Best movies I’ve watched during quarantine (so far)

We’ve all been spending a lot of time at home lately as we protect ourselves and other from COVID-19. I’ve used a lot of my extra time at home to watch a lot of movies, especially ones that I haven’t had time to watch or have been on my list for a long time. Plus, some new releases are being sent directly to our homes now.

So here are some of the best movies I’ve watched over the past few months, including some iconic classics and new releases.  

My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away

When HBO Max launched during quarantine, one of their biggest selling points was the entire library of films from Studio Ghibli, the legendary Japanese animation company. I had never seen any of the Ghibli films, but everywhere I went online people said they were some of the best animated movies of all time, right up there with the best of Pixar and the Disney renaissance. So some of the first movies I watched on HBO Max were three of the most famous Studio Ghibli films: My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away.

And let me tell you: everyone was not lying when they said these movies are phenomenal. They’re gorgeous, full of creativity and adventure, and strangely comforting to watch. The soundtrack for each movie is a huge standout as well. Highly, highly recommend these three movies and I intend on making my way through the rest of the Studio Ghibli catalog.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Tom Hanks mini-thon: Big, That Thing You Do, You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle and A League of Their Own

For a couple of weeks during this quarantine, I went through a late 1980s-1990s Tom Hanks marathon. Hanks has been in so many iconic movies it’s hard to keep track of them all. Big is honestly so good mainly because of Hanks’ performance and that piano scene is truly something special. The only issue with the movie is the uncomfortable romantic relationship.

That Thing You Do was Hanks’ first time directing a movie and it is almost too much fun. If you don’t walk away from the movie with the title song stuck in your head then you weren’t paying enough attention. Hanks is great, but the true stars are the band members and a young Liv Tyler.

Was there a more dynamic duo in the 90s than Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan? The pair cemented themselves in romantic comedy history by starring in You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. While both were highly enjoyable, I thought the premise of You’ve Got Mail was much better than Sleepless in Seattle. But you can’t deny the finale of Sleepless in Seattle is one of the most satisfying in movie history.

A League of Their Own had been on my list for a long time, mainly because of the iconic line, “There’s no crying in baseball!” This is probably the first time I’ve ever seen Hanks in an antagonistic role, but unsurprisingly he does a great job. But he’s not the focus of this movie. The women of the team are all so delightful and interesting that it’s almost impossible not to root for them. And the fact that it’s based on true events makes it even more resonant.

Where to watch: Big (rent on Apple or Amazon), That Thing You Do (HBO Max), You’ve Got Mail (HBO Max), Sleepless in Seattle (Netflix), A League of Their Own (rent on Apple or Amazon)


Recently, I’ve been using my quarantine time to educate myself on racial injustice and systemic racism. 13th is a documentary showing the history of the U.S. prison and legal system and how it has been disproportionately biased against Black Americans for decades. From the 13th amendment to Jim Crow laws to the War on Drugs and the 1994 crime bill, Black Americans have been consistently dehumanized and overly criminalized. 13th is powerful, haunting, and should be required viewing for everyone right now.

Where to watch: Netflix

Do the Right Thing

Another essential piece of my racial injustice education was Do the Right Thing. Spike Lee’s masterpiece was released in 1989 but tells an eerily relevant story that could have happened last week. It begins as a slice-of-life style movie wandering lazily between different areas of a Brooklyn community. But tensions boil under the surface throughout the movie until they erupt in a horrible but familiar tragedy.

Where to watch: rent on Apple or Amazon

The Sound of Music

Embarrassingly, I had never seen The Sound of Music until this year. Sure, I knew the general story and most of the iconic songs, but I had never sat through the full three-hour experience. And honestly, it’s pretty great. The story and characters are fun and the music is even better when heard in context (although I’m still not sure how “My Favorite Things” became a Christmas song). The final act does feel like it comes from an entirely different movie, but overall it’s easy to see why this is such an iconic piece of film history.

Where to watch: Disney+

Palm Springs

This new 2020 release is the latest in the long line of Groundhog Day-inspired movies. Palm Springs tweaks the formula so multiple people can get trapped in the same time loop together. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti are SO GOOD together and their chemistry and the movie’s script make this such an effortlessly fun movie. Palm Springs also features a fantastic supporting cast and a wildly entertaining finale.

Where to watch: Hulu


Another embarrassing confession: I’ve never paid much attention to Jane Austen adaptations. I’ve never seen any Pride & Prejudice movie, although I did finally read the book a few years ago. But the trailers for the 2020 adaptation of Emma. (there’s a period in the title because it’s a ~period piece~) made it look so intriguing that I had to watch it. And I was definitely not disappointed. The humor in this movie is spectacular and it’s easy to see how much fun the cast had making this. I was particularly obsessed with the aesthetic, production design and cinematography of the movie.

Where to watch: rent on Apple or Amazon

April movie preview: COVID-19 edition


Nothing new is coming to theaters next month. Which is truly wild to comprehend. The coronavirus has upended life as we know it, and the entertainment industry – movies theaters, theme parks, concerts, Broadway – has been hit especially hard.

Staying at home and sheltering in place to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 has made me realize how many things we do as a collective. Churches, restaurants, bars, weddings, schools and more have been shut down or cancelled.

Most entertainment is designed to be enjoyed collectively. I’ll never forget the roar of cheers and applause that erupted from my theater when Captain America caught Thor’s hammer on opening night of Avengers: Endgame. Or the tangible excitement in the air in the quiet seconds before the blast of John Williams’s Star Wars fanfare began to open The Force Awakens.

That’s not to say that I couldn’t enjoy those moments sitting at home by myself, but there’s something so special about sharing that joy and excitement with others, sometimes even strangers, for the first time.

In response to these unprecedented times, and with movie theaters across the country shut down, studios have made some difficult decisions that may change the movie industry forever. As the weekend box office reached zero, a handful of new releases were released on demand. I spent $20 last week to watch the new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma and the controversial thriller The Hunt. I enjoyed them both and felt justified in spending that money to watch them.

Both of those movies are examples of what could happen once the world gets back to some kind of normal. Neither The Hunt or Emma were expected to be blockbuster releases raking in hundreds of millions of dollars. They’re the kind of mid-range features that film festivals love and can develop a solid fan base. It’s these kinds of movies that may be relegated to on demand releases and streaming more regularly in a post-coronavirus world.

But then there are the movies that have been postponed because of the outbreak, including potentially some of the biggest movies of the year – Marvel’s Black Widow, Disney’s Mulan remake, A Quiet Place Part II, James Bond’s No Time to Die and the latest Fast and Furious installment F9. These are all absolutely movies that deserve to be seen in theaters with an audience. The biggest question now for these movies is where do they go in the release schedule? And will their new placements push smaller movies out of the way and onto streaming platforms instead?

Last year was a big win for original movies, like Parasite and Knives Out. It would be a shame to lose that creativity and imagination at the theater. I still believe in movie theaters and the value they provide to our lives.

So I guess what I’m saying is, take the time to watch Onward and Emma at home now, but when the theaters open back up, they’ll need you to support them. Go see Black Widow and No Time to Die on the biggest screen possible and share the joy and excitement with those around you. We’ll all need some of that.