​The Enforced Couch Potato Survival Kit!

glenn criddle

enforced couch potato survival kit—glenn criddle—may 2020

As a long term film nerd, my escape from the rigours of life has always been in film. As I sit here typing away, surrounded by shelves of films, I once again offer up a list of easy to get films from the most common sources, a little something to help get you through the weeks. You'll find these on Amazon Prime or Netflix either cheap or free (with Prime) or of course you can generally find these things cheap as second hand DVD and Bluray.

Shaun of the Dead

Horror comedy as a zombie outbreak hits London and Shaun has to take his friends and family to the only safe place an Englishman knows.... The pub.

Part one of the 'Cornetto Trilogy' and it's a loving nod to George Romero's classic of horror. It's all a fun (for the adults of course), tongue in cheek homage-fest that manages to carry it's own identity along with it while supplying loads of laughs and at the same time it doesn't shy away from doing what zombie films are supposed to do. It's an uncommonly well performed balancing act of horror and comedy that rewards the genre fans without pushing away those not in the know. If you get a chance, also watch the other two entries in the 'Cornetto Trilogy', Hot Fuzz and The Worlds End.

Twin Peaks: The return

One for those up for a bit more of a challenge, or at least something really stunning to look at. This is David Lynch back at doing what he does best as we pick up from 20 years after the end of the second season and find the mystery is back in full force. Coop's trying to escape the lodge while his dark doppelgänger is causing mayhem in the real world all while his friends reopen the investigation in to what happened and what's going on.

Be ready to be challenged with this TV series. It doesn't hand you everything on a plate and it gets seriously weird, violent and disturbing at times but for the adventurous it holds some serious treats with the added bonus of being something that rewards those willing to work (or roll) with it. Episode 8 is off the scale and is pure, distilled David Lynch, and I do realise this isn't a film, but it sure has the sensibilities of Lynch's best movies.

The Marvel films

An obvious one but the film series seems to be available for really cheap rental at the moment on Prime. It's an epic story with larger than life characters and stands as probably the only cinematic universe to actually work so far. Watching the entire run from end to end would certainly kill some time and in a manner that will be entertaining to most film fans. If you want some well made, well thought out escapist nonsense then you can do far worse than this.

The Decent

Neil Marshall takes us underground with a group of pot-holers who discover something quite horrific deep down in the earth. Claustrophobia and the dark aren't the only things to be worried about when they find they're not as alone as they thought.

I love this movie. It hits so many of the right notes when it comes to suspense. Being a slow burner it takes its time to play the audience and twists itself into a very different film in the second half but it's rewarding, tense and scary enough to draw you in. If you want a good and scary distraction from the world then turn out the lights and put this on.

Clue (1985)

Not the 2014 version... That's a whole different movie. Based on the board game we find a group of six very odd people invited to a party, but when their host is murdered they have to discover who it was that committed the foul deed.

Clue is certainly an oddball little film that's one of the only films I know of that managed to take the premise of a board game and craft a fun and faithful story from it. Featuring a great cast, including the wonderful Tim Curry, it's wacky without being obnoxious and has a lot of fun with the pseudo- Agatha Christie shenanigans. Don't expect a solid murder mystery though, this is a parody and isn't nearly as well written as the good examples of the things it pokes at, but it does enough of that stuff to give you the idea. Bear in mind the fact that Clue has three different endings (there was also apparently a fourth) and it should be clear that the mystery is hopelessly loose, but it's all fun, enjoyably frivolous and now a cult classic after its initial failure.

Well hopefully you'll find something there to help blow away the isolation blues, at least for a few hours. There's a world of wonderful films that are out there for free or that you can get cheaply and these are just a few that come to mind. While the studios and distributors are charging through the nose for their films, or employing the archaic regional restrictions policies, it can be difficult to see the current releases but with the wealth of older films out there and the most common subscription services (not to mention Youtube etc.) you've got so much choice and it's a great time to go outside you comfort zone and discover some movies you've never given a chance to before. Have fun with that, it's a constant source of pleasure for me to find great films I've never seen before.

For now, keep safe, keep healthy and see you all again next month.

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