We’re more than halfway through the year, and although some things have started to shift back to being normal, the world still seems to standstill.
Especially within the world of film.
Movie theaters have not reopened. New releases keep getting delayed or removed from their schedule. It’s a sad time for cinephiles everywhere.
So back by popular demand, here are some more of my recommendations for films to watch at home.
Moonlight: Taking home the Academy Award for best picture in 2017, Moonlight is a remarkably crafted story about one man as he grapples with his sexuality and his journey to find himself. With a balance of striking pain and delicate beauty, Barry Jenkins has created something truly moving and profound. This piece of cinema is an absolute must-watch if you have yet to experience it.
The Old Guard:One of the few gems to come out of Netflix this year is Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Old Guard. With entertaining action sequences and a diversely talented ensemble, this isn’t your average “superhero” movie. Plus, who can pass up another badass performance by Charlize Theron?
The Grinch: If one creature is the ultimate mood for 2020, it’s the Grinch. This sweet animated retelling of Dr. Seuss’s classic story will delight viewers of all ages and leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling. Let’s be honest, we all use that sort of comfort right now.
Wine Country: Starring an ensemble of dynamic female comedians, Wine Country follows a group of longtime friends on a weekend getaway to Napa Valley. Full of laughs, this is a boozy brunch flick that you cannot help but enjoy despite its flaws. So draw yourself a bath, pour yourself a glass of wine, and just tune out.
Back to the Future: There are few films I can call flawless and Back to the Future is one of them. The comedic and inventive tale of Marty McFly traveling back in time to reunite his parents-to-be is a beloved classic that will stand the test of time. It’s a sure-fire win for the whole family and even if you’ve seen it before, I recommend watching it again. At this rate, we could all really use 1.21 gigawatts of power to get us out of 2020 and into 2021, am I right?
Hamilton: Look around, look around, how lucky we are to have Disney+ right now. History happened on this streaming platform when the cultural phenomenon, Hamilton, became available to watch earlier in July. Even as someone who has had the opportunity to see the show on Broadway twice, I still had goosebumps watching. But the best part of this streaming selection? You can totally rap along while watching now, and no one will judge you or shush you. Rock on.
Black is King: Beyonce has blessed us with Black is King, an astounding, and powerful visual album that follows the story of The Lion King and celebrates black culture. This near-90 minute musical masterpiece is a feast for the eyes and the mind. It is certainly one of the best pieces of art to come out of this year and a must-watch for all.
Princess & the Frog: One of my favorite animated films has been getting a lot of love lately thanks to the Disney Parks. So, if you haven’t had a chance to watch Princess & the Frog, now is the perfect time. This twist on the timeless fairytale is full of lively music, fantastic characters, and beautiful 2D animation. Plus, Tiana is the modern-age princess we all can aspire to be. You can also watch Princess & the Frog on Netflix.
Thor: Ragnarok: If you like action, humor, and Cate Blanchett, make sure to check out one of my favorite Marvel films of all time, Thor: Ragnaork. This colorfully cosmic and wildly hilarious film directed by Taika Waititi is a hella good time (yes, pun intended). It will surely put a smile on your face and have you listening to “Immigrant Song” on repeat.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: If you consider yourself a cinephile and haven’t seen this film, shame on you! One of Disney’s visual marvels, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? brings the animated world into the human with cutting edge, Academy Award-winning technology in this wild and wacky whodunnit mystery. Another film that’s great for the entire family!
Shirley: If you’re looking for a film to challenge you, Shirley is the film for you. Starring Elisabeth Moss in her best performance to date, Shirley is a complex and psychological dive into the creative process of horror novelist, Shirley Jackson. It’s a wild ride and a tad anxiety-inducing, but hell, it is worth it.
Best in Show: Another comedic gem you should uncover during your time at home is the “behind the scenes” mockumentary, Best in Show. It’s a simple yet amusing look at the competitive world of dog shows with an all-star cast, including Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara (YES GUYS. THESE TWO GENIUSES BEFORE SCHITT’S CREEK). It’s a comedic work of genius – especially for dog lovers!
We Are Freestyle Love Supreme: Before Lin-Manuel Miranda brought fame to the $10 founding father, he was in an improv hip-hop group, Freestyle Love Supreme. This Hulu-exclusive documentary follows the early days of the group, leading up to their triumphant run on Broadway. It’s an inspirational story you cannot pass up.
Crawl: What’s worse than a massive hurricane hitting Florida? One that welcomes hungry gators into your home. I am not one to enjoy the horror subgenre of “creature” movies, however, Crawl was actually a lot of fun to watch – and I’m from Florida. It’s action-packed, fast-paced, full of terror, AND THE DOG DOESN’T DIE! I see this a win. Crawl is also available on Amazon Prime.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Raunchy, ridiculous and romantic, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of my favorite best romantic comedies. Filled with unforgettable moments that will have you cry-laughing, this is the sort of humor we need right now. Highly recommended watching and rewatching.
Rear Window: Before you start digging into Peacock, please make sure to take a look at their extensive Alfred Hitchcock collection. This influential director completely changed the horror genre and although you may want to immediately watch his iconic hit, Psycho, I recommend adding Rear Window to your queue. Starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, this thriller follows an injured photographer who becomes obsessed with watching his neighbors through his apartment window. He soon believes he has witnessed a murder and – well, I won’t spoil anything, but Rear Window will have you at the edge of your seat. This film basically invented suspense.
Abbott & Castello Meet Frankenstein: If you have yet to watch any of the “classic horror films” starring Abbott & Castello, make this your priority. This zany crossover is nothing monumental, however, it’s full of laughs and perhaps the best work by Abbott & Castello. And if you enjoyed the comedic duo meeting Frankenstein, Peacock has the rest of the installments to this “spooky” crossover franchise. Life is short. Keep on laughing.
Phantom Thread: Do you like Daniel Day-Lewis, high-end fashion, and breakfast foods? Then the Academy Award-nominated drama, Phantom Thread is just for you. This intoxicatingly beautiful yet disturbing film by Paul Thomas Anderson is reportedly Daniel Day-Lewis’s final film. And Lewis knocks it out of the park.
Do The Right Thing: If there was ever a more appropriate time to watch Spike Lee’s cinematic masterpiece, Do The Righ Thing, it is now. Urgent, powerful, and absolutely unforgettable, this is a must-see for everyone. And yes, after over 30 years, Do The Right Thing is just as poignant as it was when it was first released.
Jurassic Park Series: I always like to recommend a series to binge, and well, “life uh…finds a way” with this beloved trilogy. The Jurassic Park series is an essential blockbuster watch and a spectacle of “dino-mite” special effects. Sure, the series declines in quality as far as storytelling, but it’s a great thrill ride you will want to watch over and over again.
Knives Out: One of my favorite films of 2019, is Rian Johnson’s razor-sharp murder mystery, Knives Out. Boasting an all-star cast and one of the most cleverly composed screenplays to date, I cannot stress how smart and witty this film is. And if you need further convincing, Chris Evans rocks a cable knit sweater. I rest my case.
Midnight in Paris: Join Owen Wilson as he takes a magical journey into the past in the Academy Award-winning, Midnight in Paris. One of my favorite films of all time, Midnight in Paris is a love letter to Paris and fueled with nostalgia for the golden age. It is beautiful, charming, and delightful. It is truly a little piece of artistic heaven.
A Quiet Place: If you have yet to experience John Krasinski’s thrilling and tender, A Quiet Place, now is the perfect time. It is not your average “scary movie”. No no. It is an emotional family drama trapped in the world of a “scary movie”. Definitely have tissues on hand for this one – you’ll thank me. And if you are disappointed about waiting for the highly anticipated sequel thanks to COVID-19, take an evening to revisit the original. You won’t regret it.
The Cabin in the Woods: Five friends travel to a remote cabin in the woods. Think you know where this story is going? Think again. Self-aware, witty and wickedly smart, The Cabin in the Woods is not your average horror movie. It is a joy ride into the genre. The Cabin in the Woods is also available on Hulu.
Space Balls: Another Mel Brooks comedy classic that you need to watch if you haven’t. This ludicrous satire on Star Wars has some big laughs and memorable moments. And let’s face it, we can use some big laughs right now.
Whether you’re still in quarantine, getting back into the swing of things, or still hard at work (thank you essential works for all that you do!), I hope these recommendations will spark joy, entertain you, and get your mind off of the craziness that is 2020.
Remember, we’re all in this together!