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Classic Fall Movies To Usher In The Much-Anticipated New Season

After all, we all need a break from the dog days of summer (with a COVID-19 chaser).

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When Harry Met Sally movie Meg Ryan Billy Crystal
Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
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We all need a break from the dog days of summer (with a COVID-19 chaser).

Not to rush the season, but if fall can’t come fast enough, stream some of the movies that will have you asking, “Is this a film or an autumnal postcard?” Warm up the cider and a slice of pumpkin pie, then get cozy under a blanket and embrace yellow, orange, red and brown as the new black. Some of these Hollywood favorites will not only bring you into the crisp new season, but also take you back to when some of our most admired stars were in their prime, and so were we.

What month is it?

Since last March — while we hunkered down, sheltered in place and #WFH — days ran into each other, and suddenly “What day is it?” turned into “What week is it?” Our country may be opening up, but some of us are still calling the kitchen table our office, so here’s an overview of what to watch.

Indian Summer (1993), Autumn in New York (2000), The September Issue (2009), October Sky (1999), Sweet November (2001)

INDIAN SUMMER, Elizabeth Perkins, Diane Lane, Kimberly Williams, Julie Warner, 1993, (c)Buena Vista
Indian Summer
Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Back-to-school time

Ah, the days when this was a definitive thing. Our college kids headed back in August and our grammar and high school students left the house right after Labor Day while Staples ran its “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” school-supplies commercial. Good times. Ever notice how school movies seem to mostly take place in New England because everyone on screen always attends the Ivy League, and there’s only one dedicated teacher? Watch and remember fondly when “zoom” was how fast you used to get them out the door.

Dead Poets Society (1989), Mona Lisa Smile (2003), School Ties (1992), St. Elmos’s Fire (1985), Mistress America (2015)

Scene from Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts
Mona Lisa Smile
Alamy Stock Photo

Are you ready for some football? 

This season will literally be a game changer. Whether you’ve always been a football widow or you’re a sports fan, the usual “Go Team” spirit in your home is probably down to one rah. These films have something for everyone: a game to watch (without anyone’s life depending on who wins) and a heartwarming story.

Silver Lining Playbook (2012), Remember the Titans (2000), The Blind Side (2009), Rudy (1993), Friday Night Lights (2004)

Denzel Washington Stars In Remember The Titans
Remember The Titans
Getty Images

Happy Halloween

You know what’s happy about it? Having aged out of agonizing over what costumes our kids should wear, as well as where to get it and/or how to make it — plus all its accessories. Holiday weight gain always began with all the trick or treat candy they brought home because, after all, you had to taste it to make sure it was OK for them to eat. Take your pick of scary, funny, creepy.

Halloween (double feature 1978 and 2018), Hocus Pocus (1993), Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker in Hocus Pocus
Hocus Pocus
Alamy Stock Photo

Is it Thanksgiving already?

Maybe you’re hosting a Ben-Hur cast of thousands, traveling to be someone’s guest or celebrating solo in the comfort of your own home. Whichever, at some point you are going to need a break from “the holidays.” Take comfort in the travails of others.

Scent of a Women (1992), Pieces of April (2003), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Planes, Trains and Automobiles staring John Candy and Steve Martin
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Alamy Stock Photo

‘Fall’ in love

What a great time for l’amour. You’re not hot and sweaty topped off literally with frizzy hair, and on the other end of the spectrum you’re not wrapped like a mummy in a scarf and duffle coat. There’s something about a cozy sweater that makes people want to cuddle. And who didn’t look more put together than rom-com queen Meg Ryan in one of her cute outfits against a leaves-changing tableau? See her — as well as Ali, Juliette, Sandra and Julianne — for yourself.

When Harry Met Sally… (1989), You’ve Got Mail (1998), Love Story (1970), Dan in Real Life (2007), The Lake House (2006), Far From Heaven (2002)

Far From Heaven
Alamy Stock Photo