As the fearsome Winter Storm Jonas marches up the Eastern seaboard, dropping six inches on Virginia and the Carolinas, thundersnow on Nashville and a foot or more on D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City, the stores have been looted and the essentials – toilet paper, ice cream, bourbon – have been acquired. But what to do when you’re stuck at home with your family all weekend? Look at each other?
Ha! Just teasing. Why look at your family when you could look at a screen?
We asked the editorial staff what they plan to watch this long, cold, thundersnowy weekend, in case you’re looking for ideas. Stay warm!
When I’ve got 8-12 hours to kill and nowhere to go, nothing beats a good rock documentary, and HBO has some amazing recent additions to the genre, including Alex Gibney’s Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown; Brett Morgen’s Crossfire Hurricane, about the Rolling Stones’ 1964-1975 prime; Martin Scorsese’s two-part George Harrison: Living in the Material World, and last year’s Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.
And if I get tired of amazing music (unlikely, but possible), I’d probably turn my brain off completely and go with some trash. If you are able to resist the insane garbage fire that is the reality dating show Ex Isle (on-demand on We), in which six former couples mingle at a resort, undergo counseling, and consider swapping partners, you are a stronger person than I. If my eyes are still open after that, I’d probably dig up an old movie from the deep EPIX on-demand library; The Dead Zone and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai are both old favorites, but something called Cannibal Women on Avocado Island, apparently made in 1989 and starring Bill Maher, Adrienne Barbeau, and Skinemax legend Shannon Tweed caught my eye and my curiosity about just how hilariously awful a movie can be may be more than I can overcome.
I think I’ll probably tear my way through Silicon Valley and Veep in Sling’s HBO on-demand library. I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of Silicon Valley and really liked what I saw. No time like the present to catch up before it premieres in April. Julia Louis-Dreyfus gives me life, so I’ll probably go ahead and re-watch all four seasons of Veep, again. It’s one of those shows that never gets old; I notice new jokes every time I watch it while still laughing at the old ones. I feel comfortable saying Veep is my favorite comedy on TV right now, but I know a lot of people say the same thing about Silicon Valley, so perhaps my tune will change this weekend. Either way, starting April 24th, my Sundays will be stacked with the return of Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and Veep back-to-back-to-back.
The important thing about a mandatory snow day is that you have to realize you’re not trapped at home. You’re choosing to be at home and enjoy the change of pace. Here are the films I’ve saved up for a snowy day at home.
Bob Garfield’s captivating interview with author Lawrence Wright two years ago on NPR’s On The Media was the inspiration for saving Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief to my watchlist. If, like me, you have only vague notions of The Church of Scientology this documentary promises to be eye-opening. (HBO on-demand)
The San Francisco of my imagination is that it is a far away city filled with progressives, cold mists, and now the tech elite. In San Francisco 2.0 filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi documents her hometown and the price of the progress there. I’ll be watching to learn about fundamental economic and social changes happening in SF and will see how these changes may be affecting other cities around the country. (HBO on-demand)
I don’t know what a “vigorish”, “clocker” or a “bug boy” are. Lucky for me, this well-reviewed nine-episode drama of Luck is available to watch on HBO without losing money to the “syndicate”. (HBO on-demand)
Having somehow missed watching more than one episode of all of Aaron Sorkin’s television shows (Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) I figure I should start watching his most recent series The Newsroom . We’re surrounded by TVs and talking heads and I want to go behind the scenes as a fictional television newsroom grapples with reality. (HBO on-demand)
To prepare for the six-episode revival premiering Sunday night, binge on the two cinematic entries in The X-Files franchise. Fight the Future (12:45pm Saturday, IFC) will remind you of the moment in the late ’90s when popular enthusiasm for alien conspiracies peaked, whereas I Want to Believe (10:15am and 3:30pm Saturday, IFC) will remind you of the moment in the aughts when… Wait—there was a second X-Files movie? There was, but you were probably too busy watching The Dark Knight in July 2008 to notice. Enjoy this messy monster-of-the-week movie with thematic similarities to American Horror Story: Asylum. But if you still prefer Batman and Robin over Mulder and Scully, then you can also watch The Dark Knight Rises (Sunday at 6:00pm, TNT).
It took Kate six tries to get her Oscar, and Leo could finally get his after his sixth nomination as well. Since it’s too cold to go to the theater to watch The Revenant, revisit Titanic, their first movie together and indulge in some cathartic ugly-crying. Afterward you’ll feel grateful that, no matter how cold and icy it might be outside, at least you’re not clinging to debris in the middle of the ocean, waiting for your soulmate to selfishly pry your fingers loose so she doesn’t have to share her stolen treasure.
Wait! I forgot all about the seven-hour re-edit of the first two Godfather movies, put into chronological order and with deleted scenes restored, with the third film mercifully excised completely. If The Godfather Epic (HBO on-demand) can’t get you through a snowy weekend, I don’t know what to tell you.