Send in the Clowns: 12 Movies to Cure Any Money Madness

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When we took stress management expert Debbie Mandel to Grand Central Station, we knew we would run into a lot of people who needed her help. Who isn't a little frazzled these days? The radio show host and author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7-Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life had a lot of great help to offer the people we met, including one great tip to recover your sanity with a little cinema therapy. Watch her advice now, and then check out 12 great movies that will make you feel better about almost any financial problem!
Credits: Steven Gladstone (director/editor), Andrea Chalupa (reporter/producer), Beth Pinsker (producer)


In Debt? Try Quick Change and have some more fun with clowns. The time is 1990, and Bill Murray is playing a depressed, broke New Yorker who needs a quick score to get out of town. His ingenious plan: Putting on a clown suit and robbing a bank with the help of his pal (Randy Quaid) and his girl (Geena Davis). Guaranteed to make you feel better about the money you owe.

Got Laid Off? Try E-Dreams and get nostalgic for the good old days of the Internet bubble bursting. This is the story, directed by Wonsuk Chin, that chronicled the rise and of the startup Kozmo.com, and its subsequent very hard fall. One day the employees are racing around like kings of the universe, feeling very rich, the next the office is empty and ex-employees are printing their resumes on the back of their stock options. The morale: We've been there before, we can get through this again.


Did Your Investments Reverse Course? Try Trading Places, and remember what it feels like to have it all and then lose it in one fell swoop of fortune. Dan Aykroyd is the one to follow here, as he finds happiness in the simple things in life, rather than in money. And focus on that happy ending. So put away those 401(k) statements and check your Netflix queue instead.

Mortgage Overdue? Try A Home of Our Own, and remember a time before there was Extreme Makeover Home Edition or Jon and Kate Plus Eight. This one dates puts you back into the 1960s, and tells the story of a feisty widowed mom of six (Kathy Bates) who moves her brood to Idaho to build their own home, which, of course, they almost lose. But the wayward angry son (Edward Furlong) eventually gets on board and pulls them all together. So by the end, you'll be wiping your tears on your Snuggie, all fired up to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Have a Sucky Job? Try Working Girl, because we've all had jobs we thought would kill us, at least from stress and frustration. Who hasn't had a job they were so tempted to quit but couldn't? You can still fight back and come out on top, just take a little inspiration from Melanie Griffith's iconic unappreciated-secretary-turned-power broker.

Got Fired? Try She-Devil. Getting fired feels like you've just been punched in the stomach. It's the ultimate in rejection and panic. It gives you the feeling of having to start all over again. There's no better way to get inspired to take action and believe things can turn around than a good make-over movie, like She-Devil. This 1989 film starring Meryl Streep as a celebrated romance novelist who easily snatches the husband of a disheveled house-wife (Roseanne Barr) is full of self-improvement and getting-even montages. What more can you ask for to get pumped up to take on the world?

Work from Home Malaise? Try Hustle & Flow, because pimps don't work in cubicles. This Oscar Award-winning movie about a pimp (Terrence Howard) who, suffering a mid-life crisis, takes his last shot at making it in music shows you how to take charge of your destiny. And it also teaches that you should always be ready to conduct business anywhere, because you never know where that big break might come from.

Can't Pay for College? Try Office Space. It will make you appreciate the opportunity to even go to college so much more. This hilarious classic shows you the almost Kafkaesque absurdity of office life, a good way of holding your feet to the fire to do whatever it takes--like Ron Livingston's laid-back character--to get the cash you need.

Rent Due? Try Friday, because the clock is ticking. The pressure may be on to pay the rent, but at least it's not as bad as the neighborhood giant wanting a piece of you, as is the case for the young slacker (Ice Cube) in this comedy classic of memorable Chris Tucker moments.

Swindled Out of Your Retirement? Try It's a Wonderful Life, because people are either George Baileys (good guys) or Mr. Potters (thieves). This American classic, heart-string puller celebrates that there's more to life than money. And that the best insurance is family, friends, and community. So even if the unthinkable has happened, remember, it's still a wonderful life and you only get one shot at it.

Market Tanks Your Investments? Try Amelie, because you may not be able to afford to fly to Paris anymore, but at least you can experience all the wonders and beauty of the City of Lights through this adorable film. Amelie is the story of one young girl's quest to change the lives of those around her through simple acts of kindness and mischief. It will show you how we're all connected and how money can't buy what ultimately makes you happy.

You're President of the United States? Try Casablanca, Rocky, 300, or Air Force One. Each of these films is about courage and strength in the face of great danger, resolutely holding onto your ideals, and always doing the right thing. Required viewing for anyone.

What are your favorite movies to watch when you've got the blues? Chime in below and tell us!

Beth Pinsker contributed to this story.
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