girls learn to support one another, making for a seriously sweet—and cheer-worthy—ending.

3. Hanna
Up for an action-packed thriller? Hanna’s your girl. Just sixteen years old, and the star of this film boasts some serious kick-ass-and-take-names-later abilities. Prepare to be impressed.

4. 9 to 5
What movie list is complete without this 1980’s masterpiece starring Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin? For every woman who’s ever endured the day-to-day pains of working with a sexist boss, this hilarious coup d'etat fantasy is for you. Productivity at the office grows by leaps and bounds after these three capture their boss and imprison him in his own home. We won’t say anything more, but do yourself a favor and add this one to your instant queue.

See something we’re missing out on? What would you add to our instant gratification movie list? Catch up with us on Facebook and fill us in!
Photography by Brhea Koneman