Here’s a list of movies and TV series, listed in no particular order, that have inspired, entertained and/or educated us. Some are classics; others recent releases. All are available to rent, stream or purchase from services like Apple, Amazon or Netflix. (Please share your own favorites in the comments section below.)
- Schitt’s Creek (2015-2020) A hilarious comedy about a New York City couple who, having lost everything, start life anew in an imaginary town called Schitt’s Creek. The series “cleaned up” at the 2020 Emmys. The approximately 20-minute segments, as addictive as popcorn, offer positive messages about self resilience, the importance of family and social inclusiveness. (Netflix)
- The Queen’s Gambit (2020) A troubled young chess prodigy deals with her demons and achieves her dreams. (Netflix)
- Unorthodox (2020) A young Jewish woman flees an arranged marriage in Brooklyn and successfully starts a new life abroad. (Netflix)
- Longmire (2012-2017). A modern western set in Wyoming. Sheriff Walt Longmire provides stability, experience and an unflappable voice of reason in his small town. He moves from solving one crime after another while coping with personal loss and other family issues. (Netflix)
- The Morning Show (2020). This riveting drama about the news broadcasting industry stars Steve Caroll, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston as anchors of a morning television show. The women fight for equal rights in a male-dominated world. The fast-paced screenplay is beautifully brought to life with excellent performances by all. (Apple TV +)
- My Octopus Teacher (2020). A father re-connects with nature and affirms what’s important in life. (Netflix)
- A life on Our Planet (2020) Ninety-four-year-old David Attenborough’s latest documentary. The renowned English filmmaker and naturalist calls this his final witness statement about the world’s environments. The film offers gorgeous cinematography and a wake-up call for mankind to protect the planet. (Netflix)
- The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020) A semi-autobiographical film about a black playwright whose career, which showed early promise, is stonewalled. On a whim, she begins rapping and finds her voice. A fresh, inspiring film. (Netflix)
- Ride Like a Girl (2019) An Australian sports drama based on a true story about the triumph against all odds of the country’s first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. (Netfllix )
- As Good As It Gets (1997) Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt at their best—both won Academy Awards in this provocative dramedy!
- City Island (2009) Andy Garcia, Alan Arkin, Julianna Margulies and company star in this hilarious family dramedy.
- De-Lovely (2004) A poignant Cole Porter biopic with Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd.
- Shane (1952) The classic western that transcends its genre, directed by George Stevens and starring Alan Ladd, Van Heflin, Jean Arthur, Jack Palance and Brandon de Wilde.
- The Winslow Boy (1999) Outstanding British actor Jeremy Northam plays a lawyer who ensures justice for, and saves the reputation, of an English family. Based on a true story.
- Spotlight (2015) This riveting, biographical drama covers the Boston Globe‘s investigation of the widespread and systemic child sex abuses inside the Roman Catholic Church. The film won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. It starred Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams. Micheal Keaton, Liev Schriber and Stanley Tucci.
- Moonstruck (1987) Cher and Nicolas Cage star in this romantic dramedy set in New York City. Cher won an Oscar and Cage should have too, in our opinion!
- In the Heat of the Night (1967) Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier star in this dramedy about race relations in the South.
- Café Society (2016) & Midnight in Paris (2011) Our two favorite Woody Allen films.
- Sleepless in Seattle (1993) Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith star in this wildly popular romantic comedy.
- Up (2009) An upbeat, animated feature from Pixar about what an old man learns about life after his wife passes away.
- Network (1976) This broadcasting industry drama starring Faye Dunaway, William Holden and Robert Duvall won multiple Academy Awards.
- Morning Glory (2010) Rachel McAdams brings much energy to her role as an aspiring broadcast executive who tries to revive a morning show. Also stars Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton and Jeff Goldblum.
- Cabaret (1972) This raucous musical set in 1931 Berlin, Germany stars Lisa Minnelli, Michael York and Joel Grey.
- Casablanca (1942) A poignant drama set in Casablanca, Morocco during WW II starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
- Wait Until Dark (1966), A riveting, psychological thriller starring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin about a blind woman who outfoxes a villain and saves her own life.
- Carousel (1956) Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones star in this timeless musical about an independent-minded woman who falls in love with a carousel barker in a coastal Maine community.
- Showboat (1936 film version). The original film version of a ground-breaking musical written by Jerome Kern (music) and Oscar Hammerstein III (lyrics). The strong performances of Irene Dunne, Allan Jones, Helen Morgan and Paul Robeson are unforgettable. Not available online, but DVDs come up for sale occasionally on Ebay.
- The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name which, in turn was based on Frank’s World War 2 diary, this Academy Award-winning movie stars Millie Perkins as Anne Frank and includes stunning performance by Shelley Winters.
- George Stevens: A Film Makers Journey (1984) A wonderful documentary on HBO of this legendary, Academy Award-winning film director (with unusual color footage from World War 2). His credits include, among many other films: Shane, A Place in the Sun, Giant, Alice Adams and The Diary of Anne Frank.