Miss going on dates? Live vicariously though James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “Enough Said.” Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Trusting and optimistic soul that I am, I’m certain that all of you out there are, like me, going understandably loopy because you’re following the advice of responsible medical professionals and staying indoors during this still-multiplying health crisis. And that’s all well and good, as long as we all remember the reasons why we’re so antsy to get outside again and do things in the first place.

Although we can’t actually do any of those things, the Indie Film desk has delved deep into the streaming well we’re all desperately gulping from to come up with some overlooked cinematic reminders of just what’s waiting for us on the other side of this. Honestly, there is an other side. Stay safe, be smart and watch these great, little-remembered movies in preparation for life to resume. 

Remember sports? Try “Sugar.” With Portland’s Hadlock Field responsibly shuttered for the foreseeable future, lovers of minor league baseball can get a dose of aspirational sports greatness with this indie from writer-directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden about a promising young Dominican pitcher (charismatic first-time actor and real-life baseball prospect Algenis Perez Soto). Tracing the teen’s life from hometown star to bewildered pro ballplayer in the low-minors in small-town America, the film is as lived-in and authentic a view of what it takes to get to the Show as I’ve ever seen, as well as a complexly moving tale of the immigrant experience.

Streaming on: Direct TV

Remember eating out in restaurants? Pull up a chair to “Melvin Goes To Dinner.” This 2003 directorial debut of “Better Call Saul” and “Mr. Show” star/genius Bob Odenkirk stands as a deftly funny, micro-budgeted and authentic portrait of the low-key highs and lows of the average double date. Doubling the diners of the also unbelievably fascinating dinnertime talkfest “My Dinner With Andre,” it’s four interesting people with some unusual, if relatable, revelations chatting over a restaurant dinner for 83 minutes. Honestly, even if I’d been able to eat at a restaurant in the last two months, this would still be right up my alley. 

Streaming on: Netflix (“My Dinner With Andre” on the Criterion Channel and Kanopy) 

Remember dating? Some people like it, so for them I suggest writer-director Nicole Holofcener’s “Enough Said.” Not just for kids, the art of tentatively getting to know someone is a gently hilarious joy for divorced parents and age-appropriate possible match Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini in this comfortably funny and sophisticated look at love the second time around. TV gods they are, but neither actor ever had a better, more sweetly human movie role than here, with the mismatched couple’s middle-aged romance playing out in realistically adult complexity. 

Streaming in the usual places, but only for rent. It’s worth it. 

Remember actually going to the movies? Not movies themselves (we’ve got plenty of those at home), but the unique communal joy of sitting in a dark theater filled with strangers to share the moviegoing experience together. Already a shrinking pleasure before the current unpleasantness, there’s no better way to celebrate the scruffy, adventurous, even disreputable joys of theater-going than Joe Dante’s 1993 homage to cinema’s showmen, “Matinee.” Set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the film follows four-walling low-budget schlockmeister director John Goodman (never better) as he employs every trick in the book (firecrackers, seat-buzzers, smoke bombs, guys in masks) to enthrall audiences of his latest sci-fi epic, “MANT!” (“Half man! Half ant! All terror!”) There’s a sly subtext about the way movies externalize society’s worst fears, but the film also never forgets that sometimes it’s all about the show.

Streaming on: Amazon Prime, Starz

Remember guilty pleasures? Get off the internet and step down to the local tobacconist’s for a fine cigar and some unexpected wisdom in 1995’s “Smoke.” (Of course, smoking is bad — that’s why it’s a guilty pleasure.) 

I keep saying it, but this exquisitely written and acted indie from co-directors Wayne Wang and novelist Paul Auster gives big screen legends Harvey Keitel and William Hurt their finest roles ever as unlikely friends Augie and Paul. Hurt’s Paul, a grieving and solitary novelist, finds himself drawn into the seemingly uneventful life of the guy who sells him his daily Shimmelpennick mini-cigars, with the two very different Brooklyn neighbors sharing the rich and rare pleasures of a good smoke — and a great story. Also starring greats Forest Whitaker and Stockard Channing, and with one of the best, most lyrically lovely endings of any movie anywhere, it’s a warm glow of shared humanity we could all use about now.

Streaming on: Hoopla 


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