With theaters currently closed, we turn to small-screen offerings available on streaming platforms
At a time when it is literally our civic duty to stay home, we’re also going to need some mental breaks from everything that’s going on around us.
I’m usually the one who tells you to go out and support the theatrical experience (which we’ll need to do when it’s safe to do so again).
I’ve seen content like “Outbreak” and the documentary series “Pandemic” is surging on Netflix, but my recommendations will generally be about taking a break from world events, not leaning into them. Read news from good news sources, and listen to national/Ohio treasure Dr. Amy Acton.
And, let’s be honest, we don’t know how long we’ll be here, so I’ll be providing these as often as needed. Here are some streaming movie recommendations for this week.
This one is perfect for anyone who is missing the Blue Jackets right now. Seann William Scott (“American Pie”) gives a funny and heartfelt performance as a lovable enforcer on a semi-pro hockey team. If you loved “Slap Shot,” definitely check this one out.
“About Time” (Netflix)
Critics and audiences were mixed on this 2013 rom-com from writer-director Richard Curtis (“Love Actually,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral”), but I’ve always felt it was underrated. Domhnall Gleeson (in one of the first movies that made him a breakout of the young “Harry Potter” cast) and Rachel McAdams are immensely lovable in a “Groundhog Day”-esque plot.
Still Paul Thomas Anderson’s greatest work, in my book, this ambitious anthology will definitely take you through some feelings (Jason Robards’ terminally ill patient especially). But in a time when we’re isolated, it’s also an uplifting story of how we’re connected.
“The Naked Gun” (Netflix)
I haven’t rewatched this recently, and I’m sure some of it did not age well (O.J. Simpson’s casting being the most obvious). But the creators of “Airplane!” remain some of the most brilliant purveyors of smart-stupid comedy, and we all could use some laughs.
Shot all around the world, this non-narrative documentary is one of the most visually stunning movies ever, a meditation on both natural wonders and the industrialized world. Breathe deep, and take this one in.
“Ghost World” (Prime)
Terry Zwigoff’s adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ comic book is still a heartful and hilarious look at being a proud high school outsider. It was an early breakout performance for Scarlett Johansson, and who couldn’t use a little Steve Buscemi right now?
“The Florida Project” (Prime)
There are a ton of great releases from A24 Films across a variety of streaming platforms right now, but this is the one that feels right for the moment, a warm, POV look at kids growing up poor in the Central Florida shadow of Disney World.
It flopped with critics and at the box-office (where different theaters would show one of three different endings), but this 1985 comedy has survived to become a cult classic, and it’s imminently rewatchable. “Knives Out” definitely took a lot of inspiration from here.
“Say Anything” (Hulu)
I’m an absolute sucker for anything John Cusack, and it doesn’t get any better (or more rewatchable) than his pairing with writer-director Cameron Crowe. (Speaking of Cusack, also check out the amazing rebooted “High Fidelity” series on Hulu, starring Zoe Kravitz.)
“The Cabin in the Woods” (Hulu/Prime)
I’d stay away from straight horror right now, but a horror-comedy like this? Oh, yeah. Director Drew Goddard (and a cast including a young Chris Hemsworth) have meta-fun with horror movie tropes in a ride that gets wilder and wilder.
“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (Hulu)
We’ve all searched before around the holidays, but all of the “Vacation” series has quietly dropped on Hulu, and that seems like a pretty good mini-marathon.