How’s everyone holding up in the quarantine? I, for one, have been spending a lot of time watching movies and television shows that I love and discovering new ones to keep me entertained and help feel less bummed about these terrifying times. I find it a lot better for my mental health to limit the news intake and instead settle in with my favorite actors, filmmakers, and stories to take my mind somewhere else. So, I decided to write down some of my favorite free quarantine movie and television recommendations (Pro tip: I hyperlinked the titles of each to its Amazon page).
Of course, this is an incredibly small list, and I tried to include something for everyone, so if you are looking for more personalized ideas, feel free to hit me up on social media (@flickchickdc) or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope everyone is staying healthy and safe!
Brittany Runs A Marathon
This was my favorite movie of last year and one of the movies that has made me cry the most in theaters, not because it is sad but because it is heartwarming and relatable. It’s about a woman who decides to change her habits and get healthier, with the ultimate goal of running a marathon. Everyone I have recommended this movie to has loved it.
You didn’t think you were going to get out of here without a Kate Winslet movie recommendation did you? This wacky Australian film is really fun thanks to Winslet’s sassy attitude, fantastic Australian accent, and amazing costumes. Liam Hemsworth is pretty easy on the eyes too.
I saw this movie at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and absolutely loved it. Written by and starring Shia LaBeouf, HONEY BOY tells the story of his childhood through the backdrop of his career in Hollywood, starting as a child actor. Most interestingly, it highlights the relationship between him and his father, with LaBeouf playing his own dad in the movie. LaBeouf is so misunderstood, both personally and professionally, and I think this movie will pull back the curtain on his incredible life and make you see another side of him for the better.
Another great movie from last year, this heartwarming movie is based on a true story about a Chinese-American woman traveling back to China to spend time with her grandmother before she dies of cancer. Only, her grandmother doesn’t know she is dying because it is customary for the family to keep that a secret, believing that secret will prolong their loved one’s quality of life.
Not many sequels are as good as the original, but CREED II definitely fits the bill. And is this even considered a sequel at this point since it’s the 902390423 film of the ROCKY franchise? Anyway, it follows up on the events of the first film with Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) deciding to fight the son of Drago, the man who killed his father. I am obsessed with these films and I don’t think you necessarily need to see the first one to appreciate CREED II (though come on, it’s only a $1.99 rental).
A Quiet Place
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know that A QUIET PLACE is one of the best horror movies of the last decade (and one of my favorites of all time). Written, directed, and starring John Krasinski, as well as the always-incredible Emily Blunt, it follows a family in a post-apocalyptic world, who have to remain quiet to not disturb roving monsters that are hyper-sensitive to sound. With the sequel now scheduled to come out Labor Day weekend (it was moved based on COVID-19), what better way to pass time during the quarantine than to catch up on this movie?
This underrated heist-thriller has an incredibly smart script and an stellar ensemble cast to boot! We’re talking Daniel Craig, Adam Driver, Channing Tatum, Sebastian Stan, Hilary Swank, etc… Usually when you assemble this many stars, the movie isn’t going to be great, but this is one of the few exceptions. Basically a hillbilly OCEAN’S 11 (directed by the same director as the OCEANS franchise), this movie follows a ragtag group of people trying to steal money from the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. This is on my list of movies to rewatch over the next few weeks.
I hesitated to include this because if you haven’t seen THE BODYGUARD, I don’t know how you’ve gotten this far in life. Filmed at probably the height of Whitney Houston’s career, it follows a similarly famous pop star who hires a bodyguard after receiving threatening messages from an obsessed fan. Not only is the movie an amazing movie-musical, it has best movie soundtrack of all time, featuring many of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits! And don’t get me started on the red hot chemistry between Houston and Kevin Costner. I have seen this movie at least 50 times, and believe me when I say it holds up.
The Cabin in the Woods
You don’t get much more original and entertaining than THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. Five friends (ahem, Chris Hemsworth included) set off on vacation to an aptly named cabin in the woods. Unfortunately, it becomes less vacation and more survival (aka a triggering quarantine movie) as a cavalcade of the horrors come their way. At its heart, the film is a subversive, self-aware, and intelligent horror-comedy that has so many twists and turns, it will leave your head spinning. It is easily one of the most clever horror movies I’ve seen, and the ending left me shook.
Written by and starring the always awesome Mindy Kaling, this dramedy focuses on Katherine Newberry (Emma Thompson), a super successful late night TV host that has lost her edge. With her ratings plummeting, network executives give her an ultimatum… increase your viewership or get replaced. When Molly Patel (Kaling) is hired to join the all-male writer’s room to add diversity, Newberry starts to get her groove back. This film is incredibly funny and hits you in the feels. Not gonna lie, I’m also obsessed with Thompson’s awesome haircut.
Of course THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL (3 seasons) and FLEABAG (2 seasons) are two of my favorite shows on Prime, but I wanted to focus here on some shows you may not be as familiar with… or at least not know are streaming on Prime.
Chuck (5 seasons)
If you’re looking for a TV series to binge, you have to check this one out. It’s my favorite TV series of all time, with something for everyone (and good for the whole family): drama, comedy, action, adventure… you name it, CHUCK has it. And the show only gets better as seasons progress. Win, win. I was drawn to the show’s incredible heart, wacky plot points, and fantastic chemistry between all of the actors.
The relationship between Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) is the best in television history. Of course, there are pop culture references galore, but I love that episodes themselves are homages for some of my favorite movies and TV shows. I could go on and on about CHUCK, so let me stop myself here. Just please check this out if you’re looking for a fun, entertaining, and heartwarming show centered around the wonderfully talented Zachary Levi! Still hoping for an eventual movie!
The Boys (1 season)
Ever wonder what it would actually be like to have superheroes running amuck in your city? What are the secondary effects that come with their super powers? And what if these “heroes” weren’t as boy/girl scout, squeaky clean as we are used to and start abusing their powers? That is basically the premise of THE BOYS, a more adult-friendly watch than my other choices in this list. Season 2 is already in the works, so get your watch on now.
Catastrophe (4 seasons)
Not only is this show hilarious, but it is a super easy watch and has one of the best couples on television. What starts as a fish-out-of-water story about an American (Rob Delaney) who accidentally gets an Irish woman (Sharon Horgan) pregnant while on a business trip to London, turns into a really sweet and smart comedy-romance about the couple growing together and starting a family. Carrie Fisher also starred on the show before her death and is amazing in it!
The Americans (6 seasons)
THE AMERICANS is one of my favorite shows of all time and I decided to include it on this list because I always recommend it and am met with surprise that it is streaming for free on Prime. The show follows KGB spies living in the United States to collect intelligence for the Soviet Union. Because they have spent so much time raising a family in the suburbs of Washington, DC and assimilating to American culture, they start to question their mission and loyalty to the Soviet Union. Oh, and of course there are FBI agents out to get them for some added tension. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys give two of the best performances in television history and their chemistry is off the charts. Not only that, I am happy to report that unlike 90% of television shows, this actually has a satisfying ending.
Homecoming (1 season)
The less you know about this psychological thriller, the better. Let’s just say it’s like an extended episode of BLACK MIRROR, focusing on Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts), who is a social worker at a facility that seeks to reintegrate soldiers into civilian life. Cut to four years later, she is working as a waitress at a diner with little memory of her work at the facility. Curiouser and curiouser. This show had some buzz when it first came out, but I never hear anyone talk about it anymore so definitely check it out if you haven’t done so already; with only 10 episodes, it’s a super quick watch.
The Comeback (2 seasons)
One of the best comedies of all time, and a big cringey at that, this underrated masterpiece stars Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish, a C-list sitcom star who is determined to revive her star power and get on Hollywood’s “it list” again. So much so, she agrees to star in a reality series, which turns out to be the show you are watching. Its satirical, docu-series vibe has turned it into a cult classic, with fans still rattling HBO for a season 3.
Enlightened (2 seasons)
Another of my favorite underrated dramedies and starring QUEEN Laura Dern, the series follows Amy Jellicoe, a woman emerging from a nervous breakdown after her love life and professional life imploded (ahem: we may start to empathize with our quarantine predicament). She is working to pick up the pieces after spending two months at a holistic wellness retreat. But despite her new meditative outlook on life, Amy is not going to forget (or forgive) those that hurt her. This is one of my favorite performances Dern has ever done and she deserved every award for this role; I also loved that her mom (Diane Ladd) was able to star in this show with her. Unfortunately, this series ended after its second season, but there are still rumblings every now and then about a season three. Fingers crossed!
Friday Night Lights (5 seasons)
I will end this post with probably the best feel-good television show ever, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS; we really need some heartwarming entertainment at this time. This is another example of a television series you may not know is streaming on Prime, but you need to prioritize watching it. This is so much more than a series about football. It is a beautiful show that centers around themes of love, friendship, family, sacrifice, and heart. Coach Taylor and Tami Taylor are #relationshipgoals, and Tim Riggins is an absolute dreamboat. I have already rewatched this series several times, so take it from me when I say this is a must-watch. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!