I love channel surfing. There’s no better feeling than scrolling through the guide and finding a movie that you haven’t seen in a while. Oh, The Martian is on FX? I guess I can wait another two hours before starting my homework.
Some variation of such procrastination happens to me at least once a week. Other nights, though, I have to settle for whatever Marvel movie is on that day.
I know what you’re thinking. Why don’t I just use Netflix like every other college student?
Netflix is incredible for a movie-lover like me, but I get overwhelmed by all the options. I feel like I have to watch something new, but I also want to know all of the options they have. I waste all my time scrolling through each category, not leaving enough time to even watch a movie. So if you’re like me, or don’t feel like watching an episode of The Office for the eighth time, here are some recommendations for you, based on your mood.
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I need a movie to throw on, but I won’t be paying attention the whole time:
Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010) (available Sept. 16)
Maybe you like having something on the TV while doing homework. Sure, let’s go with that.
Either way, Scott Pilgrim vs the World is a fun, light movie with solid acting performances from a now all-star cast. Directed by Edgar Wright (Baby Driver), it stars Michael Cera in the lead role, a 20-year-old who’s in a rock band.
At the beginning of the movie, Scott is dating Knives, a 17-year-old high schooler. Yikes. Eventually he meets Ramona, realizes she’s the love of his life, and then ditches Knives and starts dating Ramona. The only problem: Ramona has 7 evil ex’s that Scott must fight in order to keep dating her. Don’t worry, this movie is nowhere near violent (this isn’t the Cera from ‘This is the End’). The film follows Scott as he fights each ex and competes in a battle of the bands competition.
It’s almost shocking how famous this cast is now, and how perfect they are for each of their roles. Cera, Aubrey Plaza (basically playing her same character on Parks and Rec), Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans (pre-Captain America!) and Brie Larson get a chance to shine and deliver laughs. Edgar Wright uses fast dialogue and quick editing to keep the movie lively. He eliminates almost all transitions between scenes, and as a result the film feels a lot quicker than its 1 hour 52 minute run-time.
I’m paying attention, but I don’t want anything too intense:
Out of Sight (1998)
Out of Sight is a cute mixture between romantic comedy and a crime thriller starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. Clooney stars as Jack Foley, a career bank robber. The film begins with Foley executing one of the most simple, yet brilliant, bank robberies. Unable to start his getaway vehicle, he is arrested and sent to jail. Jennifer Lopez plays Karen Sisco, a smooth U.S. Marshall having guy problems. While Jack is escaping prison, Karen happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and gets trapped in the trunk of the getaway vehicle with Jack.
When they separate, the plot for the rest of the movie starts to become clear: Karen attempts to track down Jack even though they are obviously attracted to each other. The film becomes more of a ‘will-they-or-won’t-they’ romantic comedy rather than a crime thriller. It may sound crazy that Karen would even consider a relationship with Jack, but you totally buy it after seeing their scene together in the trunk. Clooney is smooth throughout the film, his movie-star prime. This movie certainly led to Clooney being able to help the Ocean’s franchises. Lopez is stunning as always and Ving Rhames plays Buddy, the best friend that every criminal would hope to have.
Out of Sight is one step higher than Scott Pilgrim because you have to be paying attention in order to follow the plot. The film frequently jumps timelines, never explaining what is in the past, present or future. It’s eventually clear that all the jail scenes occur in the past, and explains why Jack and Buddy are going to Detroit.
I’m locked in, give me something to think about:
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Gone Baby Gone is a thrilling crime and mystery film that will keeps you guessing while also questioning their morals. Directed by Ben Affleck, the film stars his younger brother Casey Affleck as Private Investigator Patrick Kenzie. When a 4-year-old girl is kidnapped in South Boston, Patrick and his girlfriend, Angie (Michelle Monaghan) are hired to investigate the case. They work with Detective Remy (Ed Harris) and Captain Doyle (Morgan Freeman) to safely find the young girl and bring her back to the family.
Of course, the case is far from straight-forward. People named Skinny Ray and Cheese are involved. The mother of the girl (played wonderfully by Amy Ryan) doesn’t make the case any easier. The movie is entertaining in itself because of the well-done performances and the many twists-and-turns that occur in the case. What sets Gone Baby Gone apart is the conclusion. Characters disagree, but the movie doesn’t pick a side, it makes the audience choose their own. You can ultimately decide who is right, wrong or if it’s impossible to answer.