Sometimes you need a movie to keep you entertained while you tend to other obligations, hobbies, or house guests. From film's you've seen a million times or ones you haven't, these are movies you can passively listen to or let the cinematic grandeur subtly transform your living room into a striking nature scape. Here are 12 movies to leave on the screen when you're not in full-on binge-watching mode.
"Amelie": Pairs well with hors d'oeuvres
You can even turn the sound off as every artistically edited shot resembles a picturesque painting, with vibrant colors on the set and wardrobe jumping off the screen. Though the romantic piano and accordion-heavy instrumentals make for a perfect afternoon get-together. Either way, the 2001 indie darling will add charm to any meet-up.
"Once": Sick day-friendly
Especially if you've seen it before, you can fall in and out of consciousness and still be uplifted every time you wake up to this one playing softly on your TV set. Not your typical big screen Hollywood extravaganza, scenes of the guy-meets-girl musical take place in modest music shops and the quaint streets of Dublin. The low-budget film is recorded using handheld cameras to establish a humble and authentic feel as if it were made for your living room rather than a 50-foot wide screen.
The Weinstein Company
"Begin Again": At-home dinner date
"Music is about ears, not eyes,” is a memorable quote by Keira Knightley’s character. Stages for the singer-songwriter Gretta are set up around the rooftops and city streets of New York City, providing a visually compelling backdrop for the musical film, also written and directed by "Once" filmmaker John Carney. Sip on some wine to candle light and hit play.
“Force Majeure”: Play during a wintertime reunion with friends
Conflict plagues a family vacationing in the breathtaking Alps after a near-death avalanche scare provokes thought and laughs. But get this: With the sound off, this acclaimed Swedish comedy-drama's visual beauty alone is something to behold.
“2001: A Space Odyssey”: Project it on a wall
The slow pace of the film allows for appreciation of the magnificent cinematography, taking your house guests on a surreal visual journey to the massive surface of the moon and other space-scapes.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Disney Nature’s “Oceans”: Your study companion
Leave the ecological documentary's volume on to learn a fun fact about the sub-aquatic world every time you tune in, or mute it to have the wonders of the ocean liven your living room. It's a win-win situation.
"Perks of Being a Wallflower”: Your angsty cooking companion
The perks of a great soundtrack: Whether you relate to the deep-rooted issues of Logan Lerman's introverted character or not, he expresses himself to his friends through personalized mixtapes and has surprisingly decent taste for a high schooler, making for a soundtrack that channels '80s and '90s angst.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
"Juno": Garden while you listen to some seriously skillful prose
Ellen Page's title character handles the predicament of an unexpected pregnancy with edgy one-liners and great pop culture references that earned the film’s “Best Writing, Original Screenplay.”
Fox Searchlight Pictures
"Little Miss Sunshine”: Family bonding time
The dialogue in this 2006 indie dramedy teases out an onscreen family's dysfunction, and can perhaps be used to launch a real family dialogue in your own living room.
"Groundhog Day”: Play it on a loop during a party
Every time Bill Murray’s character lives his day over again, there are new truths to be discovered. If you’re walking in and out of the room and occasionally catching a glimpse, you'll still getting the gist of the film's engrossing repetition, especially if you keep replaying it until your last guest leaves.
“The Fifth Element”: Wake-up movie
Get up, grab some coffee, turn this cult classic on and flip through your iPad news feed with this visually stunning and colorfully animated sci-fi action film playing in the background. Even if you’re not following the storyline from beginning to end, you don’t really need to know the plot to appreciate Milla Jovovich’s badass character, the constant action-filled scenes, and the spectacular futuristic setting.
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