You’re sitting on an airplane. A JetBlue airplane to be exact. The perfect airline when you don’t want to spend too much money, but you still would like the illusion of luxury. You’re flying from New York to Los Angeles or vice-versa. You forgot your book at your apartment and your Kindle just lost power. Your phone, laptop, and aforementioned Kindle chargers are in your checked baggage. You have six hours to kill.
You really only have one option in this scenario. Maybe it was your first option anyways. You turn on the in-flight entertainment system, stapled to the back of the seat in front of you. You adjust the brightness, because it might be a red-eye flight and you’re a little sleepy.
Like every other person on the plane in your situation, you start the search for the perfect in-flight movie. You jump from the different tabs, and if you’ve had a busy year, you hop onto the “New Releases” tab on the mini monitor.
For the sake of this ranking, we’re throwing documentaries out the window-side window. But, if we want to rank the docs on the JetBlue “New Releases” tab, this would be the list in terms of watchability:
- Amazing Grace
- Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
- Apollo 11
- Meeting Gorbachev
- The Panama Papers
Now, what’s the criteria for the best movie while watching on an airplane? For this, we are going to look at a few different factors.
- How comfortable do you feel while watching the film? You don’t want to be watching something that will make your seat neighbors feel awkward, which makes you feel uncomfortable, which makes asking for them to move so you can go to the bathroom even more horrible. For example, Her is a fantastic film, but a horrible in-flight watch. The surrogate scene is the epitome of uncomfortability. You score this out of 5. Her would have received a 1/5.
- How engaged are you during the film? No one wants to watch a boring film while on a flight. Flying, even though it’s an amazing technological achievement, are inherently boring. You’re watching movies out of necessity, simply because there’s nothing else to do. You want to be entertained. You score this out of 5 as well. For example, Fast Five would score a 5/5 in this category. It’s entertaining as hell.
- If turbulence occurs, will this film distract you? Turbulence was awful, is awful, and will remain awful. You want a film that will distract you from that turbulence, not add to the nausea. You score this out of 5 as well. For example, a space movie like Ad Astra or Gravity or really any space movie would score 1/5 in this category, because you’d feel more nauseous if there was unexpected turbulence. Comedies score high in this category.
- Will you feel like you adequately used your time by watching this movie? Basically, this is asking is the movie is good or not. A bad film is still a bad film, even if you’re on an airplane with nothing else to do. Score this out of 5.
There you have it. That’s the scoring system. The maximum number a film can receive is 20 and the minimum number a film can receive is 4.
Here are the 14 films: Annabelle Comes Home, Godzilla: King of Monsters, Late Night, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, Plus One, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Sword of Trust, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, The Lion King, Ugly Dolls, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Yesterday.
Movies Scoring 0-10: That Was The Longest Flight
We aren’t going to spend lots of time on these movies so let’s just run through them.
#14: Ugly Dolls — A bad movies with ugly animation and unfunny jokes. You want to be laughing, not cringing while on a flight. 5/20
#13: Annabelle Comes Home — You might already be scared because you’re on a plane, so why would you intentionally scare yourself more? 6/20
#12: The Art of Racing in the Rain — You either a) read the book and so you already know what’s going to happen or b) have not read the book and are watching a story narrated by a dog played by Kevin Costner. 8/20
#11: The Lion King — This live-action remake falls under the “I already know what’s going to happen” category which makes it much less engaging. It won’t leave you feeling like you spent your time on the flight wisely, making you wish you started your laptop. 10/20
Movies Scoring 11-15: Eh, I Survived My Flight
Let’s give these some scores on some categories, shall we?
#10: Spider-Man: Far From Home — 11/20
- Comfortable: Very much so. No one will judge you for watching Tom Holland and Zendaya save the world, while Jake Gyllenhaal crushes his villainous role. Sort of a movie catered to teens, though. 4/5
- Engaged: The film does a good job of keeping your attention. It has some laughs, some big set pieces, and some decent-sized stakes. You won’t be glued to the screen though, and you won’t mind taking a bathroom break in the middle. 3/5
- Turbulence: This is a major problem. As Spider Man is swinging through the air, you are also metaphorically and physically bumping through the air. 1/5
- Time: You won’t feel bad for watching it but you won’t go running to tell your friends. 3/5
#9: Godzilla: King of Monsters — 12/20
- Comfortable: There have been so many Godzilla and King Kong movies that you really won’t be judged. Your neighbors could think you’re watching any one of them. They’ll understand. 4/5
- Engaged: Somewhat. The huge action sequences will be great and the actors are giving far-too-committed performances. 3/5
- Turbulence: Again, not great. If it’s during an action sequence, you’re in for a bad time. If it’s during one of the “let’s save the world” monologues, you’re safe. 2/5
- Time: Just fun enough to watch that you won’t be regretting it. 3/5
#8: Pokemon: Detective Pikachu — 13/20
- Comfortable: For the most part, yes. Will some people think you’re a little nerdy? Yes, but who cares. Will most people not care? Also, yes. 4/5
- Engaged: During the time I was watching this film, the snack and drink carts came by. I never paused it. 2/5
- Turbulence: Yes, almost the whole time. There’s a shocking amount of non-action in this film. Unless you’re watching the part where the ground starts moving, you’ll be more than fine. 4/5
- Time: It’s a Pokemon world. We’re just all living in it. 3/5
#6: The Last Black Man in San Francisco — 14/20
- Comfortable: Yes, yes, yes. It’s a fantastic film with high critical praise about gentrification and community and family and belonging. Fantastic. 5/5
- Engaged: Unfortunately, if you’re tired, it might put you to sleep, as it’s a dialogue-heavy film. It lacks action and/or comedy to keep you awake. It might be one of the best films on the in-flight system but not for plane-watching. 2/5
- Turbulence: You’ll feel about the same. It won’t help you tons or hurt you tons. 3/5
- Time: It’s a super solid film with a beautiful score and gorgeous cinematography, what else can I say? You’ll wish you were in a theater. 4/5
Movies Scoring 15-20: Wait, That Flight Was So Short!
#5: Late Night — 15/20
- Comfortable: Mindy Kaling is beloved in many circles of life, as The Office and The Mindy Project are highly watched, highly acclaimed shows. 4/5
- Engaged: Not as engaging as you hope for, but still engaging enough. The story has some lulls, but keeps your attention for the most part. Kaling and Emma Thompson are quite lovely. 3/5
- Turbulence: It will make you laugh and so you’ll feel better about the turbulence. You won’t feel like the situation is nearly as awful. 4/5
- Time: A solid film with a solid premise with a solid cast with solid jokes. 4/5
#4: Plus One — 16/20
- Comfortable: A rom-com pretty comfortable. And it’s all about weddings, which is a situation in at least 50% of all movies. 4/5
- Engaged: Though this movie is largely enjoyable, you won’t be stuck in your seat, watching without distractions. You won’t rewind if your headphones fall out. 4/5
- Turbulence: No action, all talk. You’ll (hopefully) laugh through the bumps. 5/5
- Time: A truly inventive and heartfelt romantic comedy that makes you want to watch more romantic comedies. Enjoyed the hell out of it. 4/5
#3: Sword of Trust — 18/20
- Comfortable: It just looks like any other comedy. If anything, people will ask you what you’re watching because truly no one has seen this movie. 5/5
- Engaged: If you buy into the plotline, it’s an enjoyable movie with pace. You’ll laugh a ton and be invested in the story. Not lots of action but it’ll keep you eyes on the screen. 4/5
- Turbulence: Again, you’ll be laughing. Wait what turbulence? 5/5
- Time: You’ll feel like you found a gem of a film. You’ll tell your friends about it when you get off the flight. You might even use the in-flight Wifi to post on Twitter. It’s not the best film of the year, but it’s real good. 4/5
#2: Once Upon a Time In Hollywood — 18/20
- Comfortable: This is possibly the most recognizable film on the list, outside of The Lion King or Spider Man. It has major star power in Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie. The only issue is the violence towards the end of the film. 4/5
- Engaged: To me, this is the highest quality film available during your JetBlue flight. The actors give incredible performances, the cinematography explores different perspectives of Los Angeles, and the story grabs your attention. 5/5
- Turbulence: If you were watching the last 20 minutes during turbulence, it’d be unfun. Everything else is more than ok. 4/5
- Time: This film will be nominated for Best Picture, and millions of people watch the Oscars so you’ll feel like it’s time well spent. Also, the film is over two hours so you’ll have made a real dent in your flight time. 5/5
#1: Yesterday — 19/20 — THE BIG WINNER
- Comfortable: With friendly faces like Ed Sheeran, James Corden, and Kate McKinnon in the mix, people will know you’re watching actors they also enjoy. 5/5
- Engaged: It’s just not the greatest film overall. The seemingly endless amount of Beatles songs will keep you watching, though. It has enough comedy, enough romance, and enough goodness. Himesh Patel offers a fantastic performance. 4/5
- Turbulence: Nothing gets you through Turbulence like the music of the Beatles. 5/5
- Time: You’ll feel much happier after watching the film and that is the greatest gift an in-flight movie can give you. For a bit, you might even forget you’re flying. You’re just along for the ride. It’s the perfect in-flight movie. 5/5
Shockingly, JetBlue is not yet a sponsor of Peach Fuzz Critic. What’s your go-to in-flight movie?