I’m definitely not the first person to think of watching movies to pass the time in this particularly unpleasant prolonged spring break. I might however, be the first person to make a COVID-19 decuple-feature of movies that I think, for one reason or another, suit our present situation particularly well.
10 and 9- Quarantine and Rec
I promise this is the only virus movie on the list. I put these two movies into the same entry because they’re basically the same movie; a news reporter and a camera man follow a local fire department on a call to rescue a sick person from an apartment building. As events unfold, everyone in the building becomes quarantined as the number of patients grows and their overall disposition becomes rather violent. The difference is just that Quarantine is longer and in English and Rec, a Spanish film, is written and shot better, so you can have your pick.
8- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
This is a personal one for me, but I have a tradition of watching this movie with my family every Easter, and I was a little bummed that I couldn’t this year. I had to choose a holiday movie: either Easter of Saint Patrick’s Day, and seeing as Easter was the most recent holiday affected, I chose Last Crusade over Michael Collins or The Irishman.
7- Twelve Angry Men
Until all this drama, I was intrigued by the idea of twelve people stuck in a building until an arbitrary deadline. Afterwards, I hate it. But it’s still a very good movie: it tells the story of twelve disparate jurymen debating ethics and legality in a murder case. I swear it’s twice as interesting as I’m making it sound. The other runner-up for this slot was The Breakfast Club, which takes a similar premise, but uses it to discuss class, adolescence, perspective, and camaraderie instead of legality and morality.
6- Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
This one’s a bit of a hard sell: British humour from the 1970s either really resonates with people or really doesn’t, and you can’t really know until you’ve given it a shot. This was the last film that featured all of the original Pythons, and it feels as though it was planned that way. It’s basically a collection of skits that all (more or less jokingly) try to get at the meaning of life or serve as commentary on the human condition. It’s a movie that gets you laughing and keeps you thinking, and thinking about anything besides “I’m basically under house-arrest for the foreseeable future.”
5- The Room
Tommy Wiseau has a much different brand of surreal humor than the Pythons. Instead of using bizarre set pieces and outlandish characters, Wiseau conveys surrealism through seemingly dramatic situations with absolutely otherworldly dialogue and acting. It’s a dark comedy where the joke is on the audience for trying to take it seriously. That’s what the director said anyway. It might just be a bad movie, but I thought it was really funny, and you will too. What could be better for stopping a slow descent into madness than watching a movie written, produced, and starred by a guy who may very well already be there.
4 and 3- Castaway and 2001: A Space Odyssey
I grouped two together again, as well I could’ve for just about every other category on this list. These two movies have to do with isolation, because God knows we haven’t had enough of that lately. The former is about Tom Hanks escaping from a deserted island with the help of an anthropomorphic volleyball, and the latter is about a man failing to escape from a space station, hindered by an increasingly self-aware computer. While the one ends in a bittersweet return to civilization, the other ends… I think.
2- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I’ll just go ahead and say it: I really miss going to school. It’s a shame that once you’re in school, all you want is to leave, and as soon as you’ve left, you want to go back. Enter: Ferris Bueller, a movie that serves a dual purpose on this list, first as a fun comedy about being sick and out of school, and second as a day planner for your last few days of summer, all going well. So as soon as the country opens up, by all means, get your two best friends and your dad’s sports car, and plan a day in the city.
1- Groundhog Day
The inspiration for this list came when someone I talked to (from across the street) said that every day had felt exactly the same as the previous one- like that movie with Bill Murray. So, without further ado, “that movie with Bill Murray” better known as Groundhog Day, exploring the times of a man who relives the same February 2nd over an unknown number of loops. The difference being, after Bill Murray’s character escapes his loop, he speaks French and can play the piano, and when I get out of my loop, I might have finished this scarf I’m knitting.