Critic’s choices: How to stay entertained during quarantine

LeBlanc: Plenty of options to keep entire family entertained during virus

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CLAY COUNTY – With home situations currently shaken up due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you might be looking for things to keep yourself and your children busy.

I’m a pro at spending time indoors parked in front of a TV on a couch so I’ve gathered up some of the best movies, TV shows and games for people of all ages. Check out my recommendations:

For All Ages:

Movies:

• Disney Pixar’s “Coco”: Coco is a movie about pursuing your passions and family. It’s the perfect pick-me-up movie, and it’s a great look at how humans can make the best of situations in the worst of times. It’s colorful, full of wonderful music and sure to keep your children engaged. It can be found on Disney Plus or rented from movie renting services.

• Disney Animation’s “Moana”: This movie is pure joy and takes place in the most tropical of settings (a nice getaway from halfway-shutdown Clay County). It features some of Disney’s best songs and has a main character voiced by The Rock. What more do you need? It can be found on Disney Plus or rented from movie renting services.

• Dreamwork’s “How to Train Your Dragon”: This series actually has three movies in it at this point and all can be rented for less than a few bucks on services like Amazon Prime and Apple Movies. It’s a series about dragons first and foremost so virtually any child will quickly fall in love, and the trilogy is about a character growing into the person they truly are, not who their family wants them to be.

Games:

• Epic Games’ “Fortnite”: There’s a good chance your children are already playing this game. It’s a battle royale game where 100 players drop onto a massive map. Using cartoonish guns, players will shoot and attack other players (there’s no blood or guts) in an attempt to be the last player alive on the island. It’s available on all mobile devices, the Nintendo Switch, the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 and PCs.

• Activision’s “Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy”: There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Crash Bandicoot. It’s a video game series stretching all the way back to the 1990s and this trilogy is a remaster of the series’ first three games. Its platforming fun with colorful cartoon visuals with just enough challenge to keep your child playing for days on end. It can be played on the Nintendo Switch, the Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4.

• “Nintendo’s New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe”: This is the most recent iteration of a classic 2D Mario game released by Nintendo. It’s the tried-and-true Mario formula you likely grew up with brought into 2020 with revitalized graphics, new levels and worlds to complete, and an entire cast of characters that stretches far beyond just the usual Mario and Luigi. It can be played on the Nintendo Switch.

For Older Children and Adults:

Movies:

• Annapurna Pictures’ “Booksmart”: This is one of my all-time favorite movies. If you’ve seen Superbad and enjoyed it, you’re going to love this movie. It’s about two high school girls who realize on the eve of graduation that they spend their entire time in high schools worrying more about grades than actually having fun. They want to change that and will spend an entire night going great lengths to finally have fun. It’s raunchy, very rated-R, and packs a message that anyone and everyone can learn something from. It can be rented on movie renting services or viewed on Hulu if you subscribe to that service.

• A24’s “Hereditary”: Life is a little scary right now and what better remedy than watching the lives of someone else grow to be absolutely terrifying. Sure, it’s scary to watch but it’ll make you feel like life could be worse. It’s about a family haunted by something (that’s all we’ll say to save you from spoilers) and the movie’s tension and scares continue to rise from start to finish, ending in a climax that will keep you scared of the unknown long after the credits roll. It’s not for the faint of heart but if you’re interested, it can be rented for just a few bucks on movie renting services like Amazon Prime or Google Play Movies.

• Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Contagion”: If you want to see how not to react during a pandemic, this is a movie you should watch. Hyper-relevant as we all currently deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic this movie is about the heroes and the villains in a disease-based crisis. The cast is awesome and will have you saying, “Hey I know who that is” out loud for its entire duration.

Games:

• Bethesda’s “DOOM Eternal”: Sometimes you just want to be an action here living out an extreme power fantasy. DOOM Eternal is that feeling in the form of a video game. It came out just last week and is about the Doom Slayer or Doom Guy wreaking havoc to hellish creatures and monsters working to ultimately destroy earth. Its soundtrack is very metal, its gunplay is smooth and crisp, and its world is grotesquely beautiful. If you need a win in your life, DOOM Eternal is the game for you. It can be played on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

• Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us”: Easily one of the greatest games of all-time (and its 200+ Game of the Year awards would agree with that), this is the story about a father-like figure and a young girl working together to survive in a world fraught with a global pandemic. Its stealth-based action with a story that will bring you to tears multiple times throughout its 15-hour duration. We won’t say too much more so as to save you from spoilers, but simply put, it is an absolute must-play for anyone that plays video games. It is available on PlayStation 4.

• Microsoft’s “Halo: The Masterchief Collection”: This collection of Halo games comes with five unique Halo experiences on one disc. If you haven’t heard of Halo, it is arguably the greatest first person shooter of all time and when the first game released in 2001, it changed the way video games were played and designed for good. This collection sees all four original games, plus a side-story prequel, remastered with modern day graphics and it’s sure to keep you busy for weeks on end. It is available on PC and the Xbox One.

Wesley LeBlanc has been writing about games, movies, TV and other forms of entertainment for years. It’s why he originally went to school for writing! He’s been playing games and watching movies for twice as long and is always happy to introduce someone to his favorite mediums of entertainment. You can follow his entertainment writing and musings at wesleyleblanc.com or via his Twitter account, @LeBlancWes.”

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