Hamlet T. Wondercat’s Guide to the Best Movies While You’re Quarantined

Quarantining isn’t fun. 

Sure, they make it look fun on some episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, but mostly by taking the most attractive cast members and make sure that quarantine was an excuse to get them to wear as little as possible. It’s a trope that many of us saw through, but understood that a large part of the original Star Trek involved pretending that William Shatner was the epitome of sexiness, so we let it go. 

However, there are a ton of movies out there that not only make quarantining look interesting, but can help you with some useful life skills, like befriending a volley ball or how to make Willem Dafoe even more terrifying, somehow. As with everything in life, Hamlet T. Wondercat is here to help you with the best movies about quarantines during your time of quarantine. And of course, because you read this for the education just as much as the funny pictures of cats, we’ll be pulling one great life lesson from each one. 

Because there’s no better way to enjoy your time away from everyone than seeing how other people enjoy their time away from everyone.

The Lighthouse.

In the Lighthouse, former Green Goblin Willem Dafoe is stuck on a tiny island with once and future Batman Robert Pattinson. Understand in this particular future, we’re now living in a world where everyone has played a superhero. I’m looking forward to President Chris Evans’s platform of a balanced budget AND fighting purple space aliens. 

Regardless, this is a movie about two men stuck on an island for either four weeks, a few days, or months on end. One of them might be a murderer. Or not. And one of them either has sex with a mermaid, or the madness really, really gets to him. You see, this is a movie about how hell is other people, and how isolation can drive you slowly mad. On the other hand it’s a very loose retelling of the story of Prometheus, so it could also be a story about how the quest for truth can lead to bad things. This movie is many things, but it’s also in black and white so you know it’s got to tell you something.

The life lesson from the Lighthouse regarding quarantine are many: don’t get so drunk you miss your boat. Also, don’t have sex with mermaids, no matter how lonely you get. Don’t kill birds that might hold men’s souls, no matter how annoying they get. And the way these geese have been acting lately that’s a tough one to enforce. Most importantly, the quest for the truth might have to wait until you get done with your isolation, because you might not be able to handle it. 


In Castway, Tom Hanks, who starred as real life superhero Fred Rogers at one point, crash lands on an island and into the heart of a volleyball named Wilson. It’s the second time he’s managed to shipwreck on an island, but this one is less populated with Meg Ryans and volcanos trying to kill him. No, it’s just him, a few fish and his volleyball friend, all brought to you by the good people at FedEx.

No, seriously, at one point he saves a FedEx package to deliver it at the end to show how dedicated their delivery people are. Meanwhile there was a spider near my keys so I called in sick to work on a day that I was supposed to be teleworking. 

Anyway, Tom Hanks learns to survive on the island while making a new friend, but what’s important is that at one point he falls into deep despair. While we’re all isolated, we’re going to fall into despair sometimes. That’s natural, so far this year we’ve been on a brink of nuclear war and Australia was on fire. The last thing we need is to be grounded for the next few months with something so serious that they took our Marvel movies and Disney away. Disney. The company that could buy the sun and slap their logo on it during the summer had to bow to the power of this virus. 

But what Tom Hanks does in this movie is he acknowledges that he is in despair, then keeps fighting. It’s a tough road, but he Tom Hankses his way through it, because at the end of the day that lady with the wings needed her package delivered, and he probably should get home to his fiancée. You know, the one he kept pushing back the wedding for while doing his job diligently. Just make sure you admit how you’re feeling, everyone. You don’t have to be tough all the time.

Brought to you by FedEx. 

The Martian. 

Matt Damon needs to be rescued a lot. Sometimes he’s not alone waiting for Tom Hanks and a pre-Fast and the Furious Vin Diesel to come rescue him. Others, he’s plotting to kill everyone to make a point. However one of my favorite quarantined movies is The Martian

In the Martian Matt Damon IS Mark Watney, the best damn botanist on Mars. He has to be, because after a storm everyone leaves him, and he’s stuck on Mars by himself. Which, in case you didn’t know, isn’t much like Earth, and very difficult to survive without food, water, air, atmosphere. All things we take for granted as we’re stuck at home. I’m saying it could be worse: At least we have atmosphere, even if a large portion of it is currently the reason we’re inside of our homes. 

What I really like about the Martian is that Mark Watney doesn’t quit. There are a lot of setbacks: for instance, he doesn’t have very much food. So, he does the gross thing and makes his own garden full of potatoes. He finds ways to get water, he finds ways to communicate with his people. He doesn’t quit. Yes, he has a few moments of breaking down (see The Castaway for the lesson where we are all honest with our feelings) but he strengthens up again and fights for things the way he needs to. 

All joking aside, I think the Martian is the perfect movie for right now. Mark keeps himself busy. He finds ways to do good. He uses what he has to make the best of a bad situation. A lot of us are struggling now, and we need to find our thing. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s just seeing how many episodes of Parks and Recreation you can watch before realizing Ron Swanson is great. Maybe it’s organizing a playlist of all the songs with awesome piano solos. It doesn’t have to be great. But it’s something.

Die Hard.

I mean… It’s Die Hard. Often cited as a Christmas movie, it’s actually a great movie for any occasion. Everyone is locked in together, trying to figure out how to get along. Seems like the perfect movie for quarantining to me. 

You know the part where Bruce Willis kills the bad guy then writes Ho Ho Ho Now I have a machine gun on his chest? Yeah, that’s cool. 

I just like Die Hard. They’re not all life lessons, kids.

It seems like a long road, everyone. But we’ll get through this. We just need to be honest with how we’re feeling, we need to keep busy, and we need to keep sane. We can do this.

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