September 19, 2020

One Nerd’s Quarantine Watchlist

A QUARANTINE WATCHLIST
A QUARANTINE WATCHLIST

We’re living in a strange time in history. Many of us are staying safe at home, protecting the vulnerable in our communities by preventing the spread of COVID-19. Others are still out there working, putting their health on the line so that the rest of us can have essential services (and to you – healthcare workers, retail workers, other essential workers – a huge thank you for what you’re doing. You’re our lifeblood and you deserve way more than this).

To those of us staying at home, you probably have a bit more time on your hands and if you’re anything like my wife and I this means movies and shows! Here’s what we’ve been catching up on and hopefully this gives you some ideas on how to get your mind off the world around us and keep you staying put in your home.

Code 8
Starring: Stephen Amell, Robbie Amell; Source: Amazon Prime Video

Code 8 was a neat little film. The backdrop of the story plays with themes similar to that of the X-Men; powered individuals being discriminated against by a society that fears and misunderstands them. Somewhat unoriginal (and I say this just because this theme has been used many times), the movie is a commentary on the plight of the “other”, which has some pretty strong parallels to American culture right now. Whereas most similar pieces of media would focus on the good guys trying to change the world for the better, Code 8’s plot takes us into the life of one of those powered individuals as he goes about trying to do the right thing somewhat selfishly. Robbie Amell is pretty good, Stephen Amell is every bit of brooding that all of his characters are, and the supporting cast definitely helps sell the story. I would have liked to see a bit more Sung Kang and the ending – without spoiling anything – was a bit loose.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Onward
Starring: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt; Source: Disney+

Pixar NEVER disappoints. This movie – which Disney released straight to their streaming platform due to ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak – has something for every nerd who watches. Bringing fantasy to the modern world is nothing new – re: Bright – but Onward brought that style in full force with enough nerdy references to satisfy many, many fandoms. The story is a coming of age adventure of an elf and his brother – voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt – as they go on a quest to bring their father back to life for one day. Just about every part of this movie features some sort of D&D reference and for someone who’s young adult years were molded by the game and genre, it was an absolute delight the whole way. My only qualm: Chris Pratt was great, but he was definitely channeling his inner Jack Black. Would have LOVED to see Jack Black in the part.

My Rating: 9.5/10

Space Jam
Starring: Michael Jordan; Source: Netflix

If you can believe it, I’d never seen Space Jam before. I know, I know; I am firmly in the age group that was growing up when the movie came out and its a shame that I didn’t see it when it came out. My wife put it on as a joke one night and we just kept watching it. I’ll say, it wasn’t all that bad. Suspend your expectations of modern animation / graphics and you get a pretty cool episode of Looney Toons featuring one of the greatest athletes of our time (back after his prime). Honestly though, come for the zany antics, stay for the Bill Murray and you won’t be disappointed.

My Rating: 8/10

Charlie’s Angels
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska; Source: Old Fashioned Blu-ray

Now look, I didn’t want to give this movie a shot myself, but it the wife bought it on an antiquated medium (if anyone is watching this from 2030; yes, we used to buy physical copies of movies) so I figured I might as well give it a shot. I really wasn’t disappointed, to be honest, but I feel like your opinion of the movie would change depending on your socio-political beliefs: this movie is 100% girl power, 100% of the time. As someone who feels we need a lot more girl power in our lives, it was well done. Though I don’t typically like Kristen Stewart’s movies (I just can’t un-see Twilight), I thought her character was the most real of them all and makes me willing to give more of her movies a shot. Shout out to Elizabeth Banks playing her role perfectly, and to Patrick Stewart for being everything that PS is while also not overshadowing anyone he shares scenes with.

My Rating: 8/10, Anti-Feminists Ratings: 2/10

National Geographic – Any Documentary
Source: Disney+

When I first learned about Disney+, I was convinced that it would be filled with Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney movies; that’s it. Surprise, surprise, the platform launched with a sizable collection of National Geographic shows. My suggestion: Kingdom of the White Wolf. It follows a photographer traveling a small region of the arctic circle in search of wolf packs that have little to no exposure to human civilization and thus, no reason to fear a person trying to document a season of their lives.

My Rating: 9/10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 7
Source: Disney+

Thought it hasn’t all aired yet, Season 7 of the classic Star Wars series (which is arguably better than the movies they revolve around) has come at the perfect time in our lives. The Bad Batch are pretty much what you would expect from outcast elite commandos, so the first couple of episodes are filled with some great Clone-on-Droid action. Then, we get to see what Ashokha was up to right after she left the Jedi Order and we really get to see her experience what real people think of the Jedi; it is refreshing. It’s good but not perfect and isn’t holding up to the hype I had in my head, so the rating below is probably a bit skewed. This may improve once we get to see more Jedi start fighting.

My Rating: 6/10

So that’s about it so far for the wife and I. Honorable mention: I’ve been listening to the wife watch Star Wars: Resistance in the background and it seems pretty good. If you haven’t yet, definitely check out and finish Star Trek: Picard. It was an amazing season that we finished up right before the stay at home orders started coming about. Finally, don’t forget this is a great time to revisit some sci-fi classics / cult-classics: Firefly, Babylon 5, Stargate (SG-1, Atlantis, Universe), Star Trek (The Next Generation, Enterprise, Voyager, Anything Else). Or, get that Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit ultra-marathon out of the way.

What’s on your quarantine watch list?

Jason

Jason

If it’s a thing and it’s nerdy, this guy wants to do it. Self-taught and self-proclaimed photographer, programmer, and musician, self-described as lazy, indulgent, and pedantic. Give him a task and he’ll do it, except for maritals. Only his wife gets the maritals.

Find Jason on twitter at @jasonkylesmith and on instagram at jasonksmith84

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