The spread of COVID-19 has induced the suspension of sports, concerts, theater, and talk shows. That leaves a conundrum for many. How do you fill the void of live entertainment without experiencing cabin fever? As an introvert who loves to take in movies and music from the comfort of my couch: welcome to social distancing.
To be clear, I’m not a complete shut-in. There is nothing more enjoyable for me than going to a great concert or movie, but leaving the house is not always my first choice. For now, escapism is going to have to come through my headphones and TV.
One book that I am staying away from is Robin Cook’s Outbreak, a book I first encountered for high school summer reading in 2001. I do not remember specific plot points, but being simultaneously thrilled and terrified throughout. Now that a pandemic is a reality, a steady diet of anti-thrillers are on tap to replace the void of sports and live entertainment.
2019 Movies To Catch Up On During Social Distancing
Parasite – The 2019 Winner for Best Picture caught a lot of people by surprise. Bong Joon Ho’s film is the first Foreign Language Film to win the top honor at the Oscars, but only grossed $53 million in the U.S. There is no better time to catch up on the fantastic story of a poor family who cons their way onto a wealthy family’s payroll.
Parasite is available for rental on Amazon Prime.
The Lighthouse – This is not a great movie. Just a weird one. Sometimes we just need to watch something eccentric. Robert Pattinson and Willem DaFoe star as two lighthouse keepers who are trapped on an island and struggle to maintain their sanity. At a time when millions of people are in lockdown, the movie provides not-so-subtle reminders to compliment someone’s cooking.
The Lighthouse is available for rental on Amazon Prime.
Booksmart – Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is the type of hilarious distraction we all need right now. The raunchy, R-comedy follows a pair of high school seniors who are coming to grips with the realities of their high school experience. With 24 hours to re-invent their killjoy reputations before graduation, the ensuing romp is not only funny, but a reminder to embrace the moment. One performer to watch is Billie Lourd. Her character is not only brilliant, but recurs in a way that keeps Booksmart from lagging.
Booksmart is available for free on Hulu.
Sports Documentaries To Stream
The Battered Bastards Of Baseball – The real-life version of the Bad News Bears, Major League, and Bull Durham all converge in this tale of the Portland Mavericks. The film is narrated by Kurt Russell, whose father Bing Russell owned an independent team that defied every aspect of convention to field a winning team and put butts in seats.
This baseball documentary is available on Netflix.
The Carter Effect – There is a realistic chance that Vince Carter played his last basketball game on the same night that Adam Silver suspended the NBA’s season. It is unfortunate that the icon may not have the opportunity for a realistic send-off. Vinsanity has been going on since 1998 and this interim period allows a look back at his stellar career. The Carter Effect documents his cultural and basketball impact on the NBA.
Read about more basketball documentaries on Netflix.
Fastball – Spring Training has been suspended, but this baseball documentary is the ultimate hot stove film. The piece dissects the history of the game’s most important pitch by interviewing legends and figures of the game. Derek Jeter, Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, and Aroldis Chapman are just a few of the luminaries interviewed. The film also uses science to break down who threw the fastest pitch of all-time.
Fastball is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Sonic Highways – The docu-series is one of the most fascinating album concepts and documentaries ever. The Foo Fighters travel to eight different cities and interview a slew of legends and players in local music scenes. Dave Grohl used the discussions as inspiration for the record’s lyrics. Rick Nielsen, Joe Walsh, and Ben Gibbard are among the artists incorporated into the LP.
Sonic Highways is available on HBO, Amazon Prime, and iTunes.
The Defiant Ones – The most genre-spanning music documentary you can think of, The Defiant Ones discusses the careers of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. The two men took different paths, but each eventually dominated the industry through associations with generational music from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, NWA, and Eminem.
The Defiant Ones is available on HBO, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
Sound City – Yes, another Dave Grohl film. The music documentary is about about the shuttered studio that was the site of innumerable hit albums. Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Nirvana, and Rage Against The Machine are just a few of the artists interviewed in the film. Grohl and Co. also record a companion soundtrack for the film that incorporates A-list musicians Steve Nicks, Paul McCartney, Josh Homme, and Trent Reznor.
Sound City is free on Amazon Prime, Roku, and Pluto TV.
Music To Discover During Self-Containment
Celeste – The up-and-coming singer brings to mind Nina Simone and Adele. She has yet to release a full-length album, but has generated attention for the single “Stop This Flame.” The track channels Dave Brubeck, albeit with some of the most impressive vocals you will hear this year.
beabadobee – An artist you may not be able to avoid in a couple of years, beabadobee is a tremendously talented singer-songwriter poised for a huge breakout. The Filipino-British rocker is only 19, but has dropped a handful of great EPs and singles in advance of a debut album. Her 2019 EP Space Cadet is a perfect starting point for new listeners.
Katie Pruitt – Fans of Grace Potter and Brandi Carlile may take a liking to this 26-year-old singer. The country songwriter dropped her first album this past February. Expectations incorporates coming-of-age issues like sexual identity and entering into adulthood.
Another Sky – Katie Pruitt and Celeste have more traditional voices. There is nothing typical about Another Sky singer Catrin Vincent. The art-rock singer manipulates her vocals on different tracks, sometimes even sounding prepubescent to craft her music. Vincent’s efforts make for a unique listening experience for a band that fans of Arcade Fire, The xx, and Coldplay will enjoy.