With everything going on in the world right now, and especially since so many businesses and public gathering places are closing for several weeks, many of us will be spending a lot more time home.
And that includes those of us who like going to the movie theater.
As worrying as things are, part of social distancing and remaining calm will include sitting on the couch and watching movies and TV shows among reading, listening to music and other activities, and I hope you will watch a lot of the same things as me.
First of all, there’s regular TV with your NBC, CBS and ABC shows, especially your local news station. From there, re-runs of recent shows on TBS or TNT or even older classics on TV Land and ME TV can keep you reliving in the good old days of your youth for hours on end. As for movies, you can’t beat AMC or Turner Classic Movies.
Next, of course, is your premium cable TV stations that you order specifically or get for an extra cost with a dish provider or digital. This includes HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Showtime and The Movie Channel. The great thing about these stations is their variety of movies and original TV shows with limited commercials.
And finally, we come to the future of television and movies: streaming services. Netflix was way ahead of the curve by releasing its first original series in 2013 with “House of Cards,” and since then, the likes of Hulu, Amazon Prime and, most recently, Disney+ have been gobbling up Emmy and Golden Globe awards and millions of viewers from your traditional channels 2, 4 and 7.
While it’s not perfect nor ideal for everyone — you do need the internet, after all — the great thing about these streaming services is that they have “everything” all in one place. I put “everything” in quotation marks because obviously you can’t get everything. But for as little as $9 a month for some services, you can get a large sampling of everything out there.
To use myself as an example, my girlfriend and I have Hulu for $12 and both Netflix and Amazon Prime for $9 for a total of $30 a month for our TV. But that means for a dollar a day, I can watch all their original shows and movies, any movie any of the three services has and plenty of old and new TV shows they have from regular cable channels that they stream later on.
While TV is great, I also love to watch movies. Granted, I have a large DVD collection of many of my favorites, but there are plenty of times when I am in the mood for something I used to have on a VHS tape but haven’t watched in years. And other times, there are new movies I missed at the theater several months ago but are now on Netflix for free or Amazon to rent for $1.99.
Let’s look at Netflix first, which made and released a couple of the best movies of 2019, “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story.” These are big-screen quality movies that received tons of critical and popular praise, and you can watch them from on your couch any time.
One of the best movies of 2018, “Roma,” was also a Netflix original, as is “The Other Side of the Wind,” the long-lost Orson Wells/John Huston movie that was completed by Netflix in 2018. You can see all four of these in one month for $9, which is worth the price right there.
While Hulu doesn’t do original movies, it does have a nice selection of recent and older favorites that are often exclusives you can’t watch anywhere else. Brought onto Hulu in just the past few months has been comedic biopic satire “Vice” about Dick Cheney, the coming-of-age teen comedy “Booksmart” and one of the best action movies of the decade with the sixth “Mission: Impossible” movie. But you can’t ignore their original programs either, including miniseries like an adaptation of “Catch-22” and three seasons of “The Handmaids Tale.”
And finally, there’s Amazon Prime, which is a little different from the others. While it does have some great originals, it also has a huge selection of movies. The catch is, some you have to rent and some are free with the service. But for my money, I’ve been watching — and now rewatching — “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which may just be my favorite current TV show that has taken the top spot from “Westworld.” A brilliant comedy about a Jewish female comedian in 1960s New York City, it has some of the best writing and performances of the past decade.
So keep calm, wash your hands, don’t hoard toilet paper and spend more evenings at home catching up on some of the best movies and TV shows of the decade. Don’t worry, I’ll still be reviewing them over the next few weeks.