Popular Culture

The 16 Best Christian Bale Movies, Ranked

Christian Bale has gone through it all during his time as an actor and he’s clearly one of the greatest currently on this planet. An acting chameleon, no weight, loss or gain, stands in his way from playing any role. Whether playing an anorexic industrialist worker or a bloated Vice President, Bale always brings his best to the table and this begs the question as to what the best Christian Bale movies actually are.

With a new Bale performance incoming from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Thor: Love and Thunder, we decided to take an in-depth look at his acting career so far. Here is a ranked list of the best Christian Bale movies. It’s important to note that I am taking both his performance and the overall quality of the film into consideration, it’s not just the best movies he’s been featured in.

16. ‘Empire of the Sun’

Kicking off this list is one of Christian Bale’s first ever appearances in a feature film. At just the age of 13, Bale already had a lead role in a Steven Spielberg epic. Despite being one of Spielberg’s lesser-known films, Empire of the Sun is still a very inspiring film while relying on the performance of a child actor which can oftentimes be a huge risk. Thankfully Spielberg’s choice paid off as Bale nails one of his first roles and captures what life was like for a young boy when Japan invaded and occupied China during World War II.  

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15. ‘Hostiles’

No doubt an underrated Christian Bale gem, Hostiles is an outstanding film carried on the shoulders of Bale’s exceptional performance. In 1892, army captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale) must escort the Cheyenne chief and his family through rugged lands in order to return to their tribal lands in Montana. Despite having some slower moments, this is a beautifully shot western that is reminiscent of Dances With Wolves and is subtly one of Bale’s best performances of his career.  

14. ‘3:10 to Yuma’

Another western film makes the list yet it plays out very differently from the previous one. 3:10 to Yuma follows rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) as he must hold captured outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) and bring him to the train to Yuma for the reward of 200 dollars. The task sounds simple, but the transport is much more hazardous than anticipated for Bale’s character as he must face ambushes from Indians, attacks from Wade’s gang, and Wade’s own conniving attitude along the journey. The film is more action-packed than your typical western and by combining it with a great performance from Christian Bale, it’s hard to get much better than that. 

13. ‘Rescue Dawn’

A sometimes brutal film, Rescue Dawn doesn’t shy away from showing the struggles of survival. Christian Bale plays a U.S. fighter pilot named Dieter Dengler, who gets shot down over the country of Laos during the Vietnam War and must fight for survival. For a rating of PG-13, this is a tough watch. The film takes a deep and depressing look into the life of a prisoner in a POW camp. The film is tough, brutal, gritty, and features another overlooked yet powerful Bale performance. 

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12. ‘Vice’

One of Christian Bale’s more recent films, Vice is an entertaining biopic. The film follows Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) as he quietly held great power and reshaped not only the country at the time but also the world we live in today. The film does have its flaws, but Bale as Cheney is an unsurprising powerhouse. Just like for similar roles Bale had done in the past, he had to manage his weight drastically and packed on the pounds. Bale ultimately weighed around 230 pounds for the role. The film also features other great performances from Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell. Not only is this another solid Christian Bale movie, but it is also a good addition to writer and director Adam McKay’s catalog.

11. ‘The Machinist’

This is where Christian Bale’s dedication to perfecting the look for a role goes a little too far. The Mechanist follows industrial worker and insomniac Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) as he begins to break down and lose his mind. While the film can be depressing at times, it plays out like a mystery thriller and does have some tricks up its sleeve. This role is infamous for Bale because of the extreme weight loss he endured. Bale dropped down to 110 pounds and in order to achieve that weight, for four straight months he stuck to a diet of black coffee, an apple and a tin of tuna per day. The dedication definitely paid off as this is one of his most unforgettable films.

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10. Howl’s Moving Castle

Similar to other Studio Ghibli films, Howl’s Moving Castle is extremely original and entertaining while also having a lot of heart at its core. But of course, Christian Bale plays a big role in this film otherwise it obviously wouldn’t be on the list. The film follows Sophie (Emily Mortimer) who gets cursed by a witch and transformed into an old lady and has to rely on a young, flawed wizard named Howl (Christian Bale) in order to be freed. Bale is able to elevate this film with his top-notch voice-over for the timid and reserved wizard Howl. Throughout the film, Howl goes through many ups and downs and Bale is able to capture his feelings perfectly. As far as the film goes, it’s one of the best from Studio Ghibli and is an absolute joyous ride full of love and adventure that can’t be overlooked. 

9. American Hustler

An all-around solid film, American Hustle is entertaining throughout thanks to the fantastic cast who bring this film to life. The film follows con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) who is forced to work and corporate with wild F.B.I. Agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) in order to help hustle corrupt politicians and members of the New Jersey Mafia. There are many great performances in this movie from Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner, but Christian Bale’s performance is definitely a standout amongst the talented others. Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, American Hustle is a top-tier crime movie that can’t be ignored as one of Christian Bale’s best.

8. ‘Ford v Ferrari’

A racing film like no other, Ford v Ferrari is filled with full throttle fun. The film tells the story of car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) who attempt to beat Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race all while constantly having to battle corporate interference to achieve their ultimate goal. Despite its long runtime, the film hardly drags because of its fast-paced editing and intriguing storytelling. Additionally, this is a very entertaining Bale performance as he plays the stubborn, hardworking, and intuitive Ken Miles to perfection.

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7. ‘Batman Begins’

With the first film in the Dark Knight Trilogy, writer and director Christopher Nolan sets the stage for future Batman films by finally providing the world with a great Batman and Bruce Wayne performance combination captured by Christian Bale. Batman Begins follows the beginnings of Bruce Wayne as he traverses the dark Gotham City atmosphere and must battle with his past demons to defeat both old and new enemies all while figuring out his new persona as Batman. This film has everything you need from an origin story, and Nolan elevates it with his elite vision as a filmmaker. Despite that, the main focus of this list is Christian Bale who without a doubt brings comic book fans joy as Batman but also still gives a genuine performance as the billionaire Bruce Wayne. 

6. ‘The Prestige’

An underrated gem from writer and director Christopher Nolan, The Prestige is nothing short of excellent storytelling. The film takes place in London during the 1890s and follows two magicians who increasingly try to outwit the other in an attempt to create the ultimate illusion. Christian Bale of course shines, as he plays one of the lead magicians in the film. On top of that, the rest of the cast is stacked with names like Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, Rebecca Hall, Andy Serkis, and even David Bowie. There’re many layers of secrets and tricks hidden in this film and the ending is sure to leave you stunned.

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5. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

I guess you could call this a ‘hot take’, but The Dark Knight Rises can’t be ignored as one of Bale’s best and is still an epic finale to one of the greatest trilogies of all time. Bale yet again stars as Batman and has to protect the city of Gotham from a new and extremely powerful (literally) threat known as Bane (Tom Hardy). Unsurprisingly, Bale does another excellent job at portraying both Batman and Bruce Wayne as he roams the streets of Gotham one last time.

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4. ‘The Big Short’

It was a tough choice picking the 3 and 4 slots on this list, but in the end, the performance he gives in the next movie (somehow) outshines this one. Nevertheless, The Big Short follows the build-up to the 2008 housing market crash and focuses on a few outsiders who knew it was bound for failure beforehand. Bale plays Michael Burry, a one-eyed hedge fund manager who was looked at and made fun of for years because he believed that the crash was imminent and saw what nobody else could. Bale crushes this role, perfecting the awkwardness and sometimes arrogance of the real Michael Burry. As far as the film goes, writer and director Adam McKay does a brilliant job at keeping what some might consider a boring topic entertaining as hell which ends up landing this film at the number four spot on this list.

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3. ‘The Fighter’

Even while having a smaller role, Bale steals the show. Writer and Director David O. Russell brings us an amazing true story about a boxer on the rise, Micky Ward (Mark Whalberg) who’s trying to escape his troubled, older boxing brother, Dicky’s (Christian Bale) shadow. This movie is full of great performances but Bale is by far the standout. He is at the top of his game here and it’s no surprise that he received an Academy Award for his performance in this film. Bale plays a crackhead who thinks he’s helping his brother out but in reality, is causing the biggest problem. The transformation Bale’s character undergoes is remarkably captured and it’s clear he gives this role his all. 

2. ‘The Dark Knight’

The ultimate Batman film, The Dark Knight is not only the greatest superhero film of all time, but it also features one of Bale’s most iconic performances. When the Joker begins to cause chaos in Gotham City, Batman is forced to take him down and fight his toughest physical and mental challenge yet. Many of you might’ve thought this would be at the number one slot, but it’s at two for a reason. Heath Ledger overshadows Bale’s performance as the best in the film. Don’t get me wrong, Bale is yet again, amazing as Batman and Bruce Wayne, but Ledger’s performance as the Joker is one of the greatest performances of all time. As far as the movie goes, it’s spectacular, but it doesn’t quite make the number one spot on this list. Bale was already an established actor at this point and he really didn’t break any new ground with this performance. 

1. ‘American Psycho’

No, I’m not putting the Dark Knight over this. Sure it might be a better film, but when it comes to pure Bale enjoyment, this performance and movie top them all. American Psycho is pure insanity as Bale plays an odd yet successful investment banker by day and a crazed serial killer by night. As ridiculous as this movie is, there are so many quotable lines in this divisive slasher flick from the turn of the century which my brother and I quote daily. Bale is given free rein on this assignment and he’s able to show off his acting prowess on all levels by playing a character with no limits. The film is timeless and violently hysterical, sorry but I’m done with this description, I have to return some videotapes. 

Popular Culture

The 16 Best Movies like ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ to Watch Right Now

One part of Martin Scorcese’s expectedly masterful 2010’s output. Even decades into his career he is able to pump out films that have universal acclaim and an unmistakable feel. An anxiety-filled, edge-of-your-seat, dark comedy, white-collar crime film with some of the best performances you’ll ever see. The Wolf of Wall Street charmed audiences in 2013 with its depiction of a man who lived a wholly unique life of chaos. Since then, audiences have been trying to capture the magic they experienced that one night in a movie theater seat. I’m here to tell you that it’s not possible, but you can certainly get close.

1. ‘War Dogs’
Warner Bros. Pictures

Starring Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Bradley Cooper, Ana de Armas

Rated R

Runtime: 114 Minutes

$86.2 Million Box Office

This is just about the closest you can get in terms of plot structure, so much so that it has been called a rip-off. I disagree with that assessment, but I can’t say it doesn’t have validity. War Dogs is also based on a memoir from an on-trial criminal. A story following two arms dealers completely in over their heads, selling weapons to a variety of buyers. Think of it as Wolf of Wall Street with guns, higher stakes, and even more fictionalized events. War Dogs clearly takes inspiration from its superior predecessor but is a high-quality film from Todd Phillips (Joker, The Hangover) nonetheless.

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2. ‘Wall Street’
20th Century Fox

Starring Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas

Rated R

Runtime: 126 Minutes

$43.8 Million Box Office

It’s all in the name. No, really. If you enjoyed the economic chaos element of Wolf, this ought to be right up your alley. Wall Street features Charlie Sheen, who plays a young stockbroker that begins to work with a powerful wealthy corporate raider. Oliver Stone’s 1987 film puts a unique lens on the business world, endlessly quotable and forever thought provoking, this both makes people aware of the economic world around them, and inspires them to take part. 

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3. Pain & Gain
Paramount Pictures

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris

Rated R

Runtime: 129 Minutes

$86.2 Million Box Office

Some may see this and call it sacrilege. Comparing Michael Bay to a unanimously acclaimed director like Scorcese? It may seem like a reach, but if anything I think this is one of the closer examples of a “film similar to Wolf of Wall Street”, and an exceptional film by any standard. Michael Bay’s 2013 Pain & Gain is a tale about the pursuit of economic success by any means necessary. The semi-true story of the Sun Gym Gang, a group of bodybuilders who hatch a plan of extortion and kidnapping to get money out of a superior. More so action than Wolf is, but if anything matches the insane energy that Wolf brings to the table, it’s this one.

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4. ‘The Big Short’
Paramount Pictures

Starring Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Jeremy Strong

Rated R

Runtime: 130 Minutes

$133.4 Million Box Office

A financial collapse put on screen in a hectic, yet perfectly cohesive way, The Big Short is unconventional to the max, breaking the fourth wall to ensure that the viewer is fully aware of the situation presented to them. This film follows multiple characters’ up and down relationships directly before the recession of 2008. Multiple stories are told separately but simultaneously. If a story detailing economic chaos without a clinically insane protagonist interests you, this is the film to watch. 

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5. ‘After Hours’
Warner Bros.

Starring Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Catherine O’Hara

Rated R

Runtime: 97 Minutes

$10.6 Million Box Office

What’s a Wolf of Wall Street article without more Scorcese? After Hours is Scorcese at his most inventive. Seemingly edited by a man with a heart rate of 300 BPM, and only fitting, because our protagonist never catches a break. A tale of a man who might just be having the worst night of his life. Chaos ensues after he visits a girl at her apartment. Frantic, unrelenting energy that I can’t even begin to describe, you just have to see it to believe it. 

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6. ‘Uncut Gems’

Starring Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, LaKeith Stanfield, Kevin Garnett

Rated R

Runtime: 134 Minutes

$50 Million Box Office

Why not? What’s the stock market if not gambling for the too smart to gamble? Uncut Gems is an anxiety-fueled nightmare that just refuses to let you breathe. In just a few days Howard Ratner’s life reaches epic highs and life-ending lows. A tale of gambling addiction and business pursuits that rivals Wolf in terms of mastery. Presented and edited with the feverish intensity of After Hours, this crime thriller will not disappoint.

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7. ‘Goodfellas’
Warner Bros.

Starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci

Rated R

Runtime: 146 Minutes

$47.1 Million Box Office

This film has long cemented its spot in film history. The style and finesse that many directors have since tried to recapture, hell, even Scorcese himself has been trying to. Blisteringly fast, energetic action, but this time told through the lens of a gangster. Both tales depict entirely unique, and weirdly funny rise and fall of leaders in the New York mafia. 

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8. ‘Trainspotting’
Polygram Filmed Entertainment

Starring Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller

Rated R

Runtime: 93 Minutes

$72 Million Box Office

This is definitely a reach to compare this to Wolf, but I don’t think it’s entirely false. Trainspotting is an exploration of drug addiction with commentary on being economically disadvantaged and in poverty. Chaotic and sometimes too real, much like Wolf. If you like the dark comedic take that Scorcese had on drug use, then Trainspotting will be right up your alley.

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9. ‘Pulp Fiction’
Miramax Films

Starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis

Rated R

Runtime: 154 Minutes

$213.9 Million Box Office

A dark comedy crime film with charm for days. Tarantino isn’t acclaimed for no reason, he has a knack for fast tempo, and jaw-dropping dialogue. Crime in a different style than what is shown in Wolf but thrilling, inspiring, and absolutely essential to the film canon. 

10. ‘Hustlers’

Starring Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles

Rated R

Runtime: 110 Minutes

$157.6 Million Box Office

Another film that tackles the events surrounding the 2008 economic collapse, this time from a grittier point of view. Hustlers follows strippers trying to make ends meet while working their asses off and trying to manipulate their wealthy wall street clientele. By any means necessary they must adapt and learn how to function in the chaotic world they now live in.

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11. ‘Showgirls’
MGM/UA Distribution Co

Starring Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, Gina Gershon

Rated R

Runtime: 131 Minutes

$37.8 Million Box Office

Stripping part two, this time one of the most polarizing films to hit the big screen. Showgirls, similar to Wolf, follows a character fighting to climb up the hierarchy of their industry, in this case, from drifter to stripper, to showgirl. Hilarious, action-packed, and worth a watch solely to get a say in the endless dialogue surrounding. 

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12. ‘American Hustle’
Sony Pictures Releasing

Starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner

Rated R

Runtime: 138 Minutes

$251.2 Million Box Office

What is Wolf of Wall Street if not an “American Hustle”. American Hustle is one everyone will bring up when talking about similar films, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. This film follows characters who participate in loan sharking and forgery, it has the same black comedy quality as Wolf and is as economic as it is political. Hustlers work together with incredibly high stakes to bring an exciting adventure that will have you glued to your seat.

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13. ‘Margin Call’

Starring Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Demi Moore, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto

Rated R

Runtime: 109 Minutes

$19.5 Million Box Office

This is a film that completely forgoes the epic build-up that exists in Wolf of Wall Street, Margin Call is a film taking place over a 24-hour period. Capitalistic pursuit of success and wealth are present in this film, which details the fall of a prominent Wall Street investment bank. Tight and panic-inducing with a bleak outlook on the future of our protagonists. 

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14. ‘Moneyball’
Sony Pictures Releasing

Starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Rated PG-13

133 Minutes

$110.2 Million Box Office

A financial tale told through the lens of professional sports. A tale about how the little guy can succeed with smarts and a little forward thinking. Tightly written by none other than Aaron Sorkin, Moneyball is a hustle in its own right, a pursuit of success through unconventional means in a world that is entirely different from the wall street world that houses Jordan Belfort. 

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15. ‘Dog Day Afternoon’
Warner Bros. Pictures

Starring Al Pacino, John Cazale, Chris Sarandon

Rated R

Runtime: 125 Minutes

$56 Million Box Office

Not all that similar in terms of plot, but very similar in terms of how they leave you. Not a moment passes in this feverishly intense adventure. The pursuit of wealth and a sense of contentment reigns supreme while Sonny fights to maintain his composure and give his hostages Stockholm syndrome. One of the most anxiety-inducing films out there, and one that will keep someone looking for a chaotic experience entertained.

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16. ‘Cosmopolis’
Entertainment One

Starring Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Gadon

Rated R

Runtime: 109 Minutes

$7.1 Million Box Office

My biggest reach, but for those looking for a more challenging cinematic experience, this is the film for you. A strangely funny, thought provoking, and thematically dense film from David Cronenberg that shares 2 main similarities with Wolf, the chaotic energy is matched in Robert Packers’ ride through downtown NY, and also the main theme of capitalistic greed, but through a very critical lens. If Wolf of Wall Street warned you of the dangers of capitalistic greed, and you wish to learn more from someone with a LOT to say, this is the film for you.

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Popular Culture

The 10 Best Movies Set in Boston and Beyond, Ranked

Growing up in the greater Boston area, I’ve always had a soft spot for films set there. The films hit home a little harder and I always feel like I can relate to them on a better level compared to other films. So I decided to rank them and give you what I think are the best movies set in Boston and the surrounding areas.

Before we get into the list, there will definitely be some HOT takes. Please keep in mind this is just my list, so please go see these films and form your own opinions. Additionally, I will not be including films like The Social Network and Shutter Island because I don’t consider them Boston-oriented movies. Now let’s get into the 10 best movies set in the Boston area.

10. CODA

The most recent Best Picture winner makes the cut. CODA (or child of deaf adult) is, well, about a child of deaf adults. Ruby (Emilia Jones) is the only hearing person in her family, and when her family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby is stuck between a rock and a hard place having to choose between her passion for singing and her fear of leaving her parents. This one is tough to dislike, it’s sweet and has so much heart, which is a key reason why I believe it took home the coveted Best Picture prize at the 94th Academy Awards. The film is located in Gloucester, Massachusetts which is one of the fishing hotspots on the North Shore. It also features some key scenes in the heart of Boston and captures what a classic North Shore, blue-collar family looks like.

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9. The Boondock Saints

This movie is wild. The first time I saw this not only did I laugh hysterically but it was incomparable to anything I’ve seen before.

Two Irish Catholic brothers seek to eliminate Boston’s criminal underground all in the name of God. Sounds silly because it absolutely is (and the film being set in Boston is just a bonus). Additionally, Willem Dafoe is in this movie and gives the goofiest performance I’ve ever seen. If you take this as a serious action movie then you are watching it wrong. This film is clearly not meant to be taken seriously, so crack a beer, grab your buddies and get ready to laugh your asses off. 

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8. Ted

Are you really from Boston if you dislike this movie? John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) has to navigate moving on from his best friend who also happens to be a raunchy teddy bear voiced by Seth MacFarlane in order to keep his relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis) afloat.

This movie is SO Boston. From the hardcore accents, constant references to sports teams, and famous Boston locations used throughout, this whole movie just screams BOSTON. As far as the film goes, it’s everything you’d expect from the mind of Seth MacFarlane. Imagine Family Guy but five times as raunchy. A few jokes don’t fly here and there but for the most part, you’ll be quoting this film for a while…just like myself and my brother have been since we first saw it.

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7. Gone Baby Gone

One of Ben Affleck’s best-directed films, Gone Baby Gone is a gritty crime mystery that’s full of surprises. When a little girl disappears and the police make little headway in figuring out the case, the girl’s aunt hires two detectives, who are experienced with the tough Boston neighborhoods, to figure out what exactly is going on. It doesn’t do anything too bold, which is why it is lower on this list than some would expect to see, but it is undoubtedly very solid. If looking for a good detective story set in the Boston area with some tricks up its sleeve, definitely try seeking this one out.

6. Patriots Day

Debatably Peter Berg’s best, Patriots Day follows the story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the days following the attack. One thing I do agree with is that this could’ve waited a few more years before being made. Only being three years after this tragic event was a little too soon but, nevertheless, it takes the subject matter extremely seriously. It does an excellent job of telling the story (even if some of the plot elements and characters are fake,) while keeping the audience entertained in the manhunt for the terrorists. It’s very emotional talking about this subject matter after living through it, but when regarding this film, it’s definitely a very important movie and the city and citizens of Boston will always be BOSTON STRONG.  

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5. The Fighter

Writer and Director David O. Russell brings us an amazing true story about a boxer on the rise, Micky Ward (Mark Whalberg) who’s trying to escape his troubled, older boxing brother, Dicky’s (Christian Bale) shadow. This movie is full of great performances but Christian Bale is by far the standout. He is at the top of his game here and it’s no surprise that he received an Academy Award for his role in this film. It takes place in gritty Lowell Massachusetts which, at the time, was a crime-ridden area. If you’re seeking a great story with even better performances, look no further than The Fighter.

4. Spotlight

The shocking true story about how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive child molestation scandal and the cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese. This is a damn near-perfect movie but it all starts with the brilliant script. The writers do a great job at carefully articulating the order of events that lead to the discovery and when they are mashed up within the film, it all fits cohesively well. I know I said it’s perfect, but the only reason I wouldn’t put it higher is its rewatchability value.

Yes, the film is captivating, but do you really want to watch a film over and over again that revolves around child pedophilia…no not really. Nevertheless, this is a fantastic journalistic, Boston flick that thoroughly deserves its Academy Award for Best Picture.

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3. Good Will Hunting

How ‘bout them apples? I know most were potentially expecting this to be at my number one slot. Don’t get me wrong, everything about this film is awesome and the concept completely works. But, something about it always feels a little off to me. I’m not sure if it’s the ending or the overall blandness feeling the film gives off, but I’ve just never been able to love this movie. Although, clearly I am still a huge fan of the film since it’s this high on my list. It has a fantastic cast with young Matt Damon playing the lead, and Robin Williams in his prime, and uses the Boston setting brilliantly to its advantage. I’ll keep giving it chances but honestly, I don’t see any movie passing these next two on my list…ever. 

2. Manchester by the Sea

Go ahead and call this a hot take, but I love this movie. It might be because I grew up in a town close to Manchester, Massachusetts, and still have buddies who live there, but this film completely blew me away. It all starts with the brilliant writing and direction from Kenneth Lonergan. He manages to create a film so realistically emotional and doesn’t shy away from showing the viewer what it’s like to deal with loss, sadness, and depression. The film is a slower watch for sure, but the pacing is earned and fits extremely well with the tone of the film. 

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1. The Departed

You might be shocked that films like The Town or Mystic River aren’t on this list. Call me crazy but they just don’t resonate with me one bit. On the other hand, The Departed is a fantastic Boston film and one of Martin Scorsese’s best films to date that I can’ stop thinking about. The one thing that stands out to me about this film that helps elevate it to the stratosphere is the editing. It’s extremely quick and tight yet somehow smooth all at the same time, linking the storylines together in a beautiful and cinematic fashion. I also find it funny how this is the fourth movie featuring Mark Whalberg on this list. Coincidence? I think not.

Popular Culture

The 25 Best Detective Movies to Watch Right Now

Oftentimes, detective movies are tough to come by, but great detective movies are even more difficult to find. Adding on to that, there are many streaming services nowadays that could easily point you in the wrong direction. This causes some of these films to fly under the radar and be sunk in the massive pool of streaming movie options.

This list will help guide you towards the best detective movies and also where you can check them out. Note that this list is not ranked and just serves as a general map instead.

1. Prisoners

A horrifying nightmare for parents, this film is a heavy watch, but it’s (debatably) the most captivating detective movie on this list. Denis Villeneuve, who is now considered one of the greatest directors working today, brings us a mind-blowing masterpiece early in his career. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) works tirelessly to hunt down the kidnapper of two young girls, but one of the girls’ fathers, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), feels like the police could be doing more. As the film goes on, Keller Dover gets fed up and tries to take matters into his own hands which is where the film elevates itself to a whole different level.

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2. The Silence of the Lambs

A classic, and what some consider to be one of the greatest movies of all time, The Silence of the Lambs is an unforgettable detective flick. The film includes one of the most notable movie characters of all time, Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). In the film, Lecter is interviewed and questioned by young F.B.I. cadet Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) who’s trying to learn more about what makes a serial killer tick in order to catch a new serial killer on the loose, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). This film is creepy and feels like there’s a bug constantly crawling around your body, but in the end, is a kick-ass detective movie with a story like no other.

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3. Gone Girl

Definitely not your standard “detective” movie, director David Fincher brings us another brilliant film in Gone Girl. When his wife suddenly disappears, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) desperately goes searching for her all while the media closes in on Nick and increasingly considers the possibility that Nick could’ve killed her. The way the film is put together really makes this movie what it is. It constantly bounces between perspectives and you really don’t know who to trust, Nick or his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike). Definitely check this one out, as it brings many new ideas to the table and has an ending that will leave you shocked. 

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4. The Maltese Falcon

Although very old, this is still a must-watch and an absolute classic detective film. The Maltese Falcon follows private detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) as he traverses San Francisco while murders begin to mount up around him, he slowly begins to get tied up in corruption and uncertainty and realizes that he must mind one thing that everybody wants their hands on the Maltese Falcon. Nominated for 3 Academy Awards, The Maltese Falcon is a great noir flick that can’t be overlooked when talking about the greatest detective movies.  

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5. Knives Out

Probably one of the most recent films on this list, Knives Out does not disappoint. Writer and Director Rian Johnson gives us an original whodunnit film that is often hard to come by nowadays. The film is tense at times, but there’s a great deal of comedic relief that mixes extremely well with all the mystery. If you need one more reason to watch this one, look no further than the incredible cast list: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, and Christopher Plummer.

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6. Gone Baby Gone

One of Ben Affleck’s best-directed films, Gone Baby Gone is a gritty crime detective film that’s full of surprises. When a little girl disappears and the police make little headway in figuring out the case, the little girl’s aunt hires two detectives, who are experienced with the tough Boston neighborhoods, to figure out what exactly is going on. This is such a solid film top to bottom and does a good job at not going overboard by trying to do too much. If looking for a good detective story set in the Boston area with some tricks up its sleeve, definitely try seeking this one out.

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7. Se7en

Can’t include a detective list without this one. Se7en follows detectives Mills (Brad Pitt) and Somerset (Morgan Freeman) as they try to hunt down a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives. Gritty and grim would sum this one up, as director David Fincher gives us a detective thriller that doesn’t hold back and constantly keeps you guessing. Not much more to say about this classic, if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to put this at the top of your list.

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8. Memento

One of the great Christopher Nolan’s earlier films, Memento doesn’t disappoint and is another film that is stylistically told in a very unique way. The film may start out confusing to some mainly because it is told both forwards and backward, but it’s all for good reason. The main character, Leonard (Guy Pearce) has short-term memory loss and is attempting to track down his wife’s killer. It’s told entirely through his perspective which is why we get one story that works itself backward and one forwards. The way Nolan is able to mash these storylines together so that by the end they link up perfectly is impressive and the end result is a great detective movie.

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9. Hot Fuzz

Stylistic and brilliant comedic director Edgar Wright brings us a hilarious detective film that is sure to make you laugh. A smart and sophisticated London police officer gets transferred to a small town with no crime after being annoying to his superiors, but little does he know, this innocent town is about to be hit by a string of brutal murders. If unfamiliar with writer and director Edgar Wright’s work, he is best known for bringing us 4 unique comedies all with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Definitely worth checking this one out if looking for a great mix of detective work and laughs. 

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10. Blade Runner

On the surface, Blade Runner might not be labeled as a detective movie, but when focusing on the story, this 1982 Ridley Scott film is nothing short of a classic. A blade runner named Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) must pursue and kill four replicants on the loose. If unfamiliar with Blade Runner and its concepts, a blade runner is a cop whose sole purpose is to kill replicants. Replicants are highly developed robots who were supposed to aid society, but created a mutiny and turned on humans causing them to be deemed illegal. The film was technically ahead of its time and can be perfectly summed up as a thought-provoking action sci-fi, detective drama. When unpacking this film, there’re so many elements that can be discussed and lead to different opinions which is why it had to be included on this list.

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11. Blade Runner 2049

This is film director Denis Villeneuve at the top of his game, as he delivers the follow-up to Blade Runner, 35 years later, and it’s just as good, if not better than the original. Similar to the first film, Blade Runner 2049 might not be labeled as a detective film, but when focusing on the story, it follows the path of a detective film. When ‘K’ (Ryan Gosling) stumbles across a long buried secret, it leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) who has been missing for 30 years. Of course, the film is great, but what stands out the most are the visuals and cinematography. If seeing this for the first time, I highly recommend watching it on the biggest screen possible because this film is quite the spectacle. 

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12. Vertigo

Debatably the greatest director of all time, Alfred Hitchcock brings us what some may consider his best film in Vertigo. A former San Francisco police detective has to balance his personal issues while also becoming obsessed with the same gorgeous woman he has been hired to trail. Hitchcock has many tricks up his sleeve as he does in many of his movies, but with the number of layers to this film, this one just feels different. If unfamiliar with this Hitchcock detective classic, be sure to give this a watch.

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13. The Nice Guys

An extremely underrated detective buddy comedy, The Nice Guys deserves more recognition. Not sure if there was a marketing or promotional issue, but when this movie was released it was a massive flop at the box office. This shouldn’t have been the case when you have a duo of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling teaming up to investigate a missing girl and the strange death of a pornstar in the 1970s. Crowe and Gosling’s chemistry is perfect and the film manages to nail down the basics of a great detective movie and elevate it to become a unique, entertaining, and fun watch.

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14. Zodiac

Director David Fincher really knows how to craft great detective movies. His third film on this list, Zodiac is based on the real-life Zodiac Killer in California between 1968-1983. The film follows an amateur detective, determined to find out the identity of the mysterious Zodiac Killer. Even if you know the story already, the film does such a solid job at depicting a haunting environment for not only our protagonists of the film but for viewers as well. Additionally, the cast includes powerhouses like Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo. 

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15. The Departed

One of Martin Scorsese’s best, The Departed is more than just a simple detective movie. The film is about an undercover cop and a mole in the police force both trying to figure out the other’s identity all while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston. The backbone of the film is the all-star cast list which includes: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Whalberg, Martin Sheen, Anthony Anderson, Vera Farmiga, and Alec Baldwin. But, surprisingly, the best part of this movie is the editing. Each scene is quick and tight, yet it also manages to maintain a smooth rhythm all while the gripping detective film unfolds before us. 

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16. Brick

Another film written and directed by Rian Johnson makes the cut, only this time it’s his first film. A high school teenage loner joins an underground crime ring to find out what happened to his murdered ex-girlfriend. Although the film is set in high school, Rian Johnson stylizes the film to make it feel just like a detective movie. After watching this, it’s interesting to see the film that got Rian Johnson started, as well as a film that skyrocketed young Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s career too.

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17. Training Day

If somehow unfamiliar with Training Day, it is the film that made Denzel Washington one of the greats, a household name, and why he is referred to now as just ‘Denzel’. Training Day follows a rookie cop, Jake (Ethan Hawke), as he traverses his first day as a Los Angeles narcotics cop with suspicious detective Alonzo (Denzel Washington) riding alongside him. The script really helps get the film’s feet off the ground, but the actors are the ones who manage to elevate it to even higher levels which is why this detective movie is a must-watch. 

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18. Searching

I never thought Hollywood would be able to create an intriguing enough movie while being fully on a laptop screen, but once again I have been proven wrong. Searching follows David Kim (John Cho) as he works against the clock to find his missing daughter. This is one of the most engaging movies I’ve ever seen, and a solid detective one at that. When David is trying to get to the bottom of his daughter’s disappearance, the film does such a great job at including and focusing on every little detail that could help clue the viewer in towards figuring out the mystery. Give this film a shot if looking for some unique filmmaking flair. 

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19. The Fugitive

A Harrison Ford classic, The Fugitive has everything a good detective movie needs in order to be great (which it is). After being unjustly accused of murdering his wife, Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) must figure out who really did it, all while being hunted by the entire city of Chicago led by a veteran U.S. Marshal (Tommy Lee Jones.) The film almost plays out like a revenge thriller, but instead of the main character looking for murder, he’s looking for justice. A true detective film at heart, Dr. Richard Kimble is constantly on the move, trying to find any sort of evidence in order to prove his innocence and clear his name.     

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20. Mystic River

Another solid Boston crime flick, Director Clint Eastwood brings us a film about revenge, violence, and its consequences. Mystic River is an essential detective movie that follows three men’s lives, who were all childhood friends, get shattered when one of them suffers a family tragedy. The three stars of the film are Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon who all bring their best to the table to create a gripping detective drama, and the movie is a good addition to Clint Eastwood’s catalog.

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21. Insomnia

Another one of legendary director Christopher Nolan’s earlier films, Insomnia is a classic detective movie with twists and turns taking place throughout. Two Los Angeles detectives are sent to a small town in Alaska to find out who killed an innocent teen. The setting of the film really helps capture the mood of the film. Since the sun is out constantly, Will Dormer (Al Pacino) slowly starts to lose focus on not just the task at hand but his mind too. If you’re a Nolan fan and unfamiliar with his early work, I highly recommend seeing this film that helped shape him into the director he is today.

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22. End of Watch

One of my personal favorites on this list, End of Watch is a gritty look into the daily life of two Los Angeles cops who begin to mess with crime groups larger than they can handle. This film is shot in first-person-view style from one of the cops’ perspectives and adds a unique flair to the film that I think was highly needed. Also, the two leads of the film, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, have amazing chemistry and bring everything they have in order to create a fantastic detective story with a surprising amount of heart at its core.

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23. Chinatown

Former acclaimed director Roman Polanski brings us a classic in Chinatown, a detective story that’s solid from top to bottom. In 1937 Los Angeles, private detective J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is assigned to what seems to be a simple case, but he soon finds out that it’s more difficult than imagined and it leads him down a tricky path. There are so many standouts with the one: the academy award winning script from Robert Towne, the direction by Polanski, and the stars of the show; Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway who are both at the top of their game. There’s a reason this got 11 Academy Award nominations, so if you haven’t seen this 1974 classic detective movie yet, I’d highly recommend putting it towards the top of your list.    

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24. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

You might be tired of hearing his name at this point, but he’s one of the best directors working today for a reason. With his fourth and final film on this list, director David Fincher brings us a chilling detective mystery that can at times be extremely disturbing. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is hired by a wealthy industrialist to figure out who killed his niece over 40 years ago, but Blomkvist quickly learns that this job is out of his league and gets aid from an anti-social yet very efficient computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo is gripping, dark, violent, and of course, an excellent detective movie.

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25. Dirty Harry

A classic Clint Eastwood movie, Dirty Harry is still a timeless detective film with camera work ahead of its time and bunches of great action. In San Francisco, 1971, a madman is on the loose known as the ‘Scorpio Killer’ (Andrew Robinson) and resilient cop ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) seeks to put an end to him. It’s a simple story but played out very effectively. Additionally, the villain is inspired by the actual Scorpio Killer who haunted San Francisco for years. If looking for a classic, gritty, action detective movie, look no further than Dirty Harry

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Popular Culture

Crimes of the Future: An Analysis of Late Career Style

It may seem like a bold claim to some, but I feel that acclaimed directors consistently pump out the most thought-provoking content in the twilight of their careers. This is referred to as a director’s “late period,” when they refine their style and lose track of what it means to consider the audience. An apathetic attitude towards general opinion characterizes a director’s late style. They truly pump out content they have always wanted to make and in the style they want to make it in. They narrow in on the aspects of filmmaking that they have always loved. In David Cronenberg’s case, it’s body horror such as with his latest film, Crimes of the Future.

In this stage of their career, they feel no obligation to tie up each tidbit of story into a neat little bow; in fact, they disregard coherency and conciseness for style and visual displays. Directors like Michael Mann, Clint Eastwood, Francis Ford Coppola, Abel Ferrara, and more have produced some of their best content in this period. David Cronenberg has been in this stage for quite some time now, and Crimes of the Future is no exception.

Entertainment One

In 2011 he released A Dangerous Method, a Freudian tale of thrills and romance, and since then hasn’t looked back, each release conforming to this “late style” more than the last. But Crimes of the Future is a different case. This film is an old script written by Cronenberg, creating this with the ideals that he holds today and the stylistic prowess that he has developed, but a script that calls for old-school bodily horror and classic thematic content. The amalgamation of two styles, contrasting yet coexisting, ultimately creates a film worthy of being compared to his best.

This release is not a return to form because my biased opinion is that his best work was his most recent. I would describe it as more of a return to roots.

A film featuring body horror that could’ve been conceptualized in the 80s or 90s but done using modern-day technology, Cronenberg’s work has stayed consistent in terms of feel and in terms of thematics. Sexual content, the fragility and impermanence of life, rebellion, and art creation have all been commonplace from the very beginning.

His films, especially in the beginning, have an unsettling quality to them, making the viewer feel paranoid and uneasy, Shivers even going as far as to have a ticking heartbeat in the background to match the racing heart of the viewer. Cronenberg explores what repulses us, what thrills us, and what makes us think. Crimes of the Future is no different. It establishes an unsettling feeling by making something as gory as it is erotic, to the point where the phrase “Surgery is the new sex” doesn’t sound so ridiculous anymore.

It is not Cronenberg’s first attempt at making the disgusting seem less so, but I do think it might be his best(the alternative being Crash, which is phenomenal across the board but not my personal cup of tea). The ticking heartbeat of this film is a literal one; Saul’s newly developed organs create a ticking clock that has two possible endings, death or acceptance. 

MK2/ Mile End

Although this film follows the format for content within a Cronenberg film, it does it uniquely, even compared to other late-career Cronenberg work. As previously mentioned, the late period is often characterized by directors leaning into their own preferred cinematic ideals, diving headfirst into niches that appeal to them and maybe a loyal fan.

While other late-period entries like Cosmopolis, Maps to the Stars, and A Dangerous Method do this, he reaches a new level of apathy in this outing. Cronenberg has reached dangerous levels with his “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. A return to his #1 cinematic niche, body horror, Crimes of the Future, does all that can be done to fulfill the late period criteria. Crimes of the Future’s plot throws meaningless characters out solely to further the story; tons of subplots remain unresolved and a non-ending fit for a king. He doesn’t pander to the audience. In fact, he doesn’t even try to appeal to them.

A film made out of pure love for the game, a film he wanted to make, a film he wanted to see, but no one else is crazy enough to come up with, a film that no one is bold enough to produce in such a brash and brazen manner. This could have been two hours long and still would’ve had quality content to pump out, but it didn’t. The credits roll after what could be the midpoint in the film, a complete non-ending, but the more I let the film simmer, the less it matters.

The film ends with a revelation, no emotional catharsis, and no final parting words. The message is what you make it, and the rest can be assumed. As much as I would love to see a freakshow pageant(spoilers), do I really need that after five surgery scenes? Call me an apologist, tell me I’m making excuses for an all-time great, but I really think that he has earned his late-period attitude and plays around with somehow having even more creative freedom than before gracefully.

MK2/ Mile End

The message is what you make it, as with much of his output. While not exclusive to his late period work, Cronenberg’s films have a way of fulfilling what you need at that moment.

In the short time this film has been out, I’ve seen deep Christian readings regarding suppressing evolution, political readings surrounding the reliance on the past and reluctance to embrace the future, and gender-centric readings surrounding Cronenberg’s tendency to work with the broader theme of transformation. All uniquely valid and shockingly make sense in the greater scheme of his filmography.

If someone wishes to connect this to their frustration with conservative media’s connection to the constitution, they can, and quite effectively. If someone wants to fight to say Cronenberg’s dialogue on the next phase of human evolution being repulsive means he shares the belief that the transformation of humanity as a concept is repulsive, they can, although maybe less effectively. And if someone wants to read his work as trans-centric, given that Crimes of the Future is so self-referential, his early stuff being so transformation based and this even more so, easily could be read as having the moral of acceptance of true self.

The aspect that makes this unique from his other work and so clearly of late period style is that it can be read and parsed through even more freely given his hands-off, not a care-in-the-world attitude. These plotlines and characters that flow in and out make it out, so there is less surface text to work through.

Universal Pictures

The evolving relationship between the new flesh and machines reaches a breaking point in this entry. Finally, the two work in tandem, for results, for art. Crimes of the Future is an experiment in impulse; he doesn’t want to appeal to the surface-level understanding. Much like our lead character Saul, using something he hates about himself and turning it into art, Cronenberg is doing the same and acting on his primal cinematic impulses, returning to roots and desires. He acknowledges the development of his career while using lines like “I’m not so great at the old sex” to say maybe his old style is behind him.

It’s not.

Popular Culture

The 24 Best A24 Films of All-Time, Ranked

Ever since I started paying more attention to movies, the film studio A24 has been on my radar. It has slowly climbed up the ranks and now, it has become my favorite studio by far. A24 is known for producing and distributing small-budget, original films helmed by directors who are usually relatively new to the business. A24 is based out of Los Angeles and New York and was formed on August 20, 2012. 

Every time I hear about a new A24 film, I always put it on my watchlist. Now, after seeing a majority of their films I thought, why not rank them. So, here is the correct ranking of the 24 best A24 films they have released (just kidding this is just my ranking, please go watch these amazing films and form your own opinion).

24. Minari

Slow, sweet, and sometimes simple, but that’s often all you need for a good A24 film. Set in the 1980s, a Korean family moves to a farm in the United States with hopes of achieving the ‘American Dream’, but they shortly discover that it might be trickier than imagined. Despite an outstanding performance from Steven Yeun, Youn Yuh-jung steals the show playing the grandmother of the family as she constantly has hilarious feuds with the son of the family, David (Alan Kim). It is a calm film to start off this crazy list that is definitely worth the watch if interested in a nice little drama.

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23. Mid90s

If someone were to tell me that the overweight goofball from 2007s Superbad would one day be directing a movie about skateboarding in Los Angeles I’d say you’re nuts. But somehow we have this movie, and it is a damn good one at that. Mid90s captures the trials and tribulations of a young boy growing up poor in the LA area wanting to fit in with a group of older skater-kids. It doesn’t break too many boundaries, but it has a lot of heart and provides fantastic performances from young actors that make this A24 flick a must-watch.

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22. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The first of many creepy films has arrived on this list. Yorgos Lanthimos brings us a terrifyingly weird film that feels almost too unsettling at times. The director has made some wacky films before, but this one has a much darker tone. When a surgeon fails an open heart surgery, the son of the deceased starts to hang around the surgeon, and after a while, strange things start happening to the rest of the surgeon’s family. The film is brought to life by an amazing cast that includes: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and a breakout role from the haunting Barry Keoghan. Don’t go into this expecting a happy ending or else you’ll be very disappointed. 

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21. The Green Knight

This medieval fantasy journey takes some interesting turns that made me question my liking of the film when I originally saw it. But, the film has an ending that fits beautifully and really caps off the whole journey that Gawain (Dev Patel) embarks upon perfectly. The director, David Lowery, makes some bold decisions from both a storytelling and directorial standpoint with wild special effects and stunning wide shots that capture gorgeous colors and extravagant landscapes. If looking for a quest like no other with a strong ending, make sure to check this one out.

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20. X

On the surface, this looks like something we’ve all seen before. But, to my pleasant surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed this slasher. The film is about a porn crew, looking to find an abandoned place to shoot their new and inventive vision of a porn film. I think the best part about this one is how Ti West ties in the porn element, it adds some very necessary comedic relief during stressful and frightening points in the film. Also, Ti West’s style is clear as he adds some super unique shots and manages to get the best out of all the actors in the film. Additionally, the blood is extremely well utilized and when the scares go down they are well earned. X might not look too different from other horror films, but there are definitely more surprises than I thought there would be.

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19. Lamb

The minute I saw this trailer I was immediately attached. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch a human couple in the middle of Iceland give birth to a human-lamb baby? In all seriousness, this is a slow-burn psychological thriller set in an isolated farm location that adds an eerie element of surprise whenever something goes down. It also has one of those ‘holy shit’ endings that makes this film absolutely unforgettable and could leave you haunted for weeks.

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18. It Comes At Night

Trey Edward Shults’ second feature, although very divisive and sometimes hard to understand for audiences, left me absolutely shocked (in a good way). I don’t think I’ve done more research on a film to understand its true meaning. But what I’ve learned is that this film is an experience and is totally up for the viewer’s interpretation. If you don’t like open-ended or thought-provoking films with no clear ending stay away, otherwise you should definitely check this thriller film out.

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17. Boys State

This might be the most captivating documentary put out in recent years. Boys State follows a group of 1100 seventeen-year-old boys from the state of Texas who come together for a week and create their own system of government. I myself am not a fan of anything related to politics, but this documentary didn’t bore me one bit. I think the realism and passion these young men put into their efforts in attempting to become the governor while at the camp is so fascinating. It’s such an intriguing film that takes a deep dive look at the types of people (or kids in this case) who could succeed in the working world today. 

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16. Enemy

Another one of those movies that could leave people bamboozled which is a big reason I think it is slept on. Enemy follows a man who one day sees a doppelganger of himself and seeks him out in order to find out more. This is without a doubt director Denis Villeneuve’s most underrated film. If you’re able to understand and figure this one out, it’s a crazy ride. And, of course, it has that ending that leaves you saying ‘what the absolute fuck’.

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15. Krisha

Many of you have probably never even heard of this one, but it’s another Trey Edward Shults movie and also his first feature film. After being gone for 10 years, a woman named Krisha finally gets reunited with her family on Thanksgiving Day. Sounds simple right? Of course not, this is nothing short of hectic and Shults’ unique filmmaking style is clearly established right out the gate. Shults plays around with lens perspective and does a lot of wild movements with the camera. Shults uses his own childhood home as a filming location and he also uses many of his own family members as actors in his film. It’s pretty remarkable how the acting is one of the strongest elements of the movie yet many of them have never done it before. I think that itself speaks to how much of a visionary Trey Edward Shults truly is. Don’t worry, this isn’t the last you’ll see of him on his list.

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14. Green Room

A broke and struggling punk rock band is in desperate need of a gig, but when they arrive at their next event shit goes more than sideways and the group is forced to fight against neo-Nazis in order to survive. Believe me, when I tell you that this is a messed up movie, but I think that’s part of the reason I enjoy it so much. There’s a huge shock factor with this film, not just because of the blood and gore but because of the element of unpredictability. I never knew what was going to happen next. Sure, I’ve seen movies where characters have to escape from a tricky situation, but this just does it in such a dark and unique way which makes it extremely fun and original. If you are into dark thriller flicks, I would put this at the top of your radar.

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13. Lady Bird

Quite the genre shift from the last film. Lady Bird is an outstanding directorial debut from Greta Gerwig. Despite being a little awkward compared to other coming-of-age films, Lady Bird is nothing short of funny, sweet, and heartwarming. The film gets brought to life with amazing performances from Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges, Beanie Feldstein, and Timothée Chalamet. If you’re looking for an easy, relaxing, and fun watch to ease your day, look no further than Lady Bird.

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12. Red Rocket

The film that, in my opinion, didn’t receive proper recognition and absolutely deserves more attention. Red Rocket is a hilarious film about a once famous pornstar named Mikey (Simon Rex) who is now broke which causes him to return to his hometown in Texas to try and start his life over. Mikey and the movie as a whole are brought to life by an all-time performance from Simon Rex. Definitely check this out if you’re looking for a wacky good time and don’t be surprised if the writer and director of this flick, Sean Baker, is featured in the top ten.

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11. Midsommar

Potentially the most disturbing movie on this list, Midsommar is unforgettable in the least likely way you could imagine. Looking for an escape after a tragedy happens to her parents, Midsommar follows a girl named Dani (Florence Pugh), who joins her boyfriend and others on a trip to a Swedish festival looking for an escape from reality. Sounds semi-normal right? Wrong! Writer and Director Ari Aster has made one of the most deranged movies I’ve ever witnessed. This film completely turns on its head after the first hour and becomes a horrifying psychedelic death trip for Dani and her friends. Be wary when watching this one, you may not come out the same person once the credits roll.

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10. The Disaster Artist

Oh hi, Mark! You really thought I would start this description any differently? If completely unfamiliar with this film and its history, The Disaster Artist is based on the real-life making of 2003s infamous The Room, which is known to be the greatest worst movie ever made. The man behind all this madness is Tommy Wiseau who one day, after getting repeatedly denied by Hollywood, decided to make his own movie by his own rules. Who would’ve thought the making of the worst film ever made would not only be a good idea but a great movie.

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9. Everything Everywhere All At Once

The kookiest yet original idea ever, the Daniels have created a movie that features every emotion I could ever describe. While many different issues begin to blow up in her face, Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) is forced to come to terms with her problems all while attempting to save the multiverse. At its core, it’s all about family ideals and being able to move on, but the film explores these ideas in the most insanely entertaining ways possible while also having it take place in the multiverse. If you haven’t heard about this film yet, you have now, and if you haven’t seen it yet make sure to put this at the top of your list.  

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8. The Florida Project

What did I say about Sean Baker…if you don’t have him on your radar at this point you’re making a mistake. What he manages to accomplish with The Florida Project shouldn’t work, but he makes it happen. While living in a rundown motel on the outskirts of Walt Disney World, the film follows a young, troublemaking six-year-old girl named Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her just as troublesome mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) as they go about their lives during the Summertime in Florida.

This film can sometimes be depressing when we are thrown firsthand into the lives of the various hotel residents, but the adventures Moonee and her other friends take mashup well with the downer aspects. This combination creates an experience that’s hard not to enjoy. Look out for future projects from Sean Baker, his name won’t be going anywhere for a while.

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7. Hereditary

With Ari Aster’s directorial debut, he crafts a shocking psychological horror film that will leave you spooked for months. It’s hard to compare Hereditary and Midsommar because they both have extremely different, unique stories. But when having to choose, I like Hereditary more. The film is a slow burn and all throughout the movie there are little easter eggs you can spot that help clue you in towards figuring out what’s going to happen. Definitely another ‘what the fuck’ ending, but not to the levels of some other films on this list.

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6. The Lighthouse

It’s tough to put The Lighthouse this high mainly because if you don’t like weird shit, you probably won’t enjoy this movie. But I had an absolute blast with this one. This is Robert Eggers’ sophomore film, following up on The Witch, which proved divisive amongst critics and average moviegoers.

Despite what you thought of The Witch, The Lighthouse was hard to ignore and still highly anticipated by many for a couple of reasons. For starters, the cast was limited to only two actors: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. These two actors recently have been at the top of their game, so to know that the film was about two lighthouse keepers stuck on a remote island off the coast of New England in the 1890s starring only them…we were bound to be in for a treat. If you like wacky, batshit, crazy, wild films, and somehow missed this one, definitely check this out as soon as possible.

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5. Good Time

Safdie Brothers’ first collaboration with A24 is a hit and it captures the Safdie’s hectic and chaotic film style in sheer perfect essence. Robert Pattinson provides another powerhouse performance and really runs this movie (literally). The film takes place in New York and is about two brothers whose bank heist goes awry which leads one to try and bail the other (who is mentally handicapped) out of Rikers Island before he gets himself killed. Good Time is an exciting, race against the clock, crime thriller that surprisingly has some heart at its core.

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4. Ex Machina

Alex Garland’s first feature is undeniably his best so far. Ex Machina follows a young programmer, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), who gets selected to spend a week at a private mountain retreat belonging to the wealthy and mysterious Nathan (Oscar Issac). But Caleb is thrown off when he quickly discovers he is at the center of a groundbreaking experiment involving artificial intelligence.

The film is full of secrets and there are so many unexpected twists. It’s another one of those slow-burn movies, but it doesn’t really feel like it because while the slower elements of the movie are unfolding, it’s still extremely captivating and never feels like it’s dragging. It’s tough to say more without giving any spoilers away…so I’ll say no more. If you want one more reason to watch this movie, it has one of the greatest spontaneous dance scenes of all time. 

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3. Moonlight

The film that caused the 2017 Best Picture Academy Award fiasco. If you call yourself a film buff and haven’t heard of this film or the infamous 89th Academy Awards mess-up by now, you might want to think of a new profession.

Regardless of its past, Moonlight is a heartbreakingly beautiful film about love, identity, and masculinity. Taking place over three different time periods, Chiron grapples with his sexuality while growing up in an extremely harsh environment in South Florida. From start to finish the film is masterfully helmed by writer and director Barry Jenkins. His direction is clear and he crafts one of the most beautiful films of all time. The acting is top notch, but the vibrant colors, musical score, and editing bring this film to the forefront of what can already be considered a modern classic.

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2. Waves

Easily the most overlooked A24 movie and film in general, Waves deserves more hype. I’m a huge fan of any movie involving High Schoolers (and clearly Trey Edward Shults since this is his third film on this list), but Trey Edward Shults has created a film far different from a typical High School movie. It takes on heavy themes like overcoming a loss, accepting forgiveness, and navigating love. It’s hard to say much without giving away the movie so I’ll keep it brief.

Trey Edward Shults adds his super unique filmmaking style to the southern Florida landscape and creates a high octane paced film with wild, colorful shots and a musical soundtrack that includes: Kanye, Tame Impala, Frank Ocean, and many more modern day Hip-Hop R&B artists. If you want to be shocked and looking for a loud, sad, but beautiful original film, look no further than Waves.

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1. Uncut Gems

If you know me personally, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Uncut Gems is not only my favorite A24 movie of all time but (one of) my favorite movie of all time. Another Safdie Brothers movie on this list, Uncut Gems takes what Good Time did, and amps it up a level with a killer storyline that took the Safdies over 10 years to write. Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) plays a New York City jeweler who takes a huge risk and gambles in an attempt to pay off high amounts of debt to avoid being hurt by violent collectors. I’ve been a Sandler fan my whole life, and I can happily say that he’s FINALLY returned to form and gives (arguably) his best performance of all time. Another crazy thing about this movie is there are so many first-time actors in the film with the highlight surprisingly being Kevin Garnett, who plays himself. This film is hectic, chaotic, and loud, and I eat every ounce of it up. 

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Popular Culture

The Coen Brothers: One of a Kind Stylistic Substance

Two of the greatest creative minds of my lifetime. The Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan, serve as both benchmarks of stylistic consistency, and testaments to how style can be manipulated into different genre forms.

In their Hollywood pursuits, these two men have always worn their hearts on their sleeve, and have produced art that is unapologetically true to who they are as filmmakers. Blazing the path for hundreds of creative minds in the future. 

Recently, I revisited a number of their films and got just a glimpse of what it must be like to live in the mind of such masters of the form. To always be able to establish a distinguishable tone, while also being stylistic chameleons is baffling and something all filmmakers hope to be able to accomplish. Two of their films, Blood Simple and Inside Llewyn Davis, specifically encapsulate the consistent nature of their careers from beginning to end.

Humble Beginnings
Circle Films

Blood Simple is the first film the Coen Brothers ever pumped out. With a screenplay by both of them, and directorial duties being taken up by eldest brother Joel, they truly hit the ground running.

A first film that feels as if it could be a final film for those familiar with their style, Blood Simple takes a fair stab at every cinematic ideal that the brothers would come to be known for. Dark, hopeless, pessimism countered with off-the-cuff humor, diction that seems both realistic and surreal, and boiling tensions created by the protagonists’ own paths of self-destruction.

All of these ideas combine to form a film that has clashing aesthetics that coexist in almost complete harmony. They had a chance to show their one-of-a-kind style to the world and capitalized, working through these moving pieces with grace and elegance.

This film is an anxiety-fueled nightmare for all parties involved, there is always something to keep track of, but the true bliss of it all is that every character has different information. Blood Simple doesn’t look down on the viewer, it expects attention, and rightfully so. The characters are witnesses to a world of moving parts and are left to manage it on their own; The Coens expect the same of their audience. Stunningly confident for a first feature, but when it’s all thrown together by master hands it is bound to work out in the end. 

Onto Greenwich Village
CBS Films

This is contrasted by a “more recent” entry in their filmography, Inside Llewyn Davis. It has all the Coen ideals that were present in their first film, completely unique word choice, the use of “vitriol” stands out, and despite the stagnation of our protagonist’s life progression, there certainly are boiling tensions that come as a result of Llewyn’s self-destructive behavior.

This film is a testament to the pure beauty of a Coen Brothers’ screenplay, regardless of the level of tension, it still feels deeply important. Characters of different styles clash, much like the clashing thematic content of Blood Simple, Llewyn is our brutally realistic hero, and he interacts with walking caricatures like Roland and to a lesser extent Al Cody. Again, despite the obvious expectation to clash and burn, they interact seamlessly when handled by, now very experienced, master hands.

Small things like Llewyn taking in Roland’s ramblings trying to create a response suitable enough to get him to stop, but as soon as he does Roland just finds a way to keep talking. Small things like Gorfein’s friends asking Llewyn if he gets royalties on ‘Please Mr. Kennedy’, or even smaller things like Al Cody meowing at the cat. Simple, sometimes hilarious, and ingenious.

Despite the fact that the content, intention, and time of creation are entirely different, there is a distinguishable style created by the Coens’ firm, yet not overpowering voice. A style that is completely unmistakable and charming to both the average viewer and film buff alike. Very few filmmakers are able to present their voice in such a consistent, likable manner, but they have.

How They Come Together
Alison Rosa – © Alison Rosa

Blood Simple dissects desperation and paranoia, what can a man be driven to, and if the ends justify the means. Inside Llewyn Davis dissects grief to the bone, to its simplest intricacies while barely anything happens. We start and end at the same place, in the same shitty situation, just needing to find peace, and somewhere to stay. Completely different stories with completely different intentions, both diving deep into the human psyche to understand emotion. 

Blood Simple is characterized by how much occurs in such a short time span, Inside Llewyn Davis both begins and ends with our titular character in the same place as we first saw him, but both put forth the same energy. Leaving the viewer feeling oddly satisfied through laughs, tears, and bit nails.

From neon-lit Texas bars to Minnesota snowstorms, to Los Angeles bowling lanes, back to the dry Texas desert, and then finally to Greenwich Village. The Coen brothers’ careers share remarkable consistency in both content and quality. With a career spanning over 35 years, they have managed to make some of the most memorable films of multiple generations, and they aren’t done yet.

Following a successful outing with brother Joel’s solo-directorial project The Tragedy of Macbeth, brother Ethan will be back at it in the coming year with a lesbian road trip movie written with the help of his wife Tricia Cooke, and it is sure to not disappoint. 

Popular Culture

Why ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Deserves to be Seen on the Biggest Screen Possible

There was reason to be skeptical when it was announced there would be a sequel to the classic film Top Gun. It’s important to keep in mind that recently, Hollywood has received backlash and slander for not creating many ‘original’ films. Nowadays, many moviegoers complain about too many sequels and franchises that don’t bring anything new to the table.

So, with the announcement of Top Gun: Maverick, it seemed reasonable to be nervous. But once “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins comes blasting in over the opening credit sequence (just like the original,) I knew this movie was going to be something special.

Tom Cruise’s Commitment

After seeing the film, there should’ve never been a doubt. Recently, Tom Cruise seems to have figured out the perfect formula for action movies. With his insane dedication to performing almost all of his own stunts and his commitment to being a perfectionist, the past two Mission Impossible films and now Top Gun: Maverick have been nothing short of brilliant.

Cruise loves being in the film industry, but as he’s gotten older he seems to appreciate it much more. In his recent films, Cruise has put forth an unprecedented amount of passion and effort. During the production of Mission Impossible: Fallout, he broke his ankle while jumping from one building to another. Cruise carried out that shot, finished the scene, and that sequence was ultimately used in the final cut of the film. Additionally, while filming the upcoming Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning during the pandemic, an audio recording of Cruise was leaked. He was heard aggressively yelling at his cast and crew, scolding them because they weren’t taking the COVID-19 protocols seriously, or at least as serious as he was.

Release of the Film

While Cruise can be intense while filming a movie, he seems to be just as involved during post-production. After filming was fully complete, Top Gun: Maverick was slated to release in May of 2020. Then the pandemic began.

The film got delayed three times before receiving what seemed to be a set-in-stone release window of November 2021. But fans were distraught when finding out they had to wait another six months before finally seeing Top Gun: Maverick. Although this may have upset some fans, the extended delay was for good measure.

The Winter of 2020 had a major increase in COVID cases, and most were predicting a similar trend for Winter 2021. This worried Cruise because he wanted assurance that he couldn’t predict. Ultimately, Cruise and Paramount Studios decided to delay the film one final time to May 2022 (two whole years after it was originally going to be released). The choice was tough for Paramount studios, considering how many delays the film had already been through. Thankfully, in the end, it seems to have paid off.

Tom Cruise = Genius?

So far, Top Gun: Maverick has broken the Memorial Day weekend box office record, raking in over $150 million. Furthermore, Cruise and Paramount studios refused to sell the movie to streaming services. This was because Paramount, but specifically Cruise, didn’t want anybody seeing the film for the first time on a small electronic device. They specifically wanted audiences to have a proper movie theater experience and felt like this action epic deserved it. They were right.

Recently, because of the pandemic, many films were released in theaters and on streaming platforms simultaneously. One example would be 2021s Sci-Fi epic, Dune. In addition to the theater, Dune was also released on HBOMax. Many film fans took advantage of having an HBOMax subscription and watched the film at home. Dune is an absolute spectacle that deserves to be seen in theaters. I was honestly appalled when one of my friends told me he saw it on his tiny laptop. Seeing original blockbuster movies on the big screen with an audience is special and to throw that away on a laptop viewing alone hurts my soul.

Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Batman, and The Northman are three films released earlier this year that I would put in the category of unmissable at the theater (if you haven’t seen any of those movies yet I STRONGLY recommend doing so).

Despite each film being vastly different from one another, the filmmaking behind each project was nothing short of perfect. These film crews executed unique and beautiful films that made the theater experience a visceral journey and that goes for Top Gun: Maverick too. 

Top Gun: Maverick is Epic

When it comes to the action sequences in Top Gun: Maverick, they are masterfully helmed by Director Joseph Kosinski. Seeing the film in an IMAX theater felt more realistic than ever. While Cruise was flying at unimaginable speeds through the sky, the seats were rumbling, my heart was pounding, and I felt like ‘Maverick’s’ wingman. I can confidently say the dogfighting in this movie might surpass 2017s Dunkirk as some of the greatest dogfighting sequences ever put to screen. I’m not even sure how some of those scenes were filmed but nevertheless, it was an absolute joy to watch. 

So please…walk, run, drive, fly, or however you can transport yourself to a theater do it. This movie deserves to be seen on the BIGGEST screen possible and is a great way to start your Summer.

Movies/TV Popular Culture

A Definitive List Of All 24 ‘Pokémon’ Movies In Order

Pokémon is such a powerhouse that it’s not bound to just a few kinds of media. Though it originally started as a video game, it has since grown to become the highest-grossing media franchise, including books, films, comic books, animation, and more. Pokémon has grossed an estimated $110 billion in revenue, which is more than the MCU and Star Wars put together and Pokémon movies are a big reason why.

Approximately $1.85 billion of that number comes from the box office. The first Pokémon movie dropped in the summer of 1998 in Japan and November of 1999 in North America and ever since they’ve been dropping steadily for nearly a quarter of a century.

Below, we’ve outlined what all of the Pokémon movies are and what order to watch them.

How Many ‘Pokémon’ Movies are There?

In terms of actual Pokémon movies, there have been 23 animated ones and 1 live-action movie. There are also television specials and Pikachu shorts, but while they’re more than TV episodes, they don’t quite count as movies either.

What Order Should I Watch the ‘Pokémon’ Movies In?

For all but one series of movies, the release order for the Pokémon movies is actually also the chronological order, so that’s the order we’ve got for you. The first two movies released in the Sun & Moon series are actually set in an alternate continuity and the first is a CGI remake of a previous film, but this order’s great because you’re watching in release order and by the time you get to 2017’s I Choose You, it just feels like a prequel.

Where Can I Watch the ‘Pokémon’ Movies?

There isn’t one spot where you can stream all of the Pokémon movies, but for the most part, they’re easily accessible with platforms like Hulu and Prime Video.

1. ‘Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back’
– Release Date: November 10, 1999

In the first movie, Ash, Brock, Misty, and many other Pokémon trainers travel to an island where they think they’ll be battling another Pokémon trainer. Instead, they’re met by Mewtwo, one of the most powerful Pokémon ever. He’s genetically engineered and plans to take over the world with other cloned Pokémon. When released in Japan, this film grossed ¥7.6 billion at the box office in Japan.

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2. ‘Pokémon: The Movie 2000 – The Power of One’
– Release Date: July 21, 2000

In this movie, the legendary Pokémon Lugia is the focus. At a festival honoring Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, Lawrence III plans to capture them and Lugia. Ash, Misty, and Tracey find themselves there and must try to stop him. This film did slightly less than its predecessor at the box office in Japan, grossing ¥6.4 billion.

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3. ‘Pokémon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown’
– Release Date: April 6, 2001

A girl called Molly Hale is left alone after her father Professor Spencer Hale is sucked into the dimension of the Unown after doing research on it. Delia Ketchum, Ash’s mother, is one of the people who go into the dimension to help. Ash and his friends do their best to try to retrieve everyone. This film grossed ¥4.85 billion at Japan’s box office.

Watch Now on Prime Video
4. ‘Pokémon 4Ever: Celebi – Voice of the Forest’
– Release Date: October 11, 2002

The Pokémon at the focus of the fourth Pokémon movie is Celebi, a Mythical Pokémon. Celebi is being hunted down by the evil Iron-Masked Marauder of Team Rocket. Ash, Misty, and Brock meet up with Celebi and Sam, a boy from 40 years in the past. In terms of the box office, this film followed the downward trend since the first movie, doing just ¥3.9 billion at the box office.

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5. ‘Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias’
– Release Date: May 16, 2003

Ash, Misty, and Brock are on their way to Alto Mare when Annie and Oakley try to steal the Soul Dew, a crystal that will give them access to the legendary Pokémon Latios and Latias. Without the crystal, the city cannot stay safe, so Ash, Misty, and Brock must keep it safe. This film did ¥2.67 billion at Japan’s box office.

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6. ‘Pokémon: Jirachi – Wish Maker’
– Release Date: June 1, 2004

Jirachi – The Wish Maker marks the start of the Ruby and Sapphire series for Pokémon. The Millennium Comet appears once in the sky every thousand years. This coincides with the awakening of Jirachi, a Mythical Pokémon. Jirachi grants a wish every time it awakens and this powerful capability makes it the target of former Team Magma member Butler. This film broke the descending box office numbers for Pokémon, pulling in ¥4.5 billion.

Watch Now on YouTube
7. ‘Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys’
– Release Date: January 22, 2005

A meteorite that crashes into earth reveals Deoxys, who is eventually destroyed by the sky guardian Rayquaza. Four years later when Ash, May, Max, and Brock are visiting LaRousse City, they meet a boy named Tory whose parents are testing the egg from which Deoxys came in a lab. They end up having to protect the city. This film grossed ¥4.38 billion at Japan’s box office.

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8. ‘Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew’
– Release Date: September 19, 2006

In Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, Ash, May, Max, and Brock must help Lucario trace the events that led to his abandonment. They must also save Mew, Pikachu, and Meowth from the Tree of Beginning. The eighth Pokémon film did ¥4.3 billion at the box office.

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9. ‘Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea’
– Release Date: March 23, 2007

The egg of Mythical Pokémon Manaphy falls into the hands of a pirate. A Pokémon Ranger gives the egg to May, telling her, Ash, Brock, and Max to keep it safe until it hatches. When it does hatch, the Manaphy must not fall into the hands of the Phantom, or it will lose its home forever. This film managed to gross ¥3.4 billion at the box office.

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10. ‘Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai’
– Release Date: February 24, 2008

This film marks the start of the Diamond and Pearl series for Pokémon. Dialga and Palkia are battling in their dimension before the Space-Time Towers pull into Alamos Town. Ash and his friends must not only try to save the town before it gets destroyed but also clear the name of the Darkrai that people blamed for it. This film grossed ¥5.02 billion at Japan’s box office.

Watch Now on Hulu
11. ‘Pokémon: Giratina & the Sky Warrior’
– Release Date: February 13, 2009

When dark clouds form in the Reverse World, Giratina goes after the cause of the storm, Dialga and Palkia. Giratina and Dialga battle in the Pokémon world and Giratina’s realm. Meanwhile, Ash, Dawn, and Brock help out Shaymin. Giratina & the Sky Warrior managed to gross ¥4.8 billion.

Watch Now on Hulu
12. ‘Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life’
– Release Date: November 20, 2009

Michina Town is an ancient area that is surrounded by legendary Pokémon. When Dialga and Giratina continue fighting, a woman called Sheena who guards the town stops their battle and brings them peace. At this point, Arceus returns and wants revenge for the fact that the town betrayed him long ago. Ash and his friends must travel back in time to stop this betrayal from happening.

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13. ‘Pokémon – Zoroark: Master of Illusions’
– Release Date: February 5, 2011

This time, the Pokémon Baccer World Cup should be the focus, and Ash, Dawn, and Brock arrive ready for the tournament but instead find themselves faced with Raikou, Entei, and Suicune who are destroying the city. It turns out that a villain is behind it all and they must stop him. This film did ¥4.16 billion at the box office.

Watch Now on Hulu
14. ‘Pokémon the Movie: Black – Victini and Reshiram, White – Victini and Zekrom’
– Release Date: July 16, 2011

As you might be able to tell from the name, this movie kicks off the Black & White series of the anime. In this movie, Ash, Iris, and Cilan arrive in Eindoak Town for a battle tournament. They meet the Victory Pokémon Victini, but not long afterward, he is captured by Damon who plans to destroy the world. This film did ¥4.33 billion at the box office.

Watch Now on Prime Videoémon-Movie-Black-Victini-Kunihiko-Yuyama/dp/B01ASC2UC0
15. ‘Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice’
– Release Date: December 8, 2012

Here, Ash, Iris, and Cilan must help the Mythical Pokémon Keldeo escape from the Legendary Pokémon Kyurem after it challenged it and failed to beat it. This film celebrates the 90th anniversary of Shogakukan, one of Pokémon’s main publishers. It did ¥3.61 billion at the box office.

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16. ‘Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and The Legend Awakened’
– Release Date: October 19, 2003

To close off the Black & White series comes Genesect and The Legend Awakened. While Ash, Iris, and Cilan are visiting New Tork City while the Genesect Army is attacking it. Ash is protected by Mewtwo, who surprisingly sides with the city despite sympathizing with the Genesect Army. Mewtwo and Red Genesect end up battling.

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17. ‘Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction’
– Release Date: November 8, 2014

Diamond Domain is a land that is given power by the Heart Diamond, which can only be created by the princess, Diancie. Unfortunately, she does not have the power to do this and the land is aging. Ash and his friends must help her on her journey.

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18. ‘Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages’
– Release Date: December 19, 2015

Ash, Pikachu, and friends meet Mythical Pokémon Hoopa who tells them the tale of a hero who stopped a scary Pokémon from taking over some time ago. It has been bottled up for a long time but is in danger of coming back once more. Ask and his friends must help stop it.

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19. ‘Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel’
– Release Date: December 5, 2016

Closing out the XY series of Pokémon is Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel. When Ash and his friends see a bunch of smoke in the sky, they come across Volcanion. Ash becomes bonded to it, despite the Pokémon hating humans. Ash must go with Volcanion as it tries to rescue Magearna.

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20. ‘Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!’
– Release Date: November 5, 2017

Kicking off the Sun & Moon series is I Choose You!, which is actually set in an alternate continuity. We go to Pallet Town where it’s Ash’s tenth birthday and his goal is to become a Pokémon trainer with Pikachu by his side. This film grossed  ¥3.55 billion at the box office.

Watch Now on Netflix
21. ‘Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us’
– Release Date: November 24, 2018

The Wind Festival in Fula City celebrates the Legendary Pokémon Lugia. A danger threatens not only the festival but the city and Ash and Pikachu must help to save it. The Power of Us grossed ¥3.09 billion at the box office.

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22. ‘Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution’
– Release Date: February 27, 2020

This is a CGI remake of Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back. Despite this, it still did ¥2.98 billion at the box office in Japan. 

Watch Now on Netflix
23. ‘Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle’
– Release Date: October 8, 2021

Interestingly, this movie is set in the alternate continuity that is first introduced in 2017’s I Choose You! movie. Ash and Pikachu meet Koko, a young man who is certainly a human but believes himself to be a Pokémon because that’s how he was raised. They help him realize his past, which eventually unearths a plot that could destroy the young boy’s home. This film did ¥2.02 billion at Japan’s box office, the lowest of any movie yet.

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24. ‘Detective Pikachu’
– Release Date: May 10, 2019

Detective Pikachu was the 2019 offering and is the only live-action Pokémon movie. It’s a mystery film directed by Rob Letterman and it’s a loose adaptation of the 2016 game of the same name. Tim Goodman’s father Harry Goodman goes missing, which prompts Tim to find out what happened with Detective Pikachu by his side. Tim is the only human that can talk to Pikachu, making for some interesting moments. The movie grossed an incredible $433,514,834 worldwide.

Watch Now on Netflix
Popular Culture

The 12 Best Car Chases in Movie History

Many things can make an action movie memorable, but one of the best things to include is an exciting car chase. Real-life car chases are stressful and can make onlookers worried for their safety. Still, there’s something incredibly satisfying about safely watching someone zip through traffic or try to evade authorities from behind the wheel. Whether it’s just one person being pursued or a whole group of individuals trying to outrace the competition, movie chase scenes are an art form all to themselves, and their success depends on the hard work and coordination of multiple teams working together on each film.

Buckle up and learn more about the 12 Best Car Chases in Movie History!

12. Opening Getaway in ‘Baby Driver’ (2017)

Writer-director Edgar Wright loves synchronizing movement to music, but the opening sequence of Baby Driver, a character-driven crime movie about a getaway driver trying to break out of the business-takes things to a whole other level. Set to Bellbottoms by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the film’s first scene focuses on Baby (Ansel Elgort) as he preps for and ultimately embarks on a wild police chase through the packed streets and highways of Atlanta. The song’s energy pulses through every shot, making the fantastic stunt driving and performances from the ensemble in the car all the more exciting. 

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11. Outrun Everyone in ‘The Blues Brothers’ (1980)

John Landis’ The Blues Brothers is a comedy classic that sees the titular Blues Brothers, Elwood (Dan Akroyd) and Jake (John Belushi), try to get their old band back together in the hopes they can make enough money to save the orphanage they grew up in. The movie features memorable cameos from music icons like Ray Charles and James Brown, but the most technically noteworthy aspect of the film has to be its massive chase scene. With just half a tank of gas and dark sunglasses obscuring their vision, the brothers out chase police officers and nazis to make it to their show in time.

10. Truck vs. Motorcycle in ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ (1991)

In a movie full of explosive action sequences, there’s something about Terminator 2: Judgement Day’s chase scene that marks it as one of the franchise’s most memorable moments. Written and directed by James Cameron, Terminator 2 follows a reprogrammed T-800 Terminator bot (Arnold Schwarzenegger) after he is sent back in time to protect a teenage John Conner (Edward Furlong) so he can grow up and ultimately lead a rebellion against the evil Skynet organization in the future. The chase sequence sees the evil T-1000 (Robert Patrick) get behind the wheel of a giant semi truck as he chases down John Conner’s bicycle and ultimately T-800’s motorcycle throughout the streets and waterways of Los Angeles. 

9. A Patient Getaway in ‘Drive’ (2011)

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive is a tense and action-packed movie, but part of what makes it so enjoyable is its ability to take its time and slowly allow the characters to move forward in the story. That sense of pacing is noticeable right away in the opening chase sequence where audiences are introduced to the nameless stunt/getaway driver at the center of the movie (Ryan Gosling) as he methodically helps his accomplices escape from the scene of a crime. The shifting camera angles and the driver’s permanently collected facial expression add to the sense that he is in control over this situation, but the movie slowly reveals to its protagonist that he’s never truly in control of his environment.

8. Ethan Hunt’s Ride Through Paris in ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ (2018)

Tom Cruise prides himself on doing as many of his own stunts as possible, but something about the motorcycle chase sequence in Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout feels extreme even by his over-the-top standards. As Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his allies try to stop the deadly terrorist group known as The Apostles from detonating a number of bombs, he ends up being pursued by French authorities in a high-octane (and helmetless) chase through the heart of a traffic-filled Paris. The motorcycle sequence features some beautiful cinematography that perfectly accentuates just how impressive the stunt and driving work truly is. 

7. Going the Wrong Way in ‘Ronin’ (1989)

One could argue that Ronin exists explicitly so director John Frankenheimer could orchestrate the two elaborate chase sequences in the movie. A movie about a group of former special operatives who are all hired to work together and acquire a highly sought-after briefcase, Ronin is a tense movie that is full of double-crossing and quiet moments that balance out the balls-to-the-wall sensation that the chase scenes evoke. Both chases are incredible, but there’s something about the sequence in Paris, where the squad drives on the freeway going the wrong way and the real-life fear on Robert De Niro’s face is palpable, that is especially worthy of praise.  

6. The Subway Chase in ‘The French Connection’ (1971)

William Freidkin’s The French Connection follows NYPD Detective Jimmy Doyle (Gene Hackman) as he tries to hunt down a dangerous heroin smuggler named Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey). The 1972 Best Picture Academy Award winner concludes with a massive chase through New York City that sees Detective Doyle do everything he can to keep up with an above-ground subway car that Charnier has commandeered.  Separate from the excitement and anxiety the sequence brings to viewers, the chase sequence is also notorious for the real-world mayhem it caused during filming. Despite how perfect the chase looks on film, it turns out it was recklessly filmed without any permits and the crew often continued shooting after the drivers entered areas that didn’t have explicit traffic control in place.

5. Dusty Chase in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015)

In a way, Mad Max: Fury Road is all one giant, dusty chase scene. Starring Tom Hardy as the titular Mad Max and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, a captain in the villainous Immortan Joe’s (Hugh Keays-Byrne) army who ultimately turns against her boss and tries to rescue his five wives, the movie follows Max and Furiosa as they drive across the desert in a massive truck called the War Rig and try to keep the women safe from Joe’s henchmen. Helmed by franchise creator George Miller, Fury Road features some incredible sound design and stunning cinematography that makes every action scene feel all the more over-the-top and explosive.

4. The Final Chase in ‘Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior’ (1981)

Fury Road may be the biggest technical achievement in George Miller’s Mad Max franchise, but it’s really Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior that cemented the series’ status as an iconic action franchise. Mel Gibson returns to the role of “Mad” Max Rockatansky in The Road Warrior, a roaming driver in the post-apocalyptic Australian outback who all of a sudden finds himself defending a peaceful camp of people from a group of roving marauders looking to cause mayhem. The film is full of exciting action scenes, but The Road Warrior’s final chase sequence, a scene that sees Max criss-cross across the desert in an oil tanker while fighting bandits, is likely the most remarkable and never fails at pulling viewers to the edge of their seats.

3. The Finale of ‘The Italian Job’ (1969)

To get away with the ultimate gold heist, Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) and his Mini Cooper-clad crew lead the police on a massive chase that Croker hopes will ultimately bring the city of Turin to a standstill and allow them to escape. The chase sequence is incredibly elaborate and entertaining, but rather than going for a realistic tone, the chase feels almost theatrical and goofy at times as it slowly unwinds over thirty minutes. Directed by Peter Collinson, The Italian Job is one of the best heist movies of all time and this incredibly complex car sequence is the perfect way to cap off all the action. 

2. Criss-Crosses Throughout San Francisco in ‘Bullitt’ (1968)

Steve McQueen is no stranger to action movies or playing talented drivers, but the role of SFPD detective Frank Bullitt in Bullitt stands as one of the most iconic and exciting performances of his career. Directed by Peter Yates, Bullitt follows the titular detective as he helps a U.S. Senator’s investigate a mob boss by watching over the criminal’s brother Johnny (Pat Renella) until he can present at a subcommittee meeting about organized crime. The movie’s famous chase scene unwinds over eleven glorious minutes as Bullitt and his iconic green mustang zip through the streets of San Francisco to evade a car full of hitmen sent to stop him. 

1. Exploring The City in ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’ (1985)

As a Los Angeles native, I know just how crazy driving in this dense yet sprawled out city can be. William Freidkin’s To Live and Die in L.A., a sprawling crime drama that follows Secret Service agent Richard Chance (William Petersen) on his mission to stop a dangerous counterfeiter named Eric Masters (Willem Dafoe), perfectly displays the sense of stress and dread driving in this city can give to people in its pulse-pounding freeway chase scene. As Chance and his partner try to evade the scene of a sting gone wild, they dart across streets, flood pathways and even get on the freeway going the wrong way all in the hopes they can get away with their lives.   

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