by Theo Sloan
May 6, 2020
Hello, and welcome to my final article of the school year. I’d like to start with a quick recap of what we have learned together. We established that Star Wars concluded in a mediocre and lackluster fashion with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, discovered that Ryan Johnson, the director of Knives Out, knows how to make an incredible whodunnit, examined some incredible animated family films, and looked back at one of the greatest sitcoms ever made, The Good Place. I highly recommend that you check out all three of the projects I have mentioned by name, because two of them are fantastic, and even though I didn’t like The Rise of Skywalker, you may love it. However, previously discussed movies are not the point of this article. Instead, I will give you ten movie recommendations, and then I will discuss five significant movies being released in the near future that are either special to me or important pop culture markers.
I will begin with the recommendations, sometimes cheating a bit and including franchises as well as movies. With social distancing practices in place, it is likely that this summer will feel very long, so there will be plenty of time to sit back and watch a movie or even an entire franchise.
- Jurassic Park (1993) — From director Steven Spielberg, Jurassic Park is one of the best adventure thrillers ever made. Although it came out nearly thirty years ago, its combined use of special and practical effects has allowed it to hold up extremely well. It is a tense, heart-pounding, well-acted, skillfully shot movie with a brilliant score, and if you haven’t already seen it, you really should.
- Alien (1979) — Alien may be the best horror film ever made. It is intriguing, involving a great main character, an amazing performance from Sigourney Weaver, a thrilling blend of jump scares, and genuinely scary scenes. Alien is included in the list of my top five favorite movies of all time, and it is one of director Ridley Scott’s greatest movies.
- Aliens (1986) — Aliens is the second movie in the Alien franchise, and it is possibly even better than Alien. Aliens is an action thriller, and it is unbelievably good. This movie is quotable, the action is intense and exciting, and it has one of the best action movie finales ever. Combine those aspects with some fantastic performances, compelling characters, and James Cameron’s exceptional direction, and you have an instant classic. It’s a pity that the franchise never even came close to this kind of quality ever again.
- Star Wars (1977) — Now, I know you’ve probably seen this movie, but go back and watch it again! It’s incredible, and it still holds up well today. If you can get your hands on the original cut, that’s even better. Star Wars speaks for itself.
- The Empire Strikes Back (1980) — The Empire Strikes Back may have been able to surpass the original 1977 Star Wars, an already amazing movie. The 1980 installment in the Star Wars franchise is acclaimed, but you probably know that. So, after you finish Star Wars, sit back and enjoy the last good Star Wars movie produced until 2015. I mean that, and I’m not forgetting Return of the Jedi.
- Spotlight (2015) — Welcome to the first drama biopic on this list. Spotlight is a true story set in Boston about the uncovering of an enormous scandal. I don’t want to spoil the premise, but it’s great. The cast includes Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton, who both give noteworthy performances. Check it out.
- Spirited Away (2001) — Spirited Away is likely the best animated movie of all time. The animation is gorgeous, the story is heartfelt, and the voice acting is stellar. If you haven’t seen it, you simply must. It is truly fantastic.
- The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) — The Fellowship of the Ring begins The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it is probably the best one out of the three. It has fantastic horror elements, and they are blended expertly with the adventure and fantasy tone that the rest of the movie has. The acting is fantastic, especially Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Sean Bean as Boromir. This movie also chooses not to incorporate any particularly long battles, which the other films in the trilogy have, and I find that this decision helps the movie keep a nice pace throughout the runtime.
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-present) — The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the highest grossing film franchise, and the movies are generally great. I thoroughly enjoy the majority of them, and even my least favorite ones aren’t really very bad. I recommend checking out all of these movies, but if that is too daunting, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, and Captain America: The First Avenger are all good points to jump into the franchise.
- Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) — Watching Bohemian Rhapsody, a Freddie Mercury biographical movie, is a great way to occupy some free time. Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t remarkable cinema, but Rami Malek gives a fantastic performance as Freddie Mercury, and the soundtrack is fun to listen to.
To conclude, I will introduce five upcoming movies that either stand out to me or are projected to be strongly received by a wider audience.
- Black Widow (2020) — Black Widow is the first movie in Phase Four of the MCU. I love the MCU; therefore, I am especially excited about it.
- Tenet (2020) — Tenet is Christopher Nolan’s next movie. Nolan is a great director, known well for his innovative, unconventional movies, so I am naturally pretty excited.
- F9 (2021) — I hate everything about the Fast and Furious franchise, but as it has managed to maintain its popularity with a certain demographic, I feel obligated to mention that there is a new addition coming out next year. Even if you like cars more than is strictly necessary, you should still not check F9 out, because the entire franchise is garbage.
- No Time to Die (2020) — No Time to Die features Daniel Craig’s last appearance as James Bond. Once again, the James Bond series doesn’t interest me, but I know many people love it, so the upcoming installment makes this list.
- The Eternals (2021) — The Eternals is the second movie in Phase 4 of the MCU, and it stars Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, MCU’s first major character who is a part of the LGBTQ community. The inclusion of this character is a step forward for Disney, as it has been known to not handle LGBTQ representation well in the past, so let’s hope Marvel can pull it off.
I’ll see you all next year.