01/08/2010 09:50 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Secret Stress-Relieving Remedy! Sunday Movies

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time relaxing. With all the work and chores that need to be done, it feels impossible to slow down. And yet, I know I need to. Sometimes I just want to be taken away to another world, another time and place. I used to LOVE, love, love going to the movies--to see the kind of movies I like--foreign, obscure, slow, and intense. But with kids taking up my whole life, and living in a place where movies like that come around once in a blue moon--well, going out to a movie theater doesn't often happen. And honestly, I can't stay up past my kids' bedtime to watch grown-up movies after they are asleep. I'm too tired myself.

So this year, I vowed to start a new tradition. Every Sunday afternoon, I am going to call the TV to watch a movie I want to watch. Between Netflix and and TIVO, I've got my sources covered.

This past Sunday I watched Kitchen Stories. It's a Scandinavian film set in the 1950s about a researcher sent to observe a single man in his kitchen in Norway. My family members all rolled their eyes at my choice. Their loss! It was a sweet, funny, bittersweet movie that made me FEEL like I spent the afternoon in Norway.

I am always amazed at the quality and brilliance of foreign films. We Americans believe we have conquered the world with our movies, but the truth is, we've done it with explosions and cheap laughs. It's all about special effects and famous celebrities, rather than great stories and beautiful imagery. And, by the way, other countries make even funnier movies than we do--I'm thinking specifically of Australia and South Korea. But their humor often requires the ability to laugh at oneself, rather than at others. Something Americans have a hard time doing, I think.

Anyway, I have a few Gerard Depardieu movies on the way (happy, happy, joy, joy!). And I never did get to see Pedro Almodóvar's movies other than Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down ages ago. Also, if anyone can recommend any good new Australian movies, I'm totally up for it!

Here are my Sunday at the Movies requirements: no violence and no major tragedy or tears. I don't want to start my week with a headache and a bad feeling. Other than that, anything goes.

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