The events of the last few weeks have ratcheted up my anxiety in unprecedented ways. I struggle to fall asleep, sleep fitfully, and wake up exhausted. But instead of staying off my devices before bed, as the experts have recommended, I am doomscrolling, then self soothing with shows, movies, and podcasts. For anyone who’s going through the same thing, here are some movies I’ve enjoyed lately.
I had read just about every article written about AlphaGo back in 2016 so figured there was no need to watch the documentary when it came out back in 2017. But I recently stumbled across it on YouTube and decided to watch a few minutes while getting ready for bed. A few minutes turned into 90 minutes. I thought the movie perfectly captured the excitement and disquietude of the 5-match series between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol, and I enjoyed the explainer of how a fairly simple neural network managed to beat out the brightest human mind in Go (at the time; Lee has since retired from professional Go).
Buffaloed is superficially a rowdy comedy about ambitious, foul-mouthed Peg (played by the charming Zoe Deutch, whom I enjoyed immensely in Netflix’s Set It Up), but underlying the many cheap jokes about Buffalo is a criticism of the consumer debt industrial complex. But don’t worry, the activist undertones are not moralistic; it’s a supposed to be a cheeky monomyth of our inexorable and inveterate heroine, set in gritty Buffalo. It’s a good time!
The mother-as-antagonist theme is one that really unsettles me, so I normally avoid it (the last such movie I watched was I Am Mother back in 2019), but I also love a runway hit so couldn’t resist tuning in to Run. after reports came out that it’s Hulu’s most watched movie ever (in its opening weekend). The plot is fairly predictable, but I thought the concept was executed well: the story never dragged and there were enough twists to keep things fresh. And it’s not too scary, so fellow scaredy-cats should give this a try!
I filter a lot of the content I consume by their participants (that is, it takes a lot of convincing to get me to watch a Matt Damon or Kevin Hart or Mark Wahlberg movie). Andy Samberg falls into a similar category of actors that I am turned off by, which is why I watched Palm Springs months after it first arrived on streaming (and after much pestering from Hulu). But I was pleasantly surprised! It’s a “sci-fi romantic comedy”–two of my favorite genres–and employs the time-loop plot device in a refreshing way. The tone is overwhelmingly playful, but turns surprisingly contemplative at times. While I thought the pace dragged a bit in the middle, enough (mostly fresh) plot twists keep the plot moving until the end.
I recently rewatched Constantine after I learned a sequel is underway (!!). I don’t watch many horror movies because I am a scaredy-cat, but Constantine feels more like a detective story with an antihero superhero than a supernatural horror film. If you like Keanu Reeves’s other action films, like The Matrix or John Wick, then you might also enjoy Constantine.
Edge of Tomorrow
Another movie I rewatched recently because of sequel hype is Edge of Tomorrow. This sci-fi action thriller works in part because it’s not self-serious; and it stuck to the winning formula for the genre: convincing CG, charming leads, and thrilling action sequences. And it does all three well. Most importantly, (spoiler alert) it has a happy ending!
Have you watched any good movies lately?