10 Movies We Should Have Paid Attention to Before COVID-19

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Edwin Hooper

It goes without saying that we all are living in a world of uncertainty. Sure, there have been other pandemics that wiped out the majority of populations and we’ve seen pictures of the Great Depression, but surely there must be something more relevant? Or at least occurred in all our lifetimes? The movies, of course — there have been plenty of pandemic and zombie apocalypse films that should’ve warned us about what tomorrow brings. Beyond the viral world-ending movies, there are other flicks that hold information about what the coronavirus future holds. Let us call on Hollywood for a closer look at life in quarantine and post-pandemic.

Outbreak (1995)

A classic before it’s relevance, Outbreak details the spread of an airborne virus that originated in a monkey. Villages are wiped out, cities shut down as mass hysteria ensues with the all too familiar battle between science and politics. Outbreak used to be a token rainy Sunday afternoon thriller; today, it’s somewhat of a comedy.

I am Legend (2007)

As darkness sets in, the mutated come alive on the island of Manhattan. With breakthroughs in cancer research, what seemed to be a cure quickly turns into devastation. As the virus spreads and New York City is shutout from the rest of the world, one scientist stays behind to devote himself to finding a cure. While the days continue and he walks the streets with no one but his dog as company, he checks every house for the essentials, adding to his stockpile of pasta and toilet paper.

Cast Away (2000)

Trapped alone on an island with dwindling supplies, Cast Away seems a little too relevant for the times. Yes, a FedEx employee survived a plane crash and now finds himself fighting for survival against physical and mental strains, but aside from the plane crash, aren’t the majority of us marooned on our “islands” until the mind snaps? And who knows what everyone is really up to behind closed doors and what new “friends” they have made.

Panic Room (2002)

A room to go and hide from the craziness of the world might be what you are looking for right now. Panic Room certainly doesn’t involve any viral warfare, but the room itself was built for the worst of circumstances and stocked to survive until the cops showed up. Nonetheless, the film does suggest being ready for the utmost of dire circumstances at a moment’s notice. Panic Room is about crime and smarts, but also paints an eerie picture of being stuck in one’s own house. Check out some of our favorite thriller movies for more like this.

Snowpiercer (2013)

Trapped on a train traveling around the frozen world, the passengers of Snowpiecer are at the disposal of a singular man: the captain. As the last car’s passengers grow restless with their confinement, they form together to fight their way to the first car and demand to be let free. For what’s left of the world’s population, there is considerable death, but the people’s people do come out on top in the end. Wait, cities around the U.S. been protesting against their respective leaders to be let out of their homes and out of quarantine? Better board the train, this is a great action movie.

Home Alone (1990)

When life hits the fan, you have to adapt, and that’s exactly what Kevin McCallister does after being left behind in Home Alone. He goes to the store only for essentials, like a mac n’ cheese, a toothbrush, laundry detergent, and milk. He orders in and finds ways to entertain himself in his own house. OK, Kevin was only home alone for twenty-three hours, but when you’re 8 years old, that’s like two months right? Regardless, if you warrant any of Kevin’s actions as educational, it’s still a great film 30 years after the fact.

The Voices (2014)

Things start to get weird when you’re alone for a long time without human interaction. Little voices might start to find their way into your head. In The Voices, it’s a bit of a devil-and-angel situation sitting on your shoulders, but instead it’s a pet cat and dog … and some non-edibles in the fridge. It’s OK to talk out loud when you’re home alone — maybe check in to see how your favorite house plant is doing? — but controlling the urge to do something like have another beer or chicken wing is important.

The Martian (2015)

Speaking of isolation, let’s talk about The Martian. Sure, maybe it’s a little more extreme to compare our situation to an astronaut left on Mars to fend for himself with nothing more than a video camera and some old music to keep him company. One could argue it’s the equivalent of being confined to your home with a single CD you made back in high school and the first-ever camera phone. However, we can learn something from the “Martian,” who grew his own food. When he ran out of ketchup? Well, that’s when things started to get interesting. Check out our guide to the best sci-fi movies for more like this.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park was an amazing film in ‘93 and it’s grown to be a classic. Now, as the human world battles a microscopic virus, we realize that we should have paid attention to this dinosaur movie and the perception that “nature will find a way.” Has anyone else noticed that the animals seem to be relatively unscathed while we are all running in panic, hoping to contain the nightmare? If any of you are trying to homeschool right now, you’ll know that you can’t find sanctuary, even while sitting on the toilet.

Contagion (2011)

Argued to be the closest depiction to what the world is experiencing, Contagion is a film that is skyrocketing up the streaming charts with every passing day of quarantine. If there are any concrete takeaways, Contagion is a reminder to stop touching your face, and that this too shall pass.

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