Movies in the Time of Pandemic

One thing the pandemic has been good for is staying in and watching movies. For me, it’s mostly older movies I’ve wanted to revisit, but hadn’t had time. Some of them replay on television, but I really, really hate being interrupted by 5 minutes of commercials. So off to Netflix and Prime and others I go. Or I look through my bookshelves of Blu-rays/DVDs and dig out a favorite. 

I like movies that have a slow build-up, that delve into character before making things explode. Movies we can talk about after they are finished. Turning on Netflix, I’m overwhelmed by choice and spend more time adding to my watchlist than actually watching. 

Running Lists

I made a list of the movies I turn to again and again. Some are old, some are newer, but not many. My tastes run to fantasy and science fiction (big surprise), musicals, drama, and opera. Period pieces are great, especially Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. The drawback – they are long, we’re talking 3 – 4+ hours long. Mini-series length. They are so engrossing, I don’t mind. 

The Blues Brothers. When I need a pick me up, that’s the movie I put on. I love musicals. I probably left a lot of them off my list, they are hard to find on television, except on PBS. Bollywood movies are usually a blast. Surprisingly, Netflix has a lot of them. I’m a sucker for Disney cartoons like Moana and Brave, although I didn’t list any Disney movies. But I’ll always watch them. I’m sure there are tons more movies I could add, but the ones listed below are some of my favorites, in no particular order. What are some of yours? What movies do you turn to when COVID makes you stay home?

My Watch List:

The Martian (AKA another “Saving Matt Damon” movie at our house)

Field of Dreams

Lord of the Rings/Hobbit

My Neighbor Totoro

Spirited Away (Okay, any Miyazaki movie)


The Princess Bride

Aida (the Metropolitan Opera version with Violeta Urmana/Johan Botha)

Red (Mark Rothko) on Great Performances

The Lion in Winter

2001 A Space Odyssey

Apollo 13



Singin’ in the Rain

Die Hard

Blade Runner

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Monty Python and The Holy Grail

Lawrence of Arabia

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (Indian)

Red Cliff (Chinese)

Seven Samurai

Hidden Figures

Major League

Blues Brothers


Godzilla (1954 & 2014)

The Producers

The Warrior (Korean)

The Great Battle (Chinese)


  1. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson

    Good idea – movies to return to when the world is awash in bad stuff! There are some on your list that I love (Princess Bride, Slap Shot, Monty Python, Die Hard, and really anything with Matt Damon). I’d add A Knight’s Tale, Dirty Harry, Dodgeball, Harry Potter (any of them, but mainly the first one), The Dish, Easy Rider (even if it is pretty cheesy after all these years), Woodstock, Mad Max (the first one), Lethal Weapon (also the first one), The Princess Diaries, almost anything by the Coen Brothers, and there’s probably a whole bunch I’ll think of later. My escape movies are pretty damn eclectic!

  2. Constance

    I agree, anything with Matt Damon, like Moneyball. Can’t believe I left Harry Potter off my list. And here I thought Scott and I were the only ones who loved Slapshot! Talk about a quirky little movie. They filmed some of it in my hometown arena.

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