I am in the unique position amongst friends and family of being “that guy that watches movies,” so I am often asked for recommendations, or what I thought of movies they had recently seen. Normally, when asked for a recommendation I always have to specify whether or not they are looking for a theater experience or something they can watch at home. I absolutely love going to movie theaters and consider it a real treat, but I can never hold it against anyone when they say that the theater experience is dreadful and annoying. With all that being said, I have compiled a list of my favorite films from last year that I think almost anyone can enjoy and watch without suffering through strangers that chew too loudly. Before I can get into it, special shootouts go to A Ghost Story, Mother! and The Killing of a Sacred Deer; these are really great films that most moviegoers might find boring or distasteful.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
This hilariously heartbreaking documentary follows Jim Carrey and several other cast members as they film the movie Man on the Moon, a biopic about the beloved comedian Andy Kaufman. That’s correct, this is one of those “movies about a movie.” This thing is certainly no Hearts of Darkness, so don’t get your hopes too high, but it is a lot of fun, and it even gets sad and crazy at times. The story basically goes that Jim Carrey wanted to prove himself as an actor and create a great film, so he decided to method act the characters of both Andy Kaufman and his alter-ego Tony Clifton. Needless to say, Jim Carrey’s dedication to portraying Andy Kaufman spirals out of control and a variety of antics ensue on and off set. It may not be a secret to some, but in recent years Jim Carrey has revealed himself to be more of a nut than any of us had originally thought, which makes all his commentary throughout the film that much better. The whole thing is a real treat for any viewer with the patience and fortitude to look it up on Netflix (buh-bum).
This one is also available on Netflix (I sense a theme here) and tells an absolutely heartbreaking story about loss and family through its protagonist, Cory Lambert (Renner), who is out to solve a seemingly hopeless murder/rape mystery. This movie is fairly brutal and doesn’t pull any punches, but if you can handle some proactive and violent imagery I would highly recommend it. I don’t want to say too much about it, because it’s a mystery/thriller after all, but it’s beautiful and has some truthfully bitter social commentary about the plight of Native Americans in the modern world. Elizabeth Olsen also appears here as a new and inexperienced FBI agent, and there are a few other great characters to get behind, but Jeremy Renner as Lambert is the real treat here.
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Categorizing this film is actually quite difficult (one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much), but it’s somewhere on the spectrum of drama and satire. The events of the film start out being mundane, but quickly spiral into silly and ridiculous. The film manages to stay grounded through the whole runtime, but it also doesn’t take itself too seriously, which greatly ads to the entertainment value. The theme of the movie is basically “people suck,” and it follows Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood as they seek vengeance for some wrongful doing, which quickly becomes a rabbit hole of hilarity. The film also has some biting commentary on wealth and depression that is both comical and, well… depressing. Surprise, this one can be found on Netflix as well.
There are tons of other movies from the year that I’d like to recommend, but that most people have probably already seen; all the same, I’ll list a few real quick in case you are interested.
Blade Runner 2049: The greatest sci-fi sequel film ever made, suck it Empire!
Phantom Thread: Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson can do no wrong, full stop.
Baby Driver: Edger Wright makes fun movies, he just does, so check it out!
Ingrid Goes West: Damn Millennials are crazy, aren’t they? Either way, Aubrey Plaza sells it.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri: Dark Comedy has never looked so good. Thanks, Sam Rockwell!