Netflix and Fly: Airplane Movie Reviews

Two hours into my eight-hour flight, I bought a pair of $4 headphones and hit play on my first movie. Over the course of the flight, I would watch a random selection of movies and TV shows, most of which I probably would not have watched otherwise. There were good sitcoms with lots of laughs and some bad movies watched only out of desperation and boredom. Here’s a review.

Hidden Gem: “Tag”

I honestly could not have liked this movie more. It was cute and light-hearted while also tackling some surprisingly deep subjects. Based on a true story, the plot centers around a group of friends who use the game of tag to stay connected for over fifteen years. How, you may ask? For one month every year, they play tag as adults flying across the country to ambush each other at work, home and anywhere else! As I get older and after moving away to college, I have more than once wondered how my friendships (some of which endured middle school and high school) will survive. With a great cast including Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson and Rashida Jones, this movie tackles (sometimes quite literally) this question. Big takeaways from the movie? Imperfection in friendships is not always fatal, and friendships can be just as deep and profound even if you only see the person for a game of tag once a year. “Tag” is a fun movie that is definitely worth watching even if you are not stuck on an eight-hour flight.

Only Watched Out of Desperation: “The Internship”

Okay, so it wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever watched. In case you’re curious, "Sharknado" holds that position. The plot of the movie was actually pretty good. Two middle-aged, recently unemployed watch salesmen embark on an internship at Google. They are out of place at Google to say the least. But even though it’s an interesting concept and the cast is great with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as friends and Rose Byrne as Wilson’s love interest, the movie falls flat. There are lots of clichés, paper thin characters and a dash of sexism as well as a flippant depiction of trichotillomania. Not stuck on an eight-hour flight? Don’t hit play.

Just Okay: “The Judge”

I could practically smell the hydrangeas, see the summer rain and feel the family tension in the old farmhouse of “The Judge.” Robert Downey Jr. stars in this movie as a big-shot lawyer who returns home after his mother’s death, and he quickly gets drawn into defending his father in the courtroom. Although the main character is hard to like, Downey Jr. seems well cast as the wayward son next to a pretty stunning performance by Robert Duvall as a judge and father who can’t quite seem to keep the two roles separate. Overall though, the movie seems to back away from greatness at the last minute. Every scene seems somehow reserved. Every argument quieter than it would be in real life. When Downey Jr.’s character and his father both jump out of a car and begin walking in opposite directions it is almost a stately action. Car doors aren’t slammed so much as they are closed. Is this a stylistic choice from which we are to divine a deeper meaning? Is this reserved attitude supposed to be respect for the judge whether or not he has his robes on? It’s unclear. Watch if you have time for a mediocre, slow family drama.

Good Ole Sitcoms: “Young Sheldon” & “The Big Bang Theory

Following in the tradition of shows like “Friends” and “Seinfeld,” “The Big Bang Theory” is a classic sitcom with a simple concept and familiar, loveable characters. Meanwhile, “Young Sheldon” is a bit of a younger, cheekier sitcom. Bored on a flight, or a Friday night? Hit play for a few laughs.

Well, that’s it, folks: six hours of movies and two hours of sitcoms, or just one reeeeeeally long flight home. Overall, it was a fun experiment, but movie theater popcorn was definitely missing.