Mortal Kombat - 2021

Top 10 Pandemic-Era Movies You Can’t Miss!

By: Matt

Looking back, the COVID-19 pandemic that rocked the world in 2020 is like a fever dream! The world essentially shut down, and billions spent months at home due to stay-at-home orders and lockdowns. Even after lockdown orders were lifted, many spent many more months social distancing. That resulted in tons of time at home and an unprecedented number of hours in front of the TV!

Because most movie theaters shut down, most people turned to streaming services to get their entertainment fix; it was all we had to stay sane amid lockdowns! While the world has largely returned to normal, and most try to forget that weird moment in history, we can’t deny that it was an iconic period for film.

Many great movies came out during the pandemic. Here are 10 of the best you can’t miss!

1. “Bo Burnham: Inside” (2021)

Bo Burnham inside - 2021

Bo Burnham’s latest special aired on Netflix during the pandemic. It was released at just the right time, as many were already feeling the isolation and loneliness of lockdown. The musician/comedian has an interesting relationship with fame and success, starting as an Internet shock-jock before transitioning into a unique comedian who effortlessly blends crazy jokes with great music and tons of retrospective themes to think about.

“Inside” is the best example of his distinct comedy style. Shot entirely in Burnham’s guest house without a crew, “Inside” depicts the comedian’s experiences through lockdown. In true Bo Burnham fashion, it contains great songs that’ll make you laugh while pondering your entire existence!

2. “Glass Onion” (2022)

Glass Onion - 2022

When Daniel Craig hung up his “James Bond” hat, many were unsure where his career would go next. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” showed that Craig has plenty of great acting in him! This film is a sequel to “Knives Out,” which debuted just before the pandemic. The sequel sees Craig’s Benoit Blac returning to solve a brand-new case.

Like “Knives Out,” this film features a star-studded cast, including Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monae, Kate Hudson and more. “Glass Onion is a standalone sequel, but it features the same thrills, red herrings and twists that we come to expect from this new franchise. It was just the movie film buffs needed to during the pandemic.

3. “Dune” (2021)

Dune - 2021

“Dune” is a sci-fi franchise that began with a book in 1965. A film adaptation was released in 1984, but the pandemic saw another take on the story come to the silver screen. “Dune” is the first of a two-part saga. It stars leading man Timothee Chalamet and features a great supporting cast of Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson and more.

The original film, released in the ’80s, gained a cult following, but it wasn’t a major success like 2021’s “Dune.” The epic fantasy did a great job building this world that many have loved for half a century! With great acting and amazing visual effects, it gave the story a great, long-overdue film adaptation.

4. “West Side Story” (2021)

west side story 2021

If you’re a fan of musicals, “West Side Story” is a must-see. It’s a movie adaptation of the musical play that opened on Broadway in 1957. While many attempts have brought the story and music to the big screen (including a fantastic movie in 1961), 2021’s “West Side Story” is the first big-budget take.

Steven Speilberg produced and directed the film, and it stars new Hollywood darlings like Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler and Mike Faist. While the movie was a box-office failure, many fans of the story adore this adaptation. It was a sleeper hit and gained much more attention once it reached streaming services, as the Omicron variant forced many to go back into lockdown.

5. “Tenet” (2020)

Tenet - 2020

“Tenet” is an action thriller written and directed by Christopher Nolan. It’s a compelling movie with a dense narrative featuring time travel. The effects are inspiring, and the story is gripping. However, the movie experienced tons of delays.

Filming wrapped before the pandemic got into full swing, but Nolan insisted that the movie get a theatrical release. Due to lockdowns, it experienced massive release delays. Fortunately, it eventually hit cinemas and did well on streaming.

The movie’s action was a great escape for those on lockdown. If you missed it, then it’s certainly worth the watch today.

6. “Hamilton” (2020)

Hamilton - 2020

Here’s another famous Broadway show that became a huge smash during the pandemic. “Hamilton is a unique biographical show based on the life of Alexander Hamilton. It features both singing and wrapping, making it a Broadway standout upon its debut in 2015.

During the pandemic, Disney released a professionally filmed stage performance. It was originally going to cinemas, but the pandemic moved it to streaming platforms. That move was a good one! The ongoing Broadway, West End and touring productions all came to a grinding halt, so there was no way to see “Hamilton” in person. The filmed show became a huge smash, bringing Broadway into the homes of millions.

7. “Cruella” (2021)

Cruella - 2021

Disney’s live-action remakes of its classics have been hit or miss, but many regard “Cruella” as one of the big successes. This story revolves around Cruella De Vil, the villain of the “101 Dalmation” films. Instead of a beat-for-beat remake, “Cruella” is the character’s alternate origin story. We see the backstory of the villain we loved to hate!

The movie stars the incomparable Emma Stone and Emma Thompson. It’s a great tale full of amazing cinematic and outstanding costuming work. Emma’s take on Cruella is captivating, making us root for one of the biggest villains of classic Disney!

8. “Don’t Look Up” (2021)

Don’t Look Up - 2021

“Don’t Look Up” debuted on Netflix in 2021. It’s a crazy film you must watch if you haven’t already seen it! It’s a black comedy with a splash of scaringly realistic political satire. Plus, it has a great cast featuring Leonardo Dicaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Meryl Streep and more.

The movie revolves around an astronomer who discovers a comet poised to hit Earth in six months and destroy the entire planet. Even after NASA verification, the rag-tag group of astronomers has a hard time making anyone take the threat seriously. What follows is a huge divide among the global population about whether the threat was real, a thinly veiled satire of real-world pandemic events.

9. “Mortal Kombat” (2021)

Mortal Kombat - 2021

The “Mortal Kombat” franchise is one of the most famous in video game history. It’s also one of the most controversial! The game franchise continues, and 2021 saw the release of a new film adaptation. 2021’s “Mortal Kombat” is a brand-new take on the story. It’s not the first movie in the “Mortal Kombat” world, but it’s certainly one of the goriest.

Video game fans are divided about this movie, but there’s no denying it’s a great action romp! The refreshed take on iconic characters is fun, and modern visual effects make some of those killer moves look nothing short of impressive.

10. “A Quiet Place Part II” (2020)

A Quiet Place Part II - 2020

Like others on this list, “A Quiet Place Part II” experienced frequent release delays. It originally debuted in 2020, but due to the pandemic, it didn’t hit cinemas until a year later. When it finally came out, audiences loved it!

The movie is a sequel to 2018’s “A Quiet Place.” It follows several of the surviving characters of that story as they navigate a post-apocalyptic world. Many film buffs were feeling the effects of the pandemic, so the story of survival in a brand-new world was something that hit a little too close to home! Nonetheless, the story is gripping, and the tale expands on a bleak universe that continues to captivate audiences.

Seeing Pandemic-Era Movies with a New Perspective

These films and many more gave us great tales during a time when visiting a theater, seeing family and even going to work were impossible. They were a great escape, and many look back at the films they watched during the pandemic with great admiration.

Whether you’ve seen these flicks or not, they’re worth viewing today. It’s a great chance to take in their stories with a fresh perspective and a more positive outlook on the world. The best part? You can leave your home afterward!