The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

25 Movies You Must See Before the Year Ends

Written by: Adriana Gomez-Weston, CC2K Staff Writer

With the the bulk of awards season films coming out in the next couple of months, we are going to be pretty preoccupied with the amazing slate of films coming out the remainder of the year. What films are you looking forward to the most? From blockbuster films to indies, from streaming fare to future awards contenders, here are a list of the films you should see this fall:


Sierra Burgess is a Loser (Netflix): September 7th

Director: Ian Samuels

Writer: Lindsey Beer

Starring: Shannon Purser, Kristine Proseth, RJ Cyler, Noah Centineo

Why you should see it: With Netflix killing it in the romcom genre, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser seems to be another exciting and modern romance story from the platform. A modern Cyrano de Bergerac, the most popular girl in school employs the skills of Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) to gain the attention of her crush. As with any great romantic comedy, will everything go as expected? Will unplanned romances bloom? If you’re looking for a fun, feel good movie with a feminist and body positive edge, Sierra Burgess is a loser is worth checking out.

A Simple Favor (Lionsgate): September 14th

Director: Paul Feig

Writers: Jessica Sharzer (screenplay), Darcey Bell (based on the novel by)

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Linda Cardellini, Henry Golding

Why you should see it: Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a bored mommy blogger meets the alluring and posh Emily (Blake Lively). After Emily disappears abruptly, Stephanie makes it her mission to document the investigation and find her. As Stephanie follows the breadcrumbs in the mystery, she falls down a rabbit hole of the secrets of Emily’s past. Immediately, it’s evident Emily was no angel and her vanishing is not a coincidence. It’s a sexy thriller you shouldn’t miss. Also, if you’ve fallen in love with the charm of leading man Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians), it’s an added bonus.

The Sisters Brothers (Anapurna Pictures): September 21st

Director: Jacques Audiard

Writers: Jacques Audiard (screenplay), Thomas Bidegain (screenplay), Patrick Dewitt (based on the novel by)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, Riz Ahmed, John C. Reilly

Why you should see it: In 1850’s Oregon, the gold rush was at its peak. A pair of assassins, brothers Eli (John C. Reilly) and Charlie Sisters (Joaquin Pheonix) are sent to murder inventive and likable prospector Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed), accused of stealing from their boss. The brothers embark on a wild adventure that takes them thousands of miles from Oregon to California. When the brothers find Hermann, their lifestyle is called into question when the prospector has something better to offer. A blend of genres, The Sisters Brothers is an action-packed Western with comedic and dark elements.

Nappily Ever After (Netflix): September 21st

Director: Haifaa Al-Monsour

Writers: Adam Brooks, Cee Marcellus, Trisha R. Thomas (based on the novel by)

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Ricky Whittle, Ernie Hudson, Lynn Whitfield

Why you should see it: Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Trisha R. Thomas, Nappily Ever After is one of the rare films that properly explores a black woman’s identity through her hair. In development hell for a decade, Nappily Never After finally finds its audience. With a high-powered job, a dreamy boyfriend, and the perfect hair (acquired through thousands of dollar and hours in a salon), Violet Jones (Sanaa Lathan) appears to have it all. When she loses her boyfriend and job, Violet is forced to reevaluate how she treats her life, especially her hair. After being told to “let her hair down,” Violet shaves her head in an order to start over again.

Assassination Nation (NEON): September 21st

Director/Writer: Sam Levinson

Starring: Odessa Young, Hari Nef, Suki Waterhouse, Abra, Bill Skarsgård

Why you should see it: In a social media driven society, the internet have proven to be both a blessing and a curse for the current generation. Assassination Nation proves that point in a big way. After an anonymous hacker exposes the town’s dirty laundry, four high school girls (Odessa Young, Hari Nef, Suki Waterhouse, and Abra) are caught in the crossfire. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, Assassanition Nation is a modern-day witch hunt prompted by the dangers of social media. With a dreamy cast and exciting visuals, Assassination Nation will likely find a place among other popular social media cautionary tales such as Nerve, Unfriended, and Ingrid Goes West.


A Star is Born (Warner Bros.): October 5th

Director: Bradley Cooper

Writers: Eric Roth (screenplay), Bradley Cooper (screenplay), Will Fetters (screenplay), William A. Wellman (based on a story by), Robert Carson (based on a story by)

Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliot, Dave Chappelle

Why you should see it: As Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, A Star is Born is the latest spin on an old classic. Lady Gaga’s latest project proves she is a indeed a rare talent, with both acting and singing chops. A Star is Born follows veteran music producer, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) as he falls in love with a struggling singer, Ally (Gaga). As Ally’s star rises, his struggles to stay afloat as he battles with his relationship with Ally and his own personal demons. A Star is Born is sure to please music fans and movie lovers alike.

The Old Man and the Gun (Fox Searchlight Pictures): October 5th

Director: David Lowery

Writers: David Lowery, David Grann (based on the article by)

Starring: Robert Redford, Cissy Spacek, John David Washington, Casey Affleck

Why you should see it: Based on David Grann’s article in The New Yorker, The Old Man and the Gun is the incredible true story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) and his string of heists after his escape from San Quentin. Tucker’s crimes angered the police and enchanted the public. An incredible story, it’s only fitting that Robert Redford decided this would be his last role before he retires. After a film career that spans decades, Redford shouldn’t go out with anything less than with a bang.

First Man (Universal Pictures): October 12th

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writers: Josh Singer (screenplay), James R. Hansen (based on the book by)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbott, Corey Stoll

Why you should see it: A look into the monumental 1969 moon landing and the events leading up to it, First Man depicts the life of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) as he endures one of the most dangerous missions known know to man; it will be the closest we’ll ever get to actually experiencing the infamous Apollo 11 mission that will be filled with amazing effects, and outstanding visuals worth viewing the movie for alone. Chazelle’s followup to La La Land, First Man looks to strike Oscar gold again. With Chazelle’s previous record, he’s not just shooting for the stars with his latest film.

Bad Times at the El Royale (20th Century Fox): October 12th

Director/Writer: Drew Goddard

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo

Why you should see it: In a period of 24 hours, seven strangers meet at a mysterious hotel in Lake Tahoe, the El Royale. While at the hotel, the strangers are given a last chance at redemption. The group that awaits is an eclectic one, with a criminal turned priest (Jeff Bridges), a vacuum salesman (Jon Hamm), a singer (Cynthia Erivo), a Southern gangster (Dakota Johnson), and more. A retro thriller, Bad Times at the El Royale is a colorful, wacky tale of violence, mystery, and danger.

Beautiful Boy (Amazon Studios): October 12th

Director: Felix Van Groeningen

Writers: Luke Davies (screenplay), Felix Van Groeningen (screenplay), David Sheff (based on the book “Beautiful Boy” by), Nic Sheff (based on the book “Tweak” by)

Starring: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan

Why you should see it: Yet another powerhouse role for Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy is based on the best-selling memoirs (Beautiful Boy and Tweak, respectively) of father-son duo David and Nic Sheff. The film chronicles David’s (Steve Carell) experience as a father to his meth-addicted son (Timothee Chalamet). Inspiring, heart-wrenching, and all around frustrating, Beautiful Boy documents the emotional roller coaster of addiction. A journey through relapse and recovery, Beautiful Boy proves to be an early awards contender that will make you cry your eyes out.

Serenity (Aviron Pictures): October 19th

Director/Writer: Steven Knight

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Matthew McConaughey, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou

Why you should see it: Oscar-nominated director Steven Knight’s latest is a sexy, edge of your seat thriller that unites a gorgeous and talented all-star cast. Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) is a fishing boat captain with a mysterious past. Living in an isolated, tropical paradise called Plymouth Island, Baker has made a quiet life for himself. All of a sudden, Baker’s ex-wife, Karen (Anne Hathaway) returns to ask for his help to escape from her new husband (Jason Clarke). With Karen’s appearance, a Pandora’s box of events occurs, prompting Baker to confront his past and wrestle with right and wrong. It appears things are not as they seem, so is Karen really there for what she claims?

The Hate U Give (20th Century Fox): October 19th

Director: George Tillman Jr.

Writers: Audrey Wells (screenplay), Angie Thomas (based on the novel by)

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, K.J. Apa, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, Regina Hall

Why you should see it: Based on the critically-acclaimed novel by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give is one of the works of art that results from the current race relations and our political climate. Both work explores the heartbreaking effects of police brutality. After Starr (Amandla Steinberg) witnesses her friend Khalil (Algee Smith), murdered by the police, she is forced to take a stand. Torn between two worlds – a dominantly black, poor neighborhood, and rich, dominantly white prep school – Starr is forced to face reality.

Mid 90’s (A24): October 19th

Director/Writer: Jonah Hill

Starring: Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges

Why you should see it: Actor Jonah Hill has had an extremely successful acting career, from raunchy comedies to Oscar-nominated dramas Hill has done it all…except direct, until now. Jonah Hill’s directorial debut follows a thirteen-year-old boy named Stevie (Sunny Suljic) as he navigates life in nineties Los Angeles. Dealing with abuse from his older brother and being ignored at school, Stevie befriends a group of skateboarders who help him learn hard lessons about life. A tribute to skateboard culture and friendship, Mid90is a must-watch coming of age story.


Suspiria (Amazon Studios): November 2nd

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Writers: Dario Argento (Characters), Daria Nicolodi (Characters), David Kajganich (Screenplay)

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Lutz Ebersdorf, Mia Goth, Chloë Grace Moretz,

Why you should see it: This film is the highly anticipated re-imagining of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic. Deviating from the original film’s neon-splashed frames, the new Suspiria remains a highly stylized horror film that incorporates unforgettable visuals. Centered around a world famous dance studio where an ambitious young dancer (Dakota Johnson) enrolls, the studio and its residents are overcome with a hellish darkness. With today’s modern technological advancements, and Luca Guadagnino’s fearless direction, this new retelling aims to be as bold and frightening as the original masterpiece.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Walt Disney Studios): November 2nd

Directors: Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston

Writers: Ashleigh Powell (screen story, screenplay), Tom McCarthy (screenplay), E.T.A Hoffman (based on the story “Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by)

Starring: Mackenzie Foy, Kiera Knightley, Helen Mirren, Matthew MacFadyen, Morgan Freeman

Why you should see it: The Nutcracker is a tale known throughout the world. Walt Disney Studios takes an old classic and expands on the story for a new generation. A production of grandiose proportions, this interpretation of an old story brings us an exciting cast, epic battle scenes, and the famous winter wonderland on a scale we’ve never seen before.

Boy Erased (Focus Features): November 2nd

Director: Joel Edgerton

Writers: Joel Edgerton (screenplay) Garrard Conley (based on the memoir by)

Starring: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, Russell Crowe, Xavier Dolan

Why you should see it: Taken from Garrard Conley’s harrowing memoir, Boy Erased brings Garrard’s life to the screen. The son of a Baptist preacher, Jared (Lucas Hedges) hides his sexuality. Forcibly outed, Jared is made to go a gay conversion program to prevent being disowned by his family, friends, and church. Still a hot topic today, there are more testimonies about the effects of conversion therapy than there should be. Boy Erased displays the dangerous aftermath of forcing someone to be what they are not.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (Sony Pictures Entertainment): November 9th

Director: Fede Alvarez

Writers: Steven Knight (screenplay), Fede Alvarez (screenplay), Jay Basu (screenplay), David Lagercrantz (based on the book by), Stieg Larsson (based on the characters by)

Starring: Claire Foy, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant,

Why you should see it: Based on the fourth book in the Millenium series, the latest film reintroduces audiences to Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy), the cool and stylish hacker vigilante. On her mission, Lisbeth finds herself intertwined with spies, criminals, and the government. While the first Millenium film (The Girl With the Drago Tattoo) was a thriller, The Girl in the Spider’s Web is a gritty action-packed take that propels its heroine to new heights. Lisbeth is a genius on a computer, but she can fight, too.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Warner Bros.): November 16th

Director: David Yates

Writer: J.K. Rowling

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Jude Law, Johnny Depp

Why you should see it: In the second installment of Fantastic Beasts, audiences follow magizooligist Newt Scamander’s (Eddie Redmayne) latest adventure. For those familiar with of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the latest film in this epic franchise reintroduces audiences to one of the most powerful wizards of all time, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and the events that effected the original Harry Potter trilogy. You’re likely to hear some familiar names and faces, such as Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) and Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), as well as new ones.  After seven years in muggle time, audiences will be transported back to Hogwarts once again.

Widows (20th Century Fox): November 16th

Director: Steve McQueen

Writers: Gillian Flynn (screenplay), Steve McQueen (screenplay), Lynda La Plante (based on “Widows” by)

Starring: Viola Davis, Carrie Coon, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo

Why you should see it: Written by Gone Girl and Sharps Objects writer Gillian Flynn, we know this film is going to be a wild ride with every twist and turn imaginable. Set in modern Chicago, Widows is the story of four women, (Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, and Cynthia Erivo) left behind with the debt of their dead husbands’ criminal activities. With a change in circumstances, the women decide to take their lives into their own hands. A film that’s sure to be stacked with badassery, it’s exciting to see such an range of actors and actresses gathered for this action-packed film.

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight Pictures): November 23rd

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Writers: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara

Starring: Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman, Nicholas Hoult

Why you should see it: In Yorgos Lanthimos’ first film after his intriguing The Killing of the Sacred Deer, Lanthimos returns with an exciting historical drama starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and more. In 18th-century Great Britain, cousins Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) brew a bitter rivalry in order to be the Queen’s favorite. Comedic in tone, The Favorite is period film filled with debauchery, jealousy, and betrayal.

If Beale Street Could Talk (Anapurna Pictures): November 30th

Director: Barry Jenkins

Writers: Barry Jenkins (screenplay), James Baldwin (based on the novel by)

Starring: Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris

Why you should see it: The follow-up to Barry Jenkins’ Best Picture-winning Moonlight, Jenkins returns with a beautiful adaptation of James Baldwins’ book of the same name. A moving tribute to young love, If Beale Street Could Talk depicts the moving relationship of Tish (Kiki Lane) and Fonny (Stephan James). Set in 1970’s Harlem, Tish and Fonny fight against the system when Fonny is falsely imprisoned for sexual assault. Eager to create a life for her unborn child, Tish and her family strive to do what’s right to get Fonny back.


Mary Queen of Scots (Focus Features): December 7th

Director: Josie Rourke

Writers: Beau Willimon (screenplay), Jon Guy (based on the book “Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart”)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Guy Pierce, Gemma Chan, David Tennant

Why you should see it: Mary Queen of Scots is an historical drama that depicts the young queen, Mary Stuart (Saorise Ronan) as she returns to Scotland to reclaim the throne. However, there’s a major obstacle that Mary has to overcome: her cousin, Queen Elizabeth (Margot Robbie). Mary Queen of Scots is a tribute to the queens of the past who ruled in a male-dominated society. While Mary and Queen Elizabeth are rivals, they are also sisters in the fight against the patriarchy. Filled with conspiracies, betrayal, and threats to the throne, Mary Queen of Scots is one of the season’s most promising films.

Under the Silver Lake (A24): December 7th

Director/Writer: David Robert Mitchell

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Jimmi Simpson, Topher Grace

Why you should see it: Originally slated to be released in June, the film was pushed back due to middling reviews at Cannes earlier this year. The time since then has been used to recut and improve the film. The charming Andrew Garfield stars as Sam, a slacker enamored with a mysterious woman named Sarah (Riley Keogh). After she disappears without a trace, Sam goes on a wild adventure in the city in order to find her. Under the Silver Lake is a whimsical mystery that plunges deep into the heart of Los Angeles, uncovering crazy conspiracies and bizarre individuals. Let’s hope the revised product is worth the extra wait!

Mary Poppins Returns (Walt Disney Studios): December 19th

Director: Rob Marshall

Writers: David Magee (screen story by, screenplay), Rob Marshall (screen story by), John DeLuca (screen story by), P.L. Travers (based upon the “Mary Poppins” stories by)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, Colin Firth, Emily Mortimer, Ben Whishaw

Why you should see it: Hot off the success of A Quiet Place, Emily Blunt stars in her biggest role yet, as the magical yet elusive Mary Poppins. Set in 1930’s London, Mary Poppins Returns takes place 25 years after the events of the original film. Mary returns to Cherry Lane after the now adult Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) experience a personal loss. As one of the favorite films of Walt Disney himself, the bar has been set high for Mary Poppins Returns. Let’s hope its retains the wonder and enchantment of the original.

On the Basis of Sex (Focus Features): December 25th

Director: Mimi Leder

Writer: Daniel Stiepleman

Starring: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Kathy Bates

Why you should see it: The cherry on an amazing year in film, On the Basis of Sex portrays the story of a young Ruth Bader Ginsberg (Felicity Jones) on her journey to becoming a supreme court justice. A fighter for equal rights for women, Ginsberg graduated from Columbia Law School, then moved on to work for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. She went on to become the second woman ever appointed as a supreme court justice. Having lived an exciting, and influential life, it’s only right that Ginsberg’s story is being told on the big screen for the second time this year (the other being the phenomenal documentary, RBG).