Pandemic-Set Films: Are They Worth It?

Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Locked Down. Photograph by Susie Allnutt. Courtesy of HBO Max.

While studios figure out their film slates for 2021-2022, what they should not be focusing on are films that are set during a pandemic.

Listen, I was attracted to the cast of Locked Down more so than the logline itself.  But in spite of this, my feelings after watching the film last week have only grown stronger.  I do not want to see any more pandemic-set films while living through a pandemic.  In case you’re living in a cave, the numbers are only growing worse with no end in sight.  When many of us have been wearing masks since April or May, you can only imagine how infuriating it was to watch Locked Down when the death toll is even higher.

I reached out to one film producer after seeing his comments about Locked Down last week.

“I don’t have any fundamental objection to pandemic-set films being released during the pandemic,” producer Alex Lipschultz tells Solzy at the Movies.  “After all, cinema has seen some resonant war films released while those very wars were still being fought.  My qualms with Locked Down simply revolve around the notion of releasing a blithe heist comedy about this subject matter while thousands are still dying of COVID on a daily basis. It’s beyond exploitative and reeks of its filmmakers being out of touch with the brutal realities of this pandemic. Perhaps there’s a time and a place for this kind of film but it certainly isn’t now.”

I’m right there with him.  Look at Songbird.  In watching the trailer, I could tell immediately that it is not my cup of tea.

I know people have become long-haulers because of contracting the virus.  All I can do is offer my wishes for a full recovery.  Many of us have been doing the right thing since March and people are contracting Covid through no fault of their own.  It’s because of the selfish people that act reckless with no regard for their neighbors.  I mean, Bruce Willis refused to wear a mask at a pharmacy!  The headline is still unfathomable.  How many of us are going to refuse to watch his films now?!?  I’ve only watched Die Hard once and frankly, I don’t care to watch it again.  If you’re not going to act responsibly, why should I support your work?  Bruce, you’re supposed to be a role model!

Since March, I have become such a hard-liner when it comes to doing the right thing.  I am doing what I can to support restaurants by way of delivery orders.  Kosher food is very important to me so it is essential that these restaurants survive.  It is not worth risking anybody’s health when cases are rising.  Los Angeles has one of the worst rates in the country.  Even when you do the whole pod thing, there is still the risk that someone might break the bubble.  What infuriates me the most is seeing the high numbers of people traveling over the holidays when we warned you against traveling!  How do we–as a people–get our numbers down when people pretend the pandemic is over?  It’s exhausting.

The good thing is that there will be no shortage of pre-pandemic blockbusters waiting for us on the other side.  But when is the other side?  I don’t know.  Dr. Fauci believes it will not be until this fall before the Broadway theaters open again.  This would be music to my ears.  I cannot wait until I sit my ass inside a dark movie theater again.  But when will that moment be?  Will it even be during 2021?  Nobody knows because the vaccine rollout is taking a very slow time.

People might act like they are done with the pandemic but the pandemic is not yet over with us.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.