Movies · TV

What Should I Watch Instead of The Inauguration?

By  · Published on January 17th, 2017

Dear FSR

We’re all trying to escape, so what’s our best bet?

At some point in your life, you’ve likely been faced with a question that has no solid answer. Some people may take such a puzzle to a trusted confidant, a friendly pastor, or the esteemed annals of Yahoo! Answers. But will they have the expertise needed to solve your most pressing film predicaments?

Think of Dear FSR as an impartial arbiter for all your film concerns. Boyfriend texting while you’re trying to show him your most precious Ozu? What’s the best way to confront the guy who snuck that pungent curry into your cramped theater? This is an advice column for film fans, by a film fan.

Dear FSR,

On Friday, January 20th, Americans will be bombarded by the inauguration of Donald Trump. Lord knows I don’t want to watch it when half our representatives and senators don’t even want to ATTEND it. What’re some better things to watch that day while everyone else sits slack-jawed in front of Toby Keith and Three Doors Down?


Desperate For Democracy

Dear DFD,

While there are many fake alternatives for protest-viewing floating around out there on the internet, like a so-called Freedom Concert roster that just Photoshopped all the anti-Trump celebrities and musicians it could fit, TV, streaming, and your local theater have lots of options to set the mood right even though the country is becoming so, so wrong.

First, you could watch the long history of filmed presidential inaugurations starting with the first-ever recorded, that of William McKinley. Or perhaps, taking into account this week’s history and Trump’s inflammatory comments about Rep. John Lewis, you could watch his collaboration with the Library of Congress, A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

TCM, the greatest shade-throwers of all television programming, will air A Face in the Crowd and The Fountainhead on Inauguration Day. Get your thrills of power-hungry American individualism as reality follows closely behind.

For thematically appropriate documentaries, 13th’s fascinating spotlight on American incarceration and I Am Not Your Negro’s fiery history lesson are modern films that both educate, entertain, and affirm that you’re not crazy or alone out there. Barry and The West Wing, both on Netflix, can provide governmental escapism back into the realms of hope, while One Day at a Time’s Cuban-American revival sings with similar emotions, a full heart, and undeniable humor. You could do worse than generate more empathy on a day where many leave it behind.

If you’re REALLY looking for escapism, there’s something to be said for weirdo cartoons. Voltron: Legendary Defender’s second season premieres on the 20th and hell, its first season still maintains a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

If, however, you’d like to embrace the madness, It Follows is new to Netflix. If you want the stalking, haunted creepiness of the presidential debates replicated on screen in an actual horror movie, David Robert Mitchell’s excellent paranoia tale gives those implications life. The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror are also streaming on the service, if you’d like to desperately search for an episode somehow weirder than the reality we already live in.

Good luck with that.

Disregarding our initial premise, if all the watching begins to feels too passive for you, there are certainly options to occupy both your eyes and your sense of moral duty.

A group of entrepreneurs have created Love-a-thon, a PBS-like online telethon. Love-a-thon will be a three-hour Facebook Live broadcast, beginning at 12:30 p.m. E.T. on Friday. The telecast is part of a movement to raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Planned Parenthood, and Earthjustice. If you want a more hands-on experience, dozens of marches and protests have been planned and organized. Facebook is a decent resource to find local outlets for your emotional energy near you.

Watch, protest, donate, and volunteer,


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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).