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5 New(ish) Movies to Watch When You Just Can’t Do Homework Alone in Your Room Anymore

As we begin our first week of classes virtually while we are either in a dorm quarantine or still at home, the pressure is starting to feel overwhelming. I have always found first week to be exhausting. It’s not necessarily stressful yet, but it is certainly draining. Plus, we still aren’t able to see our friends (or even have the chance to make new ones), so it gets a bit lonely. All the more reason to relax from your room by watching a movie!

A movie, often only 90 minutes, is the perfect break because it’s not too long to feel guilty but still long enough to be refreshing. This summer, I was able to actually watch some new movies when they came out. (I haven’t been able to do that since I started college.) This list is certainly an eclectic variety, but I wholeheartedly recommend each one if you have not seen them before!

Without further ado, here is my top five new movies for when you need a break during these next few weeks in isolation (and really any other time during the semester when you want to do something fun). 


Who’s in It: Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani.

This a pretty fun Rom-Com mystery that definitely leans more into the comedy. Essentially, Leilani and Jibran, a couple on the brink of break-up, get tangled up in messy murder mystery when Jibran accidentally hits a guy as they are arguing in the car. In a panic, they flee the scene and spend the rest of the night on a chaotic but amusing wild goose chase to find the real killer in an attempt to clear their names.

Although it is a bit over-the-top and quirky at times, and not the most original or layered movie, it will probably make you laugh. Plus, it has a pretty cute ending. It is the type of movie that is great for an entertaining movie night in your dorm that won’t require a lot of energy on your part.  

It was released in May and can be found on Netflix.


Who’s in It: The Original Cast of Hamilton, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., and Daveed Diggs.

I’m sure you saw this one coming. I can’t even explain how excited I was to find out that Hamilton was being released early instead of in 2021. They finally filmed a Broadway musical so that it could be streamed! With the diversity, the pure and awe-inspiring talent of the cast, and its mixture of rap, hip-hop, R&B, and showtunes, it is no surprise that this musical is regarded as revolutionary (pun intended). I mean, in its opening year, it won 11 Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. And after I watched it a few times, I may have listened to the soundtrack on repeat for the rest of the summer. I have so much admiration and respect for how Lin-Manuel Miranda could turn a 700-page biography about Alexander Hamilton into the most iconic Broadway musical of the decade. It’s just… Awesome. Wow. 

Of course, watching a recording of the musical is nowhere near the experience of actually seeing it on Broadway, but I think that watching it this way had some perks. Who knew Johnathan Groff committed so much to his role as King George that he was literally spitting his lines? You probably won’t be able to see that from your seats in the theater. It is absolutely worth watching (or re-watching) and you’ll even feel like you learned a thing or two along the way.

It was released in July and can be found on Disney+.

The Old Guard

Who’s in It: Charlize Theron and Chiwetel Ejiofor. (Also, Harry Melling AKA Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter.)

The Old Guard surprised me. I started watching it halfheartedly because I was outvoted 3-1 for the family movie. In the first few minutes, it seems like your classic military movie with a female “Lone Ranger” type protagonist in Charlize Theron. But it has a shocking sci-fi twist that made it one of the best movies I watch all summer. Turns out a movie about a covert team of immortal mercenaries is actually a great concept for a movie. And it is based on graphic novel series, so a sequel is in the works. I know this one does not seem like an obvious choice, but seriously, you should give it a chance.

It was released in July and can be found on Netflix.


Who’s in It: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens, Pierce Brosnan, and a little bit of Demi Lovato.

I will be the first one to say that I am not a huge Will Ferrell fan. He has a specific type of comedy that doesn’t really work for me, but I really enjoyed Rachel McAdams’ performance in this movie (though her singing was mostly dubbed). The movie centers around an Icelandic singing duo Fire Saga, made up of Lars and Sigrit, played by Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams respectively. Don’t get me wrong, the movie still includes the odd humor you would expect from a Will Ferrell movie, but this time, its weirdness works in its favor alongside the musical performances. The first song, “Volcano Man,” was incredible. It may leave you speechless, but you really can’t help but laugh at its absurdity.

It might also be interesting to know that many of the contestants in the movie (besides the Russian Alexander Lemtov, played by Dan Stevens) are actual contestants and winners from the real-life Eurovision competition.

It was released in June and can be found on Netflix.

The Photograph

Who’s in It: Issa Rae, LaKeith Stanfield, and Lil Rey Howrey. (And Peggy, Jasmine Cephas-Jones from Hamilton.)

This is the romantic drama I have been waiting for. The movie stars a predominately Black cast, but the movie is not defined by nor does it shy away from its Blackness. First and foremost, it is a love story. Actually, it is two love stories told side by side, feeling quite similar to the way Nicholas Sparks romances unfold. Yet, the movie also engages with real questions about family and motherhood that add an extra layer. There are certainly times when I wish that the movie did more, went further with some of the conflicts and characters. Overall, though, I definitely enjoyed the slow-burn romance, perfect for a cozy night in.

Ok, so this one isn't as new since it was released in February, which feels like another lifetime ago, but it does deserve a spot on the list. You can buy it at a really reasonable price on Amazon Prime or YouTube.

Remember as the stress starts to build up, sometimes all you need to do is watch a movie. Be sure to check out these five when you consider what to watch next. 

Elizabeth, originally from just outside of Chicago, is a senior graduating early from Connecticut College where she is majoring in English with Psychology and History minors. She has an insatiable appetite for a compelling story and hopes to use that passion to pursue a career in publishing in a big city. If she’s not reading or writing another essay, she is binge-watching a new TV series, scrolling through Pinterest, baking cookies, or hanging out with family and friends.
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