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Movies and TV for Staying in Place

Below is a list of movies and TV shows started by our guiding priest, Taigen Dan Leighton, with comments, for watching while sheltered in place.

Classic cinema

  • Casablanca – You Must Remember This
  • The Big Lebowski – Amid all the changes, the Dude Abides
  • Field of Dreams – my favorite baseball movie ever, if you build it they will come, the greatest Chicago ballplayer ever (not Ernie, think Southside), and o yeah, the way James Earl Jones says Base-ball
  • Ghost – great love story, great ghost story, and great comedy thanks to Whoopi all in one, subway training scenes are favorites
  • Men in Black – out of this world, my favorite American Dharma movie
  • The Hurricane – Here comes the story of the Hurricane
  • Hugo – My favorite Martin Scorsese movie, and also my favorite movie about filmmaking.
  • Dances with Wolves – yet another Kevin Costner gem, the true sad story of the decimation of America’s native people
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – the best Chicago movie ever? and a favorite comedy
  • Malcolm – Denzel and Spike Lee, mandatory history lesson
  • Mo’ Better Blues – my favorite jazz film, more Denzel and Spike Lee
  • Almost Famous – one of the best rock films
  • Notting Hill – my favorite romantic comedy
  • Ground Hog Day – Oh no not again, every day is a good day
  • JFK – more relevant history from Kevin Costner and Oliver Stone
  • Ugetsu – my favorite Japanese movie, an historical epic
  • Tampopo – Great Japanese comedy about discipleship
  • Masked and Anonymous – for fellow Dylan fans

Recent movies

  • Harriet – story of the great Harriet Tubman freeing slaves
  • Motherless Brooklyn – brilliant movie written, directed, and starring Edward Norton; Sam Spade with Aspergers, and history of NYC corruption
  • At Eternity’s Gate – Willem Dafoe’s Van Gogh, beautiful
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – a film about bodhisattva kindness
  • The Wife – Glenn Close and a literary prize
  • Parasite – S. Korean gem about class war

Television series

3 Comedies all on Amazon:

  • The Kominsky Method – Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin on the pain and glory of aging.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – stand-up comedy, starting in the 60s Village
  • Fleabag – brilliant raunchy British humor with a sexy priest


  • This Is Us – always moving family drama
  • A Million Little Things – a community drama, poignant


Other recommendations

  • from Dale Kaufman: Yunis Emre (on Netflix): A unique unlikely gem! 45 episode, 2 season Turkish series (with subtitles) about a Sufi mystic poet’s life and spiritual quest
  • from Mark Pringle: The Dectectorists – an offbeat BBC comedy series which follows the lives of two eccentric metal detectorists. Sweet, gentle, insightful.  Gets 8.6 on IMDB.
  • From Rev. Eden Kevin Heffernan, Richmond Zen [VA] :
    These films are science fiction for people who don’t think they like science fiction. They are also for lovers of Dharma of intimacy, and time & space.
    • Her
      An inquiry into identity, relationship, consciousness, and love masquerading as a science fiction romantic comedy. Bonus: Alan Watts plays a pivotal role.
    • Arrival
      Gorgeously filmed, heartfully played story about the challenges of language/communication, the nature of time, facing the unknown, and embracing the known. Bonus: a visual language that looks a lot like ensos! Extra bonus: no laser beams.
    • More earthly, see the unlikely YouTube phenomenon Lizhiqi, whose short video meditations on everyday chores are centered around cooking in Chinese rural life:

Feel free to send any submissions you have to!