What's Tony Thinking

Some Off Beat Movie Suggestions


Part of our pandemic pattern of survival has been to watch a movie together several evenings a week. We specialize in finding humane — sometimes funny, sometimes sad — movies that might be called “small,” as they don’t feature big stars and are often set in out of the way places.

Here are some of the ones we’ve enjoyed lately (all available on Netflix as DVD orders).

Sweet Bean is a 2016 Japanese film about a 76 year old woman Tokue. She overcomes the reservations of “the boss” to get a job where she makes extraordinary Azuki bean pastries. Cherry blossoms seem a symbol of a transcendent grace which hovers amid and over human cruelty.

Tangerines is a 2015 film about two Estonian tangerine farmers (do people really grow citrus fruit in Estonia?) who are caught in the bloody 1990’s war between Georgia and Abkhajian. A farmer takes in two wounded soldiers who happen to be on different sides of the conflict.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is based on Seattle-novelist, Garth Stein’s novel of the same name. It’s a dog story. Careful, if you don’t have a dog you may find yourself heading to the Humane Society to get one of your own after watching this. Came out in 2019.

The Peanut Butter Falcon is also a 2019 movie, perhaps the only other American one on this list (besides Racing in the Rain), which means you have to not mind subtitles for the others. A road/ journey story brings together three mis-matched characters who become the family that none of them had.

Yesterday is based on the wild premise that a global blackout has wiped the human memory and storehouses of any sign or remnant of The Beatles. Only three people retain the memories and the songs. One of them is a more or less failed rock musician, of Indian or Pakistani heritage, who lives in England. With The Beatles songbook in his heart he becomes a star, until . . .

The Fencer is a 2015 film about an Estonian fencer who is on the run to escape political persecution and imprisonment. When he coaches a team of kids to a fencing championship match he has to choose whether to stay in hiding or risk being caught.

The Last Cab to Darwin is a 2016 Australian movie. I’m cheating a bit here, as we haven’t actually watched this one yet. It’s up next. Another journey film. Looks promising.

So that’s seven, which in the Bible is a holy number standing for completion and perfection. I won’t claim holiness or perfection for this list. But I will say that these movies are honest, poignant, often funny and all heartwarming, which is something we feel the need of just now.

So often movies these days are a blizzard of special effects and fantastic violence. These are different than that.

Love to receive your suggestions of movies/ shows you have enjoyed lately.



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