As I’m sure anyone reading this knows, the 2020 election is this Tuesday. If you haven’t already, be sure to get out there, vote and make your voice heard.
With that said, politics in the United States has become an extremely toxic arena to spend a lot of time in. It’s easy to feel immense stress, hopelessness and general anxiety around any form of politics these days. Sometimes you just need to step away from it and take a breather.
To help with this, I’ve come up with a list of 10 films to help you escape from the chaotic social climate of this election cycle for a few hours. The films on this list skew away from political discussion and provide a simple and entertaining film watching experience. They’re in no particular order, and if you’ve seen them already, they’re always worth a rewatch.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” might be one of the best comedies ever put to screen. It’s endlessly quotable, infinitely rewatchable and always invokes an absolute riot of laughter. It’s far-and-away the most iconic material the Monty Python troupe ever put out, and if you haven’t seen it yet, now would be an excellent time to treat yourself and then subsequently be terrified of killer rabbits and sorcerers named Tim.
What We Do in the Shadows
With his work on “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Jojo Rabbit,” Taika Waititi has become one of the hottest directors in Hollywood right now. However, one of his least talked about films is the mockumentary “What We Do in the Shadows,” which follows the social lives of a group of vampires living together in modern day New Zealand. The film spawned a successful comedy series of the same name on FX, but the original film is still worth a watch. It might’ve been better suited for Halloween, but better late than never.
The “John Wick” series is probably the best series of action films to come from the 2010s. Nowadays, it’s rare that a series like this — not based on any preexisting material or properties — can find the levels of success that it has. However, after a single watch of the first film, it’s easy to see why. The action sequences in the “John Wick” films are absolutely stunning, and they’re just a blast to watch. There are currently three films in the series, and work is already underway on a fourth, so it’s best to hop on this train before it gets too far ahead of you.
David F. Sandberg’s “Shazam!” is one of the best superhero movies of the past few years, which is saying a lot. The film is basically “Big” meets classic “Superman,” and Zachary Levi is perfectly cast in the lead role. It’s surprisingly scary at times and incredibly heartwarming at others. It’s been tragically overshadowed by bigger Marvel and DC movies, but, trust me, this is one you don’t want to miss.
“Free Solo” is a documentary that perfectly encapsulates the determination of the human spirit. The film showcases professional rock climber Alex Honnold’s attempt to climb the 900-meter vertical face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without ropes or harnesses. It’s immensely nerve-wracking to watch someone climb that high without any sort of safety rope or net, but the experience of the film is well worth enduring the anxiety and stress. The film sucks you in and enthralls you with Honnold’s physical feats and dedication so that you can’t think about anything else — it’s perfect for escaping the election.
The Lord of the Rings
Man, I could talk about “The Lord of the Rings” for days. The Peter Jackson-directed trilogy is collectively my favorite movie, and they are an absolute must-watch for anyone. They’re on this list because they so wonderfully transport the viewer into the world of Middle-earth and onto an epic journey that will bring the viewer to the emotional brink and back again. That, and, if you’re dedicated enough to watch all three of the extended editions back-to-back, it becomes a 12-hour endeavor that will surely take up all of election night.
Shaun the Sheep Movie
This may seem like an odd movie to include on this list, but “Shaun the Sheep Movie” is without a doubt one of the most delightful animated films of the past decade. There’s virtually no dialogue in the entire movie, just a stop motion-animated sheep and his friends traveling to the city to save their farmer. There’s really not much else to it, but it’s impossible to watch this movie without at least a smile on your face.
“Cold Pursuit” is a strange movie. The marketing for the film makes it look like a cliche Liam Neeson action movie about his revenge on whomever was unfortunate enough to wrong him. However, this film is basically a parody of that concept, and it still stars Liam Neeson. It’s a strange action comedy that constantly keeps the audience in a state of wondering, “What am I watching?” in the best way possible. It deserves more attention than it gets, and it’s perfect if you’re just looking for a surprisingly funny and over-the-top action movie.
“Crawl” is one of the most underappreciated thrillers of the past few years. It’s about a girl and her father who are trapped in a basement during the middle of a hurricane. The twist is that they’re trapped in there with a number of alligators. They’re trying to escape the basement and get to safety without getting eaten along the way. It’s an incredibly tense movie to watch, and, while it does get a little cliche at times, it will undoubtedly hold your attention.
Finally, I decided to include “Onward” on this list because it’s an excellent Pixar movie that has unfortunately been lost in the background of everything chaotic 2020 has been. It’s a wonderfully animated and incredibly wholesome fantasy adventure about two brothers learning to appreciate one another. It’s available on Disney+, so I’d recommend watching it, even if only to appreciate that there have been some good things to come out of this year.