Well, I don’t know about the rest of the world, but for better or worse, quarantine is coming to an end in my neck of the woods and I have to go back to work. As it wraps up, I’m looking back on some of the entertainment that helped me pass the time and what might be worth exploring for those of you still safe at home.
1. Love.Wedding.Repeat.-Sam Claflin does his best Hugh Grant impression in this Netflix film about chance. Take one wedding-crashing ex-boyfriend, one sedative, eight scrambled place cards, and watch the different ways—both right and wrong—one wedding can unfold. It’s pretty funny, but if strong language bothers you, be forewarned, this one’s got plenty. Also, if you liked Community’s “Chaos Theory” episode, you’ll appreciate this movie.
2. Frozen 2– I actually watched this twice because I’m a ’90s kid and Disney animation is my happy place. It’s alright, but I think they rushed to get this sequel out too quickly because there was definitely more emotion that could have been mined from this story.
3. World On Fire– This new PBS Masterpiece series is set in the early years of WWII, and it’s the biggest scale production I’ve ever seen on PBS. It follows a Polish family as their country is invaded, an American journalist stationed in Berlin, a British pacifist struggling as his adult children join the war effort, and a young translator-turned-soldier, among others, whose lives are all intertwined and turned upside-down by the conflict.
4. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist- This new NBC series follows a young woman who suddenly gains the ability to hear the innermost feelings of those around her in the form of song and dance numbers. The cast is great, featuring Jane Levy, Skyler Astin, Lauren Graham, and Peter Gallagher, among others. If you are a fan of Pitch Perfect, you should definitely give this one a try for the music alone, but this is also a show with a lot of heart. I highly recommend watching!
5. Aladdin (Live-Action)- Maybe I made this up, but I thought this adaptation hadn’t gone over well; if that is true, I don’t really get why. It’s true to the original story & music, dials back the talking animals, and while I don’t think anyone could ever top Robin Williams’ Genie, Will Smith does a solid job of making the role his own. Also, the addition of Nasim Pedrad’s maid character Dahlia was a smart move, both for story and comedic effect.
6. Upload- I reviewed this new Amazon Prime series last week, but let me say again that you should at least give this one a try. It’s strangely clever, a little silly, and has a really compelling mystery that I want to solve!
7. Onward– This Disney/Pixar movie about two brothers on a quest to get one more day with their deceased father, like any Disney/Pixar movie, is fully capable of making you tear up at least once during its runtime, but I still think there was more that could have been mined from this story. I know I made the same complaint earlier about Frozen 2, so let me just say that, of the two, Onward does a better job of trying to solve this. I also appreciated the effort at a more urban fantasy setting, which is not something you see a lot of in animated films.
8. Call the Midwife– The new season started airing a couple weeks ago on PBS, but the entire series up to that point is also available on Netflix. Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, this show follows the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House in London’s East End, starting in the 1950s (we’re up to the mid-’60s now), as they serve their communities changing medical and social needs. It presents a quieter, more intimate look look at history led by a strong female cast of very lovable characters.
What all have you watched during quarantine? Drop your recommendations in the comments below!