Greetings from quarantine! I don’t know about you, but when all of this does come to an end, I hope to never have to use the term “social distancing” for at least another hundred years, which says a lot coming from this professional introvert.
I’ve started to grow weary of lists going around of “the best TV shows or movies to watch during quarantine,” mostly because if you’re anything like me, you use television and movies as an excuse to stay productive during times when you really don’t have much else going on. That’s why I always make lists of books I want to read and movies I want to watch every summer, because at least if I don’t leave the house, I’m doing something productive. (I hate that I’m like this, BTW.)
But now, during a global pandemic that has forced everyone to stay home indefinitely—seriously, stay home; people are dying—being productive is hard because a lot of what we humans do to be productive has been cancelled, closed, or postponed. Not to mention the fact that, as much as my introvert soul wants to rationalize that I can easily not leave the house for a month, nothing about this is normal. It’s hard when the news always seems to be getting worse, so falling down the depressive rabbit hole becomes a lot more appealing. In other words, it’s okay if you’re not being productive right now. If anything, we can use this time to reflect upon how much we often overwork ourselves into the ground just for the sake of staying productive.
That being said! I’ve decided to go against what I just said about making a list of good movies to watch during quarantine, because I’m not making it for the sake of staying productive. I’m making it for the sake of trying to spread some calm and positivity during such an uncertain time, and because if time alone with my thoughts has taught me anything, it’s that movies are the best.
Ricki and the Flash
This quickly became an all-time favorite for me back in 2015, mostly because the themes of reconnecting with an alienated loved one hits a little close to home for me, but also because it reminds me of the unstoppable power and messiness of family. Plus, who among us hasn’t had a nervous breakdown and refused to get out of their pajamas for days on end? Relatable for these times of quarantine.
For the first few weeks of this nightmare, I’d convinced myself that I was only going to watch happy, upbeat movies because I didn’t need another excuse to feel depressed. And as much as we can probably all agree that Steel Magnolias could be classified under the genres of “bummer” or “tearjerker,” it’s also a go-to movie for me because I find that the general theme is life goes on. Because it does. Even when it feels like it won’t, it does. In the words of Fergie’s impeccably underrated song of the same name: Life. Goes. On.
In this underrated Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody vehicle, Charlize Theron stars as a former prom queen turned mess who reluctantly returns home to her small Minnesota town to rekindle her relationship with her high school sweetheart. Even though Theron’s character Mavis is supposedly 37 years old—definitely not a young adult—Young Adult captures what it’s like to be young and already depressed over what the rest of life might hold. It’s quirky and bizarre, but much like Reitman’s masterpiece Juno, the tone is very sarcastic and cynical, which is what I need right now. Also, that one scene where Mavis pours her heart out about how something is wrong with her because it’s just so hard for her to feel happy and fulfilled? Painfully relatable. Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
I was already a fan of Maria Semple’s novel on which this movie is based, so I definitely cleared my schedule to go see it in theatres last summer. We talk a lot about how “the book was better” when it comes to film adaptations, and sometimes that’s true, but sometimes the movie gets it right. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is definitely the latter. I would have never picked Cate Blanchett to play Bernadette Fox, but she’s so perfect. It also helps that Bernadette doesn’t like to leave the house unless absolutely necessary, so definitely appropriate for a quarantine viewing. Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
I probably recommended Begin Again to every person I know and their mothers back in 2014, and I would still do the same today. It’s hard to pinpoint what I love about it because it’s all so great: the music, the performances, the drama, the comedy, or the fact that it co-stars my boyfriend Adam Levine in his screen acting debut. I rewatched it last week, just because I was really in need of something to lift my spirits. Every time I watch, it’s always everything I didn’t know I needed and more. I like to throw around the phrase “if you don’t like [insert name of piece of pop culture here] I don’t think we can be friends” a lot, but I’m serious when I say it about Begin Again. And if you don’t fall in love with the soundtrack over and over again like I still do, please tell me, dear reader—who hurt you?
What are some movies that are keeping you sane during these crazy times? Let me know in the comments!