In just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has swept through the globe, leaving major businesses—including the film and entertainment industry—struggling to cope with the new normal.
Movie studios and television companies all over the world are now rethinking their old ways. Here in the Philippines, most television and film productions have been suspended due to the government’s announcement of a community quarantine in Metro Manila. Television news and entertainment shows have turned to online platforms and improvised means to deliver information and entertainment without the physical set or studio. Blockbuster film director Antoinette Jadaone even explored this idea through the “Unconfined Cinema,” reimagining the possibilities of using social media platforms like lnstagram to stage a love story live, with the unwitting audience watching, passing time amidst the lockdown.
Hollywood and many other international production outfits have also shut down, rescheduled movie releases and brought television productions to a complete halt. The fear of spreading the virus through unavoidable human contact while on the set is hard to dismiss.
The financial ramifications are now felt by filmmakers, theater owners, and everyone making a living producing these films and shows. Good thing, distribution of old, well-loved shows has cushioned some companies from the impact of the pandemic, at least as far as audience retention is concerned.
This is good news for someone like me who’s been living in self-isolation for almost two months. Watching different shows helped me cope with this unthinkable situation. It lowered my level of anxiety and gave me deeper appreciation for films, especially as to how they were crafted prior to this pandemic. Here’s a list of great films that I missed before that I finally got to watch.
1. American History X (1998)
This is a different Edward Norton compared to his roles in “Primal Fear” and “Fight Club”. With a buff physique, skinhead look and a swastika tattoo, he plays the role of Derek Vinyard, a guy who was taught about racism by his father, a fireman who died while doing his job. This led Derek to live a life of crime and violence and got him behind bars.
I love how the film showed scenes in Derek’s past in black and white and the present time in full color, further emphasizing how previous events and his actions resulted to a turning point in his life and a heart wrenching consequence concerning his younger brother, Danny.
Watch American History X on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/18002692
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
I’ve always been a fan of stories told in reverse, and this film definitely used that kind of sequence to its advantage.
If you’re someone who’s trying to forget a bad memory or relationship, your emotions will definitely be stirred by this story about the introvert Joel Barrish (Jim Carrey) and eccentric extrovert Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) who met and fell in love again after erasing memories of each other with the help of a medical facility called Lacuna. The story told in reverse helped unravel sentiments about love and loss, forgiveness and the regret of wanting to forget everything.
Watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/60034545
3. The Godfather (1972)
Friends have been convincing me to watch this 1972 iconic film based on the best-selling Mario Puzo novel – an offer I can’t refuse. I’m glad I finally watched it because this almost 3-hour film was worth it.
This film revolves around the story of one of the most influential mafia families in New York during the 1940’s, the Corleone family led by the powerful and firm Vito Corleone famously known as “The Godfather”. This movie gave us a sneak peek on how family ties weave through a story of betrayal and vengeance and how certain events can make someone transform into a totally different person. Looking forward to watching the rest of the trilogy!
Watch The Godfather on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/60011152
4. The Invisible Guest (2016)
This Spanish mystery thriller film revolves around the story of a successful entrepreneur accused of killing his lover. He had to prove his innocence to his witness preparation expert by insisting that another person committed the murder so she can come up with an impregnable defense in a short span of time.
The twist and turn of events leading to the revelation of the truth will leave you holding on to your seat, engaged and breathless.
Watch The Invisible Guest on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80093106
5. Metro Manila (2013)
Netflix is also filled with Filipino blockbuster films and finding “Metro Manila” was like finding a gold mine.
It is a British independently produced film set in the Philippines and tackled the journey of a family that moved from the countryside to Manila and found themselves holding on to desperation and unforgivable acts just to survive.
Though veteran actor John Arcilla had a big role in the film, the movie didn’t need to have an all-star cast to perfectly reflect how life and death occur in big city slums without any exaggeration.
Watch Metro Manila on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/70268473
6. The Post (2017)
It was definitely striking and reflective when I got to watch this 2017 Steven Spielberg film.
“The Post” tells the story of the Pentagon Papers, unraveling the battle between the press and the White House in 1971 and struggle of the powerful to keep the secrets horrors of Vietnam War under their wraps.
Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks played the role of the publisher and editor of the Washington Post respectively, in the tug-of-war regarding the publication of the McNamara Reports. The sound, set design, and tension during the conversations and scenes in the film made it seem authentic.
I couldn’t have watched it at the more precise time. This film is all the more relevant, now that the importance of press freedom is a key issue around the world, especially in this pandemic. “The Post” definitely is an eye opener which makes you look into the past to be reminded of what should be held true and right.
Watch The Post on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80192932
7. Red Dragon (2002)
The first sight of Hannibal Lecter, one of the most feared and loved iconic villain in history, definitely chilled me to the bone.
Red Dragon which was a prequel to Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, reprises Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter and gave us a glimpse of what his civilian life was like before he was revealed as a cannibal and was caught by FBI agent Will Graham. Ironically, he aids Graham to track down the “Tooth Fairy”, a mysterious serial killer played by Ralph Fiennes.
This film had big shoes to fill in, but it met our expectations since it still made us feel almost the same menace brought by its acclaimed sequels through the combined horror of Hopkins and Fiennes.
Watch Red Dragon on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/60024908
8. The Shining (1980)
It was difficult to sit alone through this Stanley Kubrick classic about a man named Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who had to transfer with his family to a deserted and eerie hotel during its off season for work.
Yet you will be hooked to the haunting music played in the film, the long, silent takes which leaves you anticipating what’s the frightening thing that’s going to happen next, its cinematography which can actually make you gasp and be amazed at the same time, and the shift of Nicholson’s face throughout the film – from being kind and clean-shaven to crazy and terrifying.
Enduring this horror film which I can consider the best I’ve watched was definitely worth it.
Watch The Shining on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/959008
9. V for Vendetta (2005)
This political thriller film based on a novel was set in the year 2020 where a virus has also spread throughout the world, thousands are dead, and a dictator rules in England who promises security but not freedom. Only one man was brave enough to go against the government, a masked man named V (Hugo Weaving) who finds an ally in Evey (Natalie Portman).
It was an engaging film where the main character was seen as both a villain and a hero, its plot and scenarios could be very much relatable and somehow resemble how governments function in certain countries, creating controversies and conversations about the film.
Watch V for Vendetta on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/70039175
10. The Two Popes (2019)
I’ve been meaning to watch this film which was one of the most talked about last year and I’m glad I finally got time to watch it. This biopic film shows the relationship between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) and their opposing personalities and opinion on religion, faith and other controversial issues.
Bryce and Hopkin’s portrayal of their roles were remarkable and but what I really liked most about the film was how it showed the humanity of popes. As Pope Benedict the XVI said to Pope Francis during one of their heartfelt conversations in the film, “In God, we move, and live, and have our being. We live in God but we are not of it. You’re only human.”
Watch The Two Popes on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80174451
[Entry 302, The SubSelfie Blog]
About the Author:
Apple Gamboa is the Creative Team Lead for PayMaya, the leading digital financial services provider in the country. She was previously a Media Relations Manager for Ogilvy Philippines and an interview and field producer for GMA News programs Quick Response Team and News to Go. She was also a producer of lifestyle TV shows and documentaries. Travelling and music are her passion, and taking risks is her reality medicine. Journalism 2010, UST. Read more of her articles here.