The Tower Recommends: Movies

13 quarantine watches and where to stream them


Comfort Movies

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  (PG-13) — Netflix

An absolute classic. The 1986 film directed by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles) follows main character Ferris as he convinces his two best friends to ditch school with him one last time before graduation. Among other mischief, he convinces the whole school that he’s deathly ill, “borrows” a Ferrari, and adventures around Chicago, all while trying to outwit his principal and family. It’s quotable, charming, and so very fun. Bonus points: if you’ve ever had English teacher Mrs. Crawford for a class and there’s an awkward pause in discussion—a fairly universal experience, I’m guessing—she’ll usually call out, “Bueller?” which is a direct reference to the movie. Now you’ll know what that means.

Best moment: Ferris’ opening monologue

The Parent Trap (PG) — Disney+

Who says a movie has to be realistic for it to be good? I unabashedly love The Parent Trap, which follows identical twins Hallie and Annie who didn’t know the other existed until they discover each other at summer camp. From there, the two conspire to reunite their divorced parents. The premise is a little absurd—two parents looking at their newborn babies, deciding they would take one each, moving across the world from each other and never speaking of it to anyone isn’t the most realistic of scenarios—but hey, it’s okay to enjoy things sometimes. 12-year-old Lindsay Lohan is charming as ever, starring as both of the twins, and it’s a delight to follow their equally comical and sweet exploits throughout the movie. 

Best moment: “You’re gonna adopt Meredith, that is so sweet Dad!”

Good Will Hunting (R) — Hulu 

Good Will Hunting skillfully walks the line between Oscar bait and touching, authentic storytelling, weaving both aspects into a film worth watching several times. The movie follows protagonist and genius Will Hunting—snaps to the pun in the title—who works as a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After a few too many run-ins with the law, he is offered a job by a professor who realized his talents and will strike him a deal if he fixes his behavior. In the deal, Will must begin meeting with a psychologist who ends up having a profound impact on his life. The script is intelligent, the dialogue realistic, witty, and raw. Like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the movie proves very quotable—it boasts famous lines such as “My boy’s wicked smart!” and “How ya like them apples?”—but the emotional weight of the movie rests on the powerful performances from its leads, Matt Damon and Robin Williams. They create several moments of movie magic throughout the film, some a little more heartbreaking than heartwarming. Above all it’s sincere and engaging, which, I think, is all you can ask from a comfort movie.

Best moment: Park bench therapy moment

So You Miss Sports

Miracle (PG) — Netflix

No matter how many times I watch Miracle, I come away with the same amount of joy and energy. It’s a cliched and classic underdog-to-champion story, except the story it tells is a true one. The “Miracle on Ice” refers to the 1980 USA hockey team’s Cinderella story, pulling off a stunning upset on the world stage of the Olympics. The movie follows coach Herb Brooks from putting the team together to the momentous game itself. It leans a little heavily on the rivalry between the United States and Russia from the 1980s, but Brooks’ pregame speech alone is enough to make up for that. 

Best moment: “Who do you play for?”

The Sandlot (PG) —Disney+

Quarantine is as good a time as any to indulge in some lovable, trashy 90’s movies. In this film, Scotty Smalls has just moved to a new town and is struggling to make friends when Benny Rogriguez takes him under his wing and lets him join the crew of neighborhood kids who play baseball at the sandlot. The boys get into some trouble when Scotty borrows and hits a ball signed by Babe Ruth over the fence into the property guarded by a dog called the Beast. With less of a focus on baseball and a little more on what’s so wonderful about being a kid, The Sandlot captures the moment when you’re young, don’t have a care in the world, and haven’t learned what “impossible” means yet. Watching or rewatching this one should take you right back to that moment.

Best moment: For-ev-er

Catch Up On Pop Culture

Lady Bird (R) — Amazon Prime Video 

If you’ve been listening to “Tongue Tied” by Grouplove or “Ribs” by Lorde lately, turn this one on. Lady Bird is undeniably the 2017 indie it-girl movie, a masterclass in coming-of-age – messiness, dyed hair, existentialism and all. Christine McPherson, who goes by Lady Bird, is a high schooler who longs for adventure, sophistication, and opportunity, but can get exactly none of that in her suburban hometown of Sacramento. The movie follows her throughout senior year, exploring her sometimes challenging relationships with her mother, her classmates, her town, and herself. It’s both a thrill and a tragedy to watch our protagonist grow throughout this movie. I could sing director Greta Gerwig’s praises until her next project comes out and I have to begin my spiel over again. 

Best moment: “Were you emotional the first time you drove in Sacramento?”

Inception (PG-13) — Netflix

There aren’t many things I could say about Inception that haven’t been said already. Protagonist Dom Cobb is a thief who carries out his crimes by infiltrating the minds of his targets. He’s offered the chance to go back to his old life with his family, free from the dangers of corporate espionage, but only if he accomplishes ‘inception’—planting an idea in his target’s head instead of stealing it. At its most basic level, Inception is a science-fiction thriller about a man’s turbulent past. At its most cerebral, Inception weaves riveting, layered storylines with meticulous directorial work by Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, The Dark Knight) that gets more impressive with every rewatch. This movie keeps you thinking about it for days.

Best moment: Hallway dream fight sequence

Superbad (R) — Hulu 

Superbad is the best of the early 2000s day-in-the-life movies. It’s about two awkward best friends—played by Michael Cera and Jonah Hill—navigating the last weeks of high school and the last (read: only) house party they’re invited to. Cera and Hill are both loveable and hateable in their own respect, and co-star Emma Stone steals almost every scene she’s in. Here you’ll find all the quotes you’ve heard thrown into conversation but never really known where they’re from, some more appropriate than others—a small caution, it is rated R for a reason. Obnoxious as it can be, Superbad is brilliantly juvenile and finishes with a surprising amount of honesty and heart. Not unexpectedly, it’s absolutely hilarious.

Best moment: McLovin


The Dark Knight (PG-13) — Netflix

Another Christopher Nolan movie, this one centered around DC Comics’ Batman. The Dark Knight follows the superhero as he watches over Gotham. In dismantling the crime that plagues the city, he faces challenges both physical and psychological. Christian Bale gives an impressive performance as the lead, but the villain steals the show here: Heath Ledger as the Joker gives one of the most masterful antagonist performances in a movie ever, point blank. He plays the psychotic, apathetic genius flawlessly, the perfect antithesis to Batman’s own character. Every element of the movie—the dialogue, the lighting, the soundtrack—contributes to overarching themes of chaos, fear, human instincts, and anarchy. Sometimes a movie just gets everything right.

Best moment: Batman interrogates the Joker


The Social Network (PG-13) — Netflix

I don’t know how many times I’ve rewatched this movie. It unflinchingly deals with the concepts of power, ego, betrayal, and money; it’s also pretty hilarious if you let it be. A true story, it follows Mark Zuckerberg—played by Jesse Eisenberg—through his college years, the creation of Facebook, and the drama and lawsuits that ensued. The entirety of the film is superbly crafted: almost every line is clever, and every frame intentional, coming together to make a movie that is both riveting and wildly entertaining. Director David Fincher certainly knows how to tell a story.

Best moment: Eduardo finds out he’s been cheated

Romantic Comedies

Set It Up (not rated) — Netflix

Set It Up is everything that a rom-com should be—lighthearted, funny, and wholesome. It’s the best of the many Netflix original movies released in the past two years. The leads, Harper and Charlie, are two young assistants in New York City who realize how much easier their lives could be if they set their workaholic bosses up with each other. Of course, while carrying out this plan, some feelings between the two assistants develop and ultimately it’s their love story that we follow. It hits all the cliched, cheesy moments but does so with grace and plenty of heart. This movie shouldn’t be as good as it is, and for that alone I love it. 

Best moment: Charlie and Harper grab pizza after the engagement party

Love, Rosie (R) — Netflix

A film about romantics, for romantics. Love, Rosie employs just about every classic trope in the book, and as unrealistic and dramatic as it is at times, it’s still pretty adorable. Childhood best friends Rosie and Alex—played by Lily Collins and Sam Claflin respectively—can’t seem to make fate fall their way; distance, other relationships, and missed signals continuously keep them from dating each other. It’s a bit of an emotional ride, driven primarily by the leads’ on-screen chemistry. Sometimes it’s good to ignore a movie’s Rotten Tomatoes rating and just to enjoy it for what it is—sweet, genuine, and extremely charming. Again, a movie that has no business being as good as it is. I would keep the tissues handy.

Best moment: Rosie’s speech at Alex’s wedding

10 Things I Hate About You (PG-13) — Disney+

I’m a sucker for any high school ensemble romcom, but 10 Things I Hate About You sits pretty near the top of that list. It’s based loosely on Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew and is set in late 90s Seattle. New kid Cameron, played by a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt, wants badly to take the pretty and popular Bianca Stratford out on a date; due to a strict dad, though, he can’t do this unless her sullen, romance-adverse older sister Kat starts to date as well. He enlists help from Patrick, played by Heath Ledger, whose endless charisma shines clearly and easily in a stunning breakout performance. It’s a story of young love built on chemistry and circumstance, refreshingly simple and an absolutely perfect pick-me-up. 

Best moment: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” serenade