A staff member’s favorite films to watch with extra time at home.
Compiled and written by Josie Stewart, ’21
Last week, Governor Mike DeWine announced that all schools in Ohio will remain closed for the remainder of the school year due to the current state of COVID-19. Now, teachers are limited to 30 minutes of instruction for their class per day which leaves students with extra time throughout the week and at-home weekends. If you are tired of deciding between scrolling through Tik Tok or getting on the treadmill, here are a few of my favorite movies you can stream after finishing your schoolwork.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
This John Hughes’ classic is arguably one of the most recognizable movies born in the ’80s. The movie follows high schooler Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) faking a cold to skip school and subsequently spend the day with his friends, “borrow” a nice car and end up dancing on a float in a parade. Even though I’ve never done any of this, the story still seems to make me nostalgic of times with my own friends and will manage to put anyone in a good mood during a time spent mostly in your own home. As a bonus, you’ll likely finally understand its many references if you haven’t seen it before.
If you’ve been holding out, it’s the perfect time to watch and discover what might become your new favorite feel-good film or, if you’re like me, rewatch a classic with family or laugh along whenever you find yourself with nothing to do.
The movie is currently available with a subscription on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
The Theory of Everything (2014)
In March 2018, the world lost theoretical physicist Stephan Hawking who made many extremely important discoveries and authored a book explaining the importance of all of his finds. This biopic follows Hawking’s journey through school, love and his lifelong struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), a disease that causes death of neurons controlling muscles leading to loss of function. It is a great film of inspiration as Eddie Redmayne portrays Hawking in this effortlessly shot film, matched with a soundtrack itself almost as emotional as the story.
The movie is currently available with a subscription on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Juliet, Naked (2018)
This Jesse Peretz directed film is another one of my favorites. The story follows recently dumped Duncan, a major fan of an ancient rock artist who seemed to disappear. It shows his obsession with an acoustic version of the rocker’s most famous album, Juliet, and the loss of his girlfriend who comes a lot closer to meeting the musician than he initially does. Considered a romantic comedy, the movie is another feel good one that is nice to watch after taking ten Schoology quizzes and spending a few hours on Notability.
Juliet, Naked is currently available on Hulu with a subscription or can be purchased on Amazon Prime Video.
Almost Famous (2000)
Sticking with the music theme, this dramedy follows teenager William as he follows a newly popular rock band, Stillwater, and has a number of his stories published in music magazines despite being 15-years-old. The story is loosely based on the life of the director, Cameron Crowe, who really was published as a teenager and went on tour with The Band as they entered the music scene. Being another top recommendation of mine, the movie makes me laugh, feel empathy for all the characters and become jealous that my own music reviews aren’t being picked up by Creem.
Whether you’re a music fan or not, Almost Famous is definitely worth the watch and may be one that you recommend later on.
Almost Famous is available with a subscription to Amazon Prime Video.
Love & Mercy (2014)
Whenever I am asked to recommend a movie, Love and Mercy is always my first choice. This drama follows the true story of the Beach Boys’ frontman, Brian Wilson. Wilson, played by John Cusack, formed the band at a young age with his two brothers, Dennis and Carl, joined with cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. Their first albums filled with songs of happiness mostly found at the beach or in the waves, starkly contrast their most famous album, Pet Sounds, written almost completely by Wilson to complete his goal of creating the best album ever made. The movie follows this process along with Wilson’s relationship with his wife, Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks) and a diagnosis of a schizoaffective disorder and mild manic depression caused by previous drug use.
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of the Beach Boys, this movie is sure to make you smile and cry as you follow the story of one of the greatest musicians to ever live.
Love & Mercy is currently available with a subscription to Hulu or on Amazon Prime Video.
RBG is a documentary about current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her struggles and successes in a male-dominant field. Directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West, the biography follows her time as one of the few women in law school to current battles on the Supreme Court with her most famous catchphrase—”I dissent.” Now, the “Notorious RBG” is a phenomenon among young demographics and especially with liberal voters, as she is an advocate for civil rights.
If you’re looking to learn something new or hear about your favorite justice, RBG is perfect for you.
The documentary can currently be found on Hulu with a subscription.
I, Tonya (2017)
This award-winning biopic follows the life story of Tonya Harding, one of the most well-known American figure skaters that competed in the Olympics twice. Although she was extremely talented, her time in the skating community is mostly notorious considering her abusive family and husband, as well as “the incident” which made national news in the ’90s after fellow Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked off the ice.
The movie is truly saddening no matter who who empathize with, but is an impressive retelling of a story that seems like it must be fiction.
The movie is currently available on Hulu or Amazon Prime Video.
Beautiful Boy (2018)
After his many film appearances and stand-out role in Call Me By Your Name, Timothée Chalamet seems to be everywhere on the internet and reposted on Instagram stories what seems like every day. The film follows Nic Sheff (Chalamet) and his father (Steve Carrell) as Nic suffers from serious drug addictions. This is probably the most heart-wrenching story on the list as it truly shows how difficult it is for those who have become addicted to hard drugs and for the family who only wants their loved ones to be healthy and safe. Although the Amazon Prime film didn’t receive the best reviews, the acting comes from two stars that I love and the plot continually falls up and down as Nic tries to recover making the audience feel truly saddened.
The movie is currently available on Amazon Prime Video.
John Mulaney Comedy Specials
Among younger crowds, John Mulaney always seems to be a favorite comedian. On Netflix, his stand-up is showcased in three specials—New in Town, Kid Gorgeous at Radio City and The Comeback Kid. His timing, jokes—and even his voice—are unmatched and have made me laugh every time I listened. In 2019, Mulaney created a new special on Netflix, John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch, inspired by his favorite TV shows as a child. Although it could be for kids, it certainly is for all other ages, too, and doesn’t disappoint compared to the previous stand-up shows. If you’re busy, these shows are perfect for listening to while cleaning your room, studying or anything else and hopefully will help keep a good mood during this time.
For many years, I was an absolute die-hard fan of Amy Winehouse, but barely recognized her name on the news when she passed in 2011. This A24 documentary follows her life story from a child to her tragic death at only 27 years old that brought me to tears. Winehouse was truly an amazing lyricist, singer and overall musician leading up to her death that recorded some of my favorite albums and songs. Her talent, recognized by other jazz musicians, her family and her fans, is highlighted in this film that offers a new look into her life and both the amazing and devastating times.
The documentary is currently available on Netflix.
The Social Network (2010)
The Social Network is another award-winning movie that follows the true story of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) shown through his legal debates over his incredibly popular social media platform, Facebook. The biopic has fantastic acting from Eisenberg as well as a frame around the story that truly reveals the intentions of all parties involved, but can be left up to the audience to decide if a mistake was actually made by Zuckerberg. Even if you don’t use Facebook like me, the story is incredibly interesting in its entirety and seems unbelievable that it began in a single Harvard dorm.
The Social Network is currently available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Dark Waters (2019)
By director Todd Haynes, Dark Waters follows the legal battle of Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) as he challenged the DuPont company, an extremely large corporation and polluter in the United States. Through his research and commitment to helping a poisoned community, he discovers the truth about the products that DuPont made and its extremely harmful nature that the company ignored.
The film is both inspirational and saddening at the same time, bringing light to environmental laws that should have been in place long before they were.
The movie is currently available for purchase or rent on Amazon Prime Video.
Dirty Money (2018)
Dirty Money is actually currently a two season Netflix series that explains the corruption of large corporations, politicians and other business leaders that have happened complacently for years or covered the news channels for weeks. Each episode stands alone, each being roughly an hour long making for 12 different “short documentaries” that makes the audience more aware of what is going on.
If you’re interested in business or politics, this series is extremely interesting and rated very highly across the internet.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Even if you’ve never seen the film, it’s likely that most recognize the title. The drama, starring 18-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio aside young Johnny Depp, tells the story of Gilbert Grape (Depp) and his responsibility for his entire family in a small town. His family, having an impaired brother and almost agoraphobic mother, struggles through the entirety of the story, but has some touching moments making it a classic for anyone.
The movie is currently available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Young Adult (2011)
This drama follows Mavis Gary, played by Charlize Theron, a young adult author who seems to be a teenager in the body of a grown woman as she goes after her high school love. As expected, it does not go as planned and is revealing of many adults who are stuck in their high school dreams despite being far older and having a career.
Although it is a little slow moving, the movie is worth the wait and is currently available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
The Disaster Artist (2017)
The Disaster Artist is an amazing biopic of Tommy Wiseau’s attempt to become a director, actor and writer all at once that resulted in “the best worst movie” ever made: a cult classic titled The Room. Starring Zac Efron, Seth Rogan, Josh Hutcherson, Alison Brie, both James and Dave Franco along with many other stars, The Disaster Artist reveals as much as possible about Wiseau considering that no one really knows anything about him or how he spent around six million dollars to produce his own movie. The cast did not spare any effort in recreating scenes from The Room, and James Franco’s impressions of Wiseau are both incredibly spot-on and funny at once.
Personally, I recommend watching The Room before The Disaster Artist to truly understand Wiseau’s concept, but either film can stand alone on their own.
The Room can be streamed for free on YouTube while The Disaster Artist is available on Amazon Prime Video.