A Requiem for the Airplane Movie, the Best Way to Watch Bad Films

Kevin Fallon
·5 min read

This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.

This week:

  • Kim Kardashian sucks.

  • I miss watching shitty movies on planes.

  • A teeny Supermarket Sweep rant.

  • Bracing for Election Night.

  • Good riddance to Halloween.

Where do airplane movies go when we don’t travel? I ask this as I have watched the most airplane movie of all airplane movies this past week, the remake of Roald Dahl’s The Witches from the comfort of my home, and it just did not feel right.

Anne Hathaway Deserves an Airplane Second Chance

It is not that I wish that I had seen the film, in which Anne Hathaway plays a witch who wants to turn all children into mice and then squash them (and is basically Melania Trump, but that is a whole other article), in a movie theater. Oh, I would have been annoyed to have spent time and effort doing that.

It is not a film that is good, nor is it bad. It is neither silly nor scary enough to be worthwhile, but Hathaway is just campy enough to make it not a waste of time. It is precisely the movie that would be elevated by elevation. Give me a tiny bottle of chardonnay, a vague altitude high, and the lowering of standards when there is nowhere to go and nothing to do but stare at a 5-inch screen less than a foot from your face.

A list of movies I have ADORED through this viewing experience that I am unsure deserved the breathless accolades I showered them with upon landing/may actually have been bad: Little, Good Boys, How to Be Single, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Wife, The Meg, Tag, Overboard, Peppermint. These movies, of course, are spiritual cousins to “it came on a cable channel on a rainy Sunday afternoon and was only 20 minutes in so I watched anyway and enjoyed” genre. (See: Jennifer Lopez’s Second Act or A Quiet Place, for example.)

Everyone’s all worried about the effect the closing of movie theaters is having on the industry which, fair concern. But what of the severe drop in airplane movie viewing? A mile-high second chance is what Anne Hathaway as a witch deserves.

The Fatal Flaw With Supermarket Sweep

Now that the usual balm of watching HGTV before bed has been torpedoed by the realization that the couple that can’t possibly move into the craftsman home that is somehow both five bedrooms and only $110,000 because it has no third garage nor a designated wrapping paper room is almost/definitely MAGA supporters about to decorate their new lawn with Trump 2020 signs...I’ve had to significantly alter my “brainless television” viewing habits.

On the off-chance that one of National Hero Guy Fieri’s shows is somehow not airing on the Food Network, that’s meant, for many of us over the summer, a binge through old episodes of Supermarket Sweep on Netflix and, now, finding delight in the Leslie Jones-hosted reboot that’s recently begun airing Sundays on ABC.

In the reboot, Jones’ fangirl enthusiasm is infectious, the grocery-related trivia games are just as peculiar as before, and the contestants’ sweep strategies are as infuriating as ever. (Why are they not going right for the turkeys???!!!) But because I can’t ever just let nice things be, here is one huge gripe: The contestants are too poised!

<div class="inline-image__credit">ABC/Eric McCandless</div>
ABC/Eric McCandless

The bliss of Supermarket Sweep reruns is how embarrassingly normal the contestants were then, from their terrible hair to their ghastly clothes and their plethora of teeth shapes. The reboot’s competitors are as camera-ready as if they were walking from the grocery store set to a casting for their own reality TV show as soon as production wrapped. Their personalities are through the roof, which certainly brings energy. But it’s too much.

Bring back the Supermarket Sweep magic. Bring back the frump.

Wine and Cheese and Rachel Maddow and Anxiety

Now that the celebrities are down to their last days of screaming at us on Instagram about having a voting plan, it’s time to move on to the next vital concern: What is your Election Night TV watching plan?

Is your therapist joining you for the night via Zoom? How many bottles of wine did you buy and is there an actual answer to the question, “How many is enough?” What food will you be stress-eating? Or are you someone who can’t eat when the world might be ending, in which case who will be there to make sure you remain nourished enough to survive the potential apocalypse?

<div class="inline-image__credit">no credit</div>
no credit

Are you the type who stays glued to the TV no matter how many days or weeks it takes to get this sorted? Are you the type who scrolls through Twitter until your soul leaves your body in protest? Or are you the type who needs to avoid the news entirely as self-care? (In which case, steer clear of House Hunters...it can be triggering!)

Me? I’m going to print out this announcement and hang it on the wall as a reminder of what’s waiting on the other side of all this. It’s what will get me through:

<div class="inline-image__credit">SCREENSHOT</div>

So Long, Halloween Season

Halloween is happening this weekend! Gross! In any case, if there’s one good thing about this horrible holiday it’s the occasion to revisit the best New York Times correction there has ever been.

<div class="inline-image__credit">Twitter</div>

What to watch this week:

His House: The most original, and maybe the best, horror movie I saw this year. (Friday on Netflix)

Mom: This has slowly become one of my favorite comedies on TV. (Thursday on CBS)

Race in America: Our Vote Counts: Bravo stars, surprisingly, deliver one of the most interesting voting specials this season. (Sunday on Bravo)

What to skip this week:

Truth Seekers: It’s not that good. (They asked for the truth!) (Friday on Amazon)

Holidate: About as amusing as that pun. (Now on Netflix)

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