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Movies to Get You Moving

My favorite way to tackle housekeeping or organizing tasks is to start a DVD, get about 15 minutes into it, then pause it and work like crazy on my chore for half an hour. I grab a caffeinated beverage, press play and repeat until the project and the movie are finished. Some projects are double features.

Certain movies are better for organizing than others. I like something light-hearted and a bit fairy tale-ish (think Cinderella) with a killer soundtrack. The following are some of my favorites that make a chunk of chores a whole lot more fun.

“Party Girl”: Parker Posey in one of her career defining roles as an eccentric life-of-the-party type whose dismal finances force her to get it together. We’re given a hint that she’s got what it takes because her wardrobe, though wacky, is, nevertheless, highly organized. By the end of the movie she categorizes her DJ friend’s record albums using the Dewey Decimal system and becomes the world’s coolest librarian.

“Something’s Gotta Give”: Diane Keaton inspires as Erica Barry, a successful playwright with amazing discipline and a house in the Hamptons that is full of light and free of clutter. The only things she collects are smooth white pebbles. This totally controlled woman learns to let loose, but she still — and this is key — finishes her play, makes another boatload of money, and spends her birthday in Paris. 

“Working Girl”: Brooklyn babe Melanie Griffith organizes her personal and work style by patterning herself somewhat after her boss, the elegant Sigourney Weaver. You can’t picture Weaver laying on the couch eating Doritos, can you? The scene in which Griffith is practicing her diction while exercising on a stationary bike is pure organizing inspiration. She fits in to the couture dress and impresses the client. Sometimes multi-tasking does make sense. 

“Inside Man”: How to organize the perfect heist. There are lots of these types of movies (such as “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Twelve” and “Thirteen”), but this Spike Lee Joint is my favorite. Clive Owen and Denzel Washington play the leads. Yum and yum!

“Under the Tuscan Sun”: How Diane Lane (playing author Frances Mayes) takes an abandoned Tuscan villa and creates a Tuscan fantasy: all melted Crayola colors (Mayes’ image), food, wine, a quirky but loveable community and olive trees for miles. It’s not a great film by any stretch, but when my husband and I were remodeling, I watched it over and over to help me keep my eyes on the prize.

“Overboard”: There is a sweet scene in which Kurt Russell’s character designs shoe storage for rich girl Goldie Hawn’s yacht closets, but what I love most about this movie is how later in the story Hawn’s character reorganizes her new hillbilly family and whips a dilapidated bachelor pad into shape.

“Private Benjamin”: Another classic Hawn flick, and like “Overboard,” a reverse-Cinderella story. This time she is spoiled Jewish princess Judy Benjamin who learns discipline and some amazing skills in the Army. My favorite scene: when Judy polishes the troop’s bathroom with her electric toothbrush.

“The Guitar”: Saffron Burrows lets everything go and starts from scratch in this unusual film by Amy Redford, Robert’s daughter. A story of loss and gain on lots of levels, I really enjoyed the reminder that sometimes letting go in a big way brings in something new that you couldn’t have imagined. It’s a fairy tale, but no prince rescues Saffron’s character — it’s her focus and practice that give her the life of her dreams.