The Hate U Give (2018)
The Hate You Give is an incredible movie that discusses police brutality and the trials the Black community faces. The protagonist, Starr Carter, witnesses the death of her childhood friend at the hands of the police, at the beginning of the movie. The film captures the horror that the Black Lives Matter movement is fighting to end. This is a must-watch movie, especially because these are issues that have been recently brought to the surface.
– Sonali Muthukrishnan
The Incredibles (2004)
The Incredibles is an animated Disney movie that follows the Parr family, who all have superpowers! Mr. and Mrs. Incredible are teaching their three children to hide their powers, as the government has decided to ban all supers [superheroes] from everyday life. But, when Mr. Incredible wants to go out and do his job of saving people again, their whole family is in jeopardy and they are forced to act quickly. All of the Parrs must use their powers to help save their family, and life as they know it. Aside from the plot, I have seen this movie countless times, and I fall in love with it and laugh no matter when I watch it. From Edna’s humor, to “Honey, where’s my supersuit?”, to “No capes!”, this movie is full of great characters that tell a story like no other. Its themes grasp the importance of family sticking together, and how to find one’s identity, even if there may be many. This film stands among many other Disney movies, but it especially stands out because of its complexities within the story that makes it enjoyable for anyone to watch.
– Emily Duvall
Waking Ned Devine (1998)
Waking Ned Devine is one movie my mom made me watch repeatedly when I was little. To be honest, I still find it funny that this movie captivated me at such a young age. The story follows the residents of a tiny village in Ireland as they try to claim the winning lottery ticket of their recently deceased neighbor. Despite the morally questionable premise, the movie is actually quite heartwarming. Its themes of community and friendship leave the viewer uplifted, and the beautiful soundtrack always makes me teary-eyed. However, the film is, at its core, a comedy (and a pretty funny one in my opinion). Rewatching it now as a teenager, I realize a lot of the more mature humor and interactions went over my head, but I am living proof any age can enjoy this movie. While it might be true that it holds a lot of nostalgia for me, and I might be slightly biased, I still truly believe Waking Ned Devine is a must-watch film.
– Brynn Gibson
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age movie that follows Charlie, a high school freshman, as he makes good friends with upperclassmen and has many “firsts” when exposed to the party scene and love. A main reason I love this movie so much is because it does not sugar coat anything, making every event both raw and heartfelt. Through witnessing Charlie in vulnerable moments, you grow so attached that by the end when his world crumbles, yours does too. Overall, an amazing representation of the teen experience while bringing light to how mental illness and insecurities can affect someone’s worldview.
– Alex Evans
Knives Out (2019)
Knives Out is an American mystery that unravels the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the patriarch of the dysfunctional Thrombey family. The film has comedy, unexpected twists and turns, and memorable characters. It also has a brilliant set; in fact, one of the characters compares the Thrombey estate to a Clue board. However, the vintage ambiance made by this estate and the beautiful cinematography is nicely paired with a witty, modern script that touches on relevant topics. Both the visual aspects and the unique plot make Knives Out a must-watch movie.
– Jordan Chan
Kronk’s New Groove (2005)
Kronk’s New Groove tells the heartwarming tale of a man who just wants to do good in the world. The Disney movie was created as a spinoff to the hit movie, Emperor’s New Groove, and may I say, the sequel does not disappoint. Some might call this film the “superior brother” of the first movie. Those people are correct. Not only is the movie entertaining as a whole, but the film includes not one, not two, but three storylines, so monotony while watching this movie is non-existent. Not only that, but the story of Kronk is narrated by none other than Kuzko, the emperor/llama from the first film. Kronk’s New Groove is sure to bring a smile to your face and, quite possibly, tears to your eyes, depending on if you enjoy crying to Hallmark movies and Christmas commercials.
– Georgia Kaufman
Little Women (2019)
This remake of a classic film and novel represents the strength, determination, and nonconformity that come hand in hand within today’s feminist movement. Filled with love stories, heroines, and beautiful music and cinematography, Little Women is perfect for lovers of adventure, emotion, drama, and, of course, Timothee Chalamet.
– Lexi Kupor
Communicated through language infused with spoken word and rap, Blindspotting is a piercing look at race, police violence, and gentrification in Oakland.
Tony and Grammy award-winning actor Daveed Diggs stars as Collin Hoskins, an ex-felon who has only days left on parole when he witnesses a black man being shot to death by a white police officer. Co-starring alongside Diggs is writer Rafael Casal playing Miles Turner, Collin’s volatile best friend. Miles, a white man, is agitated by the changes being made to his city when his sense of belonging is threatened by newcomers. This quick-witted film artfully displays the discourse between two lifelong best friends as they navigate their own identities in their rapidly changing home.
– Maddie Dewhirst
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Jurassic Park franchise has taken over my life. Not only have I written multiple El Gato articles about Jurassic movies, ranging from referencing Alan Grant’s subtle yet impactful character arc in JP while reviewing an inferior movie to dedicating an entire humor article to predicting what will happen in Jurassic World 3, but I have also received JP merch for Christmas, and my mom got me a Giganotosaurus balloon for my 18th birthday. This movie is the definition of a classic; it has suspense, thrills, character development, and surprisingly good animatronic dinosaurs. Every time I watch this movie (I think I’m on 15 watches now) I see or realize something that I hadn’t picked up on before, and it never gets old.
– Morgan Tinsley
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Nominated for best picture, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is an iconic film directed by the critically acclaimed Quentin Tarantino. This action-packed movie is stacked with a legendary cast, including the dynamic duo, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Set in LA in the 60’s, the movie offers a glimpse into Hollywood’s prime. The storyline follows various characters, including the Manson family, Sharon Tate, and fictional movie star Rick Dalton. At the climax of the movie, their lives finally intertwine in a shocking twist of fate, leaving you stunned in your seat. If you want to see Leonardo DiCaprio wielding a flamethrower, this is the movie for you.
– Caroline Wagner
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Based on its titular graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is easily one of the most notable cult classics of the 2010s. Slacker rockstar Scott Pilgrim, played by Michael Cera, is tasked with defeating the seven evil exes of his new girlfriend, Ramona, in order to win his first record deal, battle-of-the-bands style. Featuring Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, and Aubrey Plaza, the movie uses illustrious visual effects to create one of the most iconic comedy-action movies of all time.
– Sophie Sullivan
Mad Max Fury Road (2015)
Mad Max Fury Road is one of the most thrilling and visually stunning action films in recent memory. Max, played by Tom Hardy, joins Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, in an electrifying high-speed escape from a ruthless warlord through the wastelands of a destroyed Earth. Critically acclaimed, with 10 Oscar nominations and six wins, Mad Max Fury Road delivers jaw-dropping and hyper-realistic cinematography in an unforgettable clash of apocalyptic destruction and dystopian aesthetic.
– Cooper Bowen
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Good Will Hunting is a cinematic masterpiece. It is a beautiful story of self-discovery and healing. The main character, Will, (Matt Damon) a gifted mathematician who lacks formal education, is arrested for assaulting a police officer and is kept out of jail provided he meets to study mathematics formally with Professor Gerald Lambeau (Ben Affleck) and visits with therapist, Sean Maguire. As Will learns to understand his inner genius and confront his demons, he comes into his own. The movie is quite literally about hunting for the good in Will. You’ll never regret watching this movie.
– Emmy Morley
The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
I’ve watched this movie probably about 4 times, and it never gets old. Starring Paul Rudd, Craig Robert, and Selena Gomez, the movie tells the story of Trevor, a disabled man, and his caretaker, Ben, as they go on a road trip. Along the way, they form an unbreakable bond and they meet a variety of characters. Filled with laughter, love, and a truly show-stopping ending, I highly recommend this movie.
– Alia Arafeh
The Princess Bride (1987)
With the overwhelming onslaught of negativity right now, 100 minutes of comedy and happily ever afters can be a much-needed escape. If you’re looking to indulge in some laughs and cheesiness, The Princess Bride is my recommended go-to. It may not be sophisticated, reflective, or groundbreaking, but it’s lightheartedness consistently inspires smiles—something I think all of us could use.
– Alaina Fox
Ode to My Father (2014)
Ode to My Father is like Forrest Gump for Koreans – except a lot more sad. The film explores the journey of a young man who seems, somewhat miraculously, to end up at the forefront of Korea’s most defining moments in modern history. He sacrifices all that he has in order to provide for his family, but, as he grows older, his life is plagued with trauma, tragedy, and loss. The film poignantly captures the joy and suffering of a child born into poverty and war, whose story is all too familiar to anyone who grew up in Korea at the time. If you want to gain a better understanding of Korea’s past (and cry a lot while doing so) this is the perfect movie for you.
– Sasha Ryu
About Time (2013)
About Time is a really cute love story with a twist involving the family secret of time travel. Rachel McAdams is amazing in this movie along with Bill Nighy and I could watch the cute and untraditional love story over and over again without getting tired of it. It’s from the director of Love Actually and is full of comedy, romance, family, adventure, and more. I would highly recommend it to anyone with some free time.
– Jackie King