This weekend, the fast-developing Hurricane Joaquin is set to hit land, stranding everyone (okay, fine, just East Coasters) indoors. Maybe Joaquin will come and go with little incident, maybe it will devastate the Eastern Seaboard irreparably. Who can say? Literally nobody knows what will happen; the science is inconclusive. But just in case you prefer that your hurricane weekends have a theme (ooh), here are some Joaquin Phoenix movies to watch, corresponding to storm severity.
If the hurricane ends up being more of a light drizzle and a minor inconvenience, watch Spike Jonze's Her. Because, let’s be real, here’s what you’ll probably be doing if you’re stuck inside: Gchatting with your friends. Or maybe you’ll just be refreshing social media, envious of all the fun being had by people outside the storm’s range. The point is: Your devices are gonna make you feel things (even if it's just FOMO), so why not also watch Joaquin Phoenix feel things about his device? (Somehow, that's not a euphemism.) (Available to rent on Amazon and iTunes; streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.)
Maybe the storm will get worse. Maybe your roof will start leaking, or your power will go out, or you’ll get trapped underground on the subway. You’ll have to battle the forces of nature in the midst of a large, round storm as the unceasing roar of the wind howls outside. In that case, you should watch Gladiator, where Joaquin Phoenix forces Russell Crowe to battle man and beast in a large, round Colosseum as the deafening roar of the crowd swells. We give this recommendation one suspenseful sideways thumb that eventually turns upward. (Streaming on Netflix.)
Okay, things are getting bad outside. Trees are falling, power lines are down, you’re not quite sure how much longer you’re internet connection is gonna hold out. In that case, download M. Night Shyamalan's Signs for viewing offline. Because while you’re huddled in your basement waiting for the storm to pass, Signs will remind you that it could be worse: You could be trapped in a dusty farmhouse cellar with Mel Gibson and an asthmatic dork, hoping that the hostile extraterrestrials don’t find you. (Available to rent on Amazon and iTunes.)
Whoa, looks like things are getting pretty intense. You should calm down a bit. If you can, boot up The Master, then sit as close to the TV as possible to replicate the sensation of watching the Paul Thomas Anderson film’s beautiful cinematography in 70 millimeters. The shots of water, unlike what you’re seeing out your window, are soothing. At this point, you might also start to worry that you’ll never walk on dry land again. You’re probably right, and The Master is probably the best film in the Phoenix ouevre for learning how to live on a boat (and little else). You’ll be ready for life on both large Navy vessels and smaller ships owned by manipulative cult leaders, so basically you're set for whatever Joaquin (the hurricane, possibly the actor) throws at you. (Streaming on Netflix.)
You’re screwed. We’re all screwed. If a miracle occurs and you somehow still have the ability to view movies, watch Inherent Vice. This Thomas Pynchon adaptation is about … uh … it’s about … honestly, I’m not quite sure? But much like Doc Sportello, you might want to ride out the rest of this storm by consuming all of the weed and alcohol you can get your hands on. And assuming society will take months, if not years, to rebuild, you'll want to get used to crushing on dudes with long, unkempt hair that most definitely smells terrible. (Available to rent on iTunes and Amazon.)
This category of hurricane doesn’t even exist, so if Hurricane Joaquin literally destroys civilization as we know it, you should watch I’m Still Here. That’s the film/real-life performance-art piece where Joaquin Phoenix nearly torched his career by acting like a demented sociopath for over a year. Take cues from the bizarro version of Joaquin Phoenix and just go nucking futs. The world is coming to an end, and there’s no point in not going off the deep end. Just like Joaquin made a fool of himself on David Letterman, you too should make these final moments count by acting like an idiot. You’ve got nothing to lose. (Streaming on Amazon Prime.)
Other, non-hurricane-related Joaquin Phoenix movies available for streaming