When you’re in lock down, you have to constantly think of new ways to entertain yourself. Many people have taken up new hobbies, such as baking, gardening, or arts and crafts. These are excellent ways to keep your creative juices flowing and take your mind away from the harsh realities of the global situation.
But if none of these activities appeals to you, nothing beats the simple pleasure of watching a good film. An excellent way to keep your household entertained in lock down is to throw a family movie night. A chance to recreate the currently inaccessible cinematic experience in your own home, watching film after film with the lights off and surrounded by endless buckets of popcorn.
Anyone can have a movie marathon; you don’t need a 75-inch TV screen or a home cinema. As long as you have a selection of films and something to watch them on, you’re all set. To get your night off to a good start, here are the four steps of planning the perfect movie marathon.
Figure out your set-up:
The very first thing you need to do is set up the technology required. What will you be using to watch the film? The bigger the screen you use, the better the experience will be, so opt for a TV over a laptop or tablet if possible. If you have the budget for it, you could enlist electrical contractor services to help you install a home entertainment system and surround-sound speakers, but it’s not essential. You can make do with what you have.
Pick the movies:
The crucial decision for your movie marathon is deciding what to watch. Although you can choose anything you like, the best movie marathons follow a theme: a common element linking each one of the movies you pick. This could be watching all the films in a series, such as the Lord Of The Rings movies or the Twilight saga. Alternatively, it could feature films by a single director. If you are watching with the whole family, it’s hard to find something for everyone, so you could keep all viewers happy by getting each person to pick one of the films.
Get some snacks:
It’s not a movie marathon without something to munch on while you watch. Popcorn is a must-have and you’ll need some fizzy drinks too. If you’re planning on going through the night, you might need some caffeinated beverages on standby! Make sure there is something for everyone and you’ve covered all dietary requirements. You should try to refrain from including noisy foods like potato chips, as these will distract from the film.
Make it comfortable:
The final step is to make the room as comfortable and atmospheric as possible. Turn the lights down low, set the heating or air conditioning to a cozy temperature, and turn off phones and other distractions. Make sure there are plenty of blankets and pillows for everyone to find a comfortable position but don’t make it too comfy or you might not stay awake to the end!
You can’t go wrong with a movie night to help shake the boredom blues. Turn your living room into the movie theater and enjoy!
Feel-good sports movies are the ultimate pick me up when you’re feeling a little deflated. Tales of team spirit, fighting back from adversity, and overcoming odds have been a staple of cinema for decades. Here are some of the most uplifting sports movies to seek out on your streaming accounts:
A League Of Their Own (1992):
During World War II, baseball was shut down as men went off to fight in the war. In its place arose the first women’s only league. A League Of Their Own is part comedy, part feminist statement, and all sports movie. Featuring an all star cast with Gina Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, and Tom Hanks.
One of the sports movie classics. Based on the true story of Daniel ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger who dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame even though he did not have the grades, the money, or the physical stature to play. Against the football betting odds, he works tirelessly to turn his dreams into reality.
With a very young Sean Astin in the main role, Rudy will tug at your heartstrings and put you through the emotional wringer from beginning to end, but it is well worth it. This was named as one of the top 25 sports movies of all time.
Dodgeball – A True Underdog Story (2004):
Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge. Dodgeball is an out and out comedy that sees the ragtag team from Average Joe’s Gym compete against Ben Stiller’s super athletes from Globo Gym in order to stop Stiller’s character from bulldozing their beloved gym to the ground. It’s over the top and absolutely hilarious.
Mighty Ducks (1992):
Emilio Estevez plays Gordon Bombay, a lawyer forced to do community service by coaching the local kid’s ice hockey team, The Mighty Ducks. He gets to face some of his childhood demons from when he used to play while trying to whip a bunch of less than talented kids into a team. It’s a great film for the whole family and you probably have fond memories of it from when you were a kid.
Cool Runnings (1993):
John Candy plays the coach of the first Jamaican bobsleigh team as they head to compete in the 1988 winter Olympics. All the odds are against them, but the Jamaican team brings their own brand of happiness and style to the chilly climate. This move is guaranteed to make you smile.
The Blind Side (2009):
Another movie based on a true story, which just goes to show that there’s nothing more interesting than real life. Sandra Bullock bagged an Oscar for Best Actress as Leigh Anne Tuohy, whose family adopts Michael, a homeless African-American student. With their support, he begins to improve his grades and become a world-class football player. Heartwarming stuff.
Field Of Dreams (1989):
When a farmer (Kevin Costner), hears a voice whispering “if you build it, they will come”, he builds a full-size baseball diamond in his cornfield despite the protests of his friends and the locals. From then on, the ghosts of baseball’s greatest players begin to come out and play on the diamond.
Major League (1989):
A ruthless baseball team owner wants to move the Cleveland Indians to Miami, so she puts together the worst team she can find so that they will lose all of their games. Soon though, the players find out what she’s up to and begin to start winning just to derail her plans. Starring Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, Tom Berenger, and Dennis Haysbert, Major League is a classic feel-good sports film with lots of laughs.
This was a tough list to put together, as there are so many great movies out there. The eighties and nineties, in particular, were golden periods for sports films. It’s a movie genre that never loses its popularity and continues to inspire us to this day.
Alright guys, as promised here’s my review and synopsis of the season premiere of American Horror Story: Hotel with the episode, “Checking In”. I think the best way to go about discussing the premiere is simply by introducing the characters who we had the pleasure of meeting tonight and outlining their role so far in the hotel. There were a lot of things that I liked and of course things that I didn’t care for, so let’s get to it:
Agie & Vandela: “Checking In” starts with the arrival of two twenty-something German girls who are in California to vacation at Universal Studios. However, as soon as they walk into the Cortez they instantly get the creeps and are put off by the fact that it’s farther away than expected to all of their vacation destinations. They ask Iris (Kathy Bates) if they could have a refund on their deposit to which she responds with a firm “no”. The girls are forced to stay in the hotel for the night but unfortunately they won’t even make it until then. In their hotel room Vandela and Agie discover a rotten smell which one of them describes as being like a “dead animal”. The girls realize that the smell is coming from the mattress and once they pull back the blankets they find crude stitching going all the way down the middle. They rip it open with scissors and out pops a badly blistered man with white eyes and horse teeth who is contorting and writhing in a most disturbing manner. A complaint to Iris gets the girls a new room and some questionable cleansing methods…
Iris (Kathy Bates): Fan favorite, Kathy Bates, returns this season as Iris, the hotel manager. With a short and brisk attitude we learn that Iris is a pro at covering up all of the dirty secrets of the Cortez. She also has an eye on the handsome John Lowe (Wes Bentley) which comes from the beautiful line she mutters upon meeting him, “woof”. Iris is the mother to the lover of The Countess (Lady Gaga). Her son’s name is Donovan (Matt Bomer) and thanks to a flashback we find out that he was a heroin addict who enjoyed shooting up with Sally (Sarah Paulson). After some stealthy detective work from Iris, she tracks down her doped up son and supplier in a room of the Cortez. Her son appears to be dead or near death and Sally begins to exit the premises only to be followed by Iris and pushed out of a window, falling to her demise. Iris then returns to the room where her son lies to find The Countess lounging beside him on the bed, preparing to turn him and his staggering good looks.
We learn in the premiere that not only is Iris a murderer but she’s also in charge of keeping the blood of the victims who fall to The Countess nice and clean. After Agie and Vandela get a new room from Iris (Room 64) things go all bad. One of the girls is found by the other lying on the bathroom floor with a sweet blonde child cowering over her with a blood soaked mouth. They end up in a chamber trapped in individual metal cages where Iris condemns them for the prescription pills she found in their luggage. She then tries to force the girls to drink a smoothie concocted from oysters, chicken liver, kidneys, and white wine to clean their blood for the consumption of The Countess. What a lady!
Sally (Sarah Paulson): One of my AHS all star favorites has to be Miss Paulson so I was very pleased to hear that she was coming back as a primary player in the Cortez, Sally. Because we know that Iris pushed her out of a window but she’s still somehow alive, I’m assuming that she’s a vampire as well. Sally is a heroin addict who has a soft spot for the captured girls, Vandela and Agie. She releases Vandela and unfortunately she falls right into the clutches of The Countess. In an extremely off putting scene where a doped up young man gets anally raped by a man yielding a spiraled pointed dildo who had latex-like skin, Sally appears. “The more you scream the more he likes it” she warns the stranger. I get the feeling that she has never had anyone in her life that truly loved her considering she begged the victim to “say ‘I love you Sally’ and it will all go away”.
The Countess (Lady Gaga) & Donovan (Matt Bomer): In “Checking In” we are introduced to Donovan and The Countess after a close up on a sign that says “Why aren’t we having sex right now?” The couple is preparing for a night on the town by applying makeup, snorting cocaine, and dressing to the nines. They go to a movie playing at a park where they attract the attention of a young couple. The first major scene to show off Lady Gaga’s acting chops ends up being a full on orgy turned blood bath after her and Donovan slit their throats with their rings with sharp talons attached. The scene closes with the couple lying in the blood of their victims and Donovan says “it’s not the getting ready, it’s the cleaning up” to which The Countess replies, “call housekeeping”. SASSY! I, for one, did not care for that scene at all but that’s just me. We learn that The Countess also has a brood of beautiful blonde haired children whom she’s kidnapped and turned. One of her “children” will definitely be playing an important role in the show, which leads me to discussing his father, John Lowe.
John Lowe (Wes Bentley): John Lowe is a father, husband (to wife, Alex, played by Chloe Sevigny), and detective. He has a daughter named Scarlett and had a young son named Holden. We follow John onto some of the gruesome crime scenes he’s investigating, which I’m assuming are linked to the Ten Commandments Killer. He is a dedicated father though, as we can see when he reads Little Women with his daughter via FaceTime. As he reads to Scarlett he gets a phone call and tells his assistant to take a message. Once he calls the number back we hear a man’s voice on the phone saying that he will be at the Cortez hotel and will kill again. He makes his way over to the hotel and is directed to Room 64 in which he ends up falling asleep and has a vision of his son, Holden, who was kidnapped in 2010. We see a flashback to this moment when the family was at a carnival and John took his son to ride the carousel. He gets Holden safely onto a horse and takes a phone call but when he returns, his boy is no longer there.
A lot of curious incidents happened to John in tonight’s episode like when his sushi dinner with Scarlett was interrupted by a text from his wife’s phone giving an address and saying she needs help. He rushes to the house with Scarlett in the car and leaves her there, telling a cop to keep an eye on her. He ends up in the pitch black home with his daughter following him shortly after. John approaches a man dressed all in black with what appears to be a top hat on his head but then he hears Scarlett scream. He finds her in a room with men hanging from their bed posts with their intestines hanging out of their stomachs. Yum! Due to Alex’s fear that whomever has been contacting her husband will harm their daughter, they both agree that he should go away for a while and the episode ends with John checking into the Cortez in Room 64.
Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare): Known for his weird as hell characters on AHS, Denis O’Hare returns as cross dresser, Liz Taylor. He pops up everywhere in the hotel – the hallways, behind the front desk, ect. I’m confident that he knows a lot of the hotel’s dark secrets so I’ll be looking forward to the further development of this character!
Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson): Will Drake is a fashion designer from New York who arrives at the Cortez with his young son and the intention to buy the hotel. His son is befriended by The Countess who asks him if she can show him something he might enjoy. She leads him to a hallway with a trap door that opens into a futuristic room filled with wall length Tetris boards and candy dispensers all being used by her brood of bloodsucking children.
So there you have it, the lowdown on the characters introduced to us on the season premiere of American Horror Story: Hotel. The episode “Checking In” brought us a unique cast of dwellers in the Cortez and an interesting story line so I can’t wait to see what next week’s episode will be like! How did everyone feel about the season premiere? Who loved Lady Gaga’s AHS debut? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah