By Ivy Wang
Since we all had to stay at home and quarantine, I’ve had a lot of time to watch movies. I tend to like almost every movie but here are my thoughts about what I watched:
My family and I tried to watch a lot of Oscar winning and nominated movies and a lot of them definitely deserve their nominations.
- Parasite (2019): I’m sure you’ve already heard of this Oscar winner but it was really good. It’s about a poor family that gets jobs working for a rich family. The cinematography feels very clean which I liked and the basis and story are very thought-provoking.
- Birdman (2014): Another Oscar winner, it’s about a movie star who starred in a Broadway production to try to show that he’s a true artist. The struggle he has is not literally relatable to most of us but I think the feelings he has about life and his relationships with the people around him feel very real. The cast is very good.
- Moonlight (2016): Oscar winner about an African American in three stages of his life. There’s not really an overarching plot, it’s just about a person growing up and going through the good and bad of life, which I liked. It’s very beautifully shot and has some heavy emotions.
- Joker (2019): This movie had a lot of hype and I can say that it was very good. A failed comedian with an illness that makes him laugh at inappropriate times is bullied by society. I’m not sure why but I felt the need to constantly remind myself that this movie was set in a fictional city. Joaquin Phoenix is amazing in this movie. It is pretty dark but entrancing.
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019): Tom Hanks’ voice in this movie is very soothing. A pessimistic investigative journalist interviews Mr.Rogers, a children’s TV show host, and it turns out different than he expected. This movie was very heartwarming and made me wish I grew up in a time where Mr.Rogers was on TV. It felt a little slow at times but very good.
- The Irishman (2019): This movie is SO long. To be super honest, I didn’t watch it super closely after the first half hour. It’s about a truck driver that gets tied up with a prominent crime family. It has great actors and I’ve always thought mob movies were interesting but again this one is just SO long.
- Fences (2016): I really really liked this movie about an African American man and his family in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. It is about the father’s relationship with his son and other family members. The whole movie basically revolves around the family’s backyard which I thought was really interesting. The acting is amazing and there are a lot of really good monologues. It’s pretty emotional and I definitely cried a few times.
- American Factory (2019): This is a documentary about a Chinese company opening a factory in Ohio. You can see the differences between Chinese and American mindsets and culture and the clash that can happen when they’re put together. This is something I personally think about a lot but it was very interesting to see different perspectives.
This is a very loose definition of “classic” movies (so please don’t be upset). These are just movies that I think most people have heard of and maybe even already watched.
- Funny Face (1957): I’m definitely an Audrey Hepburn movie fan so I personally really like this movie. It’s about a girl who works at a bookstore, who gets flown to Paris to represent a magazine but she doesn’t actually care for fashion. I love the outfits and vibe of this movie and it makes me want to go to Paris.
- Spy Kids (2001): I’m pretty sure I loved this movie when I was younger. I’m sure I wished I was one of the spy kids as they try to save their parents from evil. The CGI? (idk movie terminology sorry!) is pretty bad and the acting is not the greatest. It’s definitely a kid’s movie. It’s still entertaining and makes me want to be a spy though.
- Charlie’s Angels (2000): Another movie that makes me want to be a secret agent. A trio of private investigators tracks down stolen voice-identification software. This movie is fun and the actresses are great. It does feel pretty objectifying especially watching it in 2020 but it’s not a movie that’s meant to be taken very seriously.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012): There was a lot of excitement when this movie got added to Netflix and I personally have been wanting to watch it for a while. An awkward freshman becomes friends with some quirky, charismatic seniors. It is deeper than your typical teen movie and it feels very real. I wasn’t a huge huge fan of the main character but I liked the movie overall.
Rom-coms can be a hit or miss depending on the person but I am usually a fan and went on a rom-com binge for a few days, here are just some I watched.
- A Cinderella Story (2004): Cinderella but the early 2000s and with the internet. I didn’t watch this movie when it first came out but I think I would’ve liked it. It’s pretty much your generic rom com.
- P.S I Love You (2007): A woman receives letters from her husband who died. This movie always makes me cry. This was my second time watching it so it was kind of boring to watch a second time but I really liked it the first time. It’s very touching and not your typical two people fall in love rom com. Also, the accents are very entertaining.
- It Takes Two (1995): The Olsen twins star as two little girls who meet and switch places to try to get their caregivers to fall in love. It’s simple and pretty predictable but entertaining and lighthearted.
- He’s Just Not That Into You (2009): A group of friends navigate love in a modern world. The one thing that stuck out to me from this movie is the thing we’re told as kids – that when boys are mean to girls that means they like us – is not true. I always didn’t think this was true and I was glad to see I’m not the only one. This was a little more realistic than typical rom coms.
- Life As We Know It (2010): I swear Netflix kept trying to get me to watch this so I finally did. Two people who dislike each other are tasked to take care of their friend’s baby together. It’s kind of cliche but has some funny moments and I ended up really liking the characters even though they each have their own issues.
Coming of Age
I don’t know if this is exactly the right title for this category but most of these movies are about teens/young adults going through some sort of transition in their life.
- Eighth Grade (2018): A girl going through her last week of 8th grade. It wasn’t that relatable to me personally but I can see how it would be for many people because it is a very realistic portrayal of middle to early high school. It made me feel like I’m allowed to let the small hardships in my life be really a big deal and not feel bad about it.
- Lady Bird (2017): A strong-willed high school senior just figuring out school, boys, and family. I really liked Saoirse Ronan’s character and her relationship with her mom really interested me and I think they should’ve gone deeper into it.
- Beautiful Boy (2018): A father tries to help his son who has a crystal meth addiction. It started out kind of confusing and is a little repetitive but that’s the real story so it makes sense. It is very heartbreaking and Steve Carrell gives a great performance.
- All the Bright Places (2020): Two high schoolers try to deal with the scars they have while trying to do cool things in Indiana. (Like relatable because it feels like there’s nothing to do in the midwest). It deals with very real issues and is emotional at times. It is unexpected and a little confusing to me.
I watched too many movies and couldn’t decide how to categorize them but that does not mean these movies aren’t as good as the categorized ones.
- Her (2013): In this movie, a man falls in love with an operating system. It is futuristic but doesn’t feel like technology that is far off. Joaquin Phoenix is amazing as usual. It’s an atypical romance but very thought-provoking.
- Julie & Julia (2009): A New Yorker tries to make all the recipes in Julia Child’s book intertwined with the story of Julia Child learning to cook in Paris. This movie made me wish I could actually cook like they do. It was not a life-changing movie or anything like that but it’s very charming and Meryl Streep is amazing.
- Rounders (1998): This movie is about a poker playing law student who gets into debt. It was pretty good but it has a lot of poker scenes so I feel like you have to be at least a little bit interested in poker to really enjoy this movie. I always think it’s so interesting when they reveal how the player found their opponent’s tells or how they guessed what cards they had.
- The Dark Knight (2008): This is the second film in the trilogy and I did watch all three but I’m mentioning this one because I think it’s the best one. It’s Batman v Joker. I thought this movie was very good because Batman has to question his hero status. Personally, I didn’t like how much romance there was because I found the girl to be a little pretentious.