One of my favorite things to do is go to the movies. Whether I'm reviewing a film for this paper or roaming the halls of my local Regal Cinema, I am at peace with the sounds and smells of popcorn popping, the sights of multicolored carpeting leading to dark showrooms, and the taste of snacks I smuggled in from home.
Moviegoing is an eclectic experience for me. I'm going to miss it during the next few weeks (or months) with theaters rightfully closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Until then I – like pretty much everyone else – will be glued to my couch searching for something to fill the void. I've been on a Martin Scorsese binge lately – watching the remaining major films in the director's career that I hadn't seen yet. I've had my fill of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, to be sure.
Whether I'm qualified to do this or not, I've assembled a shortlist of essential modern films to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video during the doldrums of quarantine life – and I hope you don't lose respect for me or send angry letters after watching some of them. Art is subjective and I'm only here to try and help.
'A Ghost Story' (Netflix, Prime Video)
When a man dies before his time, he continues to watch his wife's life play out as a ghost – the bedsheet with two cut out eyes kind, not the scary kind. A beautiful story of love and loss, this is one of the slower-paced movies I've ever watched but also one of the most affecting.
'A Quiet Place' (Prime Video)
Directed by and starring John Krasinski of "The Office" and "Jack Ryan" fame, along with award-winning British actress Emily Blunt (Kraskinski's wife), this movie is as unique as horror films come. In a post-apocalyptic world overrun by alien monsters, a family tries to survive while making as little noise as possible to avoid drawing them out. This one is a powerful thriller.
A fast-paced crime drama starring Ryan Gosling as a getaway driver, with all the trappings of an independent movie that explores the moral ambiguities of living on the edge. This is Gosling at his best in a stone-faced, cool-as-ice role he fits neatly into. It's gritty and heart-pounding stuff.
'Good Time' (Netflix, Prime Video)
The first major film from the up-and-coming Safdie Brothers – creators of the acclaimed 2019 film "Uncut Gems" starring Adam Sandler – "Good Time" is anxiety-inducing cinema at its absolute best. One of the Safdie brothers joins Robert Pattinson as they portray two brothers who rob a bank and deal with the fallout. There aren't too many moments to exhale throughout its 101-minute runtime.
'Hereditary' (Prime Video)
If you're a fan of horror – particularly the psychologically disturbing, gruesome kind – then 'Hereditary' is for you. Toni Collette shines in the lead role as the matriarch of a dysfunctional family working through grief and the horrors inherited from generations past. This is not one to watch with grandma or the kids.
'Lady Bird' (Prime Video)
"Lady Bird" is a touching story about the pressures of growing up. While this kind of story has been told plenty of times before, "Lady Bird" provides a glimpse into a young woman's sometimes chaotic and emotionally resonant experience that all audiences are sure to enjoy. It is as emotionally honest as any film in recent memory and it is likely to induce laughter or tears depending on the moment.
'Midsommar' (Prime Video)
Another one not to watch with the kids or grandma, but one that millennial audiences with an appetite for the weird and disturbing might enjoy. 'Midsommar' follows a young woman as she takes a trip to Sweden with her friends and things take a turn for the horrifying worst as she and her friends take part in a commune's cultural customs. This is one of my favorite horror movies of the past decade, but I've been told I have weird taste in movies so buckle up.
'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' (Netflix)
Finally, something the whole family can enjoy. I've been a Spider-Man nerd my entire life and "Spider-Verse" is unlike any superhero movie I've ever watched. A comic book come to life, the film is a visual spectacle with excellent pacing and great characters. Whether you have kids or are a manchild like myself, it's worth watching.
'Step Brothers' (Netflix)
Speaking of manchildren, take this classic from Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly for example. This is admittedly one of the dumbest movies ever conceived, but it's deeply important to me and I want other people to share in my love for it. This is also an older film than some of the others on this list, but if you're in need of a good laugh during rough times then look no further.
'The Dark Knight' (Netflix)
Keep your Joaquin Phoenix version of Joker – I'll take Heath Ledger's rendition any day. Another one of my personal favorites that isn't as recent as some of the other films listed, "The Dark Knight" is a superhero movie without the glitz and glamour of modern Marvel and DC flicks. I couldn't imagine a Batman movie any other way.
'The Irishman' (Netflix)
You have a lot of free time. Admit it. What better time to sit through a three and a half-hour mobster movie than during quarantine from a pandemic? "The Irishman" is classic Scorsese and a moment of necessary reflection for the director – on his career making mob movies and on the mobsters themselves. Also: De Niro, Pesci, Pacino – need I say more?
'The Witch' (Netflix)
The directorial debut for visionary history buff Robert Eggers, "The Witch" is a creepy horror movie true to its forgotten era. When a family of puritan settlers' luck turns for the worse, they are unsure whether to blame themselves or the devil. A work of art with its cinematography and sounds, this film is scary in nontraditional ways and is one that will stay with the viewer.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.