By Drew Sutherland ’21
Nowadays, jokes, memes, and even TikToks about how the world is doing nothing more than staring at TV screens during COVID-19 quarantine are ever-present. But, come on! After a full day of Zoom classes or 240 minutes, all of us are tired enough to take a break to watch some movies!
So I’ve compiled some movies (sorted into categories by paragraph) that you might consider watching while we have all this time on our hands.
And yes, this is a “movie” article, so no-one is mentioning Tiger King, all you cool cats and kittens.
When looking for movies to watch during quarantine, the first place to start is the Star Wars saga, with its intellectual portrayal of man as hero and history of myth.
Whatever your opinion of Jar Jar Binks, there is a lot to be found in the nine movies and three trilogies, but don’t forget Rogue One, another high-quality Star Wars experience! And Solo!
But while we’re talking about long movies (‘cause who can watch just one Star Wars movie at a time?) I’ll suggest another awesome series for you to watch: The Lord of the Rings. These movies are based on a series of books written by an Oxford philology professor J.R.R. Tolkein. If you have 12.1 hours to kill on a rainy weekend—or, um, as our lives are now, a Tuesday after classes are done—then you need to watch the extended versions of the three Lord of the Rings films. If you are a purist and want to start with the first three Hobbit movies at the beginning, it’s actually a total of 20.6 hours. That’s AP Calc level addition right there! In my personal opinion, the first Hobbit movie is fun, while others get a bit tedious.
During this time of separation, one can also embrace specific actors and their specific genres in one’s journey to stay entertained. I suggest stupid James Franco comedies, anything with Keanu Reeves, Liam Neeson action movies (whom we know possesses “.. a very particular set of skills.”), and anything with Tom Hanks.
Also, who can forget animated movies? Apart from the many animated Disney movies and their strange live-action remakes, let’s not forget classic “adult cartoons” like The Simpsons Movie (it really does hold up) or South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, which is the opposite of child friendly. And for a more recent (and child-friendly) honorable mention, Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.
Most of us are stuck in isolation with our families. So, here are some movies to watch with parents, or that parents will think are a good idea to watch together. I suggest trying some Alfred Hitchcock films – although color apparently hadn’t been invented yet, they are still quite brilliant, even though you may want to start taking baths instead of showers. Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones have great chemistry in The Fugitive. I also suggest The Princess Bride, and after watching this, I promise you won’t be able to stop yourself from filling in a “Hello, my name is….” nametag a little more creatively! Also, think about a few more recent films that parents will enjoy, but are in fact surprisingly good, such as Yesterday and The Two Popes.
Many movie series, in addition to the aforementioned, are completely worth lots of your time! Try Indiana Jones and The Hunger Games (speaking of which, did you hear there’s a new book coming out soon?). Also, I suggest watching the criminally underrated Kingsman action comedies.
How about all the Christopher Guest improv movies like A Mighty Wind, This is Spinal Tap, and Best in Show? All 11/10 in my opinion. Not unlike Larry David’s method in ‘Curb’ (Curb your Enthusiasm for those who don’t have HBO), Christopher Guest writes a carefully crafted story, but no dialogue.
Also, I suggest all films featuring the iconic, yet the overused phrase “Bond, James Bond.” And in my opinion, yes my friends, George Lazenby beats out other Bonds played by Daniel Craig and Sean Connery by a mile (that was sarcasm; Lazenby was terrible).
Now, I suggest trying Mel Brooks comedies: Blazing Saddles is wonderful in its own brand of humor, as well as To Be Or Not To Be, which I recommend to all theatre fans. Now, we especially must mention Young Frankenstein (what, too soon?)
There are two types of people in this world: people who have never seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and people who have seen it over ten times. The Monty Python guys put together some classic movies, such as Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. Take your pick.
This overall category would not be complete without mention of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Just don’t waste your valuable time with the incredibly valueless Iron Man 2, Thor 2, or Hulk – we can all debate this later.)
When looking for movies for illumination and distraction, one can be genre-specific like “drama” (Silence of the Lambs,) “horror” (Silence of the Lambs,) “action” (Silence of the Lambs,) “thriller” (Silence of the Lambs,) “fashion” (Silence of the Lambs,) “romance” (Silence of the… wait a minute).
Just watch Silence of the Lambs if you haven’t already.
Quoting Yoda, “wars not make one great,” but there are a bunch of great war movies that are worth our time during confinement. 1917, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, and Casablanca—of all the bars in all the world.
This final category is probably one that will either appeal or repel – these are the movies specifically about isolation of different kinds. We start with those of being confined on your own, even if not confined indoors. I suggest isolation movies like Castaway with Tom Hanks (insert Wilson joke here), Buried, which is just Ryan Reynolds in a coffin for 90 minutes, and 127 Hours, which definitely makes me embrace my unadventurous spirit. The Martian is also a really good movie, but a better book.
We also have the films in which people are isolated from the world, but not necessarily alone like in Room, Panic Room, or The Shining. As high school students, however, I firmly recommend the 1985 John Hughes film, The Breakfast Club, about a small group of isolated teens in Saturday detention (at least it’s not Tuesday morning!).
Truly, I wish we could all be together at the Gunnery; but I am hoping that these suggestions give you a few moments of distraction. I hope you are all remaining healthy, and in the words of Farmer Hoggett in the 1995 children’s classic Babe, “Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.”
Wait, wrong movie, let’s try again. “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”