A week ago, it made sense to watch Outbreak. The film sat in my Netflix queue, among the most-watched movies of the week according to the app; what better preparation for weeks of social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic? Outbreak was a cable classic of my youth, with serious stars, satisfying procedure, and a happy ending that’s a little too neat. It’s perfect for streaming in the background as you get ready for bed.
I’m a film critic; the point of the job is watching movies, and I watch a lot of them. In 2019, I saw 154 new releases and watched more than 400 movies total, though plenty were along the lines of my casual rewatch of Outbreak. But now I’m staying inside for the foreseeable future, working from home in New York to help “flatten the curve,” which should be any movie lover’s dream. Like many people, I subscribe to multiple streaming services, countless films are available to me at the touch of a button, and I’ve literally been ordered by the government to not go out. Here are just a few approaches to movie streaming that I’ve tried over the last couple of weeks.
Make it a Project
Amid these stressful circumstances, choosing a movie to watch suddenly feels overwhelming, and playing something in the background seems like a waste of time. It’s the same principle that governs my decision to shower and dress every morning even though I have nowhere to go and no visitors. I still want to feel like I’m using the day for something. In a time when people are looking for small ways to claim control over their lives, and maybe be distracted, I decided to assign myself a project: tackling a list of movies I’ve never seen before. You might try something more specific, such as watching every movie by a certain director (maybe Hayao Miyazaki, the Wachowskis, or Nancy Meyers).