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Cat in the Stax: Fall Films for the Faint of Heart

By Ethan Shea

It’s finally October! That means it’s time for haunted hayrides, horror movies, and pumpkin spice lattes (now available at Holy Grounds Falvey). Many people thrive in spooky environments, but if you’re anything like myself, you try to keep the ghosts and ghouls at arm’s length.

I may need some extra convincing to partake in frightening festivities, but I know I’m not the only one who prefers when houses aren’t haunted. That’s why I’ve curated a short list of fall films for the faint of heart. Just because they’re not scary doesn’t mean they’re not in season!

""Fantastic Mr. Fox

I could have added a few other Wes Anderson films to this list, but I chose Fantastic Mr. Fox simply because it’s my favorite. It’s also especially fitting because fall imagery is found everywhere in this movie. From the foliage of the tree Mr. Fox calls home to Mr. Bean’s alcoholic apple cider, Fantastic Mr. Fox is steeped in autumn.

Despite the fact that, aside from food references, there are few direct links to fall activities, Wes Anderson is not subtle with references to this nostalgic season. For example, the film is almost entirely orange. Just like Mr. Fox’s fur, the cinematography of this stop motion animated film is the color of autumn leaves.

Even the sentimental score features a twangy, acoustic sound that makes one feel like they are striding through a grass field with their feet covered in dew on a cool October morning.

The Princess Bride""

The Princess Bride is one of the most quotable films I’ve ever watched, and it’s hilarious too. This is a movie choice that will never disappoint because it has something for everyone.

As the movie’s group of lovable characters travel over cliffs and through the woods, one can’t help but feel in the mood for fall. The colorful leaves covering the forest floor and the story’s romance are perfectly fit for the season.

I’m not sure if it’s the visuals or the comfort of having a bedtime story read to you, but something about watching The Princess Bride on a calm autumn evening just feels right.


This movie actually has something to do with the season directly. Because it’s centered around Día de los Muertos, this Pixar film is literally made for the fall season.

As Miguel attempts to return to the Land of the Living after he is cursed for stealing from the dead, he makes unlikely friends and learns about the importance of memory. The orange marigold petals that are essential to the film’s imagery are reminiscent of autumn and traditional of Día de los Muertos.

Coco is actually one of the highest-grossing films with an all Latin American principle cast, and given that it is Hispanic Heritage Month until Oct. 15, the time to watch watch this film is now!

The Goonies""

This classic story of a few kids with a treasure map and a taste for adventure is not just about pirates. The cool atmosphere of the group’s quaint Oregon setting is full of autumnal nostalgia. According to a newspaper found in the film, the events of The Goonies take place from Oct. 24 to Oct. 25, which is partially why this movie feels like sweater weather.

Although there are some suspenseful scenes, this movie is definitely not one I’d call scary. Even though I used to cringe at that one scene with the blender when I was younger (don’t worry, it’s not bad), there is not a whole lot to be afraid of. If you somehow haven’t watched this movie before, make sure you put it at the top of your list!

Fantastic Mr. FoxThe Princess Bride, and Coco are all available for viewing with subscriptions to Disney+. The Goonies is available on Hulu.

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

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A beachy summer in the digital library

Posted for: Alexandra Edwards (Falvey Memorial Library intern and digital library student employee)

Though the school year has been over for nearly two months, summer only officially began last week, on June 21.  The season of beach visits and beach reads has truly begun.

Summer vacation at the beach is hardly a recent cultural development.  Families have been going “down the shore” for at least 150 years, to prime oceanside destinations such as Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The first hotel commercial hotel built in the vacation hotspot appeared in 1853, and since then, visitors have been making the trek, by rail and road, in droves.

Joseph McGarrity, whose personal papers can be found in Special Collections, visited Atlantic City with his family sometime around the turn of the 20th century, and had their photograph taken on the beach.  (A caption for the photo can be found here.)

In the Sherman-Thackara collection, an 1865 photograph shows five Naval midshipmen on the beach, probably at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  Though not on vacation, the five men nonetheless strike a casual pose on the sandy shore.

American beaches aren’t the only ones on display in the Digital Library, either.  Jack Butler Yeats drew images of the Irish coast, including the one below.

The small card, an advertisement for Player’s Cigarettes, contains an explanation of the Irish word sceire (skerries) on the back.


The ocean is an important image in Irish travel writing and poetry as well.  Rambles on the Irish Coast by William Hellier Baily not only explores the beach from a factual perspective, but it also includes excerpts like the following, from “The Cromlech on Howth” by Samuel Ferguson:

“They heaved the stone; they heaped the cairn;”
Said Ossian, “In a queenly grave
We leave her, ‘mong her fields of fern,
Between the cliff and wave.
The cliff behind stands clear and bare,
And bare above, the heathery steep
Scales the blue heaven’s expanse to where
The Danaan druids sleep.
And all the sands that, lest and right,
The grassy isthmns ridge confine,
In yellow bars lie bare and bright
among the sparkling brine.”

This small tour through the Digital Library’s beachy materials has only whetted (get it?) our appetite for a day at the ocean, whether it be down the shore like the McGarrity family or further afield, rambling on the Irish coast.




Last Modified: June 27, 2011

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