In honor of my Augustana College friends who are graduating this weekend yet were denied the opportunity to enjoy a proper on-campus send-off before entering the cold, cruel workplace world, here are five titles under the collective blanket of “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up” – home-viewing options from 1976 to 1990 featuring excellent examples of pros at their inspiring peaks of performance. Consider it my cinematic commencement address. I don't know why I've never been asked to give a real one. Probably because they'd anticipate my being crude. Those jackasses.

What follows are five of my favorites from the 1970s and '80s that give me the pleasure of being riveted by others' anger when I'm feeling some myself and want to dispel it without throwing a public fit or composing an online treatise on the subject. The latter of which I suppose I'm doing right now. Damn it.

There were loads of huge hits in the summer of '92: Batman Returns and Lethal Weapon 3 and Sister Act and A League of Their Own … . But as usual, the releases that affected me most and lingered most were the ones that went dark, even for comedies – works that continue to resonate more than a quarter-century after my initial viewings. Here are my five favorites – all but one seen gratis, and all of them enjoyed before I had to start paying for movies all the time like some kind of chump … .

In honor and celebration of my college-senior theatre-major friends who are now graduating yet were denied the opportunity to enjoy one final send-off performance, allow me to guide you to five of my personal favorite film performances from the years in which I attended Augustana College.

I've expended a lot of wordage over the past several (hundred?) weeks guiding you to home-viewing options in the wake of closed cineplexes. So for a refreshing change of pace, what say I let others do it for me?

It's not the anniversary of his birth, or even his death, and he didn't pass away recently. But more and more lately, I find myself missing Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Oscar-winning actor who finally lost his long battle against drug addiction on February 2, 2014. These days, of course, I miss everyone – even people, like Hoffman, who I only saw on-screen. I've been feeling his absence more acutely than usual, though, over the past several weeks, and for reasons that are only partly professional.

I guess you know you've been self-quarantining for a long time when you realize you're now writing sequels to articles you wrote when the self-quarantining began. But I also didn't come nearly close to praising all the comedies I wanted to five weeks back, so a sequel we all get! Besides, you can either spend eight hours reading about and then watching these five excellent titles from 1985 to 1994 or watch Tiger King for the seventh time, so … .

Where's everybody going … ?

Last fall, I saw Parasite, Jojo Rabbit, and Pedro Almodóvar's Pain & Glory on the same weekend, which was unbelievable. Yet not long after autumn's launch in '94, five infinitely re-watchable films, all of which I saw in theatres, hit this area over 15 days – a collection of titles that went on to earn 27 Oscar nominations (a third of them for acting) and four wins, and that I recently returned to pre-pandemic just because they're like potato chips for me: If I'm having one, I'm probably having five.

Here are 20 excellent home-viewing options from the last two decades that are finally getting their official Reader props. I've restricted every write-up to 50 words or fewer in deference to your patience. And also to give myself an extra writing challenge. 'Cause we gotta find ways to pass the time somehow … .

My dad, who lives with my mom in Crystal Lake, Illinois, turned 80 last week. As with many other recent celebrations – all of ours, everywhere – our family's planned-for birthday party never took place, and we're going to have to wait a while before we can officially convene in Dad's favorite Brazilian restaurant. (Which might actually be the rest of the family's favorite Brazilian restaurant, but hey – Pop likes it, too.) In the meantime, this one's for you, Dad – I'm finally reviewing Evil Under the Sun!

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