Movies don’t have to be great for me to love them. In fact, I prefer them to be a little stupid, a little vapid or a little too self-indulgent (I still draw the line at any and all Michael Bay movies, though). My favorite movie was (and I guess, still is) Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle. I’m no film buff. Clearly, I do not have a trained eye nor any legitimate standing that qualifies me to recommend movies. But I want to anyway. Because I do know how movies make me feel, how they look to my eyes and how they manage to always inject a dose of whimsy into me when I need it most. I find that movies have the potential to lift people’s spirits, make them feel more human and more connected to others. They heighten the sense that life is full of meaning and boundless in opportunities. We need that. Especially now. Especially with everything going on.
So, in quarantining with the boothang, I have found solace in the fact that our nights in seclusion have welcomed a sacred little ritual to consistently look forward to: Movie Night!!! Here are my top 5 favorite picks. In them, I have found a multitude of tiny, beautiful and exciting moments that helped me escape the often inescapable reality defining this point in history. We all need moments that expand our imagination. We all deserve moments that take us beyond the confines of our little home movie theaters–even just for a moment. (This ride with you has been fucking magical, Jack!)
→ Training Day (2001)
Situated in the thick of Los Angeles’ twisted and hardcore crime scene, “Training Day” chronicles a bright-eyed, innocent rookie cop (played by Ethan Hawke) as he must confront the brutal, bitter realism of crime. Opposite, Denzel Washington plays one of film’s most notorious anti-heroes, detective sergeant Alonzo Harris (and it’s worth mentioning that he won an Oscar for Best Actor for this role).
→ If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” is the beautiful, haunting film based on the work of James Baldwin. It combines the stunning and bitterly honest prose of Baldwin with Jenkins’ delicate and powerful visual storytelling. Through the lens of America’s racialized past of criminal injustice, “Beale Street” portrays love and loss in Harlem’s 1970’s and celebrates black love, black families and black people.
→ Inside Man (2006)
Directed by Spike Lee, “Inside Man” is a harrowing, fast-paced thriller that chronicles the power plays between a genius bank robber–and the detective assigned to him. And it shows you how to flawlessly execute a Wall Street bank heist in a 24 hour timespan, if you were ever curious
→ Dark Waters (2019)
“Dark Waters” is a 2019 biopic that chronicles Robert Bilott’s real-life journey to take down one of the world’s largest corporations after he uncovers the horrifying consequences of a corporate giant left unchecked. Needless to say, he checks them. This gripping film rattles the consciousness of the audience and takes time to consider the unquestioned systems that permit ironclad concentrations of power in America. Oh, and you will never use a Teflon pan ever again.
→ Queen and Slim (2019)
A tale of two lovers on the run, this film is very much our generation’s Bonnie and Clyde. However, “Queen and Slim” is able to contribute an authentic, stylish voice to the classic tale that is much more sinister, powerful and resilient. Thus, it is able to fully savor every humane moment and steamy exchange between the two protagonists and wholly confront every systemic injustice they face on their journey. "Thank you for this journey, no matter how it ends." -Queen