Time will tell if the COVID-19 pandemic is the crisis that defines our generation. But right now, it’s the war we’re fighting, and as health professionals have told us, our best weapon is to stay home as much as possible.
That’s not to say self-quarantine is easy – and it’s certainly not the same challenge our grandparents and great-grandparents may have faced during times of war or economic depression. Still, good entertainment can provide a respite from the onslaught of bad news, and a window into better times to come.
So, it’s our duty – nay, our responsibility – to turn off the news, sit back, and have an all-out, stay-at-home-with-no-guilt-or-FOMO binge-fest. Let’s take a look at the old and new favorites to perfect for every mood of self-quarantine.
Mood: Bored in the House, In the House Bored
In “Kick Ass,” Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor Johnson) is an awkward, unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a superhero, even though he has no powers, training, or meaningful reason to do so. This action-packed movie has a bit of everything: Underdogs kicking some butt, a crew of vigilantes, and cool, stylized visuals. Check, check, and check. Add in then-newcomer Chloe Grace Moretz in a breakout performance as sword-wielding Hit Girl, and you’ve got a movie that will break you out of your quarantine doldrums.
Mood: All Up In Your Feels
Anything by Disney’s Pixar Studio—seriously. Most any Pixar movie is an instant mood booster. Even the tear-jerker first half-hour of “Up” gives way to a tale of adventure, redemption, loyalty, and a hunt for Paradise Falls in a hot air balloon. If you’re feeling cynical about the current state of the world, “Wall-E” might feel suitably cathartic. But if you’re missing family, proceed with caution before watching “Coco,” “Onward,” or acclaimed short “Bao.” Save those for your first post-quarantine movie night with extended family and friends.
Mood: Missing Your Friends
Zoom and FaceTime may be the closest we get to socializing these days; why not make it a movie night, too? Set up a Zoom call and then dial up your favorite friendship movie. “Booksmart” tells the tale of two overachieving high school seniors and best friends, Amy (Kaitlin Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein), who realize they have a serious case of FOMO and try to make up for their straight-laced teenage years on the eve of their graduation. Ridiculousness and laughs ensue. Prediction: we’ll all have our own Amy and Molly-inspired heyday once we’re released from self-quarantine.
Mood: Need for Nostalgia
Above all, this virus has revealed that at our core, we’re all the same. In “Arrival", linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) races against time to try to communicate with alien visitors before panic and tension result in war. Through flashbacks and premonitions, we lose track of time (sound familiar?) in a visually stunning science fiction film (with equally great music) that makes us question our perception of reality and reminds us of our shared humanity.
Mood: Idris Elba. Period.
As 2018 People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive and a recent coronavirus recoveree, we all owe ourselves a good Idris Elba watch party. "Star Trek Beyond,” "The Take (Bastille Day),” and “Mandela” feels like a good lineup. If you avoided “Cats” in the theater, now might be the perfect time to give it a go—a strange movie for strange times.
Mood: Misdirected Anger
Every day, we’re facing new realities—and many of them make us frustrated and angry. How long will we be holed up at home? Will summer 2020 be saved? And when will we finally be able to see “A Quiet Place 2”? As the first real global crisis of the digital age, the invisible COVID-19 monster will be villainized for generations to come. In the meantime, we can take out some of our frustrations by yelling at our favorite bad guys or gals on the big screen. “Joker” might be too sympathetic a character for this task, but we can all root for this virus to melt away just like the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” (plus, it’s probably been a while since you revisited the classic, right?).
Mood: Blind Optimism
Let’s be real — we could use a real-life superhero to help us get out of this mess. Barring that, we’ll take a teenager-turned-superhero who has just as much fun testing out new powers as saving the world. Now, if it were only as easy as yelling “Shazam!” to put away the coronavirus for good.
Everyone has a list of movies they keep meaning to watch or movies that were recommended by that coworker, friend-of-a-friend, or first-date. If you run with an artsy crew, maybe pre-WWII era German film “Metropolis is on your list. This influential sci-fi thriller brings us into a futuristic world where a beautiful city is powered by the labors of the mistreated workers who live in its bleak underworld. Director Fritz Lang’s film is the peak of German Expressionism, and its stylized sets, dramatic camera angles, bold shadows, and political statements have inspired generations of filmmakers. Maybe it’s just the inspiration you need right now, too.
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