c/o IMDb

c/o IMDb

I’m back again to tell you all about the recent movies I watched. I don’t quite have 55 this time, but I did make it to lucky number 30. Among these 30 films are some of my new favorite movies, and perhaps more importantly some of the worst movies known to human existence. So, if you’ve got a movie night coming up, check out this list so you know what to go for…and what to avoid. 

No one asked, but here are the best and the worst of my recent movie watches. 

The Best:

  1. “Garden State” was magnificent. I grew up listening to the movie’s soundtrack, and I was worried that seeing the film might ruin the beauty I always associated with it. Fortunately, “Garden State” was everything I dreamed it would be, and then some. Magical movie. 10/10.
  2. “Us” is definitely my new favorite horror movie. I spent so much time trying to understand the social commentary behind the movie, and the more I related the evil in the movie to real life, the more unsettled I felt. Jordan Peele, if you’re reading this, you’re a genius. Also, I’m scared of you. 
  3. “Dirty Dancing” absolutely blew me away. I went into the movie thinking it would be one of those boring ’80s movies your mom makes you watch, and while it started out this way, I was smiling (and totally not crying) by the end. The movie was exuberant! 
  4. I watched part of “Encanto” while I was substitute teaching a fifth grade art class, and didn’t want to end the movie when the class period was over. The kids’s eyes lit up while watching “Encanto,” and when I finished it later on my own, I’m sure mine did too. Well done, Disney. Well done.
  5. “Parasite” is a brilliant movie that I keep coming back to. I feel like it’s the kind of movie I could watch a million times and pick up something new with each watch. I think this was my third time watching “Parasite,” and I’ll definitely be seeing it again.
  6. “Little Miss Sunshine” just melts your heart.
  7. “Gone Girl” is a wild ride with some controversial plot points. Ben Affleck gives a performance of a lifetime, and Neil Patrick Harris does the opposite. It’s fun to watch both.
  8. “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” is a remarkable documentary following Nirmal Purja, a Nepalese mountaineer who set out to climb the world’s 14 tallest mountains in only seven months. You have to see it to believe it.
  9. Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” is clever, horrifying, and honest. You will definitely remember the name Ron Stallworth long after the credits roll. 
  10. “Jennifer’s Body” was, as the critics say, camp.

The Worst: 

  1. If my mortal enemy asked me for a movie recommendation, I’d tell them to watch “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Literally, what is the point of this film? Does the girl even have a dragon tattoo? It’s supposed to be a murder mystery or something, but if you pay attention, you’ll figure out who did it pretty quickly. I found that it was easier to find the guilty party than to understand what was going on in this godforsaken film. I’m so mad at David Fincher for wasting almost three hours of my life. This movie is a disgrace to cinema.
  2. “The Power of the Dog” was powerful, alright. Powerful enough to put me straight to sleep! The movie is a two hour staring contest between Benedict Cumberbatch and the camera. I am not convinced that his character has a job, career, or life outside of gazing longingly. This movie had zero substance and they kept killing cute little animals. 0/10.
  3. “Frozen II” is actually so pointless. Anna spends the whole time being super emo and clingy to her ice queen sister, who just wants to be alone and build castles and stuff. Disney also kills Olaf, which is a dick move. I will say, though, that I enjoyed the reindeer boy band ballad.
  4. “Girl Interrupted” was rather unsettling. If you watch this, you will a) be sad, b) see violent and disturbing content and c) watch Angelina Jolie in a great role. I would give this movie every content warning possible. I would not watch it again.
  5. “Tick, Tick…Boom!” would’ve been a great movie if I understood what the heck was going on. Is it a musical within a musical within a movie? Or just a movie musical? And what on earth is Vanessa Hudgens doing? I have many questions for you, Mr. Miranda. In spite of all the confusion, I will admit that the opening song, “30/90,” slaps.

Honorable mentions:

  1. “Yesterday” was so cute! 
  2. “Bend it Like Beckham.” 
  3. “The Wedding Singer” was a great family movie night watch.
  4. “The Zookeeper’s Wife.”
  5.  I rewatched “Promising Young Woman” and liked it less the second time through. Still a good movie, though.


Halle Newman can be reached at hnewman@wesleyan.edu.