Lockdown movies 1-24, reviewed and rated.

Published: 30th Mar, 2020

After all that, turns out I had a visit from our old pal COVID-19 after all. Not the off-the-shelf version with the cough and the fever mind you, mine was a different bake that stripped me of taste, smell, and the ability to get out of bed for over a week. Anyway, you’ve probably read about nine thousand coronavirus diaries by now, so I’ll spare you my plight and instead run you through the 24 movies that nursed me back to health, in the order I watched them…

Moneyball (2011) – You get the feeling that, after years of being far too sexy to be taken seriously, Brad Pitt is finally getting to be the Pitt he’s always wanted to be, and here he’s very much flexing his lovely bum cheeks as Pitt the Excellent Actor. Almost makes you care about baseball. I said almost.

Covid Rating: 15 (1 being turdballs, 19 being bees’ knees)

The Fugitive (1993) – Two things struck me. 1. Harrison Ford might be the best leading man we’ve ever had. And 2. From the reverse angle, this could be a comedy about an ineffective policeman and a convict who keeps blatantly waving at him.

Covid Rating: 11

Witness (1985) – Harrison Ford again, now at his most intense, and Kelly McGillis fresh from her gruelling tongue-work in Top Gun. They’re a couple you really root for – him the tough inner-city cop, her the Amish sweetheart who thinks hoovers are the devil’s work.

Covid Rating: 13  

Somewhere (2010) – Insane notion – and bear in mind that I watched this at the very height of my broken sleep and economic downturn – but this might be the find of the whole pandemic. Sofia Coppola back in Lost in Translation territory, but even bleaker/better. Stephen Dorff should be a superstar.

Covid Rating: 18

Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) – Tarantino now insists that Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 should be considered as one film, and that’s probably a good idea because this feels exactly like half a film. The ending, heavily spoilered as it is in the title, is a bit silly. He basically says “oh right, you weren’t kidding, you’ve killed me” and keels over.

Covid Rating: 12

Moonstruck (1987) – Just about everything you need from a Sunday night movie. Cher and Nicolas Cage dialling it up to a million, and an old Italian actor you swear you know but can’t quite place (turns out it’s the mum from Saturday Night Fever – you’re welcome).

Covid Rating: 10

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) – Essentially 1980s Dazed and Confused (great film), only without the bit where Matthew McConaughey, a grown man, brags about fancying schoolkids and everyone’s just “yeah okay cool, seems fine. Shall we go for a drive?”.

Covid Rating: 14

Rocky IV (1985) – One long soft rock montage, before Stallone delivers a patronising speech to the whole of Soviet Russia about how we’re all the same really, when you think about it (which, you could argue, was precisely their point). Gorbachev gives him a standing ovation. It’s a very bad film.

Covid Rating: 2

Ghost World (2001) – Definitely one of the great forgotten teen flicks, and possibly the best ever adaptation of a graphic novel. It’s got it all – awkwardness, alienation, elegant eveningwear matched with Doc Marten boots. Steve Buscemi.

Covid Rating: 17

Le Samourai (1967) – French for THE Samourai, this is one of those arty foreign films you’ve been warned about, in this case about a hitman trying to cover his tracks. Looks amazing, sounds amazing (magnifique soundtrack), from the legendary director Jean-Pierre Melville (who is tres good).

Covid Rating: 15

Mo Better Blues (1990) – Mo better on paper than it is on screen, unfortunately. The music, predominantly jazz, is terrific. There’s the correctly-rated Denzel Washington going toe-to-toe with the underrated Wesley Snipes. But like a trumpeter with a rampant ego, it starts strolling around the block wiggling its bum a bit too much.

Covid Rating: 9

Gregory’s Girl (1980) – Incredibly uplifting rom-com. John Gordon Sinclair as the most likeable romantic lead ever, Dee Hepburn as Lionel Messi, and one of the most surprisingly excellent soundtracks in modern cinema. Pure joy.

Covid Rating: 17

Police Academy 2 (1985) – A street gang, whose leader is quite possibly brain damaged, goes around dressed like hoodlums from the Michael Jackson Bad video, sweeping goods off supermarket shelves. But here’s the twist: it’s bad. Meaning really actually bad.

Covid Rating: 1

Chico & Rita (2010) – If you like Cuban jazz cartoons – or if you’re called Chico or Rita – this has your name written all over it. Looks and sounds spectacular, it’s occasionally quite sexy even though it’s all drawings, and then the ending arrives and it’s like they scrawled it on in felt tip.

Covid Rating: 10

Before Sunset (2004) – The excellent middle instalment of Linklater’s Before movies, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy wander around Paris falling in love, excavating their innermost thoughts, feelings, and insecurities. Hey shut up man – if anyone sounds pretentious around here, it’s vous!

Covid Rating: 16

Jackie Brown (1997) – The real Tarantino heads often have this down as his best film, but that’s bullshit, it’s not his best by any stretch – the new one is. Followed by Pulp. Then Basterds. Then this is fourth or fifth. Pam Grier is spectacular in it though.

Covid Rating: 14

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) – You’re in bed, it’s 9am on a Thursday and you just want something undemanding but riveting to watch. Ideally starring Walter Matthau, the sea dog from Jaws and George’s dad from Seinfeld. This should do it.

Covid Rating: 15

When Harry Met Sally (1989) – The faked orgasm scene in the diner goes on way too long and wouldn’t even cut it in bed. She’d be putting on the whole show, you’d be silently watching from below, slowly losing your erection. That aside, faultless.

Covid Rating: 16

Die Hard 2 (1990) – Everyone went nuts for the first one, so they just did it all again. At one point McClane, completely alone and to no one, literally says “I can’t believe this, another basement, another elevator – how can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?” It’s a very pertinent point.

Covid Rating: 8

Rope (1948) – At some point during my grapple with COVID-19, I realised that if it’s a thriller and it’s under 90 mins, I’m there with bells on. Hence this, murder mystery at a canter, famously filmed to look like it was done in one single take.

Covid Rating: 11

Blow Out (1981) – More proof that 70s/80s car chases only ever took place at the weekend, and always when there was some kind of parade or carnival to ruin. Also John Travolta’s third best movie performance (Fever, Fiction), as a sound recordist attempting to decode a murder.

Covid Rating: 13

Vivre Sa Vie (1962) – Jean-Luc Godard classic about Anna Karina going on the game in French New Wave Paris. Turns out, spoiler alert, that being a prostitute isn’t as fun as it sounds.

Covid Rating: 14

The Naked Gun 2 ½ (1991) – Talk about the great sequels – Godfather, Empire, Aliens – and no one ever mentions this one. Why not? It’s got a funnier sex scene, almost exactly the same gags, and a still-likeable, pre-murder OJ acting his arse off.

Covid Rating: 10

Birdman (2014) – Pulls off the old Rope trick of doing everything in one long shot, and features great performances from Norton and Keaton (Ed not Graham, Michael not Buster). The whole “social media sucks, man!” thing is a little over-seasoned, but otherwise excellent.

Covid Rating: 14

Josh Burt
About the author:
Josh has been a writer and journalist for the best part of twenty years and has written for modern staples like FHM and Cosmopolitan and The Daily Telegraph and The Sun. He has also written a small handful of so-so books that you can still buy.

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