“The world is your oyster – digitally, as we’re not allowed to go out anymore.”
With the COVID-19 lockdown leaving many people with nothing to do, avid film enthusiast Jack Howard gives us his film recommendations for this difficult period.
He kicks off by separating them into two helpful categories: “Easy Watch”, a more chilled-out category of films you could watch whilst scrolling through TenEighty and playing Animal Crossing, and “Proper Watch”, for films where you “definitely can’t have your phone on”.
Firstly, Jack quickly plugs his own series with comedy partner Dean Dobbs, Jack and Dean of All Trades. After that shameless plug, he goes into the “Easy Watch” category, starting off with Easy A. “Easy A is adorable,” Jack explains. “It’s really funny. It’s really sweet. I recommend it.”
Next up, he talks about Ladybird, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, who Jack states is “fast becoming one of the best directors working today”. He mentions that it ended up being his favourite film of 2017, discussing how the narrative forms one of the film’s strong points, “The way that the narrative plays out is almost like a scrapbook. It almost feels like you’re experiencing the memories the way that Ladybird is going to remember this time in her life.”
Carrying on, Jack recommends films such as 50/50 and The Mask of Zorro, before finishing up with Jim Carrey’s Jim & Andy. Unlike the other films listed in this category, Jim & Andy is a documentary, following Jim Carrey’s journey with method acting when in Man on the Moon. “It’s a really interesting one, especially if you’re obsessed with the process of Hollywood and moviemaking the way that I am,” Jack explains. Specifically, he mentions a moment in the film where “Jim Carrey talks about how he’d achieved all of his dreams – he was the highest paid actor in the world and yet he still wasn’t happy”.
After mentioning a couple of in-between films, including Jaws, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (it makes us cry too, Jack!) and Lost in Translation, Jack moves onto his “Proper Watch” category. Here, he kicks things off with Annihilation, “It messes with your brain. It makes you feel uncomfortable and uneasy most of the time. If that doesn’t sound like a good time to you, go back to the easy watches.”
Continuing with the theme of uncomfortable films, he moves onto Nightcrawler. “It’s kind of like a car crash – you can’t help but watch,” he explains. “It’s one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performances. It’s a film that I like watching with new people because there’s some big moments.”
He continues, listing films such as You Were Never Really Here and The Social Network, before ending the list on a high with Prisoners.
After finishing his film recommendations, Jack moves onto live comedy, starting with what he calls “thoughtful live comedy” before moving onto general stand-up. Kicking off with his top pick, he recommends Mike Birbiglia’s The New One. “I was actually lucky enough to see this live when I was in LA last year,” he recalls. “Went along, absolutely loved it, had no idea what I was getting into.” Jack describes Birbiglia’s way of performing as a “one man piece of theatre”, reinforcing his recommendation of the show.
Continuing on, he mentions Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette and Aziz Ansari’s Right Now, before moving onto traditional stand-up comedy. He recommends Dave Chappelle as “the best stand-up in the world”, followed by Michelle Wolf’s Joke Show and Ali Wong’s Hard Knock Wife, before ending by recommending Tom Segura’s Mostly Stories.
Jack finishes up the video by recommending a few TV series, including Inside No. 9, Russian Doll and the first three series of Arrested Development. All good picks, if you ask us.
We thank Jack for the host of recommendations. With a list as long as this, we’re in no risk of not having things to watch!