Movies To Be Thankful For
Critics pick old and new movies plus binge-worthy series
November is the month to give thanks and since this year we are mostly celebrating the month at home looking for things to do, here are some suggestions for what to watch.
The parameters for these picks were to pick one old film to be thankful to have while sheltering at home, one new film to discover and one binge-worthy series. To help me with this endeavor and to offer some contrasting suggestions is Moviewallas' film critic Yazdi Pithavala.
My pick for an older film that I am grateful for is "Robin and Marian" (1976). Sean Connery just died and I grew up loving his Bond movies but then as I got older I appreciated him as an actor in films like "The Hill" and "The Man Who Would Be King." But the film that just brought a swell of emotions was Richard Lester’s "Robin and Marian," a beautiful, bittersweet often funny film about these legendary characters late in life. It was made in 1976 when I was a teenager and I remember it made me cry then, but seeing it again at age 60, it really makes you face your own mortality and to reflect on your life.
Pithavala went for a more recent foreign film as his older film to be thankful for: Hirokazu Koreeda’s "Still Walking" (2008). It is about a family coming together for an annual ritual to remember the son that died.
"It belongs to the genre of Thanksgiving movies where families get together and secrets get revealed," Pithavala said. "In this film to every single person in the family has good intentions but cannot help being who they inherently are. And that's where the conflict comes from. It's a beautiful film that I keep going back to again and again. There's something deeply universal about it and it's like a salve in our current times."
I am always thankful for new discoveries so I wanted to highlight a smaller, lesser known film. I am exceedingly grateful for fresh cinematic voices that reveal new perspectives. "His House" (now streaming on Netflix) is the debut feature of British director Remi Weekes. It focuses on a refugee couple from South Sudan who come to England and are given a house to live in but they bring ghost from their past that haunts them. The film recalls last year’s "Atlantics," which also dealt with African refugees and ghosts. What’s refreshing about both film is how African culture and folklore give a different flavor to the supernatural elements."
Pithavala's current pick is "Sound of Metal" which will start streaming free on Amazon Prime in December. It looks to a heavy-metal drummer played by Riz Ahmed, whose life is thrown into chaos when he begins to lose his hearing.
"This is a definition of a horror movie in that if we were to find out that any one of our faculties, particularly one which defines us, he happens to be a metal drummer, that's who he is, if you suddenly were to lose that, how do you deal with that?" Pithavala said.
There are so many shows worth binging right now but a new one that hit just the right notes was "Truth Seekers" (streaming on Amazon Prime Video). It was co-created by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz." It is a comedy about part time paranormal investigators. Each episode is an easy to digest 30 minutes, and there are great supporting stars in Malcolm McDowell and Kelly MacDonald. It’s funny, quirky and sweet-natured, a perfect antidote to any quarantine anxiety.
For a binge-worthy series, Pithavala turned to the show "Schitt's Creek," which recently dropped its sixth and final season. The show deals with a rich couple who lose their money and have to adjust.
"This the show started as a very silly, inane, almost one joke kind of story about a Kardashian-like family, which loses all their wealth and status and is forced to live in a really small town. And it started two dimensional and over the last six seasons, it's been very stealthily adding more and more depth to each of these characters so that now they are fully well rounded and you know them and love them for who they are, foibles and all."
Hopefully this will give you some choices to enjoy during a holiday season in a pandemic.