Don’t miss out on these movies, they’re worth their run-time. A list of 10 movies that I recommend you check out on your next movie night. Let me know if you’ve seen any of these flicks, and also let me know any movies you’d recommend for me to check out!
If you’ve got a hankering for more movie listicle, here’s a couple of others for you to peruse—part one of this list, ‘10 Incredibly Underrated Movies You Need to Watch’ and ‘10 Instantly Gratifying TV Series For You To Watch.’
Prisoners stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard, Viola David, Maria Bello and is directed by Denis Villeneuve. Two families come together over Thanksgiving dinner, and after dinner both families cannot find their daughters anywhere.
The rest of the film is spent trying to find where the girls were taken, who kidnapped them and what happened to them. Jake Gyllenhaal plays detective, whereas Jackman is the irate, protective father who is at his wit’s end trying to find his daughter.
What impressed me so much about Prisoners (besides everything about the film,) is how utterly captivating and engrossing it was to watch. Right from its first initial moments until the closing credits, this movie sucked me in and kept me glued to the screen from the beginning to end. This plot of this movie is not one we haven’t seen before—but it’s the way Villeneuve directed it, the cinematography and pacing of the film, that feels incredibly tense and gives Prisoners a lasting impression, and a movie to remember. The performances in this movie are phenomenal, as is the writing and really everything else about it. I highly, highly recommend you check out this movie on your next movie night.
Green Book is directed by Peter Farrelly and stars Viggo Mortenson, Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini. Green Book follows Italian-American, working-class bouncer (Mortenson,) Tony Vallelonga, and African-American world-renowned pianist (Ali,) Don Shirley.
Green Book is based on a true story of a beautiful friendship that between two very different people while they tour the states together for Don Shirley’s performances. Green Book’s title gets its name from ‘The Negro Motorist Green Book,’ which was a guidebook for African American’s during the Jim Crow period, and listed places that accepted African-Americans into their stores and businesses.
As far as movies go that deal with racism, Green Book is one that manages to be both digestible, a pleasure to watch and genuinely funny. Even still, the movie doesn’t depreciate the subject matter by making light of it or attributing less significance to it, somehow Green Book delicately balances between the realities of racism during the Jim Crow era with being deeply heartfelt and personal. I savoured every second of this film, and Mortenson and Ali are both phenomenal in their roles. If you have not seen Green Book, check it out.
Red Rocket is directed by one of my favourite director’s, Sam Baker (he directed The Florida Project, which I particularly love, so if you haven’t seen it, you should.) Heads-up: this movie will not be for everyone.
Red Rocket stars Simon Rex as Mikey, a former porn-star that goes back to his hometown to his ex-wife’s house and begs her to let him stay there with her and her mom while he figures his stuff out. They let him stay on the condition that he helps out with the house and finances, and the rest of the movie follows Mikey as he bikes around town, flirts with younger women and rants endlessly about his glorious porn-star days.
Sam Baker makes movies about people that live on the fringes of society. He has a way of bringing slices-of-life to film, but the lives he depicts are those of the low-income American’s, run-down and weary, tired and desperate for a way out of their circumstances and onto greener pastures. We’ve seen the run down, low-budget motel living from Florida Project, and now we are in low-income rural Texas City, on Texas’s Gulf Coast. I love his movies because they are real and depict the lifestyles of so many living in rural America.
I haven’t seen the Jake Gyllenhaal American remake of this movie, but the original version from 2018 in Danish is spectacular and riveting. The Guilty (Den Skyldige, in it’s original Danish title.)
The Guilty is directed by Gustav Möller and stars Jakob Cedergren as Asger Holm, a police officer in Copenhagen assigned to desk work (after being on the field,) and tasked with answering emergency phone calls made to the station. He gets a call from a woman named Iben who is quiet and hushed over the phone, and seems to also be speaking to a child at the same time. Discreetly, Iben says she’s been kidnapped, and the movies takes off from there.
The Guilty is a suffocating, tense movie that doesn’t let up. It’s a ‘bottle movie,’ in the regard that the entire film is located in the police call center, and so you feel the sense of being trapped (which mimics the state of Iben and her being held captive.) This movie has twists and turns that you won’t expect, and the acting is A1. I totally recommend The Guilty if you’re looking for a movie that will pull you in and keep you engrossed in its plot from beginning to end.
An absolute gem of a film, Minari directed by Lee Isaac Chung stars Steven Yuen and Han Ye-ri. Minari is a semi-autobiographical story of Chung’s own upbringing and experience moving from South Korea to the rural United States in the 1980's.
Minari is the story of a South Korean family that immigrates to the United States to try and establish a life for themselves being farmers. This movie is a heartfelt depiction of what immigrants go through in uprooting their lives and trying to settle down in a new and foreign place, where there is no familiarity and little support. The wife and mother (played by Ye-ri,) struggles with their decision to move and worries endlessly over their young son’s heart condition.
This movie is just so sweet — and it’s funny! — which I totally wasn’t expecting in the slightest! The grandmother in the movie is unforgettable, and Youn’s performance in the film earned her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. This is an altogether gem of a movie, with sweet moments that might make you teary-eyed.
Ingrid Goes West stars the side-splitting Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid. The movie also features the stunning Elizabeth Olsen as Taylor Sloan, a social media influencer that Ingrid becomes completely obsessed with to an unhealthy and disturbing degree.
Ingrid Goes West is a movie about stalking and being obsessed with the lives of social media influencers. It’s a movie that looks at the vacuous and empty lives of these influencers, despite portraying the exact opposite to their followers and fans. It’s a movie about the great lengths that a person will go to in order to be accepted by the influencer circle and psuedo-stars that base their self-worth on how many likes their IG photos get.
Ingrid Goes West is a pointed and sharp critique of social media fetishism and idolization, it’s hilarious and clever and will keep you entertained the whole way through.
The Squid and The Whale is directed by Noah Baumbach and stars Laura Linney, Jeff Daniels and Jesse Eisenberg. The Squid and The Whale follows a pretentious literary couple, a husband and wife living in Brooklynn, NY, with two kids and are in the midst of getting a divorce.
This movie is so smart, it’s such a sensitive and takes an honest look at what families (in particular the children,) go through when divorce happens. The kids are often put in the uncomfortable and awkward position of having to choose between both parents. Laura Linney is one of my favourite actresses, and Jeff Daniels is unreal in his performance as a very insufferable and extremely pretentious (but very insecure,) man and novelist. Jesse Eisenberg plays Jesse Eisenberg, and it fits his character perfectly in this movie. The Squid and The Whale is maybe a bit depressing, but it’s clever and has the Noah Baumbach flair that’s got elements of Wes Anderson, though toned down. I’ve seen this movie many times, I love it each time and I recommend it (though maybe not for everyone.)
The Founder, a biographical drama based on the life of Ray Kroc who purchased McDonald’s in 1971, and was its CEO from 1967 to 1973. The Founder is directed by John Lee Hancock, and stars Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Nick Offerman, B.J. Novak and Linda Cardellini.
At the start of the movie, Kroc is down on his luck trying, though to no avail, to sell milkshake machines to restaurants and diners around town. While on the road working as a salesman, he stumbles across the first ever McDonald’s restaurant run by the McDonald’s brothers, and immediately recognizes the opportunity and potential for what it is.
Kroc is responsible for making the McDonald’s franchise what we know it as today, and watching how the conglomerate and what the people behind the company had to go through is compelling, upsetting and highly entertaining. What I particularly enjoyed about The Founder was how realistic Ray Kroc was depicted, and how the subtle digression of his morals plays into the growth of the golden arks. This movie is both educational, entertaining and tells the story of McDonald’s success that you likely had not known (or at least I hadn’t.)
Brooklyn is based on the novel of the same name by Colm Tóibín, is directed by John Crowley and stars Saoirse Ronan.
Set in the ’50s, a young Irish woman moves to America, where she knows no one and is absolutely terrified of leaving her life and family behind. She does not know when or if she will be able to go back to Ireland. She gets to Brooklyn, feels incredibly displaced and out of her element until she meets a man named Tony.
I’m not sure what exactly it was about this movie, but I loved it. Saoirse Ronan elevates the entire film with her impeccable performance (she was nominated for a best actress I believe, though didn’t win the Oscar.) This is not a loud movie, it’s understated and subtle and this works in its favour, because it’s emotionally hard-hitting and memorable.
Based on the novel of the same name by E.M. Forster, Maurice is directed by James Ivory, and stars Hugh Grant and Rupert Graves. The movie takes place during the early 1900s, and follows the main character: Maurice. Maurice is a student at Cambridge University, and there he meets fellows student Clive Durham.
Maurice takes place at a time in history where being homosexual counted as a criminal act. Maurice however realizes the intensity of his feelings for Clive, and that he cannot deny them. Clive, on the other hand, is less willing to admit that he shares those same feelings, or at least he is not as comfortable in indulging in his temptations. This movie is heartbreaking and beautiful, it depicts a time when being gay was not spoken about, and anyone that was gay had to hide and keep their relations hidden. It shows how far we’ve come, and what so many had to suffer through in order for us to get here (and there’s still more to go.)
This movie is beautiful and tender, and you may need tissues at your side. I highly recommend you check out Maurice.
Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think of these movies (if you’ve seen them,) or anything you’d recommend for me to watch! Appreciate you reading, and catch you in the next one!
Here’s the thing, I love movies. I’ve seen hundreds (nearing a thousand, I’m not kidding — I keep a list.) There are many classic movies worth seeing. In no particular order, this is a list of ten movies I
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