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Now that all geeks have been brought fully down to my level of couch-potato due to the COVID-19 self-quarantine (you know what I’m talking about), what in the world is there to do at home in the 21st Century? How will we keep ourselves entertained?
Just kidding. In 2020 we have more streaming options than ever, so even if you can’t leave your house you can still check out the most recent releases, including theatrical ones, or dive into any decade of film or television.
I set out to make a list of recommendations of what to watch while stuck at home. But then I thought, ‘Why should I have all the fun? This should belong to everyone!” So, I brought in the usual suspects of LRM so we can all offer our own picks for what you should check out on the eve of the apocalypse.
But not really.
Well, I am going to have to stay home and watch not only my own children, but my sister’s son since she is a doctor. So what I am thinking is? What kid’s movies can I put on for them that I like as well? My daughter isn’t that into the MCU, my Nephew is but he’s seen them all. So I am thinking about hitting Disney+ hard since it launches in my territory this Tuesday. There are a ton of great kid’s movies I can plow through.
The Toy Story movies, hell, just the entire Pixar catalog should take care of week one alone. Then I can turn to some of the older classic Disney kid’s movies as well. Robin Hood, Mulan, Jungle Book, and many others. I did consider whether I should introduce them to Star Wars? But, I don’t think I can handle most of those Star Wars movies playing in the background whilst I’m trying to write.
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If they cannot agree what to watch, well I have more than one device, my nephew would love all the old Marvel cartoons he can access on the service. As for my daughter, she could already get lost within the old Disney Life app that has now been retired. If things get really bad, I can always turn to Netflix, but I can’t see them smashing the life out of Disney+ that quickly.
For the adults out there, maybe you don’t have to watch kids or, you’ll have some free time when they sleep? If you want something that’s both excellent and lengthy, why not try Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul? Both shows are set in the same universe, and you have currently 10 full seasons of content to get through. Both BB and BCS rank as some of the best TV ever broadcast, so give it a chance and see what all the fuss is about.
That damn Scot stole my TV show recommendation! I told him I was doing Breaking Bad.
I’m still doing it. Breaking Bad is perhaps the best drama series ever, and if you haven’t taken the jump yet, now is the time. You know the gist, but Breaking Bad is an excellent character study of what makes a normal, especially timid, man “Break Bad.” At the same time, it’s a commentary on the health care system, the middle class, and what one man will do for his family.
Vince Gilligan expertly leads the show which actually does get better by season and delivers a worthwhile finale by its completion. Not entirely happy with the end? Watch El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and Better Call Saul on Netflix too! The cinematography is one of a kind for television and the cast is superior to almost any series, looking even past Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul who have since become big celebrities in their own right (You can even catch Aaron Paul on Season 3 of Westworld, currently airing on HBO). There are also unbelievable performances from Dean Norris, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, and especially Giancarlo Esposito (who can also be seen on The Mandolorian on Disney+).
Looking for a film franchise you aren’t caught up on or have avoided? I strongly recommend you give the Mission: Impossible films another go, especially if you stopped watching after M:I-2 or haven’t seen Rogue Nation or Fallout. It’s the best action franchise there currently is, with Tom Cruise risking his life, and hurting himself, for your amusement. Nobody does it better…
It’s easy to look at what’s new to fill in the time spent at home. Most people are thinking “what haven’t I seen yet”, but I say go back to what made you feel good when you were younger. My family is revisiting classic movie our son hasn’t seen, but the wife and I have, like Hook, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Willy Wonka. Exposing him to our feel-good films is great because we get the nostalgia feels and he gets a brand new experience.
As for when the little one is in bed, Christine and I are leaning on good ‘ol fashioned sitcoms like Home Improvement, Scrubs, and My Name is Earl. These shows offer feel-good stories of the week in each episode, reinforce life lessons, and remind us of better times, our early years of marriage (which had struggles of their own), and those simple life lessons like being more empathetic or being willing to apologize even if you’re not at fault just to make someone else feel better.
Go for what made you happy 10, 15, 20 years ago. Walk down memory lane and enjoy the trip.
I will suggest a show that has plenty of content in case the lockdown runs longer we all hope. LOST. The only network show that is in my top 5 of all-time. I’ve never wanted to know more about not knowing what the f**k is going on. No matter what you’ve heard about the show I suggest making your best effort to erase everything you’ve heard and give it a shot.
And no, they weren’t dead the whole time.
So, you’re looking for something fun to watch? An incredible, so-crazy-it-must-be-true kind of tale? I’ve got a recommendation for you: McMillions. I’ll get the bad news out of the way—it’s only on HBO (for now). But the good news is that this is a fantastic white-collar crime docuseries about how from 1989 to 2001 a group of individuals defrauded the McDonald’s Monopoly game for millions. And again, it’s all true.
Documentarians James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte do an absolutely amazing job weaving together the new interviews they conducted with people associated with the crimes alongside archival footage and even some fantastic reenactments. The result is a tale that is so incredibly engaging, riveting, mysterious, and even comedic it will have you hooked from the first episode. Now, I must admit, when I heard this was six episodes I thought: “really? This story needs six hours to tell it?” The answer is a resounding “yes.” Check this out and enjoy the fabulous wild ride.
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And while I’m on this documentary kick, why not give you a bonus suggestion: The Biggest Little Farm. Again, I’ll admit some trepidation going into this—do we really need another documentary about farming? There are like a million of them, what makes this different? I’m glad you asked.
Let’s start with the premise—it’s about a television camera operator/director and his chef wife who just basically, out of the blue, decide they want to own a farm. But unlike most farms of today that pump out one or two goods, they want to create a full-on ecosystem like the old days. That means not just say, corn or avocadoes, but like peaches, apples, pigs, herbs, flowers, vegetables, cows, etc. So, they jump in, and this documentary follows them over something like seven years. And it is just so darn fascinating! I mean truly, the things you’ll pick up about the interaction between all kinds of life will astound you. If you have even a modicum of interest in food, animals, plants, or agriculture, it’s a must-watch and easily my favorite documentary from 2019 (and it was a good year for docs).
I thought long and hard about what show to recommend during this hard time. I had a few pieces of criteria. One, it had to be long enough to fill the space for at least ten hours. Two, it had to be widely available on at least one mainstream services. Three, it had to be feel-good, because in this day and age, everything is up in the air and we’re all hankering for some good. And the show that fit the bill perfectly was the Canadian series Kim’s Convenience.
It’s a comedy that mostly takes place in a Korean-owned convenience store in Toronto. It follows the owners Mr. and Mrs. Kim, their photography student daughter Janet, and their estranged son Jung, who works at a local car rental store. It’s fun, goofy, lighthearted, and has just the slightest amount of cringe humor scattered about, making for the perfect binge.
Oh, and if you need a more geek-friendly reason to watch this thing, it also stars Simu Liu, who is set to play Shang-Chi in Marvel Studios’ upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. So, if nothing else, consider this your Marvel homework so you can intelligently say whether or not you think he’s right for the role (for the record, I think he’s great).
Well, there you have it. A few good ideas, right? Let us know what you are watching during the COVID-19 pandemic or what you think fellow geeks need to check out in the comments below!
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