I don’t know about you guys, but I’m definitely running out of entertainment options here. With having spent so much time indoors, one naturally has turned to movies and books and other at-home entertainment sources to bide time. The problem is that now that we’ve been doing this for say, three to four months, some people may be finding themselves binge watching the same TV show for the third time…this week. And this is precisely why I put together this list of some hot finds for movies, books, and more just in case you happen to be on short supply.
I tried to gear some of these suggestions toward summer vibes since we’re working our way through the hottest (in all ways) season of the year. It’s hard to do a recommendations post without it being fairly long, so strap yourselves in for quite a read.
Let’s start with my favorite movie genre—the rom-com. Just Go With It is a great Netflix summer rom-com pick. It’s about a man who pulls together a fake family, complete with a holiday, to trick the woman he’s seeing. It’s got Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, and loads of jokes, farce, and heart. If you’re looking for a Netflix original, look no further than a twist on the classic Parent Trap in Set It Up. Two miserable interns work together to highlight qualities in their bosses in order to set them up and hopefully get their minds off work. This movie isn’t as well appreciated as many others on the site, but it’s just as good, so make sure to give it a watch.
Extraction is my action/adventure pick for this summer. I know it’s been out on Netflix for a while now, but some of us haven’t gotten around to it yet, okay? I’ve heard some fantastic things about the story and filming of this movie, so if you haven’t seen it, give it a watch. A few classic favorites, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Netflix), Inglorious Bastards (Netflix), Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Hulu), and Independence Day (Hulu) are all available to stream too.
If you’re looking for some thrills on your movie night, I recommend The Killing of a Sacred Deer, a slightly-off, well-filmed psychological thriller about a family tormented by past mistakes; or Hush, a calculative and heart-pounding story of a young, deaf writer trying to escape a manic killer.
I can easily spend hours going through Netflix and Hulu looking for something to watch, so at least these suggestions might give you a head start.
You can’t go wrong with my all time favorite—How I Met Your Mother, which is available to stream on Hulu. Other great sitcoms include Community and The Good Place, available on both Netflix and Hulu.
I’ve managed to make it through the toughest parts of quarantine without watching Tiger King, but I’ve heard so many wild and wondrous things about it that I may finally give it a watch this summer.
A few new shows that have popped up recently—White Lines (Netflix), a dramatic and thrilling story of a young woman searching desperately for her missing brother on the infamous island of Ibiza; Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu) came out a few months ago, but even if you’ve already seen it, the power struggles, the hidden secrets, the superb acting skills of Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon are all more reasons than you’ll need to watch it again; and Love, Victor (Hulu), which is story of a young teenager working through the everyday struggles of high school life while exploring his sexual orientation.
Arguably the best book you could pick up this summer is one of 2020’s best collections in poetry, SPACES…I mean, I’m just saying… Sometimes I think a few of the poems in SPACES are just filler lines and dialogue away from being short stories. If you want that kind of mid-level commitment in your summer reads list, check out Why I Don’t Write by Susan Minot—it’s full of stories about human connection, so SPACES lovers are sure to love this too. A Burning by Megha Majumdar and Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh explore fictionalized yet poignantly important plots of justice, government, and religion and a woman’s choice over her body and her life.
Summer is the time for a little romance, so make sure to read Beach Read by Emily Henry and Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan. Beach Read follows two writers of opposite tastes as they help each other navigate writer’s block from their neighboring summer homes. Sex and Vanity, by the same author that gifted us with Crazy Rich Asians, talks about desire and attraction combated by judgement and sophistication, all stemming from a summer romance.
Whenever I’m looking to find something new to read, I love scrolling through Goodreads or other book recommendation websites. They’re great at leading you to accurate suggestions based on a few of your preferences.
My two all-time favs are Dear Hank and John and The LadyGang, both of which as still producing content through everything that’s going on, are always at the top of my podcast rec list. From humor to advice to honesty to celebrity news these two podcasts have it all. A few other top-rated podcasts—Serial and My Favorite Murder are great for that true crime fix; Armchair Expert is similar to LadyGang in that it explores celebrity life in an authentic manner; and if you’re looking for something relevant yet humorous nonetheless, check out Oh, Hello: The P’dcast which was started by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney as a form of entertainment specifically during quarantine. Podcasts are a great “anytime” form of entertainment—they don’t usually require that much attention and can be listened to at home or at the beach or during your next 14-hour road trip with the family—so it’s always a good idea to invest in a couple of tried and trues.
Lately, I’ve found myself indulging in a lot of travel YouTube videos—probably because travel is on an indefinite hiatus right now. Hey Nadine, Backpacking Bananas, and Kara and Nate are just a few YouTubers I’ve been watching—new and old videos. Their content ranges from international travel to buying camper vans to discussing the future of travel as a whole.
If travel vlogs aren’t really your speed, I frequent The Vlogbrothers channel—for all of my quirky, funny, and honestly random vlog needs—or Elena Taber—for all my beauty and daily summer vibes needs. Between all of that, there’s still a lot to explore on YouTube. Just search for what you’re interested in watching or check out the “Trending” tab on the side.
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I definitely need to broaden my watching and reading horizons, so share some of your best Netflix finds or summer reads with me in the comments section below! A lot of my favs are tried and true for me—I’m definitely a creature of habit—so if they don’t exactly fit your needs, hopefully they work as a good starting point for you to explore more of what you like to watch and read.