Fighting Quarantine Doldrums: Making a Movie List

Here we are in June, and things have long since blended together into one everlasting day. We’ve all done things to try and break it all up a bit. I started the family sprint challenge. Daniela worked her way through all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. MC has been reading anything in print in the house. But there comes a time when you have to keep pushing yourself to figure out a way to keep yourself occupied.

Daniela had been feeling kind of restless ever since her MCU binge was over. We just got KK Slider to join our Animal Crossing island yesterday, and it’s as if all the big “To Do” items were getting crossed off the list. I was feeling pretty blah in the evenings as well.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and I had a bolt of inspiration hit me out of the blue. Daniela had been really good to go when I gave her the list of MCU movies in order. She happily went down the list, checking them off one at a time. What if I came up with another list? A list of great movies she should watch?

I didn’t want to go through the trouble of making a list if I didn’t have buy-in, so I approached Daniela with the idea. She loved it. The two of us sat down with IMDB’s top 250 films, as well as many of AFI’s film list, and we ran through them. We wanted variety, and we wanted movies Daniela hadn’t seen before, and we wanted them to be age-appropriate. After about an hour, the list was done: 150 movies all told.

I printed it off and failed to save the file (because I’m a bonehead, I guess), so I can’t easily share the list here, but I actually think the act of creating the list was an essential part of the equation. Most of the movies on the list are ones I’ve already seen, though there are some on there that I have yet to come across. (I’m very weak in Miyazaki movies, for example.) Sitting there selecting the movies from a pool of films was a fun thing to do, and it makes the list seem more personable than one you just cut and pasted from online.

Why 150 movies? Why not. At least we’re pretty future-proof for the quarantine. If we finish all 150, then . . . I guess I’ll make another list. But so far, things have been going swimmingly. We watched WALL-E, His Girl Friday, Field of Dreams, and Rear Window. It’s a pretty broad list, which is good. We debated making it genre specific, but it’s more fun to mix things up. Tonight Ghost is on the slate. (Oh, and I alphabetized the list to remove any sort of preconceived ranking or genre grouping.)

The biggest problem so far has been deciding what movie on the list to watch next. Daniela solved that by having me mark down which of the movies we had access to for free right now (41), and then she had our Amazon Echo pick a random number between 1 and 41. Let me tell you: when you already have a list that’s agreed on, and you pick a random movie from that list, then all drama over what to watch next ceases. You announce to the family what’s on the slate for the evening, and they decide if they want to watch it or not.

Beautiful.

So if you’re trying to come up with something to do, might I suggest this as an option? I’m also having Daniela rate the movies as we go through. So far her favorite was Field of Dreams, followed closely by His Girl Friday. She’s going to be so well versed in film history by the time this is done! (Because of course I can’t help but give her a bit of an overview of the movie’s history and why it’s important before and after we watch each one. She’s learning about classic film stars and genres, directors, techniques. The works!)

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