These are strange days indeed.
In the spirit of offering something productive to clients concerned about what comes
next, many of whom I fondly regard as friends, here’s a list of movies you can watch to pass a
couple of hours with your families. Full disclosure and a suggestion: my taste in movies may not
be your taste in movies, so if you’re the sort who won’t take financial advice from a guy whose
taste in movies doesn’t line up with your cinematic sensibilities, then instead of watching any of
these movies, just go on ahead and make your own list.
The Trigger Effect, 1996
So every movie list has to have a selection from the “psychological thriller” category.
Every list has to have a solid B performer as well-- this was no blockbuster, but it’s a solid cast
of actors working with a good script. I still remember the feeling the movie delivers. Be
forewarned, it’s set in California after a catastrophic event of some kind has completely
disrupted daily life and follows a group of friends as they make a series of bad decisions. If that
hits a little too close to home, skip this one. Watch Contagion instead.
Shaun of the Dead, 2004
Every movie list should include a zombie flick as well. For the hardcore fans of The
Walking Dead or any of the George Romero classics, this may not get it done, but it’s my
favorite Simon Peg comedy, and it has more than its share of classic zomie-genre gore. It’s also
got a solid love story plot line and some classic minor characters who weave through the movie.
The Godfather, 1972
Francis Ford Coppola and the Oscar for Best Picture. Plus it’s a gangster movie, which is
obviously the best category of movie there is. Every movie list has to have a gangster flick. If
this isn’t your taste, then try The Godfather II, or Good Fellas, or American Gangster, or The
King of New York, or The French Connection, or Casino. There’s a great French gangster
movie called Un Profet (The Prophet) you can check out as well. Skip Scarface. Completely
Get Shorty, 1995
Yes, another gangster movie, but also a solid comedy with fantastic casting and it’s also a
movie about making movies, which is always a fun reveal. Watch for Danny DeVito playing a
Hollywood action star walking underneath a billboard of himself advertising a movie where he
The Fantastic Mr. Fox, 2009
Every movie list also has to have an animated picture. You can go with your Pixar’s or
your Disney films, but I choose the stop motion animation brought to life by Wes Anderson. It’s
a great story, absolute A-list actors do the voiceovers and it’s got one of the better soundtracks
on this list.
It’s hard to overstate how ground-breaking the special effects Ridley Scott brought to the
screen back in 1979 (!), but they still hold up. Even compared to the current batch of CGI
spectacles like The Guardians of the Galaxy that my 14 year old is accustomed to.
Almost Famous, 2000
The semi-autobiographical story of Cameron Crowe’s early career writing for Rolling
Stone magazine. It follows (very) young Cameron following an up and coming rock band as he
develops into a writer. Plus it has Kate Hudson (21 year-old Kate Hudson), which should be
enough to get it on any list.
Midnight Run, 1988
If you didn’t get any Robert DeNiro exposure with your gangster flick entry, then you
can’t have much of a movie list. You could have your own Robert DeNiro movie list, as you’ll
see in just a moment, but my DeNiro entry for this list is this comedy from 1988. Laugh out loud
interactions between characters and lines that have made their way into my lexicon. Also, the
first and I think the best of DeNiro’s comedic turns.
The Score, 2001
Technically, this could have been used to check the Robert DeNiro category box as well,
but it’s included here because it is a fine heist movie. Edward Norton plays a shifty
partner-in-crime to the wiser master thief DeNiro. Solid story and of course, a well-planned
heist that’s totally exciting and satisfying to watch unfold.
When Harry Met Sally, 1989
The Rom-Com, chick-flick, feel-good love story of the bunch (every list has one). Plus,
we could use something hopeful to wrap this up. And there are the frequent smash-cuts to older
couples breaking the 4th wall and telling the audience just how they met and fell in love with
their spouses. It’s a good reminder that those are the loved ones we’re protecting by staying put
in our houses and helping limit the danger posed by the Coronavirus.