Personally, my medium for entertainment of choice is movies. Shows always seem too long and dragged out, books have never really entertained me and board games tend to get too competitive. Movies give you a glimpse into an interesting or perfectly crafted world. They can be amazing visualizations of written screenplays.
With time on our hands, it’s no wonder we are looking for different forms of entertainment. So in response to this, here is my quarantine list of films to watch.
These movies are some of my favourites that usually can be watched as standalone experiences. No need to follow up or research into the story before. All these movies scored 7/10 or above on IMDB and some, if not most, are award winners.
The Green Book
2018, Rated PG-13, Scored 8.2/10 on IMDB, Directed by Peter Farrely
The Green Book is a triumphant victory in culture and filmmaking. The story, set in the 1960s, follows a traditional Italian father named Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) who is out of work as a glorified bouncer at the club he worked at. Now, he is referred to be a driver and Bodyguard for African American classical pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali). With some racist tendencies, Tony hesitantly takes the job. When they get further into the south, the cultural bias and rude attitudes towards the pianist come out and it becomes more clear what Tony’s job is. While the story is about racial bias in the south, the story is also about a friendship, forged from two stubborn men.
2017, Rated R, Scored 7.4/10 on IMDB, Directed by Greta Gerwig
Lady Bird is a fantastic transitional story about Christene McPherson, also known as Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan), who despises the town she lives in and desires to be something more. Her dream is to go to New York University but her grades and homelife project another path for her. Christene stumbles through her senior year, making mistakes and friends.
Her mother, while overbearing, is a positive light in this film and displays a different type of affection than most are used to. This film is excellent on many levels and its character study style story makes for an interesting watch.
Even though we may be sick of the little small things about our family members or community by now, I still think this is an incredible viewing experience.
2016, Rated R, Scored 7.9/10 on IMDB, Directed by Matt Ross
Captain Fantastic is an eccentric, lovable film about misfits in an ever growing capitalist society. The main character, Ben Cash (Viggo Mortenson), is a father who continues to raise his children in an off-the-grid, alternative style he and his wife had created before she got sick. Soon after the film starts, the wife passes away. Each member of the family deals with her death in their own way, but the entire group decides to come together after their grandfather denies them coming to her funeral. Armed with their Gung-Ho attitudes, the family travels to see her off one last time.
This movie is a re-creation of the family road-trip style movie, stepping on the heads of R.V. and Are We There Yet. And as we’re all in need of some way of ‘getting out’, Captain Fantastic is perfect. It takes an alternative route and features a band of misfits dealing with all sorts of issues, but, united for one cause: their mom.
2014, Rated PG-13, Scored 8.6/10 on IMDB, Directed by Christopher Nolan
Interstellar is an awesome idea of the dying-humanity esq movie. It adds a reality to the world that feels almost tangible. The story follows a family that owns a farm in an ever dying agriculture world. They farm corn and try to balance their kids’ school lives as well. In this world, dust storms are common and food is becoming scarce. Researchers have found a wormhole that would hypothetically allow them to travel farther than anyone has before. An effort they hope allows them to find a planet alike to earth, and to hopefully transition much of the earth’s population there. The father, also a scientist and engineer, is chosen as one of the crew to travel to find a new home.
Maybe we all need an out of this world experience right about now?
Quick Fact: The staff behind Interstellar wanted to create as genuine of a black hole as they could for one of their sequences in the movie. So, they went to an astrophysicist for the calculations and theories behind black holes. They tried to put the calculations into a software program to simulate how a black hole would behave and so that they could eventually show one in their movie. When shown the final effect, the astrophysicist said, “why of course”. The program had accurately rendered as close to a black hole as anyone possibly could.
2014, Rated R, Scored 8.5/10 on IMDB, Directed by Damian Chazelle
Whiplash focuses on an aspiring jazz drummer named Andrew (Miles Teller) who attends a top music school but finds himself lacking drive or inspiration. He is scouted by the more prestigious and infamously strict music teacher who is endlessly yelling and shouting and insulting, all for one cause: greatness. The hopes and aspirations of young Andrew are tested, and his relationships are too.
Whiplash is a dramatic, nerve-wracking masterpiece that will lead you to evaluate your own work ethic and ask yourself, am I trying hard enough? During these times of working at home, it can get easy to slack off but, if you’re in need of some motivation… here you go.
2016, Rated R, Scored 8.1/10 on IMDB, Directed by Mel Gibson
Hacksaw Ridge is an incredible true story about a man’s perseverance and incredible bravery. Hacksaw Ridge follows the story of Desmond Doss and his journey in his small hometown and his duty to fight in the Second World War. His Religious stance and his value of peace and pacifism. He goes through basic training and fights the authorities on his right to not use a gun. Eventually, his platoon encounters ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ and they must fight one of the most feared armies in American history. Desmond’s bravery and his fight to help other men as a medic is a story you won’t forget.
During the Pandemic, first-responders, nurses, and medical staff are on everyone’s hearts. This story definitely engrains the call to duty and bravery of these people.
1994, Rated PG-13, Scored 8.8 on IMDB, Directed by Robert Zemeckis
In a quarantine, family or community entertainment is almost always a good thing. With Forrest Gump, you have got just that.
Forrest Gump is an incredible story about a boy growing up in the mid-twentieth century who along the way, quite literally stumbles onto sports fame, war, and many other situations. The young boy is raised in Greenbow, Alabama and is shamed for his low intelligence and the braces on his legs he is made to wear. Soon enough, Forrest has enough and breaks out of his braces to run from the bullies. His incredible running catches the attention of the local football team, and soon enough the college that he attends for football. He makes the All-American team and is able to meet the president. After that, he decides to join the army and he “fits in like one of those square pegs.” The rest is history.
2014, Rated R, Scored 7.9/10 on IMDB, Directed by Dan Gilroy
Nightcrawler is a story about an off-kilter con-man who steals construction equipment and resells them to other companies for low prices. His ambitious nature and curious personality, along with a camera land him a gig selling crime scene video to local news stations. “He blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.”
Sometimes, we all like to indulge in a serial killer docu-series or a horror flick, this movie absolutely fits the bill for our scares and unsettling feeling craving. When we have time on our hands, sometimes it’s nice to do or watch something that scares us a little.
2017, Rated PG-13, Scored 7.4/10 on IMDB, Directed by Jon Watts
This is the first movie of the third popular reiteration of this character. It follows Peter Parker (Tom Holland), who finds himself with strange new powers such as web-slinging and sticking to walls. After making a name for himself in his hastily put together spidey suit, The notorious Iron Man takes young Peter Parker on as an asset of his company. From there on, the friendly neighborhood Spiderman gets up to some dangerous business.
This movie is family-friendly and a modern classic. If you need a great family movie to watch with others, this is a great choice! Spider-Man: Homecoming is a highly popular movie that you can be sure many have seen, but in my personal opinion, it is worth the rewatch.
1999, Rated PG, Scored 7.8/10 on IMDB, Directed by Joe Johnston
October Sky is a great (true) story about Homer Hickam Jr. (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his journey from a student at his local high school, doomed to work at the coal mine which his father manages to his dream of becoming a Rocket scientist.
October Sky has been shown in many highschool classes because it features a student who goes above and beyond to achieve his dreams. Aside from the academic aspect of this film, the story is memorable and is lighthearted. If you want a good watch with a nice message, this is most definitely your movie.
The Truman Show
1998, Rated PG, Scored 8.1/10 on IMDB, Directed by Peter Weir
Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) was born into a television show without even realizing it. His whole life is on display for the world to see, controlled, down to the last little detail. The film outlines little glimpses of the truth that the director and staff try so desperately to hide. Truman is on a journey without even knowing what his end goal is: to find the truth and to break free from his chains.
The Truman Show is one of my most favorite movies to analyze because of the metaphor for control and a God figure (the director) is right there, but there lies deeper meaning to it. There are so many amazing moments to stop and say ‘wow’ at. For example, one of the first visible signs to Truman that he is in a controlled world is a stage light labeled Sirius 9 Canis Major (the name of a star). It’s such a joyful moment to see the beginning of the end of Truman’s deceived life.
A great image for our current times, a transition to a new world, and an exit to another more difficult one.