We’re all feeling the stress of the coronavirus epidemic, and many of us are looking for ways to keep ourselves entertained during the chaos that’s going on right now. Some people are finding solace in books or movies, and I’m doing that as well, but I’ve come to find that YouTube has been a great resource of entertainment of all kinds.
Whether you’re into movie reviews, song parodies, video games or retro pop culture, there’s a YouTube channel out there for you to enjoy, and I would like to share 10 of my favorites, going in alphabetical order by first name.
To start off with, there’s the YouTube channel Audiobooks For The Damned.
This YouTube channel is devoted to unabridged audio recordings of film novelizations stretching from the 60s to the 90s. As much as one can love movies, their novelizations can be just as interesting, since one can read alternate scenes and dialogue and see what the movie could have been like. Turning these novelizations into audiobooks is a great way to spend several hours.
Of all the narrators of Audiobooks For The Damned, Amy Mullin would have to be my favorite. She has a great voice, and the asides she adds when reading are just as interesting as the books themselves. In my opinion, Mullin’s best recording for Audiobooks For The Damned would have to be the novelization of Desperately Seeking Susan.
If you loved that classic comedy about life in mid-80s New York, you’ll adore the novelization as it expands the characters’ worlds greatly. Amy Mullin does a magnificent job with the narration. Other novelizations she’s narrated include A Hard Day’s Night and The Lost Boys.
All told, Audiobooks For The Damned is a fantastic YouTube channel, especially if you’re having difficulty accessing older movies via streaming or mail delivery placing necessities above trivialities. You can spend hours on that channel and be entertained endlessly.
If you would like to do some recording of your own with videos on your social media, you can always sing karaoke. There are plenty of channels with karaoke videos, and one of my favorites is CC Karaoke.
Many of the karaoke tracks they offer are the original instrumentation, as opposed to re-recordings. In my opinion, that gives it a little extra kick as it can get you closer to the original sound if you’re a good enough singer. I particularly like their karaoke version of Talking Heads’ “Girlfriend Is Better”.
CC Karaoke has songs of all kinds available, and if you’re not able to get out and sing, fire up your phone, go live on your social media and sing your heart out. I encourage everybody to sing if they can. Like the song says, “Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing a song”.
Jumping back into film YouTube, If you’re looking for a more critical view of cinema, there’s always my next suggested YouTube channel to watch during the quarantine period, and that’s Cinematic Excrement.
Created by Sean Moore, who, as a personal side note, I think has great eyes, Cinematic Excrement is a film review program that looks at movies often declared among the worst of all time. Sean’s views on these movies are often more entertaining than the films themselves.
Currently, Sean is working on a project where he reviews every winner of the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture, and these reviews are sterling examples of film critiques. Moore analyzes each winner in depth, with plenty of humor along the way, and then offers his opinion on whether the movie in question deserved the Worst Picture Razzie or not.
Even though I liked some of the movies discussed as Worst Picture Razzie winners (like Mommie Dearest and The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane), Moore’s looks at the winners are fair to them, pointing out both the bad and the good, if he can find any. If there’s no good and all bad, though, then you’re really in for a treat, as evidenced by his review of Leonard Part 6, the Worst Picture Winner of 1987.
If you’re in the mood for something that provokes thoughts about larger things than entertainment, while still providing great examples of it, the next YouTube channel I can recommend is Derren Brown’s official YouTube channel.
I can’t quite recall how I first came across Derren’s work, but I find him to be very entertaining. Mr. Brown is able to get a tremendous grip on his audiences, whether they’re near a stage or around a table. Derren is upfront about how he doesn’t have any powers or fantastic gifts, but he can really put on a show.
Derren Brown’s YouTube channel features several full shows of his, both concert specials and documentaries, as well as more bite-sized samples of both. Probably my favorite show of Derren’s would be Svengali, which has a mixture of funny things (like the game Find Derren’s Shoe) and more unnerving matters, as with the title illusion of Svengali.
Derren Brown’s work is showcased not only on his YouTube channel, but also another one called Amaze. Both channels will provide you with hours of challenging programming that’s also quite fun. Amaze also features the work of other performers as well, and I myself plan on digging deeper into that channel in the future.
If you’re looking for laughs, I would like to recommend my next YouTube channel, the one for one of Derren Brown’s fellow countrymen. I’m speaking about comedian Jimmy Carr, who has some of the rawest comedy on the scene.
As with Derren Brown’s channel, Jimmy Carr’s channel has both full shows and more compact videos. My first exposure to Jimmy’s humor came via his appearance on the Comedy Central Roast Of Rob Lowe in 2016. He had a great deadpan as he came up with some incredibly harsh roasts for the dais.
Several years later, I came across Jimmy Carr’s YouTube channel, and I was disappointed that it took me so long to discover more about his comedy. Carr’s humor crosses multiple lines and will have you either shocked, doubled over in hysterics, or both. I hope that, once this all blows over, Jimmy will come back to North America for some more sick humor. Considering how rough things are right now, we need all the laughs we can get.
Moving along down the YouTube trail, I now arrive at Laura Legends, a lovely lady with a love for retro toys and pop culture. I first came across Laura’s channel when a video on movie action figures that don’t look like their actors was recommended to me. I checked out the video, and I laughed out loud at what I saw.
I then explored her channel further and found videos looking at all sorts of retro ephremea from the Rambo metal lunchbox (one of the last of its’ kind) to the truth about those novelty advertisements you saw in the back of magazines growing up. Needless to say, I had to hit the subscribe button.
In dark times such as these, the trivialities of toys and the like may not seem important, but they can serve as something of a maker of peace for the mind. That doesn’t just go for toys, but also for pop culture in general. We need all the stress relief we can get in this time.
On we go to the next YouTube channel, Movie Nights. This channel is the home of Allison Pregler, the former Obscurus Lupa, and Ms. Pregler is great at doing movie reviews. I would say this even if I didn’t share my Alan Heim interview with her as research for her episode on The Adventures Of Pluto Nash. Allison is just that good at her job.
Long ago, in another online life and under a different name, Allison and I were both writers for a movie fan site, offering our reviews of films. Even as a teenager, Allison was better at reviewing movies than I was. Her reviews came from both the heart and the head, whereas my reviews were written under the influence of others and misunderstood the points of many films I saw. As I changed paths away from reviewing projects, it’s been wonderful to see all the success Allison’s had in the field.
If you’re looking for a bit of Christmas cheer to take this painful Spring off your mind, check out the Movie Nights review of A Karate Christmas Miracle, the movie that served as the opening night feature of the 2019 Hoboken International Film Festival during its’ last year in my hometown of Greenwood Lake, NY. Ms. Pregler does a genius job of deconstructing what made the film so bizarre. After seeing Allison’s review, I can say I didn’t miss much by seeing the film on opening night.
Staying with YouTube movie reviews, we now come to Musical Hell, the channel created by Christi Esterle as a way of reviewing musicals. She was assigning movies sins several months before CinemaSins came along, and I think Christi, also known as the demonic Diva and her angelic counterpart Donna, does it better.
My reason for feeling so is that, while Musical Hell is snarky, Christi’s reasoning behind her opinions on these movies has a seriousness and a weight to them that other channels don’t. It’s because Christi loves the art of the musical so much that she’s able to discuss what makes some musicals better than others.
I particularly liked her review of the 2014 remake of Annie. All her criticisms are ones that I share, even though I liked the 1982 Annie more than Musical Hell did. Christi understands that, while snark can be good in some cases, it doesn’t serve other projects well. The 2014 Annie was just a bit too cynical for my tastes, and Musical Hell understood that completely.
Next on the YouTube docket is a channel called Nintendo Thumb, a channel well-known for playthroughs of Super Mario Maker levels.
The only Super Mario game I ever could defeat was the outlier Super Mario Bros. 2, the American version of Doki Doki Panic. However, I would always enjoy watching my brother and friends, both his solo and ours’ cumulatively, playing Super Mario games. Super Mario Maker is a game that really fascinates me, and Nintendo Thumb does a great job playing the levels.
What makes Nintendo Thumb unique is that their playthroughs are uncut. Their failures and successes are all done in real time, thus reflecting a more truthful gaming experience than some other channels do. Some commenters will timestamp when a successful run is made, but I like watching all of the videos. It’s true to my own gaming experiences.
Wrapping things up, the last YouTube channel I can recommend is Randy Rainbow’s channel.
I’ll be honest with you. I’m not a supporter or a fan of Donald Trump. I find his whole approach to the presidency to be one that puzzles, confuses and unnerves me. Thankfully, for people who don’t support Trump, Randy Rainbow has been serving as a way to keep calm and in good humor about these very interesting times.
To loop it back to coronavirus, Randy Rainbow recently released a song called “Social Distance”, a parody of “Go The Distance” from Disney’s Hercules. The lyrics are both hilarious and hopeful, and some good advice. As someone who has a paying job in retail that has been deemed essential, I’m nervous about going to work, but I’m taking all the precautions I can to be safe.
In summation, I know that things will get better, but in the meantime, I feel that these YouTube channels can serve as good ways to pass the time. Of course, these are only my opinions. Your tastes in YouTube channels may vary, so feel free to share your own choices for entertainment during these dark times.