A little over a week into a world without sports and almost completely shut down, I have one thing to say ... watching 25 movies in one week is tough. But there’s also no better time to do it.
For most of us, a world without sports is a pretty boring one. They definitely take up most of what I’m watching in between work and writing and everything else. However, I have been given four mandatory weeks off of work with very little at-home assignment.
With this, I decided to take a crack at my 76 movie-long Letterboxd watchlist that I’ve been adding to (and hardly taking away from) for well over two years. I am by no means skilled in movie reviews or totally up-to-date with film culture but why not take a crack at it now? Here’s what I’ve been watching and my thoughts.
Disclaimer: I am very late to a lot of these and would not like to be judged for that, thank you.
The Sports Movies
I only watched two sports-related things but I also tend to watch sports films as soon as they are released, so not much leftover. First, I watched Race, a story about Jesse Owens and his trip to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin where he famously won four gold medals in front of Hitler. I can’t tell if it’s just my need for sports shining through or if it was just that good, but it was easily a 10/10 film.
I also watched the HBO documentary special on Cheryl Miller and the USC women’s basketball team when she played there, called Women of Troy. It’s only an hour long but another amazing, feel-good show. If you need your fix of specifically women’s sports stuff, this is definitely where to go.
I started watching The Irishman before social distancing was even a thing, and the movie is so long, it lasted me until we were in full quarantine. I wish I was kidding. It’s a classic mob movie that is really, really good but had no reason to be over three and a half hours long. I guess we have all the time in the world to watch it now though.
Uncut Gems spiked my anxiety for two straight hours but was totally worth it. It’s not your typical Adam Sandler movie. Do not watch if you’re hoping for some Click or Waterboy action here.
T2 Trainspotting is a sequel to the 1996 Scottish movie Trainspotting, which has been widely considered the greatest Scottish movie ever made. This is very much my heritage shining through but both movies are so good. I wasn’t expecting the sequel made in 2017 which is presented as a ‘the 90s gang is back together’ plot to be good but it completely shocked me. They do follow the lives of four impoverished heroin addicts and have some pretty heavy scenes.
I finally watched A Star Is Born and for one I’m completely shocked that I didn’t know that’s how it ended. I’m really glad it wasn’t spoiled for me along the way because it made the first watch that much better. It’s a great movie. Lady Gaga is amazing and that’s that.
I love a good superhero, Marvel cinematic universe movie anytime. However Deadpool 2 just wasn’t really it for me. As much as I love the concept of the character, the movies so far have just let me down. I know it’s just me. This is a classic as far as Marvel movies go.
Despite having seen pretty much all the Marvel movies, I’m admittedly much more of a DC fan. Birds of Prey is something I was looking forward to for so long so when bad reviews started coming out, I was discouraged. And as with most female-centric films, they were completely out of place. This movie was funny, fantastic, and fit perfectly into the universe DC has built for Harley Quinn. If you need another fix of female-badassery, this is for you. Also, the main love interest is a breakfast sandwich, how awesome is that?
Going along the same line, I also watched Joker which I had low expectations for. It’s a constant debate about who portrays the best Joker and it gets harder and harder the more phenomenal performances we get. Joaquin Phoenix has a stellar one with this origin story style film about the famous villain.
The RomComs & Feel Goods
Of course I had to have my fair share of Disney+ watching in there. The live action Aladdin was up first which was crazy good. There’s a million jokes about a painted-blue Will Smith genie but he was awesome and it was a great watch. Frozen 2...do I even need to say it? It’s a must-watch. I also watched the “live action” Lion King. Scar is much scarier along with the hyenas which makes it a lot more thrilling. It’s definitely worth the watch.
One of the first things I watched was Hustlers. A common theme in what I’ve been watching is badass women doing badass things and this is another one. J-Lo and Constance Wu steal the show as strippers turned thieves, but it’s much more.
As a child who adored Mr. Rogers and Tom Hanks (I was a cultured kid, okay?) I had to watch A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. It was not at all what I was expecting as it follows the story of a character who is not Mr. Rogers more than him, but it is a really really well done movie. A great performance by Tom Hanks as always that stays true to the character he is playing.
Love, Simon is one I’m afraid to admit I waited this long to watch. It’s a classic coming of age story that will take you on a rollercoaster, or maybe a ferris wheel, but have you smiling in the end.
I don’t know where I heard of Buffaloed, but as soon as I read the description, I knew I had to watch. Zoey Deustch has quickly become one of my favorite actresses and here she plays an ex-convict debt collector who starts a rival debt collecting company with her former employer. It’s a very ‘what could go wrong? Oh everything!’ moment. She is hilarious and it’s a movie that’s got a little bit of everything for you.
Crazy Rich Asians is another classic romcom style movie that will have you smiling and laughing with a touch of crying too. It also has its fair share of badass women doing badass things scenes if you’re into that. I know I am.
Knives Out deserves all the hype it got when it came out. If you watch it just for Ana De Armas and Chris Evans, it’s enough but the story is so good and it’s a true murder mystery comedy that will have you laughing but thinking hard on who the culprit is from start to finish.
In addition I watched the fourth Purge installment which wasn’t much to write home about. If you’ve seen the others, you’ve seen this one, Everything Everything which had some fun and cute moments but is really skippable, Rocketman that was produced really well but something about it and knowing it is pretty inaccurate made it lackluster for me, Sleeping With Other People, which was raunchy but funny, The Grand Budapest Hotel which was good and funny however just seemed unexplainably skippable, and Support the Girls, a movie I stumbled upon on Hulu that isn’t really about anything.
Ultimately, my absolute favorite, and something I would recommend ten times over is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. It won multiple Academy Awards in 2018 and having watched it, I think it deserved even more. The story follows a woman who buys out three billboards just outside of her rural Missouri town, attacking the local police for not taking her daughters murder case seriously. It has dry humor moments but for the most part is a very serious film that deals with race, police brutality, sexism, abuse, and more. Frances McDormand is amazing in it and manages to make Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell low on the bill. 11/10 would recommend.
If you’re interested in the pool of films I still have to choose from to watch...there’s a lot but here they are! Yes I’m aware my taste is all over the place, it very well matches my music and sports taste if we’re being honest. In the meantime, stay safe, wash your hands, and watch all those things on your never-ending watchlist like I am!