Desperate to escape quarantine boredom, a freshman at Southern New Hampshire University decided she would live vicariously through various actors this past year.

It started by watching the movie “Glass” on March 13, 2020 — the first day of what would become a daily tradition for Maria Toupin, 19, of Brookline.

For the following 365 days, Toupin watched a movie each day in an effort to combat quarantine fatigue and dream of more normal days ahead.

“I had no idea it would actually be an entire year,” said the 2020 graduate of Hollis-Brookline High School. “I think it was first announced as maybe a couple of days or a week or two off from school, and then it moved to April vacation. It was a long time.”

Toupin said the cinematic escape helped her decompress after hours of remote learning and a lack of social interaction with her friends and extended family.

After realizing that her daily movie-a-thons would be going on way longer than originally anticipated, she decided to keep track of the movie titles, categorize them and rate them on a massive whiteboard.

“These movies have helped me de-stress. It has been so stressful having to stay home and still get so much school work done without being on campus,” said Toupin.

Some of her favorite movies throughout the past year have been Disney classics such as “Toy Story” and “Frozen,” as well as other movie treasures including “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” “Hidden Figures” was one of her favorites, along with all of the Marvel movies, she said.

“I definitely enjoy kid movies, especially Disney animations,” said Toupin.

She has been home quarantining for most of the past 12 months because of COVID-19, and her family has been extra cautious since Toupin’s grandmother moved in with them last summer.

“I am pretty much at home,” said Toupin, a mechanical engineering student at Southern New Hampshire University. “They are planning to open my college in the fall, and I am counting down the days.”

Toupin ended up watching 365 movies in 365 days, and decided to put an end to her daily tradition on March 13 of this year.

“Whenever we wanted to watch movies as a family, Maria became our in-house critic and adviser, patiently going through what she watched and telling us who would like that,” said her mother, Laurie Toupin.

The elder Toupin said the movie-a-day initiative has kept depression at bay for her daughter. Her other children have also enjoyed the screen-time project.

While everyone is coping differently with the pandemic, the Toupins say the movie escape was a nice alternative and kept them busy.

“Maria’s passion for watching such a wide range of films, and not minding if she sees them again, helps keep our movie time pleasantly free of rotten tomatoes,” joked Laurie Toupin. “Every family needs such a movie buff.”

Some of her top picks from the past year include “Big,” “Wonder Woman,” “Tangled,” “The Book of Life,” “Long Shot” and “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.”


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