Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Cinema Bestius: A Word from Your Pope

by JB
“And you may ask yourself, ‘Am I right? Am I wrong?’
And you may say to yourself, ‘My God! What have I done?’”

--David Byrne, “Once in a Lifetime”

The Pope of Film has noticed that every ten years or so, some individual or group either touches something they shouldn’t touch, or eats something they shouldn’t eat, or fucks something they shouldn’t fuck, and it leads to a world-wide health scare. I hope all of my readers are safe and happy and following common-sense protocols as we all try to ride out this latest storm. If the purpose of modern life is to scare the ever-loving shit out of us, then this week, modern life deserves merit pay.

I have noticed while nosing around on the Twitter machine that MOVIES are a lot of people’s coping mechanism for the coming state-enforced slumber party, and this makes me happy. My flock is watching a shit-ton of movies this week! Although religion might also help, The Pope of Film has always been suspicious of organized religion because it competes with movie theaters for America’s leisure time and disposable income.

FULL DISCLOSURE: On my way home Sunday from the Fathom Events screening of King Kong, I passed a church that had the following posted on its marquee: “Fear is a choice, but so is faith.” The Pope of Film actually found that comforting. Calling friends and family members you haven’t talked to in a while is a good idea too. You can compare how much toilet paper each of you has hoarded.
So, in the spirit of movie-loving public service, I went back to my original list of THE FIFTY GREATEST FILMS EVER MADE and cross-referenced them with the popular streaming services that offer them as a part of membership. Speaking of which, wouldn’t it be a wonderful GIFT to society if Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +, Apple TV+, Hulu, and the Criterion Channel made their services FREE OF CHARGE for the rest of March and all of April? From my mouth to God’s ears! (Don’t worry, Lord, I just gargled with Lysol.)

If a film listed below is available to stream on the services I checked, I have noted the streaming service next to the title. If I couldn’t find it on a streaming service, I checked Amazon Prime video; films marked with an asterisk are available to rent there, usually for only $2.99 or $3.99.

2. Citizen Kane/The Godfather*
3. Casablanca*
4. Do the Right Thing*
5. Singin’ in the Rain*
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey*
7. Jaws*
8. Psycho*
9. Dr. Strangelove (Criterion Channel)
10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney +)

11. Star Wars (Disney +)
12. Blade Runner (Netflix)
13. The Searchers*
14. The Gold Rush (Criterion Channel)
15. Duck Soup (Watch TCM)
16. 12 Angry Men (Watch TCM)
17. The Graduate (Criterion Channel)
18. The General (Amazon Prime Video)
19. North by Northwest*
20. Apocalypse Now*

21. To Kill A Mockingbird (Amazon Prime Video)
22. Silence of the Lambs*
23. A Hard Day’s Night (Criterion Channel)
24. Touch of Evil*
25. Close Encounters of the Third Kind*
26. Sweet Smell of Success (Criterion Channel)
27. Pinocchio (Disney +)
28. Some Like It Hot (Criterion Channel)
29. Goodfellas (Netflix)
30. Fargo*

31. The Wizard of Oz*
32. The Wild Bunch*
33. The Deer Hunter*
34. The “Up” Series (Britbox)
35. Bride of Frankenstein*
36. Stop Making Sense (Criterion Channel)
37. Forbidden Planet*
38. Chinatown*
39. Raging Bull (Netflix)
40. Toy Story (Disney +)

41. It’s A Wonderful Life (Amazon Prime Video)
42. The Big Lebowski*
43. Annie Hall (Amazon Prime Video)
44. Pulp Fiction*
45. The Thin Blue Line (Criterion Channel)
46. Nashville
47. The French Connection (Hulu)
48. All the President’s Men (Watch TCM)
49. Once*
50. Miracle on 34th Street (Disney +)

If you enjoyed F This Movie Fest last week – the original and ONLY Social Distancing Movie-Watching Party – why not follow that lead and screen some of these movies with friends in other locations? You can connect using Twitter or even texting. Choose a movie (or 6!), coordinate your starting time, and enjoy together (but not, you know, TOGETHER together.)
So, my loyal subjects, wash your hands… and then wash your hands again. Since I retired from my day job three years ago, I’ve actually been practicing socially isolating myself, so I’m really good at it. Watch lots of movies. Don’t forget to sanitize your insides as well as your outsides. My favorite hand sanitizer is Purell; my favorite organ sanitizer is tequila, though rum will do in a pinch. We are all going to get through this.

I’m choosing faith – in movies.


  1. A glorious post from our most beneficent benefactor! Many thanks for the work tracking down availability for these wonderful films. And that last picture is going to make me smile for days.

    Salveo, excellency!

  2. Stay healthy, everyone! There are a lot of good movies to watch. A toast to the pope.

  3. Thanks Pope! The only Pope I trust. If you like tequila I would also recommend mezcal. It's like tequila/scotch. Also glad to see you are now sponsored by Bacardi.

  4. All hail to the Pope's wisdom. I have recently started a bit of a kick off in movie watching again, whilst actually absorbing it, which is a good sign for me as I have lost the ability to concentrate properly after the head injury. Thing I learnt recently: 100% alcohol hand sanitizer doesn't work, you need to combine it with water. I think the sweet spot is 70%. Plus nicer for your hands if some of the 30% is aloe vera. We wouldn't the Pope of Films hands to become to dry and soaked in flamable liquid now. What would happen to the celluloid?