Movies are seen as an escape from reality, an escape to another world, as a form of art that is equally transportive as it is entertaining. And with the current situation affecting the lives of everyone, who doesn't want refuge from the repetitiveness and tediousness of a quarantine routine? Here are your favourite teachers' (plus editors) recommendations for a self-isolated watchparty:
#1 - Ms Simpson
"I have two, very contrasting, entertaining watches...
The Outsider [pg-13]- a Netflix series based on the Stephen King book. Not for the faint hearted, it had me gripped from the first few minutes of episode 1. Brilliant tension, simple special effects and a great character in Holly (the private detective) if you like a thriller with a bit of horror, this is for you. Don’t watch it with the lights off!
The Crown [TV-MA] – another Netflix production, now running to three series, which looks at the life and times of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. I don’t know how historically accurate it is (I am sure much of it is dramatized and elaborated) but it is fascinating and suggests that life behind the closed doors of the palace, and under the watchful eyes of the ‘establishment’ is not all peaches and cream. It puts the royal family into a historical context which, for those of us who can remember some of the events in the series is fascinating. If you have even a vague interest in the British monarchy, you will enjoy this.”
#2 - Ms Griffiths
"So… picking my favourite film is really hard. I watch very different types of films depending on my mood. My favourite animated film is Howl's Moving Castle [pg]. Studio Ghibli is a family favourite and a tradition when my son was younger was to buy him a Studio Ghibli film every birthday and Christmas which we would watch together.
My other favourite family friendly film is a James Stewart film called Harvey [pg]. I just loved it when I saw it the first time. Also a winner - The Princess Bride [pg].
There were a few fabulous teen films when I was growing up. My favourite was Heathers [pg-13], but I was also a big fan of Pump up the Volume [pg-13]. I loved their anarchy.
As an English teacher, I do love a costume drama. My favourite costume drama would have to be Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon - I don't care what anyone else says: I liked it. It is one of my favourite books too and I won't pretend that there is not some artistic license but I think the reading is in keeping and Witherspoon captures Becky Sharp's energy and vivacity.
My favourite romantic film is Eagle Vs Shark [pg-13]. And I only just realised that the director also directed Jojo Rabbit [pg-13] which was my favourite recent film."
#3 - Mrs Leu
“My all time favourite is The Godfather [TV-MA] trilogy. Every time I watch it, it feels like the first time seeing it. The direction is amazing, not to mention Al Pacino's acting. Really like a gang mobster. I just can’t get enough of it!!!! I also like The Notebook [pg-13].... a bit cheesy, but cute to watch."
#4 - Ms Gilmartin
"I wouldn't say my favourite movie but definitely at the top of my list is one of my most recent watches: This is Where I Leave You [R]. To be honest, I had never heard of the film before and what got my attention at first was the show-stopping cast. Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda and Adam Driver are well-respected, incredible actors, I personally admire but had no clue they had done a movie together.
The plot follows the story of a family that, after the death of their father, returns to their childhood home and starts living under the same roof for a week. Conforming to a Jewish tradition requested by the family's patriarch before he passed away, the four grown siblings alongside their oversharing mother sit in their house for seven days and wait for people in the neighbourhood to come pay their respects.
Even though it may sound negative and miserable I would classify it as a dark comedy. For the content of the film, it has got quite an uplifting, heartwarming closure to the story. Worth the watch!”
#5 - Dr Cowley
"So my favourite film is very nostalgic for me and brings back amazing memories from my childhood...
It is Jurassic Park [pg] (the original) as it came out when I was right in the middle of my dinosaur obsession (I was 12) and desire to be a palaeontologist. It might seem really dated now, but seeing the dinosaurs for the first time was breathtaking and I was soooo excited! The theme tune still gives me shivers"
#6 - Mr Harris (Always next to Dr Cowley- even in lists!)
"My favourite movie is No Country for Old Men [TV-MA].
It won best picture at the Oscars in 2008 and is a really amazing tale of cat and mouse between an opportunistic local chancer in West Texas and a vicious psychopathic hitman with a weird haircut. I remember being in complete suspense throughout the movie at the cinema and then initially feeling slightly underwhelmed by the 'big ending'. However, I woke up the next morning and realised that was part of the sheer excellence of the film. It didn't need a big ending and left you wanting more. Sometimes the best films are all about perception rather than reality."
#7 - Mrs Santiago
My recommendation is a movie called Cinderella Man [pg-13]. In Portuguese the title is "A Luta Pela Esperança" with Russel Crowe in the skin of Jim Braddock, a boxer who literally had to fight for himself and for his family, a wonderful movie which teaches people that they should never give up! It will make you see life in a very different way..."
#8 - Mrs Santana
"My recommendation on Netflix is Unorthodox [pg-15]. I watched at the weekend and loved it. It is about a young Jewish girl who is a member of the ultra orthodox sect the Satmar Jews who live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She is in an unhappy marriage and is struggling with the pressures to have children and live the very strict lifestyle in the community. She manages to escape to Berlin and tries to restart her life there but she has had no formal education and no skills so she faces many challenges. It is very uplifting and interesting at the same time.
At the end of the series there is another 20 minute documentary about how they made the series. The series is based on a book about a woman with a similar story so the producers were very keen to be as authentic as possible so all the actors speak in Yiddish which is a mixture of German and Hebrew and their costumes are also very realistic.
If you enjoyed that then there is another documentary which is called Not one of us which is a similar story but is a real-life documentary about the Hasidic Jewish Community in New York."
#8 - Ms Narwan
"I have two recommendations! Four Lions [TV-MA] is a British film that is guaranteed to make you chuckle for all the wrong reasons, and spit out whatever snack you’re in the middle of eating. It’s a satirical look at the war on terror and the grooming of terrorists, and to say this film is hilarious is a gross understatement. The film also stars Riz Ahmed, who is an activist on matters of imperialism, colonialism and identity. However, it’s rated a 15 so is only suitable for some of the Senior School!
Breadwinner [pg] is a 2017 animated film which follows Parvana, an 11-year-old girl who lives under Taliban rule in Afghanistan in 2001. After the wrongful arrest of her father, Parvana cuts off her hair and dresses like a boy to support her family. This film is moving and shows the triumph of the individual in a society which is not always fair. This is rated an R, and is suitable for all ages. It was even nominated the Best Animated Feature Film for the Oscars. Give it a watch if you have a spare hour or two!"
#9 - Mr Wilson
"So in times like these I always like to think about Space. Escapism and perspective. Plus I want to be an astronaut. With that in mind let’s go with a movie set lightyears from Earth.
I have a long list of my favourites:
I suppose my recommendation for quarantine times is the low-budget film Moon, starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones. It’s fitting for our isolation times and has a brilliant twist."
#10 - Mr Diver
"My choice of film to watch during quarantine is:
Playing with Fire [pg] (Brincando Com Fogo). Just released on NOW this classic was presented as a fun film for the whole family, so I watched it with the family at the end of a long day of remote teaching and learning for us all. It had a really promising start with some good set pieces and the introduction to the main characters had some good lines and lots of laughs. We felt confident we'd selected a good one. Unfortunately, It soon lost its footing and went rapidly down-hill from there.
Making the best of our bad choice we soon began to revel in how bad the film was. Awfully staged slapstick scenes, ludicrous plot lines and some of the worst acting I have seen…ever. It all became ghoulishly fun to watch and a big hit for us, if for all the wrong reasons. Overall it proved to be one of the worst films I have ever watched! But so bad I would urge everyone to watch it, if for no other reason than to experience a master class in how NOT to make a film.
I am sure this will become a cult classic, I urge you to get on board early. Just don't tell anyone involved in the film why. Enjoy"
#11 - Mr Sousa
Sherlock [pg-13]: a very interesting modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Also, the role that made Benedict Cumberbatch's career take off.
Explained [pg]: explaining what's what from K-pop to the wage-gap, from tattoos to (before it happened!) the next pandemic in under 20 minutes.
The Good Place [pg-13]: a comedy about philosophy and the after-life. Oddly enough, it works.
Saving Capitalism & Where to Invade Next [TV-MA]: two documentaries about the issues of modern-day capitalism- and what to do to fix them.
Cuba and the Cameraman & Winter on Fire [TV-MA]: two first-hand documentaries about different "revolutions". The first one depicts Cuba from the early stages of the revolution to its crisis after the downfall of the USSR and the recent changes it's making to adapt to a new reality. The second one follows the rise of the people against the Ukrainian government in 2013.
Note from LM (editor) - The Good Place is my all-time favourite TV show. I've watched it every Friday night for the past three years. It helped me get through my IGCSE's and stressful school days so i'm pretty sure it can get anyone through quarantine! A great recommendation!
#12 - Mr Dias
"I have two brilliant series I've watched at the end of last year, quite similar in their background plot, which is the reason why I believe I had the second recommended to me by Netflix after having watched the first:
'Seven seconds' [pg-15]- a hit-and-run accident involving a black kid in a park in NYC is investigated by NYPD police officers, but they might be the same ones who left him to die in a ditch facing the Statue of Liberty.
And 'When They See Us' [pg-15] - the story of the Central Park 5, the five kids accused of rape and attempt murder of a white woman in Central Park, but were they really there? Did they really do it?
As you see, both these mini-series reflect the racial tensions in the US, more specifically, in NYC, at two different (but not so much) moments of the city's history. I realise now that they also dialogue with my first recommendation to you (The Help), as this one traces the background for the historical origins of these conflicts in America."
Side comment from LM (editor) - Mr Dias always has the best recommendations, has my seal of approval. 100%!
#13 - Mr Cooper Blanks (RCB)
The movie I have watched most (and would watch again and again and again and again) is The Maltese Falcon [pg-13]. Brilliant dialogue and super directing.
I love detective stories and this film brings together the most creepy crawly set of characters you would ever wish to meet (or not meet). From the wise-cracking and hugely ironic Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) to the deliciously devious and distrusted Brigid O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor). Taking in the aptly named Kasper Gutman affectionately known as The Fatman (Sydney Greenstreet), the slimy and treacherous Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre), the childlike hitman Wlimer Cook (Elisha Cook Jr) and a super support cast.
In the same genre is The Big Sleep [pg-13] and the same (almost) cast is in Casablanca: give me these movies, a desert island to be shipwrecked on (with tv and electric etc) or my apartment and social distancing and I am in paradise.
#14 - Mr Collingwood
"My favorite film:
Fitzcarraldo [pg] by Werner Herzog (1982). Filmed in Peru and Brazil, the film centres on the character of Fitzcarraldo who wishes to bring opera to the jungle. In order to fund his dream, he must drag a steamboat over a mountain in order to reach an untouched rubber plantation. What made this film so incredible was that rather than using special effects, the director decided to drag the steamboat over the mountain too. He employed a local Amazonian tribe to support him with this endeavor. It's a film that every South American should watch and the film explores how obsession can soon lead to madness. It was this very film that made Mr Collingwood decide to book his flight to South America (although he has yet to fulfill his dream of visiting the Amazon rainforest)."
#15 - Mr O'Shea
"Once you overcome the one inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.
Wise words from Parasite [TV-MA] director Bong Joon Ho. I have been banging the drum for this film since last June- just ask my lower 6th IB film class who are likely fed up with me talking about it. There's a reason it won best film, best director, best original screenplay at the Oscars. It's a genre mash-up: comedy, tragedy, thriller, horror all wrapped in a biting social commentary. My advice- don't look up anything else about it, just head straight to Apple TV.
Also playing: If you want a pure, innocent, escapist adventure, go to Netflix and type in "Studio Ghibli". If you want an adrenaline rush, try Get Out [TV-MA] or 1917 [pg-16]. But if you just want to relax and channel your inner zen while you're at home, why not tap into the soothing tones of ASMR?"
Mr O'Shea's ASMR link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkwHSNg3wxQ
Side note from editor LM (editor) - We are definitely not fed up, you can never have too much Bong Joon Ho in your life. Parasite was my favourite movie from 2019, couldn't expect any less from our film teacher himself!
#16 - Laura Maksoud - Editor in Chief
Last September, I made a deal with myself that I would watch a movie every day until I finished my IB film course. Its been eight months and i've watched a total of 342 movies (excluding the TV shows that I keep up with). During this time, i've fallen deeper in love with cinema, and my perception of it has changed completely. I've realized that there are movies, and then there are movies: experiences that change you and shape the way that you think.
So, out of hundreds of movies, my first recommendation is Arrival [pg-13], which has the most intelligent premise i've ever gotten to know. It takes place after alien crafts land around the world, a linguist is recruited by the military to decipher their language and intentions. It uses sci-fi as a vessel for storytelling, a stage for romance, sacrifice, sorrow and love to play out. Dennis Villeneuve's cinematic translation of Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" is fluent, profound, and encapsulates the endless bounds of the human condition. It is clever, intense, and most importantly: a reassurance of the future, because, despite the hardships, what matters are the good days amongst the bad, the arrival and not the departure.
I've never met anyone who didn't fall in love with this movie. And in every rewatch, it has me asking "isn't Amy Adams' back hurting from carrying Hollywood on her shoulders?".
Plus you can watch it with your dad and he'll be happy with all the aliens and spaceships.
My second recommendation is The Room [TV-MA]. A movie known to be the best of the worst. An abomination directed by the visionary Tommy Wiseau, produced by Tommy Wiseau, and which stars Tommy Wiseau. It's incoherent, awkward, and genuinely painful to watch. The Room is a cult classic, a fascination amongst Hollywood personalities and also James Franco's favourite film. It's so bad that it has showings at least once a month in theaters in NYC. Fans gather at midnight screenings to throw spoons at the screen (the confusion is the heart of the matter). I've forced all my friends to watch this, and I don't think we've ever laughed so much in our lives. Get a taste of the sufferable nature of this film- linked bellow. And keep in mind that I can quote this movie by heart.
#17 - Sophia Raia - Editor in Chief
As an IB film student, I find it unbelievably challenging to pick only one favourite movie. We’re constantly exposed to so many incredible stories and memorable characters, I keep finding reasons to add more and more movies to my, once selective, list of favourite films. But although there are so many movies that pop up on my mind whilst I write this, my OCD is working non-stop on the other half of my brain, categorizing each of these names into different situations to watch them. This movie has inspired and captivated me in various different ways. I guarantee that having this film on your screen will make it much easier to go through the quarantine and hopefully, make you fall in love with it the same way I did.
Rear Window [pg-13] (Alfred Hitchcock) - Can heroes be trapped in a wheelchair? According to Hitchcock they can. Laid up with a broken leg L.B Jeffries, a famous photographer, is facing the worst of ennui inside his confined, tiny apartment. When “Jeff” and his socialite girlfriend (Grace Kelly) decide to spend their days and nights shamelessly spying on their neighbors, the roles are inverted and the protagonist starts doing on the screen what we do as an audience: OBSERVE. Now, if Jeff was able to get himself entertained by what he sees through his binoculars, without a shadow of a doubt you’ll be fully hooked by what you see on screen.
Stay safe and stay home!
Ps: ‘Shadow of a Doubt’ is one of Hitchcock’s finest thrillers and interestingly, his personal favourite. Special thanks to Mr O'Shea who introduced me to ‘pure cinema’ and made me become even more fascinated by this legend.
#18 - Julia Nemr (Website Manager & Editor-in-Chief of The Cub)
"Have you ever watched Eat, Pray Love [pg-14]?", my friend asked during our Carnaval break. Me - knowing I was possibly the only human being to never have watched it before - answered shamefully, "Is it that good?". I had no answer but the sound of the Apple TV remote as she spelled out its title on the screen. "You will not be the same person."
Wow. She was right. Breathtaking, modern, dynamic, lively, utopian are some of the adjectives I could use to describe it but the one which sums the movie up the most is "inspiring". Scene after scene, Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts) never fails to conjure up the beautiful moments she created to escape the mundane life she despised so much. The movie is an adaptation of the biographical work of Elizabeth Gilbert published in 2006 and even though it is not to be worshipped for its cinematography, there are important life lessons to be learnt after watching it (especially in good company). It ground us in a way and brings us closer to ourselves, conjuring up courage to find our essence if we feel misguided. This concept sounds familiar doesn't it? Ah, sweet quarantine! If you are anything like me, once I accepted the fact that staying inside was literally inevitable, I knew I did not only have to stay inside, but this was the opportunity to look inside.
By looking inside, I mean shifting your focus from the inside out rather that from the outside in and letting a hint of solitude take over. This way, quarantine can be a time where you can learn and better yourself. Funny coincidence that Elizabeth Gilbert broadened her understanding by eating, praying and loving. These 3 can be practiced during a rough patch which we are all trying to get though. They say the that there is no wrong timing in this Universe and I couldn't agree more.