The COVID-19 pandemic is naturally a frightening time that has played havoc with our daily lifestyles. During this period I have had a lot of downtimes, and while some people are learning new skills, or are completing overdue house projects, I decided to catch up on my TV and movie watch list. It’s a quarantine binge time.
As you read over my watchlist it’ll become apparent that I haven’t been able to watch some of the biggest, or most highly thought of, films in the last few years. Sadly, real-life got in the way, but that’s not to say I hadn’t been making a list like Santa. As this situation unfurled, I saw an opportunity to maybe cross a few films off that list.
Now I have been at home for roughly six to seven weeks, I have no idea the specific range because like many people I have lost sense of my ability to differentiate which day of the week it is. Over that span, I have seen 41 movies and roughly 119 episodes of TV. I’ve watched entire franchises and big blockbusters, and smaller films I wouldn’t have watched before. Allow me if you will, to give you the highlights of some of the better movies I’ve watched, and what my thoughts of them were.
Knives Out is an incredibly brilliant, and engaging film. A murder mystery in which the patriarch and famous novelist is killed in his family home surrounded by his family. With a significant inheritance on the line and all of the family seeming to benefit, it’s going to take a master detective to solve the case. Directed by Rian Johnson, this hit movie will keep you hooked in until the very end, with a super satisfying twist. This has has been my number 1 favorite binge so far.
The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man is an intense experience that left me needing to catch my breath after it was finished. But Why Tho Editor-In-Chief Kate Sanchez said this movie would “shake you to your core”, and it truly did. The fear in this movie is the use of the open space, as your eyes intensely scan the screen waiting for the slightest movement. The score from this film really serves to elevate the suspense, and there were times my heart rate was through the roof! Elisabeth Moss was stupendous. I am not a horror person, but I enjoyed this film so much, and I would highly recommend it.
Doctor Sleep was surprisingly enjoyable. I was worried about this sequel given that The Shining is such a classic horror film that sets such a high bar for success. That being said, this film goes above and beyond to elevate the original film and expand on it. With the focus being a lot more on Danny, and his ability to ‘shine’ it adds new elements to the overall story that actually left me wanting more, and not in that I wasn’t satisfied, but more I wasn’t ready for it to be done. Rebecca Ferguson put in a brilliant performance as the villain. Fans of the original movie will especially love the ending as it all comes back to the place where it started. It was an excellent sequel.
Contagion is an older film, originally hitting theaters in 2011, that tells the story of an infectious viral disease with a high contagion rate that spreads rapidly causing a global pandemic. Sound familiar? This film has been heavily watched in the last two months, and I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I was not left disappointed! This is a terrifying film, but not for the reasons you may think. It will hit very close to home given the current COVID situation. The film features multiple points of view from a surprisingly prestigious cast, seriously I hadn’t realized how many big names were attached to Contagion. It’s a great watch, and actually highly informative.
Edge of Tomorrow
I have not been the biggest supporter of Tom Cruise, and not for any particular reason, I just got tired of the type of films he’d been involved with. Thus, I’ve missed a few of his more recent films, and as you’ll see in the last list, I do make up for that. This movie definitely surpassed my expectations and is a great addition in the world of sci-fi films. Emily Blunt and Cruise work stunningly well together and have great chemistry. The premise is quite fascinating and actually mimics that of a video game. It’s a really fun film that I definitely should have watched sooner than I did.
Blade Runner 2049
Wow! Blade Runner 2049 was quite an event during my quarantine binge. Much like Doctor Sleep, this was another sequel that I was worried about not living up to the original. I was happily blown away! The story was unlike anything I was anticipating. It is a psychological thriller that will leave you guessing at what it all means until the very end. The score was superb and elevates the entire movie. Ana De Armas, and Ryan Gosling turned in some brilliant performances. Watch this movie if you haven’t, it’s worth every second of your viewing.
This was one of the most uncomfortable films I’ve seen for a long time, and the ending left me with mouth gaping. You may know Oscar Isaac from his role in Star Wars, but he produces an unmissable and unmatchable performance in this film. He was the most confrontational I’ve seen him, and a major jerk, but in the same breath you can’t help but drink in his every movement. Domhnall Gleeson, and Alicia Vikander were also incredibly captivating to watch, and Vikander’s performance was haunting. I couldn’t stop thinking about this film after I watched it!
Mission Impossible: Fallout
During my quarantine binge, I’ve watched the ENTIRE Mission Impossible series. Previously, I’d never made it past the second movie, can you say gratuitous slow-motion scenes? I was encouraged to go back and gives the series another chance, and to that person (Matt) I say, thank you. The films get better as they go, but the best one I found by far was the most recent. The addition of Henry Cavill’s antagonist and the brash role is both infuriating and appealing in the same breath. The story builds to a climactic and satisfying ending. This series is well worth bingeing.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
I’ll be honest, this movie has never been on my list, I am not Michael Cera’s biggest fan, and I 100% judged this film without ever giving it a chance. I was, however, strongly advised to sit down and witness this event. Time to step up, I was wrong, so very wrong. The dialogue is bizarrely fast-paced, and sporadic. It’s offbeat, and quirky, and riddled with fandom references. The film has quotable appeal, and could easily be watched over and over again. Also, it has a phenomenally star-studded cast! While they may not have been stars then, it’s amazing to see the performances they produce for this film.
Yes, I’ve not watched this film before, please don’t judge me. We all have gaps in our watch history, but the point is, I watched it. Oh my word, what an utterly bizarre, and incredibly amazing movie. Christian Bale gives a mind-blowing performance. Even though the film itself was released twenty years ago, it still is incredibly satisfying to watch, and the time jump has not at all minimized the impact of this unbelievable film. There are multitudes of memorable scenes, and the ending will leave you wanting to discuss it with friends and family members to figure what really happens. Fair warning, it’s violent and brutal.
Noteworthy TV binges
Hunters – shocking, heart aching, and what an incredible twist at the end.
Pennyworth – fantastic gangster-like comic book film that Batman himself would love to binge.
The Good Place – hilarious all the way through, and the last few episodes are so existentially mind-blowing, you’ll wish you had an eternity to re-watch this.
Westworld– Season three was back to the best. A psychological thriller that will leave you guessing until the end.
Star Wars: Clone Wars – What a satisfying end to the series. The final episode is heartbreakingly beautiful. The best of Star Wars.
Gangs of London – A fantastic telling of gang wars in London amid the immigrant crime families. Violent, and engaging with the quality filming of a movie studio.
My full ‘Quarantine Binge’ (in actual viewing order, yes I kept an organized list!):
- Knives Out
- Attack the Block
- Jumanji: The Next Level
- The Invisible Man
- Dark Phoenix
- Doctor Sleep
- Alita: Battle Angel
- Edge of Tomorrow
- Guns Akimbo
- Birds Of Prey
- Trolls World Tour
- Blade Runner 2049
- Snow Piercer
- Zombieland Double Tap
- Ex Machina
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
- American Pyscho
- The Hunt
- Murder On The Orient Express
- Mission Impossible
- Mission Impossible II
- Mission Impossible III
- Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
- Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
- Mission Impossible: Fall Out
- The Hunger Games
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
- 2001 A Space Odyssey
- The Man From Uncle
- Baby Driver
- Tomb Raider
- Life of Pi
Aaron is a contributing writer at But Why Tho, serving as a reviewer for TV and Film. He is also the co-host and social media manager of the Nerds Social Club podcast.
Hailing originally from England, and after some lengthy questing, he’s currently set up shop in Pennsylvania. He spends his days reading comics, podcasting, and being attacked by his small offspring.