My daughter Emma and I were sitting in the Venice B&B Galleria, leaning back in our spiffy new recliners, ready to watch the latest Pixar film “Onward.” We were only one of about six people in the auditorium so lots of social distancing, and just days later the theaters were closed down.
Since you can’t go see “Onward,” and it’s not worth the $20 rental, “I’ll just say that like all Pixar movies, it’s fun and charming and more emotional than you expect. “Onward” (PG) follows two elves, sensitive teen Ian (Tom Holland) and his older brother Barley (Chris Pratt) on a quest to bring back their late father for just one day. Barley is obsessed with magic spells and wizards but it turns out Ian is the one with the powers. The humor in “Onward” isn’t quite up to “In and Out” or “Toy Story,” but it works most of the time, especially when Julia Louis Dreyfuss as the mom, and Octavia Spencer as a dragon warrior turned restaurant owner, are on screen.
“Onward” is also the first animated film I remember that focuses on the bond between brothers. That’s nice for boys who have got to be tired of those “Frozen” sisters.
I did feel that the movie didn’t quite know what it wanted to be, and that the poignant moments worked the best (crying and almost-crying count - three). Ultimately, “Onward” isn’t among Pixar’s best, but it’s enjoyable and emotional.
ONWARD: 3 o ut of 4 STARSWhile “Onward” made it to the big screen, other big movies including “A Quiet Place 2,” “Mulan” and the latest Bond film, “No Time to Die” delayed their openings. And who knows (or cares) when we’ll get to see “The New Mutants”?
So now we have no choice but to get our entertainment at home, where we will all be spending the majority of our time. There is no shortage of programming of course. We didn’t need to self-quarantine to figure that out. But if your best friend has been begging you to watch “Outlander” for five years, or you’ve been dying to find out if “Parasite” deserved the Oscar for Best Picture (it did), you’ve got the time now. Here are a few other online entertainment options.
Universal Studios is the first to offer its current releases on demand. Want to see Elizabeth Moss in “The Invisible Man,” or the latest version of Jane Austen’s “Emma?” You can, but it will set you back about $20.
Meanwhile, premium Showtime channel is offering a free 30-day trial of the service to anyone who signs up by May 3 on Showtime.com, the Showtime app or on some cable partners like Xfinity. Now instead of trying to cram a full season of “Homeland” or “Billions” into a free weekend, you have a whole month. Showtime is also home to classic movies like “Airplane,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Terminator” and more.
Even if you’re watching that new show alone, it doesn’t mean you can’t experience it with others. You can follow it on Facebook and Instagram, or better yet, start watching with a friend and set up a time to chat after.
If you’re a sports fan suffering from withdrawal, rewatch a classic game on one of the premier sports channels or if you can, on the YouTube app on your TV. You get to pick your team and you already know how it ends. We call that a win/win.
Never seen “Sunset Boulevard,” “Citizen Kane,” or heaven help us, “Some Like it Hot?” We won’t tell anyone. Just go to Turner Classic Movies (TCM.com) and spend your self-quarantine getting a cinematic education.
Finally, ask yourself, “What makes me happy?” These are tough times. If you want to watch “Anchorman” for the 23rd time, “Snakes on a Plane” or five hours of Animal Planet, go for it. Right now, there are no guilty pleasures.