We’ve all been there.
You’ve got a whole evening ahead, or maybe a whole weekend with no plans. The world is your shellfish of choice.
And if you’ve got an internet connection, then gee whiz, you can watch just about any movie or show ever made.
But the number of options is intimidating. Where do you even start? After all, clinical psychologists still haven’t come to a consensus about how the massive amount of information offered by the internet will affect the human brain in the long-term.
It’s getting quiet. You’ve been staring at your desktop wallpaper (most likely a calming nature scene that you decided on three months ago when you were going through a self-improvement phase) for two minutes now.
Here come the irrational fears about the inevitable approach of nuclear war, or the worry that the burrito place closest to your house will close down soon.
Why would it close? Everyone loves burritos. It doesn’t matter that the food itself is sub-par.
It’s too late. You’ve already wasted brainpower worrying that the burritos will go away.
But worry no more. You’ve found your way to our list of good movies to watch when bored. They all have a mix of fun visuals, easygoing tones, and scenes that you’ll want to show to friends sometime over the next week.
So just pick a movie from the list at random, go grab a burrito, then come back and watch your chosen movie via legal means.
If you’re feeling more freaked out than bored, then you should check out our article on what to watch when anxious.
Eating Raoul – 1982
This is a B-movie that got a Criterion Collection release. And that’s kind of a miracle.
Now that’s not to say that Eating Raoul didn’t deserve the honor. It absolutely does. And the cover for the Criterion edition is one of my absolute favorites.
A comically moral married couple starts murdering swingers by having the wife posing as a dominatrix for hire.
It’s all in service of opening their own restaurant in the countryside. Then they can leave the filth and grime of Los Angeles.
It’s hard to believe how well this movie has held up since its release. It’s magnificently funny and also brings some serious social commentary to the table at the same time.
Samurai Cop – 1990
We like so-bad-it’s-good movies. We like them a whole lot, and you’re bound to see a few of them here on the site, especially if you’re kind enough to check out multiple articles.
But Samurai Cop will always be somewhere in our Top 5.
A cop, who is also a Samurai, kind of, has just moved from San Diego to Los Angeles. He and his partner try to track down the head of the Japanese Katana gang, sort of.
We meet a few other characters who are mildly important to the plot. Things happen.
A big chunk of the movie had to be reshot long after production initially wrapped. On a practical level, this means that our hero is wearing an awful wig in roughly 50% of the scenes that made it into the movie.
There’s even a legend that the one remaining print of the movie was found in a European castle.
Whether or not it’s true, this hammers home an important point here: the movie is just fun. You watch this movie to have fun, and to laugh very hard at the failings of others.
A Bucket of Blood – 1959
A Bucket of Blood is a weird little movie from Roger Corman, a resourceful director famous within the realm of American B-movies.
It tells the story of Walter, a mentally handicapped man who works as a janitor in a hip, 1960s beat cafe where artists read their pretentious work to a dedicated audience.
Walter wants to be an artist, just like them. Then, by accident, he finds a very disturbing way of creating his own art pieces that the community loves.
I won’t ruin the crux of the movie by talking about it here, but it’s creative, creepy, and entertaining.
The Grand Budapest Hotel – 2014
I’m not quite sure what we’ll think of this movie 10 or 20 years from now, especially in relation to Wes Anderson’s many other flicks.
But right now it feels like we’ve kind of forgotten this one. And that’s confusing to me because I think it’s one of his most accessible movies.
Which is important when you’re looking for something to watch when bored. You want something engaging and consistently interesting.
The Grand Budapest Hotel nails those requirements. It’s eye candy throughout, with some really fantastic reds, pinks, and even comforting tweed-shade beiges.
And even more importantly, the pacing is perfect. It never really gets boring. There’s always something happening, moving the movie along, whether in terms of plot or just visuals.
A Mighty Wind – 2003
We like Christopher Guest a whole bunch. He starred in This is Spinal Tap and went on to direct lots of movies in a similar style.
A Mighty Wind tells the story of a televised folk music reunion show in New York. So the fun is watching a bunch of old-timers come together, dust off their acoustic guitars, and perform some surprisingly impressive folk tunes.
And just take a look at that cast: Jane Lynch, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, John Michael Higgins, Ed Begley Jr., and Christopher Guest himself.
I’ll just go ahead and say it: this is Eugene Levy’s greatest performance. He tends to lean towards the same character type in movies like American Pie and Cheaper By the Dozen 2 (the movie where Steve Martin falls down a lot).
But in A Mighty Wind, Levy gets to play a completely different character: a quiet folk singer who’s suffered a psychotic break and has to muster the courage to perform with his ex.
Ponyo – 2008
Hayao Miyazaki is one of the greatest living animation directors, despite the fact that he’s become a sad old man awaiting the inevitable.
His movies seem to be aimed at children of different ages. Howl’s Moving Castle feels like a movie for kids from 8-10. Kiki’s Delivery Service feels more like a movie for kids around 5-7.
And Ponyo feels like a movie for toddlers and very small children. So can someone tell me why this is my favorite Miyazaki movie of all time?
Maybe it’s because, as an adult, the movie becomes a kind of escapist fantasy. Its characters are good people, pretty much without exception.
Just a bunch of good people living on an idyllic island where everyone takes care of each other and waves to each other from their emergency flotation devices.
This is 101 minutes of pure joy and relaxation.
Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf – 1985
I feel like this movie’s title sells itself, but I’ll say a few things about it anyway.
First of all, you don’t need to have seen the first movie in the series to enjoy this one. In fact, you probably shouldn’t watch the first one.
Sybil Danning is in the movie. She was in many movies during the 80s. Pretty much every movie that didn’t have a big budget.
And guess who else. Christopher Lee. Saruman is in the movie. I guess that’s where most of the budget went.
Basically, a guy finds out that his sister is a werewolf (surprise!) and tries to hunt down some werewolves as a result.
Please don’t make me say anything else about this one. It’s best experienced on your own.
After watching it, you may never be bored again, destined instead to wonder why this movie got made and why you watched it on some slow Sunday afternoon.