Romantic Comedy: Sleepless in Seattle
Sleepless in Seattle is a 1993 classic romantic comedy directed and written by Nora Ephron, recently added to Netflix. After Chicago architect Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) loses his wife to cancer, he and his eight-year-old son, Jonah, move to Seattle to start a new life, living on a houseboat. About a year and a half later, Jonah calls into a radio talk show and persuades his hesitant dad to go on the air and talk about how much he misses his wife. Thousands of listeners are touched by Sam’s story, one in particular, Baltimore Sun writer Annie Reed (Meg Ryan). Intent on meeting Sam, she sends a letter to him telling him to meet her on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day.
Being my favorite genre of movies, it was hard to narrow it down to just one, but I think Sleepless in Seattle, a classic 90s rom coms, should be watched by everyone. Nora Ephron skillfully structured this film to where despite the main characters being across the country from each other, there was still an engaging plot. Critics say it’s a cheesy rom-com, but it’s meant to be that way; it’s so popular for a reason.
Comedy: Murder Mystery
Murder Mystery is a 2019 comedy mystery written by James Vanderbilt. The film stars Adam Sandler as New York City cop Nick Spitz, and Jennifer Anniston as hairdresser Audrey Spitz. Deciding to go on their honeymoon 15 years later, they were hoping for a relaxing week in Europe. On the plane, Audrey meets a billionaire who invites the couple on his family yacht. Agreeing, they set sail to a week of murder mystery.
Murder Mystery is a fun, light-hearted twist on a murder mystery; any movie with both Jennifer Anniston and Adam Sandler seems to be entertaining. The getaways, plot twists, suspects, and deciding who they can trust made this movie enjoyable to watch.
Documentary: Social Dilemma
The Social Dilemma is a new 2020 documentary recently gaining more attention. While there have been other documentaries raising concerns about the impact of social media and our privacy, there hasn’t been one done like The Social Dilemma. The film opens with multiple top executives who previously worked for companies like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The tech experts telling their stories are visibly uncomfortable because they are bringing awareness to the role they played in social media’s extortion. The film delves into how big tech companies manipulate human attention for profit.
The Social Dilemma included ideas that I vaguely knew about, so watching it was very eye-opening. The film emphasizes that “if the product is free, then you’re the product,” which I feel is important to note because social media companies have to get something out of a free product. Most people, including myself, realize their data is being used, but few realize how deep it goes. Merely getting ads for products you already have just scratches the surface of the things exposed in The Social Dilemma. Some parts of the documentary were a little hard to follow, and the teen portion didn’t feel portrayed accurately, but I don’t regret watching it.
Extraction is a 2020 Netflix original action movie starring Chris Hemsworth; directed by Sam Hargrove, and screenplay written by the Russo brothers. Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), is a black market mercenary with nothing to lose; he embarks on the most deadly extraction of his career. He’s tasked to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international drug lord.
Extraction was entertaining, to say the least. There was not a scene without someone being killed, so if you don’t like gory deaths, this might not be the movie for you. The stunts were also very impressive. The plot was a little dragged out, but Hargrove managed to pull it off. Since being released in April of this year, Extraction has become one of the most watched action movies on Netflix.
Zodiac is a 2007 crime thriller film directed by David Fincher and written by James Vanderbilt, based on a true story. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo as reporters and investigators. Zodiac tells the story of the search for the Zodiac Killer, a serial murderer who terrorized the San Francisco area during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Zodiac Killer taunted the authorities with phone calls, letters, blood-stained clothing, and ciphers sent to newspapers. The case still remains one of the most infamous unsolved crimes.
I typically hate crime/thriller/mystery movies, but Zodiac pleasantly surprised me. David Fincher did a terrific job making this film watchable for all, proving not all thrillers have to necessarily be ‘scary.’ What it lacks in fear factor, it makes up for in plenty of gripping twists. It’s definitely a disorienting movie, but Finch, without a doubt, had ambition, which I feel was noticeable. Every person they thought to be a suspect, Finch made it seem so believable that it was the Zodiac Killer, that if it wasn’t, you were disappointed. Despite the movie being 2.5 hours long, it was certainly never boring; I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.
All these movies were great in their own ways, but if you do only have time for one, I would definitely choose Zodiac. The actors played their parts extremely well, as we see the tension build with the characters and the plot. Every scene was designed so creatively and executed so well, that the movie’s like a piece of art.