By Adrian Salopek, Staff Writer
Are you bored at home with nothing to do? Are you wanting to spend time with your friends but can’t think of any fun activities other than working on homework or refreshing the Worldometer Coronavirus Update religiously? Check out these five Netflix movies from the comfort of your own bed.
Skype or Facetime your friends and turn it into a fun movie night using Google Chrome extensions like Netflix Party, which lets you kick back and hang out together over screens from the comfort of your social distancing at home.
If you’re in the mood for a good laugh:
The Other Guys, rated PG-13
If tasteless and excessively silly movies are your thing, you can’t afford to miss this classic. Directed by Adam McKay, this crime comedy stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as a pair of two New York City cops. Ferrell plays the bespectacled new guy on the force while Wahlberg plays the tougher guy of the pair. Outshined by another duo of officers, played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, Ferrell and Wahlberg are dubbed “the other guys”. Things change when they are handed a case to investigate a shady capitalist. What follows is 107 minutes of endless laughter that is sure to lighten you and your friends’ mood during this time of collective isolation.
If you want to escape COVID-19, but not entirely:
Contagion, rated PG-13
If you’re a fan of viruses and are more in the mood for movies that play off of pandemics such as the one our world is facing right now, this movie is for you! Starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet, this movie follows the pandemic caused by a new fictional virus, MEV-1, and the fight of scientists across the globe to stop it. Make sure to stay tuned until the end; you will be left reflecting on how easy it is for a deadly virus to spread and yield catastrophic results.
If apocalyptic movies are your thing, but you also want to laugh:
Shaun of the Dead, rated R
If your friend group is keen on apocalyptic movies, but isn’t in the mood for something too heavy, make sure to check out the British cult classic, Shaun of the Dead. A comedic movie that pokes fun at zombie movie clichés, Shaun of the Dead stars Simon Pegg as Shaun, a likable loser, and Nick Frost as Ed, his roommate. Shaun’s life falls apart when he is dumped by his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield). Just when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse, the dead return from their graves as zombies to take over the UK. Follow Shaun’s comedic journey with your friends as he tries to not only survive a zombie apocalypse but also rescue his ex-girlfriend from zombies, just as you battle that temptation to go out and start a comedic journey of your own!
If you enjoyed this movie, check out Hot Fuzz, another Simon Pegg classic that is sure to be on the same wavelength as Shaun of the Dead. In fact, go ahead and have a movie marathon!
If you’re craving something wholesome to take your mind off things:
Christopher Robin, rated PG
If you and your friends really want to be distracted from the pandemic, check out Christopher Robin, starring Ewen McGregor and Hayley Atwel. Set years after the last time he left the fictional Hundred Acre Wood, an adult Christopher Robin finds himself in the daily routine of being an adult. When Robin finds his old friends (Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and the gang have somehow left the Hundred Acre Wood and entered the real world) Robin tries to reconcile his values as a kid with those he learned as an adult. This trip down memory lane is filled with nostalgic moments that are sure to make anybody emotional. Filled with laughs and tears, this movie is sure to remind you the importance of loved ones in this time of uncertainty. So grab your childhood stuffed animal, sit down and watch this film!
If you’re looking for a change of scenery:
A Hologram for the King, rated R
Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. If you’re sick of all things coronavirus, try out this movie set in Saudi Arabia starring Tom Hanks (yes, he had coronavirus, but that’s beside the point) and Omar Elba.
Follow Hanks as he plays a failed American businessman who tries to propose and close a business deal abroad with a wealthy monarch. Kick back and enjoy this drama/romance with friends as Hanks is hampered by Middle Eastern bureaucracy, an ever-absent monarch and a suspicious growth on his back while falling for beautiful doctor named Zahra (Sarita Choudhury).
Instant Family, rated PG-13
If you and your friends really want to be distracted from the coronavirus outbreak, check out Instant Family, starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne as a young married couple seeking to fill their home with a family. After deciding to adopt, the couple falls in love with teenager Lizzy and decides to take her in; however, the couple gets more than they bargained for when they also take in Lizzy’s two younger misfit siblings. What ensues is a hilarious yet saddening culture clash between the white parents and the Hispanic children they have adopted. Filled with laughs and tears, this movie is sure to remind you the importance of loved ones in this time of uncertainty.
All of the above movies can provide a great distraction for you, your loved ones and friends to take your mind off the craziness that has ensued our world recently. Microwave some popcorn, turn on your video chat and start a Netflix party with your friends to help the time pass a little bit more quickly!
Just 10 days ago, the world health organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins university, at the time of reporting there are over 300,000 confirmed cases around the world.
What we’re facing is unprecedented and chaotic. Things are moving so quickly that it is impossible to know what the next days, weeks and months will look like. And while in some ways we’re all in the same boat, we also have to recognize that the impacts of the pandemic are not the same for everyone.
Those of us who are young and otherwise healthy may, without knowing it, infect higher-risk people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older. Those who are immunocompromised, as well as people with underlying medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, are also at greater risk of adverse outcomes should they contract the virus.
Furthermore, Canada has only 1.95 hospital beds per 1,000 people. If a certain number of people get sick at the same time, hospitals will not have enough beds or ventilators to be able to care for everyone. Practicing physical distancing, washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and disinfecting surfaces are some ways to slow the spread of the virus so that hospitals are able to respond.
Now is a time to stay isolated, but not insulated. While we are distancing ourselves physically, it is important now more than ever to form and strengthen community support networks and look out for the people most at risk. We must navigate this pandemic as individuals, but also as individuals who are a part of a larger community.
Check in with your friends and family, especially those who are at higher risk. The Disability Justice Network of Ontario and the Hamilton Student Mobilization Network have started the CareMongering-HamOnt: Hamilton Community Response to COVID19 Facebook group to connect people in the community to share resources and organize support in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The goal of the volunteer-run group is to redistribute resources and ensure that vulnerable members of the community have access to food, shelter and healthcare — look out for an article on this to come out shortly.
As vital as it is for communities to support one another, we also need support from institutions and government.
McMaster has made the right decision by cancelling classes. The university now needs to commit to supporting students, staff and faculty who are bearing the brunt of the transition. As classes move fully online, how will students with limited wifi and computer access at home be able to complete their courses? What about students who had been employed at the university or elsewhere and are now facing layoffs and financial insecurity?
How will students be supported as they move out of residence on less than a week’s notice? While international and out-of-province students may be granted special permission to stay in residence, the university has not guaranteed that students who are unable to return home for other reasons, such as unsafe living conditions, will be granted extended residence accommodations.
The Emergency Bursary Fund sponsored by the McMaster Students Union is still available for students in financial emergencies. However, there have been no mention of plans to expand this fund, despite the increased need. The McMaster administration should follow the University of Toronto in creating an emergency fund for students affected by COVID-19, or commit funds to supporting the MSU’s Emergency Bursary Fund.
In addition to students, McMaster needs to ensure that hospitality, food service and custodial staff are supported.
Custodial workers are cleaning the buildings that everyone is being told to vacate, fighting germs that may endanger their own health. Hospitality services staff are at risk every time they interact with people. While they are at risk when they come to work, they are also at risk of layoffs, as the university shuts down operations and closes facilities.
In an open letter released on March 16 entitled, “Time to take care of each other and our communities,” university president David Farrar wrote, “we are [. . .] caring and thoughtful and it is the time to show our determination to take care of each other and our communities.”
Campus staff are just as much a part of the McMaster community as any student, faculty member, or university administrator, and the university administration needs to ensure that they are supported and their needs are prioritized during this difficult time.
We all have a role to play in looking out for the most vulnerable in our communities. While we need to be physically distant, it is more important now than ever to build community, practice solidarity and be there for one another — from at least two metres apart.