With a lot of time on our hands over the summer and with various streaming services, what better way to spend all of that free time than watching something on TV, your phone, or computer? If you find yourself with nothing to watch, then refer to this list of movies and shows you should give a try even if they don’t seem to be your style of entertainment. There will be alternatives to all if you have a different streaming service.
*CW = Content Warning (forgive me if I miss some)
Available (with purchase) on Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV.
A movie that tells it’s own story about Nezha, a teenage protective deity who protects teenagers and professional drivers. As believed in Chinese mythology, Nezha was carried by his mother for 3 years and 6 months until he was finally born with superhuman strength and ability to speak. To learn more about the deity, visit this website.
The movie starts with a bit of background information that tells us about a Mixed Yuan Bead that is split into 2 beads, a spirit bead and a demon bead. Before being born, Nezha was to receive the spirit bead, but instead was birthed with the demon bead. Having the beads switched, Nezha grew to be feared and was isolated from the rest of the village. After being persuaded by his mother, he seeks to learn how to protect the village in hopes of painting himself in a new light.
Available on TNT; also (with purchase) on Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, iTunes, Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video.
CW: Violence and language. Following two brothers on a journey to find their father as they meet supernatural creatures along the way, Supernatural starts off with Sam and Dean Winchester who were both trained to become hunters and protect the public from the supernatural. However, Sam wanted to go on his own path and went to college, wanting a normal life away from it all. Unfortunately, Dean shows up to his dorm and tells him that their father has gone missing to which he needs his help. This starts their adventure as they look for their father in various states and ask those that work with him.
Available (with purchase) on Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and Apple TV.
After falling out of his owner’s car, Rango, who is a chameleon, is left to adventure on his own which lands him in a desert. He quickly adapts to his new life, but runs into trouble along the way
Available (with purchase) on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
CW: Violence and language. In a world full of high-tech inventions, Black Mirror is a show where each episode is about technology in a dystopian world and its effects. The episodes also include different casts each time.
Available (with purchase) on Netflix.
Soul Eater is a classic anime that is about three teams that consist of a meister and their weapons that are also humans. Maka Alburn and Soul Evans go on adventures with their friends at the Death Weapons Meister Academy. Black Star, Tsubaki Nakatsukasa, Death the Kid, Patty, and Liz.
I recently came to the realization that once I graduate high school, I will not relate to movies that surround themselves around a high school plot. Yes, you can watch Superbad in your late 20s or whatever but you won’t be able to say, “Oh yeah; I’m in high school just like them.” Only now can you watch these movies before it’s too late to semi relate to them. (I also recommended when to watch them because every movie has a place and time.)
•The Edge of Seventeen, dir. Kelly Fremon (Hulu premium subscription): Protagonist Nadine’s brother decides to date her best friend; and although that’s a common trope in movies, they make good use of it. It drives the plot of Nadine (Haliee Steinfeld) having no friends or social life because of that relationship.
When to watch: the year you’re seventeen years of age, or when you “feel” like you have no friends.
•Easy A, dir. Will Gluck: Olive, played by Emma Stone, is a nobody, ghost, does not exist to her peers around her at school and an acquaintance begs her to fix his reputation by pretending to sleep with him. People finally notice her and now like the hypothetical bad reputation she’s created for herself.
When to watch: Junior to senior year, or before you want to do something to make yourself “popular.”
•Ladybird, dir. Greta Gerwig (Netflix): Ladybird, played by Saoirse Ronan, is a teen girl whose life you get to experience with her. She doesn’t have the biggest presence in school or feels like she lives in the right house but she is just a teenager living her life. She has big dreams for her future and nothing too big happens, but everything that does happen is just enough. Her love-hate relationship with her mom was finally something that felt real in any movie I’ve seen and her first boyfriend is my favorite character, played by Lucas Hedges (an under-appreciated actor!)
When to watch: Senior year (I’m thinking winter break).
•The To-Do List, dir. Maggie Carey (Hulu premium subscription, Amazon Prime: premium subscription, Showtime): Brandy Clark, played by Aubrey Plaza, is a straight-A student who didn’t do anything promiscuous all of her high school career but when she’s graduated, the tables have turned. She decides to “to-do” everything she missed out on, the summer before going to college.
When to watch: The weekend after graduation.
•The New Guy, dir. Ed Decter (Hulu premium subscription, Amazon Prime: premium subscription, Starz): Self explanatory. It’s so bad it’s good. Okay that’s harsh but some moments feel so cringe-worthy that they are enough to make you laugh from second-hand embarrassment. It felt like an off brand Disney movie.
When to watch: Any time in high school.
•Charlie Bartlett, dir. Jon Poll (Pluto TV, Tubi, Amazon Prime): Charlie, played by the late Anton Yelchin, is a privileged private school white boy who desperately wants to be liked. He gets kicked out of every private school he goes to for doing something “cool” to make people like him, like making fake I.D’s for everyone and now he’s forced to go to public school for the first time. He becomes the public school’s psychiatrist and is able to help the kids while also building bonds with everyone.
When to watch: Any time in high school.
•17 Again, dir. Burr Steers (Netflix): You’re watching the wrong Zac Efron movie if you’re not watching this one. Mike O’Donnell (Efron) wishes he were “17 again” and his wish comes true while everyone in his life stays the same age. Mike needs to realize why he chose to stay with his pregnant girlfriend at 17 rather than become a pro basketball player because the burden and regret of not choosing his dreams derive from thinking he chose the wrong life.
When to watch: Summer before senior year.
•Rushmore (1998), dir. Wes Anderson: Max Fisher, played by Jason Schwartzman, is a pretentious, passionate, creative boy who has the privilege of a private school’s fine arts department budget. He fails every common, core subject class, but excels at after school extracurricular activities–most of which he started himself. It’s a story-like movie that is quirky and enjoyable.
When to watch: On an uneventful Wednesday night.
•Donnie Darko, dir. Richard Kelly (Tubi, Pluto TV, Amazon Prime): Young Jake Gylennhal struck the landing with this one and every movie after; he always makes a movie better. You don’t know whether Donnie is crazy, eccentric, or advantaged to the average person. A demonic rabbit tells him the world is going to end in 28 days and I think Donnie believes it. It felt like it was in the same universe as American Beauty.
When to watch: Any time in high school.
The Dynamic Duo
•Back to the Future (1985) dir. Robert Zemeckis (Amazon Prime and Netflix): A must see ‘80’s classic. You need to understand every Marty McFly and Doc Brown reference future media might bring you. It’s actually not self-explanatory because most of the movie is Marty, played by Michael J. Fox, going to the past, which then changes his dad’s future for the better.
When to watch: Any Sunday morning of high school.
•Ghost World, dir. Terry Zwigoff (Hulu premium subscription, Amazon Prime: premium subscription, Starz): Your only friend is your best friend and all you do is bully people and make fun of stuff. Enid, played by Thora Birch, and Rebecca, played by Scarlett Johansson, just graduated high school and both are on job hunts to fund the apartment they want to get together. Rebecca sticks to the plan but Enid fans out into a different venture, having to take a summer class and not fully graduating, and creating a new friendship out of her bullying habits.
When to watch: Summer after graduation or any Thursday night.
The Infamous Trio
•Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, dir. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon: Greg, played by Thomas Mann, has no “friends” except his buddy that he hangs out with every day. Greg refers to him as a co-worker because in their free time they like to make short films about the movies they’ve watched. Greg’s mom forces him to hang out with the girl who has cancer; and even though they initially dislike each other, after forcefully hanging out for weeks on end they become friends… there’s no romance in this one (they actually just stay friends the whole time!). As the title suggests, she does die in the end (but that’s not the point so still watch it).
When to watch: Any Monday through Wednesday afternoon when you have free time.
•Dope, dir. Rick Famuyiwa: Malcolm, played by Shameik Moore, is a straight-A student with perfect SAT scores and he feels like he’s ruined his life in one night. His backpack is filled with illegal substances as blackmail for dancing with someone’s girlfriend; and now, this boyfriend character dude has a reason to seek out Malcolm and beat him up.
When to watch: Any Monday after school when you have free time.
•Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) dir. John Hughes: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Everyone loves him but his principal hates him. Ferris, played by Matthew Broderick, decides to skip school one day. Everyone in town learns he’s “sick” and campaigns for Ferris to get better soon but he’s actually out and about living his ditch day to the fullest. From a baseball game to a parade float performance, it’s just enough entertainment to take in. Cameron’s character, played by Alan Ruck, is my favorite in the movie.
When to watch: Any Saturday morning.
•Superbad, dir. Greg Mottola (Netflix): “I am McLovin”
Hopefully you’ve seen it already, but if not, it’s a 2000’s must-see classic. Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, and the other dude (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are simply trying to get beer to Julie’s party (played by Emma Stone). The world is against them but it might be for good reason because it’s an awesome movie by the end.
When to watch: Any Friday night.
•The Virgin Suicides (1999) dir. Sofia Coppola (Pluto TV, Amazon Prime: premium subscription): The Lisbon girls live in a strict household where their rebellious nature only causes more harm than good. The boys on their block never get to be close to them but they daydream of being with the Lisbon girls, as friends, as boyfriends, as someone they would talk to. The title itself is revealing. Also, what a great soundtrack.
When to watch: On an uneventful Saturday night.
•Detroit Rock City (1999), dir. Adam Rifkin (Tubi): A friend-group of four have undying love for the band Kiss. They get tickets to the upcoming Kiss concert but one of their moms finds the tickets and burns them because she thinks Kiss is against Christian values. The group still goes to the concert because nothing stands against them and their idols, even without proof of entry.
When to watch: Any Sunday night.
•Breaking Away (1979), dir. Peter Yates: Dave thinks he’s Italian and wants to be in competitive bicycle racing, dreaming of one day being in the “Tour de France.” In reality, he’s American and lives in Bloomington, Indiana. He trains every day and with the support of his friend group, his dream doesn’t die.
When to watch: On an uneventful Sunday.
•Freaks and Geeks, 1999 (Hulu premium subscription): Many big names who got their first big part are featured here like James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, and Busy Phillips. There’s a lot of small cameos from young actors who also got big. A very high school show (teens being teens doing teen things). There’s a relatable aspect you’ll attach to no matter who you are.
When to watch: Any time in high school.
•Sex Education(Netflix): Finally characters who aren’t bland and have life to them as a whole person in a show about teenagers. Who knew what good writing could do for a show? A show for everyone; you can’t hate it. I’m serious–you can’t hate it.
When to watch: Junior year.
•The End of the F***ing World(Netflix): James, played by Alex Lawther, thinks he’s a psychopath from not feeling emotions his whole life, and Alyssa, played by Jessica Barden, wants to live a different life (one where she doesn’t live with her weird stepdad). They make a pact to run away together to find Alyssa’s dad. Someone kills someone and the story unravels itself on two teenagers not knowing what to do but Alyssa’s confidence leads the way.
Sweet Homewas originally a manga from an app called Webtoon, but now, you can watch Sweet Home onNetflix.The show is about a society that has a virus that turns people into monsters. Once the people become monsters, they exhibit and act upon the hidden and deepest desires they had while they were human.
The main character Hyun Cha is an orphan who lost his family in a car accident. He and his neighbors fight vigorously to defend themselves from these creatures. Cha’s apartment becomes a safehouse for non-infected humans.
Both the manga and the show give chilling thrills and freaky jump scares that really put you to the edge of your seat!
Sweet Home is a Korean manga, and it’s important to note that the show contains some profanity. This might not be a good fit for those squeamish around gore; however, it is a really good thriller and action paced manga and show.
About Hyun (Manga version)
Hyun lived with his family until the fateful day he chose not to go on a family trip with them. While driving on the road, his father became distracted which resulted in the family’s fatal car crash.
Instead of mourning, Hyun brags about how he is going to survive on the money he inherits. He makes no plans to attend his family’s funeral which results in his relatives kicking him out. He goes to live in a small studio apartment by himself. Over time, the world becomes filled with monsters.
The manga provides amazing character development, allowing you to become attached to each and everyone of them. Though the manga has ended, this doesn’t stop fans from wanting more. So fans continue to beg the creators and ask them if they will continue the series. So far, the fans’ petitions have gone unanswered.
The show has received over 1.2 billion views because of the intense excitement from the manga readers! It received 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and many other positive ratings.
Though season one is over, the cliffhanger ending has fans all hoping there is more to come. Sweet Home fans–stay tuned!
Netflix has a new Korean show called The Guest. It takes place in South Korea and will get you hooked on the very first episode. Of course, that may not happen if you’re not a fan of horror.
Heaven of Horror explains the opening of the show this way: “In episode 1 of The Guest, the three main characters are introduced. First, we meet them as kids as we essentially witness how their lives end up being shaped by brutal events in their childhood.” You soon see them as adults. One is a psychic taxi driver who was born into a long line of shaman, one is a Catholic priest, and the third is a detective who is following in her mother’s footsteps.
Although at first the action and events in The Guest may seem slow moving, the more you watch, the more addicting it becomes. Give episode one about twenty minutes, and then WATCH OUT!
So far, there is only one season on Netflix, but all sixteen episodes contain situations that will leave shivers running down your spine!
Warning: This show is not meant for young children.It contains bloody and terrifying subject matter.
Christmas time + Quarantine = an even more perfect time to binge-watch holiday romance shows. The endless possibilities might have you going crazy but Netflix can definitely help with that, giving us Dash & Lily. When a movie is too short to touch base on things it should, and a show is dragged way too long, people tend to stay away (for the most part).
Dash & Lily is an 8-episode rom-com series that takes place during Christmas. Dash (Austin Abrams) is a teenager who hates Christmas; he convinced his divorced parents that he’d be staying with each other during this time, and they were free to travel or whatever they wanted. This left him alone in his dad’s apartment in New York. He spends his time in a bookstore called The Strand, just like our second main character Lily (played by Midori Francis).
Lily is a teenage girl looking for love. She was left alone with her brother, Langston for Christmas while her parents traveled to Fiji, and her grandpa visited his secret girlfriend in Florida.
The show brings its focus to Langston (played by Troy Iwata) at times. He finds himself in a new relationship with Benny and is sort of trying to figure out how serious it is. Although the show mostly focuses on Dash and Lily, Langston learns some lessons and has a meaningful story.
During one of his times at The Strand, Dash finds a book written by a mysterious girl. It is a series of dares and riddles. He finds a lot of interest in this and realizes whoever must’ve written it must be sadistic and sophisticated. Before returning the book, he writes his own set of dares. Leading to a constant exchange of it, daring each other to get out of their comfort zone. Once one of them completes the dare and writes their dare and entry or riddle, they leave the notebook where they completed the dare, whether it’s with a friend or hidden from the public. Slowly, they start to fall in love. Of course, not everything is perfect. The two teens have their own set of problems that might pull them apart… but that’s for you to find out by watching.
The dramatic irony implemented had me clicking “Watch Next Episode” the second after the previous one was done. The show did change a lot of things from its original source: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. But both are still enjoyable and perfect for this time of the year. I loved everything from the casting to the music choices and even the book allusions.
I also especially liked the representation. The series has diversity which is something a lot of people love seeing. Lily’s brother, Langston is part of the LGBTQ+ community and his relationship with Benny is a big part of his story. Lily’s family is Japanese, and the show was not afraid to display her heritage on multiple occasions.
Let’s talk about the cast. Austin Abrams plays Dash in the series. He’s best known for his role in The Walking Dead as Ron Anderson. He also appears in Euphoria, and This Is Us, as well as in films like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Chemical Hearts, with Lili Reinhart. Midori Francis plays Lily. She is best known for her lead role as Lily in the film Good Boys. Her grandfather is played by James Saito. He has been working in the industry since 1970. He’s the original shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), and is well-known as Dr. Chen in Eli Stone.
As a teenager, here to represent the collective, I can confidently say that all adolescents are ignorant and naive to all the thrills and worries life will bring to us, eventually. The split is fifty/fifty between anxious and egotistical personalities in teens, but Rue Bennet–the main character of HBO’s Euphoria–is both. In the presence of others, she’s the arrogant hard hitter, who in the face of death can be calm and collected, but when it comes to her first crush, Jules, the real emotions shine through.
Rue (played by actress and singer Zendaya) is battling addiction with drugs that put her in a place of complete loss of self control. Her everlasting mood swings keep her life on edge and the people around her on their toes. She is a grand character to be placed on a throne in the midst of every other character with just as interesting of a backstory, but Euphoria’s new attachment to the show–dedicating two episodes to our main characters without the glitter, grand color, epic montages and glitter tears replaced with actual tears–is a change no expected was coming.
Everyone saw Euphoria as a “vibe,” disregarding the glorification of drugs with its moments of the reality behind it. Euphoria is indeed a “vibe,” so when the newest episode dropped, most people’s reaction was dumbstruck.
What happened to all the colors, lights, filters, witty dialogue, and EVERYONE ON THE SHOW?!
This new addition being introduced in the next month is not to be referred to as a “new season” but as a special. “Euphoria, Part One: Rue” is its own thing, but it connects itself to the show. “Part Two: Jules,” coming out on January 24, 2021, will be about Rue’s girlfriend, Jules.
What these parts (specials) focus on is the character inside these fictional people. Along with having been playing their characters already and knowing their backstories, we will now go deeper into their mindset, values, and headspace.
“Part One” is set on Christmas Eve. Rue has called up her sponsor, Ali, after relapsing, and they meet up at a diner. They sit and talk about many problems they’ve had in their own life, problems there are in life and in society. The spotlight on drug addicts and mental health shines brightly and you can’t manage to look away.
You get to sympathize with Rue after all the bad things she’s done to the people around her; but even then, she acknowledges the bad things she’s done. She knows what she done wrong and deems those things as unforgivable. A tough break is shot through, by Ali, for her to understand nothing is unforgivable. With the many aspects of different situations, forgiving is the key to change. Ali (played by Coleman Domingo) delivers a golden line, saying, “People keep doing things that we deem unforgivable, and in return, they decide there’s no reason to change. So now you’ve got a whole bunch of people running around the world who don’t care about redemption. That’s scary.”
With the many talking points, both Ali and Rue bring to the table, Ali shows Rue that she isn’t all she seems out to be, a horrible person, and that she has a lot of work to do to reach where he is, overcoming drug addiction. You will not expect or can even imagine what other points they talk about because what they discuss is honest–it’s real. There’s no sugarcoating the many damaging things life can bring our way, but they manage to tackle every point well and not leave you asking for more, even though you’d hope it’ll go on forever. It’s just perfect.
The episode has managed to be stuck in the back of my head for days now, and I even rewatched it. It became better after the second watch. You can admire almost every second of this episode. Rue’s facial expressions, Ali’s phone call with his children, and the connection between the two; but a moment that stuck with me, without any dialogue, is the last scene. Rue and Ali finally get up to leave, and Ali gives Rue a ride home. For two minutes straight, the camera zooms in on Rue’s face. After an hour long talk, Rue sits in the passenger seat with all this new knowledge and stays silent until the credits roll. To imagine all the things going through her head after having lived her life is too much to handle. She had a nonchalant expression that then turned sad.
There’s only so much to expect in the future from Euphoria and so much that they’ll bring that we didn’t know we wanted.
The second season of The Mandalorian is underway and only two episodes away from its season finale. It stars Pedro Pascal as “Mando,” Gina Carano as “Cara Dune,” Carl Weathers as “Greef Karga,” Giancarlo Esposito as “Moff Gideon,” and Rosario Dawson as “Ahsoka Tano,” with Temuera Morrison taking the role of “Boba Fett” (after playing his father, Jango Fett) and Grogu (baby Yoda) who is voiced by David Acord.
The story currently follows on Mando’s quest to find his and Grogu’s kind to raise him and help him control his powers. In the meantime, he is helping people to honor his code and gain information; all while being pursued by the remnants of the Empire.
The show takes its time to establish the people and communities that Mando meets and his effects on them. It also gives us insight on the different Mandalorian cultures across the galaxy and how Mando’s culture has a problem with taking off helmets while most other Mandalorians don’t. In season two, the show focuses more on Mando’s relationship with Grogu as a fusion between a funny/straight man and a father/son act.
The Empire seems to want to use Grogu as a means to clone something ominous under the jurisdiction of seemingly Grand Admiral Thrawn from Rebels. In the latest episode, Grogu is captured by the Empire and Mando seeks the help from Boba and a returning Fennec Shand (played by Ming-Na Wen). We have yet to see what pans out from this in the next couple of episodes.
Something to look forward to is the many characters from past Star Wars media coming back, such as Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan (played by Katee Sackhoff) from the Clone Wars/Rebels TV series, and the legendary Boba Fett from the movies.
Ever since quarantine started due to the Coronavirus, both cadets and students have developed new hobbies such as cooking, art, working out, skating, sports, music, gardening, and some have even gotten jobs. This is really important because while being in quarantine students can’t go out with friends or go out to socialize, so they’ve been keeping sane by binge watching shows and movies.
Let’s start off with shows they’ve been watching throughout the pandemic. So far, the most popular shows include Criminal Minds, The Office, Outer Banks, All American, Shameless, American Horror Story, Grey’s Anatomy, Orange is the New Black, along with many more.
Popular choices for movies include The Greatest Showman, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Mulan, Central Intelligence, The Notebook, Avengers, The Titanic, and many more.
Now if you’re wondering how they’ve been watching both shows and movies, many cadets and students have been using streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, HBO, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Due to the ease of streaming, many students have rewatched many shows and movies more than once.
Lastly, here’s a look at some popular snacks consumed while binge watching. Here are the results of a poll I did showing popular snacks for cadets:
30.4% – Candy
26.1% – Popcorn
15.2% – Chips
13% – Chocolate
8.7% – Nachos
4.3% – Ice Cream
2.2% – Fruit
So as you can see, many students and cadets have different snacking preferences when it comes to watching movies or shows.