I hope everyone is well during this challenging and supremely surreal time.
As many of us are house-bound, I thought it might be an idea to offer up some of my favorite films. This list might be helpful as we pass the time reading, exercising, cleaning out closets, and scouring streaming services and cable channels for interesting and original content.
I’ll break these down in somewhat spontaneous categories, beginning with Paul Newman films. Some of his best are:
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cool Hand Luke, Harper, The Verdict, Hud, The Hustler, The Young Philadelphians, The Sting, and Absence of Malice.
Next we’ll venture into gangster movies: The Godfather I and II and Donnie Brasco, for Al Pacino fans. Scent of a Woman is a great film, but be ready for the colorful language that is part and parcel to Pacino’s colorful, award-winning performance.
Mesrine is a French language film, two films actually: Public Enemy Number One and Killer Instinct. Vincent Cassel delivers a definitive performance as one of France’s most notorious bank robbers, based on a true story. Don’t be put off by the subtitles. (Note: I would give both these a strong ‘R’ rating, FYI.)
Staying with French cinema for a moment, don’t miss The Professional, starring Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and Natalie Portman in her first film role (the American version is better than ‘Leon’, the director’s cut). This one’s in English.
Luc Besson also directed the original ‘La Femme Nikita’, (French language) and ‘The Fifth Element’, a sci-fi film with Bruce Willis. All worth the price of the homemade popcorn.
Other great French language films include ‘Jean de Florette‘ and ‘Manon of the Spring’. This is also a two-film compilation (watch them in order). These films tell a beautiful, heartbreaking story set in the French countryside. Have a tissue handy as Gerard Depardieu and and Yves Montand deliver the tragic goods.
‘Queen Margot’ is a period piece, in French, based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas. A dramatic, unflinching look at a really rough patch in French history. Powerful.
For British entertainment, the Shelter In Place Film Festival will…flip to television!
‘Sherlock‘ with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, is a fast-paced, fun, and super-intelligent delight. ‘Line of Duty‘ is probably the best police drama made in the last few years. Definitely binge-worthy. The first season will leave you speechless.
If you love Downton Abbey, I recommend ‘The Way We Live Now’ and ‘The Forsythe Saga’.
Watch ‘Fleabag.’ Don’t be put off by the first episode or the language. It’s worth it. It’s hilarious. It’s compelling. It’s heartbreaking. Watch it.
‘Young Offenders’ is an Irish comedy series. Prepare for foul language and hilarious episodes. Also hysterically funny is The Wrong Mens, starring James Corden.
Okay. That’s a random start. I’d love to hear what you guys suggest.
Be safe. Be healthy. Be patient.