Now that everybody is stuck at home due to the COVID-19 virus, things feel lonely and time moves sluggishly. The remedy? A list of ten handpicked films from your friendly SUPicket curator to help you pass the time.
10. The Florida Project
This 2017 drama is the best summertime flick since La Cienaga, and another unfortunate snub for Willem Dafoe at the Oscars. A small family lives in a cheap motel that might as well be Magic Kingdom for Moonee, the adorable six-year-old trouble-maker that the film follows. It may make you cry, it may make you sob, but even so, it will make you smile. It is currently streaming on Netflix.
Is there ever a bad time to watch Her? Spike Jonze’s magnum opus is the principal picture on loneliness, connection, and humanism. It follows Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore Twombly, a lonely writer in a futuristic Los Angeles, as he falls in love with a sentient operating system named Samantha. The drama is palpable and the atmosphere is cold in the coziest kind of way. This is a film for any time, but especially long homestays. Her is currently streaming on Netflix.
All Martin Scorsese movies are such a good time, but some just aren’t meant for self-quarantine. Taxi Driver is too lonely, The Irishman too melancholic and nostalgic. Goodfellas is just the right amount of thrills, laughs, mob terminology and legendary performances. Catch it while it’s still on Netflix.
7. The Graduate
One of Dustin Hoffman’s first movies, this drama comedy was a significant moment in American cinematic history. It borrows from nouvelle-vague as well as other major European movements and makes it America’s own. It is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel and Amazon Prime.
This movie is Nicholas Cage’s renaissance picture. He gives a stunningly real performance amid several comically overblown moments inspired by eastern cinema. Cage plays Red Miller, a man out for revenge against a cult of hippies and otherworldly creatures for taking the thing he holds closest. It is hilarious, violent, touching and bloody disgusting. Get ready for the major grindhouse revival of the 20th Century with Panos Cosmatos’ sophomore film. Mandy is currently available for rent on Amazon Prime and YouTube.
This is the moment that Pixar perfected storytelling. When WALL-E was released in 2008, the scape of animated cinema was dramatically reshaped. Show-don’t-tell is in full effect, and more effectively than any time in history. It’s the perfect time to revisit this movie, too. It can help us be more conscious of how we go about treating our environment when it’s time to leave our homes again. WALL-E is currently available on Disney Plus.
4. Blade Runner 2049
This is the best sequel film to have ever been made. It expands upon a masterfully built world from Ridley Scott, paying homage to the craft of innovation in filmmaking instead of praying on nostalgia. It asks hard-hitting questions like a proper science fiction with the slow and elevated pace of a postmodernist neo-noir. Roger Deakins earned his first Oscar for his breathtaking visuals that really solidifies Denis Villeneauve’s vision. Now thanks to the early production photos, we have Dune to look forward to in 2020-2021. Blade Runner 2049 is currently available to rent on Amazon Prime and YouTube.
3. Uncut Gems
Uncut Gems is a tour de force piece of avant-garde filmmaking that the world just wasn’t ready for last November. Adam Sandler (yes, really, Adam Sandler) plays Howie Bling, a Jewish divorcee with a jewelry shop on the ever-hustling 5th street of New York City. We last saw the Safdie brothers make Good Time— a masterpiece in its own right that they build off of in their new, genius script. Every moment is crafted to pump as much adrenaline through your veins as your body can handle. If you’re looking for a workout during quarantine, I suggest watching this film with the lights off and the volume up– you’ll realize you’ve clenched every capable muscle for two straight hours. The Safdie brothers don’t provide you with escapism when they make a movie. They kidnap you and drag you through hell. Uncut Gems is currently available to rent on Amazon Prime and YouTube.
2. The Big Lebowski
I desperately wanted to put A Serious Man on this list, but the senseless trials of an undeserved man seems like the wrong kind of story to tell in a crisis. The Coen brothers’ earlier The Big Lebowski is quite the opposite. Instead of asking “what’s going on,” this movie wants to know “who cares?” Jeff Bridges plays The Dude, a lowly member of a local bowling league that gets caught up in a high-stakes ransom job because he shares the same name as a wealthy individual in town. The film is riotously funny and has a cult so big that it became an actual, real-life religion called Dudeism. The Dude abides, man. The Big Lebowski is currently available to rent on Amazon Prime and YouTube.
1. Blade Runner: The Final Cut
How could I mention the sequel without talking about the birth of cyberpunk cinema, Blade Runner? This is the definitive version with a beautiful, cool-green look and without the clunky voice-over and ridiculous, studio-imposed ending. The Final Cut is Ridley Scott’s true vision of Deckard’s story. Based off of the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner discusses what it means to be human in a world where you can no longer tell the difference between man and android. We can thank our lucky stars that Scott’s vision of Los Angeles in 2019 didn’t come true– if our streets were packed like that, humanity would be in a lot of trouble. Instead, we get to hang out at home and watch awesome movies while the world heals. Nothing like neon, narratively nebulous neo-noir to spend your quarantine devouring. Blade Runner: The Final Cut is currently streaming on Netflix.
Stay at home, stay safe and happy viewing– with love from The Picket.