The popcorn’s been popped, the sweatpants are on, and the evening is your oyster. Your next challenge: Figuring out exactly which of the great movies available to you is the one you’re going to commit to tonight. No matter what you’re looking for—romance, drama, comedy—there are plenty of classics to watch in your spare time. After all, if the past year-and-a-half cooped up in our homes has taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing better than a movie to take us to a place that’s far, far away from our current one.
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These are modern classics, the best of the best, the essential movies that millions of people are probably jealous that you’re getting to see for the first time. There are a few that might be outside your comfort zone, and a couple that’ll introduce you to cultures and environments you know nothing about. This list may be long, but FOMO is eternal. Here are the essential films absolutely everyone should see (and if you’ve seen them, ones to watch again and again).
Set in 1947, The Shawshank Redemption is based on a short story by Stephen King. The main character Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, despite there being no evidence. He’s sentenced to life in prison where he meets Ellis Boyd Red Redding (Morgan Freeman), a lifer who claims to have been falsely accused of killing a man. As an opening crawl reveals at movie’s end, Andy eventually becomes warden of Shawshank State Prison – it appears that he does get justice after all. This film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won two Oscars.
Inception is a 2010 science fiction film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard and Cillian Murphy. It was released on July 16th of 2010 to positive reviews. This movie is rated 8.3 out of 10 on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scored it at 85%. It is one of the most praised movies of all time; in 2015 it even became Rotten Tomatoes’ top ranked rated film of all time! With its thought-provoking plot (and in my opinion one of Nolan’s best films) you will be thoroughly entertained while thinking about what could have happened in different scenarios.
Don’t Look Up is a 2021 American apocalyptic black comedy film written, produced, and directed by Adam McKay, and starring an ensemble cast consisting of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi, Cate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep. This movie is rated 7.2 out of 10 on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scored it at 78%. It tells the story of two astronomers attempting to warn humanity about an approaching comet that will destroy human civilization. The impact event is an allegory for climate change, and the film is a satire of government, political, and media indifference to the climate crisis.
Based on a true story, The Imitation Game details how English mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) helped crack Nazi Germany’s Enigma code during World War II. The work also helped him create one of history’s first computers. However, he was prosecuted for his homosexuality in 1952 and received chemical castration therapy. The Imitation Game is among 2015’s best movies and features a star-studded cast, including Keira Knightley, Mark Strong and Matthew Goode. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 93 percent positive reviews from top critics and 86 percent positive reviews from users based on 120 reviews overall. This film has an average rating of 8 out of 10 stars on Movie Review Intelligence website with 23 ratings to date.
Parasite is a South Korean science fiction thriller film written and directed by Bong Joon-ho. The film stars Song Kang-ho, Kim Ok-vin, Lee Sun-kyun, and Cho Yeo-jeong. It was released in South Korea on November 28, 2018. This movie is rated 8.6 out of 10 on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scored it at 98%.The plot follows an unemployed man who learns that he and his family are hosts for parasitic creatures that will take over their bodies.
Interstellar is a 2014 science fiction film directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine. The film has a strong ensemble cast with an all-star cast of actors and actresses. This movie is rated 8.6 out of 10 on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scored it at 72%.The movie received critical acclaim upon its release, with critics praising its writing, directing, acting, cinematography and visual effects.The movie was nominated for numerous awards including eight Academy Awards at the 87th Academy Awards.It won for Best Visual Effects (Andrew Lockley et al.), Best Sound Editing (Lee Smith et al.) and Best Sound Mixing (Gary A.
When a young Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) encounters Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), he soon learns that there is more to being a superhero than just having superpowers. With his uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali) and aunt Rio (Luna Lauren Velez), Miles trains to become a true hero in his own right. This movie is rated 8.4 out of 10 on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scored it at 97%. Rated PG for sequences of action violence, thematic elements, and brief language. The film won Best Animated Feature at the 91st Academy Awards, and was similarly successful at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, the 72nd British Academy Film Awards, and the 46th Annie Awards.
A poor kid and a princess save a city from a sultan’s wrath in Guy Ritchie’s fantastical remake of Aladdin. Will Smith is wonderful as Genie and Naomi Scott (of Power Rangers fame) brings just enough authenticity to Princess Jasmine. It might not be faithful to its source material, but it’s still a great movie that you can watch with your kids or your significant other. This movie is rated 6.9 out of 10 on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scored it at 57%.
World War Z is a film about an UN employee who tries to find out how to stop World War III. The movie stars Brad Pitt and includes several zombies in it. The cast is full of famous people such as Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, David Morse, Matthew Fox, and Chris Evans. It is rated as PG-13 for intense sequences of zombie violence and action, disturbing images, and language including some sexual references. Brad Pitt plays a great role in World War Z. This movie is rated 7.0 out of 10 on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scored it at 66%.
Wall-E is one of Pixar’s most recent animated films and has been celebrated for its stunning visuals and award-winning cast. The story revolves around Wall-E, a trash compactor robot on Earth who falls in love with a robotic probe sent to clean up what’s left of humanity after humans have abandoned Earth for outer space. Many critics have applauded Wall-E for its cinematic craftsmanship, calling it emotionally rich and funny, as well as powerful in dealing with themes like environmentalism. Furthermore, critics say that it sets a new standard in CGI animation that will likely be hard to beat by other studios. This movie is rated 8.4 out of 10 on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scored it at 95%.