Pandemic Profs: 5 Movies to Binge Watch

Stock image of a women eating popcorn while watching a movie.

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Christian Browne, a junior communications studies major isolating from his home in Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County). 

This is the perfect time for movie lovers. While many of us would love to be out in the sun, something that many of us haven’t had the chance to do is be cozy at home and watch some movies with those we live with. There are a lot of movies both new and old that have come out which capture the eyes of people and make them scream, cheer and laugh.

Here are five movies that you should definitely check out while at home and where you can find them.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (R)

Movie poster for Portrait of a Lady on Fire, showing a lady with fire at her feet.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is truly one of the most stunningly beautiful films that I have ever seen. This film teleports you to 17th century France with the artwork and beautiful views throughout the movie. The film is about a painter named Marianne who travels to paint a woman who is in the process of an arranged married set up by her mother. However, to paint Héloïse, Marianne has to make this art piece without Héloïse ever finding out, doing it based on memory. The film shot by female director Céline Sciamma touches a lot on the harsh truths and reality that women had to face during this time period as well as sexuality, love, and creativity. While I won’t spoil it for anyone here, the ending will leave you wanting more. This work of art is currently on Hulu. 

Forrest Gump (PG-13)

Movie poster for Forrest Gump, showing actor Tom Hanks sitting on a bench wearing a suit and holding a box of chocolates.

“Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get”-Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump is my favorite movie of all time. Before every film major and alum come after me, I know Pulp Fiction got robbed from an Oscar. This is also, in my opinion, the best movie ever made and Tom Hank’s best performance of his career. Throughout this 2.5 hour journey, we see the life of Forrest Gump from childhood to after he finally moves from the bench. It’s a movie that takes you on every possible emotional ride from happiness to sadness, from cheering to crying. You feel the highs and lows of Forrest Gump throughout the movie and it makes you root for this lovable underdog. So if you have a box of chocolate, go eat some while you watch this movie, which you can find on multiple streaming platforms like Hulu and Starz.

Finding Nemo (G)

Movie poster for Finding Nemo, showing a blue cartoon fish and an orange cartoon fish swimming.

Maybe this is a nostalgic pick or the fact that I wake up every day surprised to see a fish tank in my room with little Spammy swimming, but Finding Nemo is a classic. This beloved Pixar film came out when I was only 5 years old which makes me feel ancient. After rewatching this film, it’s surprising how well this movie holds up to the modern era of film. It’s a simple story of a fish who becomes lost from his dad; and his dad and his new friend go on an adventure to find the lost child. This movie is extremely funny and very enjoyable for both young and older audiences. If you have a younger sibling or children who you are looking to watch fun movies with then this is my recommendation for you! You can find it on Disney Plus.

The Social Network (PG-13)

Movie poster for The Social Network, showing a close up of the left half of the face of the actor playing Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Words on poster: You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.

Love it or hate it, Mark Zuckerberg changed society forever in 2003, when he and other Harvard students created Facebook. This thrilling drama, which is based on a book by Ben Mezrich, showcases the origin of Facebook, how it was created and features most of the real-life players who helped to propel this concept into a billion-dollar company. Jesse Eisenberg, Spiderman himself Andrew Garfield, and even Justin Timberlake give the performances of their lives capturing the craziness and thrills of creating a company and the heartbreaking realities that come with the price of money. There are so many quotable lines from this movie and the climax of The Social Network is easily the most satisfying of the last decade. While Facebook now may seem like an app for older people and for you to show pictures for your family to see and comment about, this movie helps to capture the importance of Facebook at the time and how it played such a huge role in college students across the country. So when you are done scrolling through funny cat memes on Twitter, put on Netflix and watch this film that robbed Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher of an Oscar.

Moonlight (R)

Movie poster for Moonlight, showing an African American man staring straight ahead, with patches of light on his face in various shades of blue and purple.

If you would’ve told me that a coming-of-age film about a gay African American boy living in a rough neighborhood would win the Oscar’s Best Picture award in my lifetime, I would’ve thought that you were insane! Throughout my lifetime the only type of films that I have seen be truly recognized by the Oscars, have been films related to my culture’s heartbreaking past. And as a person in the creative world, diversity matters and to be able to see someone with the same background as you are huge for any person. While most people tend to focus on the controversy of that night, it shouldn’t overshadow how truly groundbreaking this film was. I have been alive for 23 years. And while you see a lot of coming-of-age stories, I never have seen one with the main lead being an African American man like myself. While Chiron’s struggles are different than mine and others who are not a part of that community, there are many African American gay men who have faced the same discrimination and hardship within their own that he has to overcome in the film. While I loved La La Land, Moonlight is a film that will have an impact on so many people in the years to come. Many young African Americans within the LGBTQ community and other communities will be able to look at this film and its brilliant director Barry Jenkins as a building block to expand the minds of people who may not yet understand their lives. You can check out this masterpiece on Netflix. 

Grab some popcorn and start watching these amazing films.

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Story by:
Christian A. Browne, junior Communication Studies major

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