If you're finding yourself with a bit more time on your hand thanks to self-isolation due to the coronavirus, then you might as well dig through some of Netflix's less obvious choices and do a little extra binge watching. I didn't want to make an article about a bunch of stuff I haven't seen, and I didn't want this to be some pretentious hoity-toity thing about watching hard-to-watch movies so you can act like you're better than people. What we really need right now is entertainment. Real entertainment. And these are a few movies and TV shows you might have missed that will truly entertain you, whether they're designed to thrill you or make you smile.
I'll admit these selections skew towards comedies, but that's just the type of person I am. I hope you have similar taste as me because if you do, you'll love this list. It's not all comedy, though. We've also got British drama and German science fiction. Don't be afraid to branch out and try something new while you're in quarantine!
The show is a 12-part Japanese miniseries based on a manga of the same name from Masayuki Kusumi. The star is a retired man named Takeshi Kasumi who sort of brings to life this wandering samurai inside him when he re-discovers the joy of drinking a cold beer in the middle of the day or eating a meal with his wife. This is a show that will make you hungry with its close ups of delicious food, but it will also rekindle your love of samurai and make you want to visit Japan if you haven't already. The stakes are low. He's not out to save the world or unite feudal Japan, and much of the story is told through the emotions playing out on the main character's face.
Slice of Life
Just a show about a Japanese man who retires and starts to rediscover the joy of eating and drinking. In that exploration, he also kindles the samurai warrior in his mind.
Tom Papa's You're Doing Great
This isn't even a movie or a TV show. It's just a standup comedy special. Netflix has hundreds of standup comedy specials, and you could probably just choose one at random if you were feeling like a little bit of comedy. And trust me, I have. I've seen most of the specials on Netflix. So why am I choosing this one in particular? Because it's the one we need right now. Tom Papa is the "Zen Master" of comedy according to Patton Oswalt, and you'll feel that on display in this special. Somehow he makes you laugh without hardly ever telling a joke and still makes it relatable to all the struggles you're going through every day. And don't we need something like that right now?
Laugh a Little
Bored at home because of a virus you can't control? Stress eating? Worried about what people think of you? Got problems you don't want to talk about? We all do. Don't worry. You're doing great.
Okay no more comedy for a second. You know what the world needs a lot more of? Tom Hardy. You know what Locke has a whole lot of? Tom Hardy. It's a British drama set in a car, a BMW, going down a motorway. And the whole movie is just Hardy talking on the phone as he drives to London. You'll hear some familiar voices like Olivia Colman, who plays a woman going into premature labor with Locke's child, and Tom Holland, who plays Locke's brother, Eddie, but you'll never see them. Live out this man's life over the course of several phone calls and see every bit of acting Tom Hardy can do from a seated position.
Answer the phone
Locke is a movie as much about a guy named Ivan Locke as it is about Tom Hardy's ability to create facial expressions. It's filmed entirely in a car on a trip from Birmingham to London. And it's fantastic.
The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience
Okay, just kidding. I'm back with more comedy. Imagine a rap album. Then imagine it's a full-length feature film. Then imagine it's being sung of baseball legends Jose Conseco and Mark McGwire. Then imagine those two are being played by Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer. Now don't imagine it. Watch it. You don't really even have to like baseball to appreciate the over-the-top comedy and musical talent of these two.
A Visual Poem
If you ask Jose Conseco, he'll tell you. Don't judge a book. This Lonely Island collaboration is hilarious and will keep your toes tapping... by its cover. Don't judge a book by its cover. Nailed it.
The Tiger Hunter
The Tiger Hunter stars Danny Pudi, and more things should star Danny Pudi. If you don't know the name, you either know him from his character Abed in the amazing sitcom Community, but he has also had cameos in Captain America: Winter Soldier and Star Trek Beyond. Now you should see him in this. This is the first movie from writer and director Lena Kahn. It's a comedy, but it's probably not going to make you laugh out loud. It will, however, put a smile on your face, which is perfect if you've been feeling a little less like smiling lately.
Get the Girl
A movie that shows you what it's like to be part of a group of Indian men living in America in the 1970s while chasing a girl and trying to put those skills as an engineer to work driving a cab.
Dark is the only entry on this list I have not seen myself, but I really really want to. I have been meaning to sit down and watch it for a long time. So what better time than now? It's a German science fiction thriller that involves time travel, disappearing children, dark pasts, and a whole lot of English dubbing over German actors. It's the sort of show you need to pay attention to. But it's also the sort of show that will leave you thinking about it the rest of the day until you can finally binge through to the end.
Wormholes and Teenage Angst
This a 2017 show that starts in 2019 but visits 1989 and 1953 among other times. While exploring time, you'll also explore the relationship between four families and their dark pasts.
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Keegan Prosser is a freelance contributor based in the PNW. When she's not writing about her favorite streaming apps and devices for Android Central, she's listening to a true-crime podcast, creating the perfect playlist for her next road trip, and trying to figure out which fitness tracker she should try next. You can follow her on Twitter @keeganprosser.