Quintessential Quarantine Movies

2020, to say the least, hasn’t exactly shaped up to be the year we all thought it would be. The Australian Wildfires, death of Kobe Bryant, various other world disasters, and now a global pandemic. COVID-19 has successfully put the world on hold. Plans and time have come to a standstill and many are left with the question of what to do now? With so much unpredictability, sadness, and sheer boredom around us, we are all in need of a good movie to lift our spirits. So, while you are waiting for that next shipment of toilet paper to come in, here is a list of feel good movies for your time in quarantine.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty tells the story of a mild-mannered average Joe who works for Life Magazine in the publication department, perfectly content inside of the bubble he has created for himself. He goes unnoticed by the people around him, silently and politely, not as so much making a wave of disturbance. On the outside, Walter seems to lack ambition, originality, or even a voice. Inside, however, Walter lives in a world of fantasy and adventure. He is the explorer who climbs to the highest mountain, the hero that saves dogs from burning buildings, and the warrior who fights bad guys atop buildings. When Life unexpectedly announces that they will be issuing their last issue to date, Walter goes on a journey to retrieve the last photo negative dubbed “the quintessence of life” which leads him to find that daydreaming is no longer enough.

You won’t find any trace of cynicism in the film. It places emphasis on personal growth, showing us that wonder and amazement can be found in the monotony of life. Throughout the movie, Walter is looking for a bit of reality that is his own. His journey won’t change the world, but they will change his, and that is the importance of the story. The main character is an average individual, just like many of us, making it relatable and its messages that much more tangible. Not to mention, Walter’s journey showcases some of the world’s most beautiful and stunning landscapes, allowing us to escape from our reality and step into the places we only dream to see. If you want to escape, relish in a moment, break the mundane, or be inspired, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will do just the trick.

Chef

Carl Casper is a high-end chef working in one of the finest restaurants in Los Angeles. He has settled into a rhythm of ordinary ways, far from his start as a daring culinary master. This is thanks to the constraints placed on him by the owner of his work, who instructs Casper not to venture far from familiarity. Casper’s love for cooking and food doesn’t falter because of this, as he remains creative in the kitchen, sharing his masterpieces with his 10-year-old son Percy and line cook Martin. When Casper’s culinary stardom is cut short by a spiteful food critic, he decides to return to his Miami roots and open a traveling food truck serving Cuban sandwiches. His journey takes him on a road trip from Miami to LA where Casper has the chance to not only bond with his son, but also rediscover his passion for food.

Chef’s vibrant and upbeat style makes it easy to enjoy. The creation sequences of tasty food, exposure to different cultures through music and cuisine, and the heartwarming bonding journey of Casper and his son are all aspects that make the movie a joy to watch. The lighthearted nature of this culinary comedy can help anyone rediscover their passions for a hobby, as we see Casper’s happiness soar from the inside of the food truck. His general enthusiasm for life through cooking is contagious and will have you scouring your own pantry for your next dish.

Chef is available on Amazon Prime Video.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox follows the adventures of Mr. Fox, a retired poultry thief who has traded his life of crime for a quiet existence in his burrow with his wife, tempered son Ash, and surprisingly Zen nephew Kristofferson. Mr. Fox soon grows tired of his non chicken-thieving ways and turns to stealing from local farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. Their confrontation leads to the battle between Mr. Fox’s family and local woodland community against the vicious farmers.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is Wes Anderson at his finest. It carries all the trademarks of a Wes Anderson film, from its quirky nature to non-traditional storytelling. Although marketed as a kid’s film, it carries an aura of sophistication that older audiences will enjoy. Anderson chose to shoot the film using stop-motion animation, which makes us feel like we are watching a story book come alive. The animation is charming and satisfying, giving it a true Dahlian feel. Coupled with an appropriate and uplifting soundtrack, the animation is the most stunning thing about the film. It is a wacky story with heart that subtly touches on messages about complex family dynamics while keeping audiences engaged through sophisticated humor and remarkable imagery.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

John Hughes wrote Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in just one weekend. It is hailed as an all time classic and follows the antics of charming and likable teen Ferris when he calls in “sick” to school. He hits the streets of Chicago with best friend Cameron and girlfriend Sloane for an unforgettable day that includes a visit to the Chicago museum of art, an appearance in a city-wide parade, and joy rides in a red Ferrari.

Ferris Bueller is self-confident, easygoing, and the person we all wanted to be, or be friends with, when we were younger. His astonishing ways to successfully get out of trouble and evade the hands of dimwitted principal Art Rooney have us rooting for the sly teenager the whole time. We all have had the fantasy of skipping our obligations and living a day to its fullest and this film allows us to indulge in those dreams. The movie, simply, is just plain fun. Remember, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.

Bridesmaids

Childhood best friends Annie and Lillian have been through everything together. It is only fitting that when Lillian get engaged, she makes Annie her maid of honor in her bridal party. Annie, having recently been down on her luck due to the loss of her boyfriend and bakery business, vows to make Lillian’s bridal experience the absolute best. Rounding out the rest of the bridesmaids are a colorful group of women who follow Annie down the road to matrimony. There’s dissatisfied and raunchy mom Rita, vanilla do-gooder Becca, Lillian’s soon to be rowdy sister-in-law Megan, and seemingly perfect Helen. Together, they weather everything from accidental food poisoning to airplane arrests all to make sure Lillian enjoys her last moments of a single life.

Bridesmaids may appear as a surface level comedy, but there is nothing basic about the movie. Its humor is smart, thanks to Kristen Wiig’s writing, and delivers some of the funniest lines and scenes, despite its older age. The film even was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars, a rare feat for a comedy to achieve. Even though the premise is simplistic, it soars high from its use of mature humor, avoidance of stupid gags to get laughs, and well fashioned plot line. Most importantly, Bridesmaids harps on the importance of female friendships. We barely see Lillian’s relationship with her groom-to-be because the story is primarily focused on her friendship with Annie. Make no mistake, this movie will leave you with sore abs from how much you will be laughing.

Bridesmaids is available on HBO GO.

Sing Street

Set in dreary inter-city Dublin in the 1980’s, Conor escapes his life’s worries through music. His love for rock and roll and imaginative dreams are enough to turn the depressive gray skies of Ireland to color. When Conor’s family falls on hard financial times, he is suddenly whisked from his private school to the town’s local Christian Brothers School. Although he encounters school bullies and harsh instructors, Conor soon links up with a group of rag-tag individuals to form a band with the dream of becoming the next big thing.

Sing Street is a musical comedy on the same level of the more notorious School of Rock. The film is a love letter and tribute to 80’s rock and roll that mixes soundtracks of late and great bands like Duran Duran, the Cure and Spandau Ballet and upbeat original music. The music, although an important part of the story, isn’t the only focus as the movie delves into Conor’s own journey of growing up and exploring his passions. It shows us the way children make their own world to escape the one they can’t control. Sing Street is a dreamy and nostalgic film that gradually fills with warmth and optimism that, by the time the credits roll, you will already be humming its songs.

Captain Fantastic

Ben Cash has fashioned an off-the-grid lifestyle for him and his family. Him, his wife, and six children, aged 7 to 18, live an isolated existence in the deep woods. There, they hunt and cook their own food, train in combat and endurance, and enrich themselves intellectually through rigorous reading and discussions of concepts like philosophy. The stimulating environment that Ben has raised his children in has made them far more intellectually and physically superior than the average person. Their existence comes into threat when the sudden death of their mother, who suffered from bipolar disorder and took her own life, requires the family to venture out of their bubble and into the world for the first time.

Captain Fantastic presents to us an existence that challenges society’s expectations. Its hippie idealist style may seem far-fetched, but it helps make the messages that much clearer. There is a balance present within this story, as we are following the family as they discover the wider world while also reflecting on the unique life they have built themselves. This gang of outsiders, seemingly different from ourselves, manages to teach us to view life from different perspectives. The movie is just as much about watching the family’s world expand as it is our own. We see the family learn more than they ever did in isolation, leaving us with joy for them and a renewed sense of existence for ourselves.

Captain Fantastic is available on Hulu.

The Kings of Summer

Many kids at one point in their childhood, pull the threat that they will “run away from home”. The Kings of Summer gives us a story about this exact scenario. Joe Toy is stuck in the fast-moving rapids of adolescence. He regularly clashes with his recently widowed father Frank to the point where he decides to run away. Joe recruits his best friend Patrick to join him and escape his abrasive parents of his own. They end up encountering oddball Biaggio along the way and the three set out to make a new life together in the wilderness.

The Kings of Summer is a classic coming-of-age film that still manages to set itself apart from the droves of indie movies out there. Its absurd humor explores the precise moment teenagers start disconnecting from their parents. The tranquil setting of the wilderness the boys live in manages to be both mysterious and awe-inspiring, which plays in tandem well with the boys’ imaginative constructive nature. The movie evokes a Lord of the Flies existence because of its back-to-nature theme while being charming and playful, making it an entertaining and light-hearted watch.

The Kings of Summer is available on Prime Video.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

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