What to stream: Winter Break edition


"Kicking Television" by dhammza is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Television and movies seems to be on the to-do list of all students this winter break due to the COVID-19 virus.

Many may face cabin fever this December as travel plans and family gatherings become the latest traditions to get the ax in light of COVID-19. For those looking for a chance to escape the madness of 2020, look no further than your own screens and bookshelves.

Paw Prints has gathered below the best of entertainment recommended by students from movies to TV shows to novels. This Winter Break, as the celebrations die down and you enjoy a full two weeks without e-learning, take a much needed trip to other worlds where they don’t have to stay six feet apart.


When you’ve had enough holiday movies to last you until next year, pop some popcorn and remember last year when movie theaters were a thing.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Evan Fisher, 12) 

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as the iconic cyborg from the future, only this time, his mission is to protect teenager John Connor from something even more powerful than him: the T-1000. “It mixes comedy, action, and drama very well and it also does a good job of making you feel for the characters,” Fisher said.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93% Audience Score: 94%

The Blind Side (Gaby Pinksy, 11)

The Blind Side tells the story of real life football player, Michael Oher, as he struggles through his humble beginnings. After being adopted by a kind family, becomes a rising star in the world of the NFL. While some may have already seen this one in school, Pinksy would still recommend this movie due to its “inspirational” story.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 66% Audience Score: 84%

The Shining (Jonathan Gonzalez, 12)

This classic psychological horror film follows the Torrance family as they stay alone in the Overlook hotel over the Winter. Things start to take a turn for the worst following frustration over Jack’s new book and uncovered secrets that show the hotel may not be what it seems. Gonzalez cites the “amazing cinematography, actors [and] score” as key factors for what makes this movie “a great thriller.”

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84% Audience Score: 93%

Maleficent (Vivian Cruzet, 12)

A reimagining of the classic Disney villain Maleficent, this film takes viewers on a journey through her life to understand how she became the witch we all think we know and how her relationship with princess Aurora is not what we’d expect. Cruzet praises the “acting and the adventure” as well as the “artwork behind the movie.”

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54% Audience Score: 70%

How to Train Your Dragon (Hunter McCarraher, 12)

Outsider Viking teen, Hiccup, tries to fit in with his dragon fighting community; however, when chance grants him a meeting with an injured dragon, both their fates begin to change. “Interesting worldbuilding” and “fun characters” are McCarraher’s favorite aspects of this pick. The fact that it “reminds [him] of his dog” and features dragons don’t hurt either.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99% Audience Score: 91%


Bored at home? Nothing like diving headfirst into a show and binging the entire series in one week to kill some time.

 The Queen’s Gambit (Camellia Baki, 12)

This limited series on Netflix examines the life of genius orphan Beth Harmon as she conquers the world of chess; however, her battle with her personal demons and drug addiction shows the true cost of her talent. Baki points out the show’s “good plot and cinematography.”

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100% Audience Score: 96%

Lovecraft Country (Ashley Cineus, Grade 12)

HBO Max’s limited series follows Atticus Black, his uncle, and his friend embark on a road trip through the 1950’s segregated America in hopes of finding his missing father. Cineus highly recommends this show, saying that it “has all [her] favorite genres mixed together: gore, mystery, historical fiction, and fantasy.” 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90% Audience Score: 66%

The Office (Cody Peña, Grade 10 and Medina Dasayev, Grade 10)

This mockumentary follows the daily toil of working at Dunder Mifflin, a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Peña calls it “funny and heartwarming.” Dasayev agrees, saying she can re-watch it over and over and never get tired.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81% Audience Score: 90%

Avatar: The Last Airbender (Hunter McCarraher, Grade 12)

After 100 years frozen in ice, Aang, the last living airbender, and his friends must stop the war plaguing the land by mastering all 4 elements of bending. McCarraher says this show showcases an “amazing and entertaining world [with] amazing character arcs and growth and awesome visuals and action.”

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100% Audience Score: 98%

This Is Us (Emily Mason, Grade 12)

NBC’s favorite Pearson family story unfolds for audiences through the eyes of the parents and their three children. Viewers experience the highs and lows of the family. “It is super heartwarming and parts of it are even funny,” Mason said. “It is a great show to watch with your family.”

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93% Audience Score: 74%

Community (Victoria Fritz, Grade 12)

Jeff Winger is forced to go back to school and enrolls in Greendale Community College. Here he meets a ragtag gang of other students in a study group, leading to friendship and plenty of chaotic antics. “It’s an amazing sitcom that manages to get me to laugh every episode,” Fritz said. “The characters are likable and have a compelling story that is extremely binge-worthy during this pandemic.”

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88% Audience Score: 88%


While movies and TV shows get most of the spotlight in entertainment, nothing beats a good book.

Murder on the Orient Express (Mateo-Daniel Congote, Grade 12)

Author: Agatha Christie

Famous detective Hercule Poirot stumbles upon a murder while riding the esteemed passenger train, the Orient Express. Facing red herrings, dead ends and suspicious characters, Poirot meets his match in one of Agatha Christie’s most famous mysteries. Taking advantage of the season, Congote calls this read “an amazing winter mystery.”

An Ember in the Ashes (Trevor Harris, Grade 11)

Author: Sabaa Tahir

In a brutal society, the Empire rules the world with an iron fist, and all those who disobey are punished. When Laia’s brother is accused of treason, she risks everything to get him back eventually meeting Elias, a soldier for the Empire who also longs for freedom. Critically acclaimed and spawning three other books in the series, Harris says “every page is a cliffhanger.”

The Book Thief (Sophia Cuervo, Grade 12)

Author: Markus Zusak

In Nazi Germany, Liesel secretly learns to read the books she steals and shares them with those around her, like the hidden Jewish man in her basement. “…[A]s you start reading it you just get attached and can’t stop reading,” Cuervo said. “I get lost in the book when I’m reading it.”

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals (Emily Nguyen, Grade 12)

Author: Rachel Hollis 

Hollis tries to reach women who don’t follow their dreams to their full potential or feel they can’t and sets them on the path to confidence, believing in themselves, and true growth. “I recommend this book for people who feel a little insecure about themselves and want to have a little boost of esteem,” Nguyen said.

Fahrenheit 451 (Liliana Coregedo, Grade 12)

Author: Ray Bradbury

A fireman’s job is to burn books as they are now illegal. While living his uneventful and unsatisfying life full of television, he meets someone who changes his whole perspective on life and the wonders of books. Coregedo shares that this book “shows how technology changes the world and how knowledge helps you through your life.”

The Alchemist (Paola Orellana, Grade 12)

Author: Paulo Coelho

Santiago is a boy shepherd who starts on a quest that examines following your dreams and listening to your heart. Orellana sums it up best: “It sends a really good message on why life isn’t a straight road and why things you don’t expect aren’t all bad, and why you should think about the journey instead of the destination. I would recommend this to someone struggling to figure out what they’re doing after high school or college. It’s my favorite book because it got me through a rough time in my life.”