Top Ten Movies and TV Shows to Get Your Mind Off the Pandemic

by Mackenzie Nicole

COVID-19 sucks. Groundbreaking observation, I know. With our 24-hour news cycle’s endless media coverage of the pandemic, it’s hard to turn on your TV without being inundated with coronavirus facts, fears, and fables. Since all of our eyes and ears could use a break, here (in no particular order,) are my top ten movies and TV shows to get your mind off the pandemic.”

  1. Jurassic Park

Where to Watch: rent or buy with Amazon Prime Video

Ladies and gentlemen, the ultimate feel-good movie. This requires little explanation. Dinos? Check. The slasher-esque thrill of THE classic “dinosaurs resurrected” film? Check. Semi-shirtless 90s Jeff Goldblum? Check. Jurassic Park’s many sequels deserve their shine (some more than others), but nothing quite tops the OG (unless, of course, you want to watch Goldblum age like fine wine, in which case you should go ahead and binge watch all five).

 

 

  1. Daria

Where to Watch: free on MTV.com, free with basic Hulu subscription

Since quarantine started, my sleep schedule has been nonexistent. One night, when I absolutely could not under any circumstances sleep, I switched on the TV. I scrolled through my “Continue Watching”, but everything I saw would require much more brain power than I had available at 4am. That’s when it occurred to me ─ Daria. For years, I’d wanted to watch the MTV classic, and it seemed like the moment had finally come for me to dive into episode one. With grainy 90s animation, painfully stereotypical characters (to a borderline offensive degree, I’ll admit), and breezily dry humor, Daria is just mindless enough but not boring. Complete with period-perfect Nirvana references, the nostalgia is palpable and sweet. Heat up some pizza rolls, put on one of the 22-minute max episodes, and feel sixteen again.

http://www.mtv.com/shows/daria

 

  1. McMillions

Where to Watch: free on HBO GO or HBO NOW

If you ever thought you had a chance at winning the McDonald’s Monopoly, you were wrong.

While documentaries are a hit or miss game (mostly miss due to shoddy editing, molasses pacing, and sheer boringness), McMillions hits it out of the park. Detailing the shockingly true story of the nineties $24 million McDonald’s Monopoly scam, the six-episode documentary series includes such gems as priceless comedic relief/FBI Special Agent Doug Mathews or eccentric felon AJ Glomb, both of whom I would love to have coffee with. I cannot tell you much more without spoiling the surprises (and there will be surprises) but take my word for it ─ McMillions is a wild ride from start to finish.

https://www.hbo.com/mcmillions

 

  1. BoJack Horseman

Where to Watch: free with Netflix subscription

Alcoholic, drug-addicted horse BoJack Horseman and friends comprise this charmingly cynical, deadpan comedy. Unlike several other adult animations, each episode of BoJack’s six seasons must be watched in sequence, lest the viewer miss the subtle genius of the carefully crafted plot and character development. Now, did I go into the show expecting to cry on several occasions over the everyday antics of cartoon humans and humanoid animals in Hollywoo (spelling intended)? No. Did the writing of this show rattle me to my core? Yes. This show is not “feel good” or “mindless”. BoJack is for when you need an engaged escape, not a passive distraction. Give it a try, and at least stick around for “Back in the ‘90s”, the ending credits song performed by indie band Grouplove.

 

  1. The Haunting Of Hill House

Where to Watch: free with Netflix subscription

I am a horror snob. There was a time when I refused to watch Hill House. Paranormal horror doesn’t normally do it for me. I don’t believe in ghosts. I am not frightened by ghosts.

I was frightened by Hill House.

When the horrifying pasts of five siblings come back to haunt them, several lifetimes worth of ghastly truths are brought to life. From psychological thrills to jump scares, this show has a little bit of everything, catering to most horror fans (barring gore lovers, as the show is fairly carnage free). With one ten-episode season, Hill House will only take a few short days of undivided attention to power through but will haunt you for years to come. It’s even worth a rewatch or two simply to try and catch a few of the many easter eggs nestled in nearly every scene (hint: look for the ghosts).

 

 

  1. Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer

Where to Watch: free with Netflix subscription

You see a video of cats being tortured on the internet. What do you do? If you’re Deanna Thompson, John Green, or a number of other internet vigilantes, you painstakingly sleuth until you find the killer. What starts as a repulsive act of animal cruelty escalates into a story that is almost too bizarre to believe. The skillfully produced three-part docuseries is proof of one thing ─ life imitates art.

 

  1. Heathers

Where to Watch: free with Hulu subscription

The antichrist of 80s teen movies, Heathers is everything you could want or need in a coming-of-age film. Young Christian Slater channels Jack Nicholson in the misanthropic J.D., the rebel teen that takes the “bad boy” archetype to the tenth power, while Winona Ryder stars as the belovedly angsty Veronica, who always seems to be with the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, of course, when students start dropping dead from apparent “suicides” at Westerburg High School, Veronica finds herself right there in the middle of it all with J.D. beside her. A box office flop turned cult classic; Heathers is the little bloodshed-fueled film that could.

 

 

  1. The Act

Where to Watch: free with Hulu subscription

The Act reenacts the strange-but-true tale of Gypsy Rose and her mother Dee Dee Blanchard. But, what is on its face a doting mother sacrificing it all to care for her chronically ill daughter is gradually revealed to be far more sinister. Watch the lies unravel to a grisly end in the eight-episode saga, but don’t stop there. While entertaining, The Act isn’t fully satisfactory for the dire true crime fan, and ancillary research only enriches the experience of the show itself.

 

 

  1. The Shining

It wouldn’t be a Mackenzie Nicole-authored listicle if I didn’t somehow incorporate The Shining, the film I hold in high esteem as the best classic horror film ever made. This requires no explanation. If you haven’t seen The Shining, now’s the perfect time to cross it off your classic film bucket list. Heeeerrreee’s Johnny!

https://www.instagram.com/p/z5AC50GiHJ/

 

  1. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Where to Watch: free with Netflix subscription

AHA! You didn’t really think you were going to get through this entire list without seeing the most talked about project of 2020, did you?

As someone who’s been following the misadventures of Joe Exotic since September of 2018 (thanks, Last Podcast On The Left), I thought I knew everything there was to know about the outrageous casts of characters including and surrounding the self-proclaimed “Tiger King”. Boy howdy, was I wrong.

Imagine you’re charged with writing a Netflix special, but, oh no! You have writer’s block. You pick a card out of a hat that says. “mulleted, gay, polygamist tiger breeder”. You throw a dart at a board and hit “murder-for-hire”. You spin a wheel and land on, “2016 presidential campaign”. You drink a cup of tea and read the leaves to find they say, “she definitely killed her husband and got away with it”. Sprinkle in a semi-truck full of expired Walmart meat and what may or may not be a sex cult (looking at you, Doc Antle), and, congratulations, you just created Tiger King. The only difference? Tiger King is 100% real. No casted characters, no reenactments. Just pure, unadulterated Joe Exotic and company, for better or for worse.

View this post on Instagram

🐅 tigers do be having the range

A post shared by Netflix US (@netflix) on

 

Bio:

Singer, songwriter, and Strange Main/Strange Music artist Mackenzie Nicole recently released her new album Mystic, accompanied by the Mystic Video Series: http://smarturl.it/MysticSeries, that will lead to a short film release in May. She was also a guest speaker and performer on TEDx 2020 and her Ted Talk, Mystic: A Mental Health Odyssey is now live and can be viewed here:

 

 

Follow her at:

https://www.instagram.com/therealmackenzienicole

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *