Quarantine Movie Recommendations
By: Drew Huddleston
Quarantine has been a give and take. Taking our freedom to leave the house, play sports, and see friends, but giving us plenty of free time. And what better way to fill out free time than by watching any show or movie we can find. Here are some personal recommendations of movies to watch in quarantine for whatever your taste is.
Horror: The Shining
Perhaps the perfect horror film to watch given our current situation, the 1980 adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel has been debated and speculated over for decades. Jack Torrance is a recovering alcoholic who takes a job as the winter caretaker of The Overlook Hotel, bringing his wife and young son along with him. However, as the harsh snow sequesters the Torrances from the rest of the world, a sinister force lurking within the hotel begins to manipulate Jack, pushing him closer and closer to violent insanity. Managing to feel both expansive and claustrophobic, The Shining captures the fears of isolation perfectly, thanks to the evocative cinematography, haunting soundtrack, and maniacal performance from Jack Nicholson. The entire film feels like a crescendo, building up with haunting imagery and ambiguous occurrences until it hits the panic-filled climax. It’s dreadful, mysterious, and haunting, making it one of the greatest horror experiences ever put to film.
Available to rent from: Youtube, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu, and Google Play
Rated R for disturbing violent content, language, and brief graphic nudity.
Musical: The Blues Brothers
Generally, we stereotype musicals as bright, colorful romances stuffed with pretty people singing with beautiful voices and engaging in elaborate dance routines. 1980’s The Blues Brothers is perhaps one of the most non-musical musicals I’ve ever seen, and it’s an absolute delight for it. Jake and Elwood Blues (played by original SNL cast members John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) are sent on a mission from God to find $5,000 to save the Christian orphanage they were raised in. To make the money, they must reunite their old blues band and put on the perfect performance, all while evading the cops, an angry band, and a group of neo-Nazis. The film’s jazzy soundtrack (featuring songs from legendary artists Arethra Franklin and Ray Charles) has become a piece of film legend and gives the movie its bursting energy and irresistible charm. Yet, what really carries the film are the standout performances from Belushi and Aykroyd, whose iconic attire and cool, minimalist approach to everything drives the comedy of the film. Throw in one of the most insane, over-the-top car chases and you’ve got yourself a musical-comedy that stands out from the classic movies of the genre.
Available with a Starz subscription
Rated R for language
Action: Kill Bill: Volume 1
On her wedding day, a deadly assassin known only as the Bride (Uma Thurman) is betrayed by her gang of fellow assassins who murder the entire wedding party and the Bride’s unborn child. After waking from a four-year coma, the Bride vows to exact her revenge on everyone who betrayed her. Writer-Director Quentin Tarantino’s modern blend of the martial arts and spaghetti western genres fuse to form a sweeping story of vengeance and redemption. Tarantino’s trademark dialogue takes a backseat to the richly engaging narrative. However, not missing is Tarantino’s iconic violence. The action set-pieces are masterfully choreographed and expertly shot, crafting over-the-top, yet electrifying action. Throw in a stellar soundtrack and ridiculous sound design that perfectly complements the visual flair, and you’ve got another Tarantino masterpiece. And if love the first, Kill Bill: Volume 2 is an epic conclusion to the Bride’s quest.
Available with a Hulu Subscription
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language, and some sexual content
A legendary comedy from the creative minds behind 1978’s Animal House (another comedy recommendation), Caddyshack is a film so eclectic, random, and unpredictable, it has ingrained itself in cinema history as a near cult classic. Although initially panned by critics, Caddyshack has since grown to become one the most memorable comedies of the 1980s, thanks to the phenomenal writing (or often lack-thereof), wild performances, and rewatchability. The film’s plot follows young Danny Noonan (Micheal O’Keefe), a high school senior working his summers as a caddy at Bushwood’s Country Club amongst the rich men he hopes to one day become. To achieve his dreams, Danny attempts to win a caddy scholarship by helping one of the club’s most prominent members, Judge Snails (Ted Knight). However, this becomes a problem when the loud, unrestrained, unconventional Al Czervic (Rodney Dangerfield) begins playing at the club, antagonizing Snails. The film is bursting with joke after joke, many finely written, many planned right before the camera rolled, and many materialized by the actors in the middle of a scene. Bill Murray, who was written into the movie last minute as the groundskeeper Carl, gives perhaps the greatest comedic performance of his career, improvising many of the most iconic moments of the film. Alongside Murray, stand-up comic Rodney Dangerfield, and SNL star Chevy Chase, who plays golf prodigy, Ty Webb, are both absolute showstoppers. It’s pretty hard to describe what makes Caddyshack as great as it is. Nothing like it has ever been made. It must be seen to be believed.
Available with a Philo Subscription
Rated R for adult situations, language, and nudity
Mystery: Knives Out
Knives Out is pure entertainment. Entertainment that treats the audience like intelligent people. Entertainment that blends subtlety with expressiveness. Entertainment that feels like an homage to the classic whodunits while still offering a unique vision. Entertainment that is nothing short of, well, entertaining from start to finish. The costume and set design are particularly impressive: immersive yet never distracting. Each character is vibrantly over-the-top, perfectly contrasting the layered, twist narrative. The story takes so many unexpected turns that often feel like they are hiding in plain sight, making the film’s climax deliciously rewarding. The ensemble cast perfectly embrace the stereotypes of their characters, while still bringing a fine level of realism to the story. In an industry of loud, CGI-filled franchise films, it’s always great to see an original film cleverly crafted with care that becomes a success. Knives Out is so well-made and entertaining, it deserves every bit of its success.
Available to rent from: Available to rent from: Youtube, iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Vudu
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including brief violence, some strong language, sexual references, and drug material
Science Fiction: Inception
It’s hard for the movie buff in me not to recommend an older, longer, more boring sci-fi film, along the lines of 2001: A Space Odyssey or Blade Runner, but the fact of the matter is that those films are not as accessible to a mainstream audience because of they are old, long, and boring. Christopher Nolan’s Inception is none of these things. The film is set in a world where information is no longer stolen from safes or files, but from people’s minds. Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief who infiltrates people’s minds in dreams to commit corporate espionage. The concept is so brilliantly realized, making for some of the most visually creative setpieces in recent cinema. Nolan, the master writer-director of The Dark Knight, Dunkirk, and The Prestige, masterfully shoots and edits the film, creating a seismic story and some of the most brilliant action scenes of the genre, defying time, gravity, and reality. While wholly entertaining and exciting, the action of Inception always feels as though they fit within the firmly established rules of the film. The dream concept never feels like a gimmick, as it’s woven into the fabric of the story, characters, and action effortlessly. Inception is simply one of the decade’s sci-fi films, and its inspiration is already visible in numerous recent films. It’s nearly impossible to watch the film without being swept up with the scope of its vision.
Available with a Netflix Subscription
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout
Drama: The Social Network
Chronicling the rise of Facebook from Harvard dorm room to multi-million dollar enterprise, The Social Network is an adrenaline rush from start to finish. Sure, one could view the film as a boring movie with nothing but people talking and maybe occasionally yelling, but every perfect element culminates to form a riveting story of betrayal, ego, and rivalry. The star of the show is the electric dialogue written by Aaron Sorkin. Each sentence is flawlessly crafted, razor-sharp and finely tuned that you’ll be sucked right into the story and characters. Yet, it always feels organic, tailor-made to complement the well-developed characters. His writing single-handedly turns mind-numbing litigation meetings into a battlefield. In addition to the phenomenal writing, the film features masterful direction from David Fincher, capturing with such vividness the college social experience that inspired Facebook’s inception. The film is lightning in a bottle and manages to keep you captive with nothing but fine writing, directing, and acting.
Available with a Netflix Subscription
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and language