With the entertainment industry paralyzed by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, some of the most anticipated films of 2020 are now either delayed until later in the year, on indefinite hold, or pushed to 2021. And while some films are being released early to streaming platforms in order to help fans cope with social distancing at home, most of the biggest films of the year are farther away now than they were at the start of the pandemic. And if you're old enough to remember when you used to go to video stores, you might remember the "if you like this, try this" sort of recommendations that used to be common.
Back when Blockbuster ruled the world, there would be a limited number of DVDs on the new release wall, and it fell to the employees to help you with that. If the movie you wanted was all rented out, the video store workers would have to come up with some other ideas for movies that were acutally available, and might scratch the same kind of itch as the one you wanted.
That's what we're here to do! In light of so many delays and cancellations, we figured it would be a good idea to share some recommendations with you for entertainment that feels like that thing you're missing.
The big thing we're not going to do is to just say "hey, rewatch the first movie in the series." That's...not helpful.
Check out what we've come up with below!
Wonder Woman 1984
Wonder Woman (animated): One of the best-loved DC Universe animated movies, Wonder Woman covered a lot of the same territory as the first live-action movie, but in a very different way and with different payoff.
Atomic Blonde: If what you're looking for is a badass, female-led action movie with an '80s aesthetic, this one's got all your bases covered. The Charlize Theron vehicle was well-reviewed but is something of a blindspot for a lot of folks given the long shadow cast by her part in Mad Max: Fury Road not long before.
Iron Man 2: Yeah, it's not one of the best Marvel movies, but it does feature the first appearance of Natasha. And arguably, it's the version of Nat that has the least varnish on it, likely the way she was originally envisioned by the studio...which might play into how she ends up in her solo film.
Marvel's The Avengers: Similarly, this one seems to lay a lot of ground in terms of teasing her background, some of her relationships, and the time and nature of her work in and out of SHIELD.
Underworld: The last few years, especially since The Hunger Games, it has become more common to have female-led action franchises...but Underworld and its sequels predated most of that, and managed to buck conventional wisdom by putting a popular leading lady at the top of an action-horror franchise and just let it rock.
Dark Angel: This short-lived TV series -- which you can pick up on DVD for a little bit of nothing if you've got the patience to wait -- features Jessica Alba in a badass, leather-clad action show. Nuff said.
This is a toughie, because there are nine previous Fast & Furious movies to choose from, as well as the original that the first in this line was a remake of. But we'll resist the urge to list just those.
Gone in Sixty Seconds: Another popular car-based action movie, the first Gone remake actually hit right around the same time as Fast & Furious was getting off the ground, but it ended up as a 30 Rock/Studio 60 kind of thing where only one of them could survive.
Death Race: There's actually a whole franchise stretching back decades with a very loose continuity and even a couple of installments that feature familiar faces like Arrow's Manu Bennett and Hobbs & Shaw's Jason Statham.
Mulan: Rise of a Warrior: One of the great things about Disney remaking fairy tales, famous historical novels, and other public-domain stories is that...well, they're in the public domain. There's always somebody out there who has made one, and in 2009, there was a live-action Mulan. While it's a lot darker than the Disney version that we all grew up with, it might not be entirely dissimilar to the one that's headed for theaters once the pandemic has ended.
Return to Oz: A Disney movie with a female protagonist and a darker, sometimes even disturbing, take on a familiar and beloved family movie? Check, check, check! And you can see this one for free on Disney+.
Willow: Also available on Disney+, here's another sword-and-sorcery movie that's good for (most) ages and features a parade of familiar faces.
The New Mutants
Firestarter: How does a young girl deal with getting powers that make her not just powerful but also "different?" Well...sometimes not so well. Especially when it's a story by Stephen King.
Carrie: See "Firestarter."
Chronicle: This 2012 movie gave superheroes a real-world and kind of trippy face. It was the thing that led Fox to get confidence in Josh Trank to do Fantastic Four, and is likely at least partially responsible for all that more adventurous superhero fare that has gotten greenlit post-Avengers.
No Time To Die
Well, first off -- there's a bunch of James Bond movies to watch, and most of them are pretty good, so this one shouln't be too much of a hardship. But we understand, people want new. So let's recommend some similar stuff.
Kingsman: The Secret Service: If you're already a James Bond fan, there's a decent chance you've already watched this foul-mouthed action movie that adapts the comics by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar. But in case you haven't...do it. The movie's better than it has any business being.
The Bourne Identity: The whole Jason Bourne franchise is the kind of modern, gritty take on the super-spy genre that likely has helped influence the most recent batch of Bonds.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Along with movies like The Constant Gardener and Argo, this is a more "serious" take on the spy thriller that digs into the politics and character more than just the action -- but doesn't skimp on the action where it counts.
Minions: The Rise of Gru
Mystery Men: You want to see a fun riff on the hero/villain archetypes popular in superheroes? This is your flick. Yeah, Gru isn't technically a supervillain, but it covers a lot of similar thematic ground.
Trolls World Tour: You just want a family animated comedy? Well, good news. It might not be available right this minute, but Universal's "theater at home" rentals will expand to include Trolls World Tour in mid-April, on the day that it was originally planned to hit theaters. Unlike other studios, Universal is doing rentals rather than purchase options on their theatrical movies, but it's still cheaper than you'd have paid to see it in theaters if you were goign to take even one kid.
A Quiet Place Part II
The Belko Experiment: Gory and working hard at being thoughtful, this Blumhouse Tilt/Orion co-production from a few years back centers on a group of workers who have been cut off from the world and are being killed one by one for reasons unknown and by strange and unpredictable means.
Session 9: In terms of "smart" horror movies, Session 9 ranks right up there with Seven and Let the Right One In.
The Others: Nicole Kidman stars in a claustrophobic horror movie with brains, heart, and a sense of dread that permeates it in a way not unlike how A Quiet Place functions.