Updated: 2/17/2020 Most recent movie addition: Sonic The Hedgehog
Hello everyone, let me preface this list with a little bit of backstory.
My name is Alex Fuery and I like movies. So much so that back in June of 2018 I decided to join AMC A-list (not a sponsor…yet?). If you don’t know what that is, basically I pay monthly to see movies whenever I want (up to 3 a week, no restrictions on things like IMAX, Dolby, etc.)
Fast forward to the present, and I’ve taken all of the movies I have seen and compiled a tiered list for the movies I think are worthy of your time. This isn’t a numerically ranked list though; I have put each movie into one of five categories that I will explain below.
Tier 1: Buy it. These are the movies that I think belong in everyone’s movie collection regardless of personal bias or genre preference. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these movies are my personal favorites, but I think they are fantastic and belong in every cinema fans collection.
Tier 2: Watch it. These movies are really good. Go spend the money to see them in the theatre, they’re worth it. The only things keeping these movies from going up to the top of the list include things like genre preference; I wouldn’t recommend a musical to someone who hates music, or a horror movie to someone who hates being scared, or if the movie is really good, but not quite great. Either way, go see it.
Tier 3: Watch it, but don’t pay for it. These movies are worth the 2ish hours of your day to watch, but maybe wait until they’re out on Netflix/your streaming service of choice.
Tier 4: No need to see it, no need to avoid it. This tier is made for the movies you put on when there’s nothing else to watch. Maybe you’ve been looking for something to watch for the past 20 minutes and can’t find anything. If one of these pops up, go ahead and give it a watch, but don’t go out of your way to see it.
Tier 5: Don’t watch it. These movies are just bad, don’t waste your time.
Again, this list only contains movies I have personally seen in the theatre since joining A-List back in June 2018. I will also keep updating this list as I see more movies in the future. With all of that said, let’s get down to the list. Oh, and I will give a little bit of information about some of these movies, so just to be safe, spoiler alert.
1917: This one was intense. This movie is very heavy, and it approaches life and death with a brutally cold sense of indifference. That is exactly why this movie was almost put in the “Watch it” category. Some people just don’t want to watch something like that. However, this was just too good to not be a “Buy it”. I could go on and on about this movie. It had beautiful continuous shots, heart pounding suspense, and fantastic acting throughout. The 2010’s were a bit of a renaissance for really good war movies, but 2020 might have the best one yet with 1917.
Jojo Rabbit: For a movie that was billed as Taika Waititi turning a serious book about war into “come watch me play Hitler” this movie was fantastic. It’s ridiculous, hilarious, emotional, deep, and it tells a beautifully tragic story. He perfectly balances over the top comedy with heart wrenching tragedy.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: The only superhero movie so far that breaks into the buy it tier. This movie has ground breaking visuals, A+ voice acting, a great story, and an obvious love and respect for the source material. I would recommend this to even those who say they don’t like superhero movies.
Sonic The Hedgehog: Before you say anything, I know. How the hell is this movie up there with some of the other great movies in the “Watch it” category? Hear me out. This movie is delightful. There are so many ways this movie could have been bad, but they just did everything right. Sonic is fun and funny without crossing over into being annoying, props to Ben Schwartz for some A+ voice acting. Jim Carrey was very Jim Carrey, but it all the best ways. He didn’t try to steal the show, or take away from the story, and instead gave us a great and funny villain. None of the conflict comes from places it doesn’t need to, like relationship drama or ridiculous and unrealistic decision making by the heroes. The human characters are actual characters. They are developed and have personalities of their own instead of just being flat and one dimensional. I can go on and on, but my point stands. This movie just did it right. I mean come on, this is a movie that listened to the fans and went to rework the entire design of Sonic. That alone deserves a movie ticket.
Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn): Wow that title is a mouthful. I’m not going to get preachy here, but this is what happens when you let a badass woman direct a movie about badass women, instead of having Zack Snyder touch anything. All of these characters were very well developed, and each one had a distinct personality. Some of the fight scenes fell into bad fight scene tropes like everyone one attacking one at a time, or some ridiculous logic (I’m looking at you phone to the face KO), but those were in the minority. The rest of the violence, along with most of this movie kicks ass. Couple that awesome fighting with solid character development, a good story arc, and a very well done villain, and I’m sold. This movie is everything Suicide Squad wanted to be. It was just smart enough to go with an R rating, and not go with Jared Leto as the Joker. Add this to the short list of DC movies that are totally worth the price of admission.
Parasite: What a clever and original movie. Don’t let your fear of subtitles stop you from seeing this. This movie has moments that are lighthearted and make you laugh and then within two seconds you’re sweating bullets. It also has some powerful moments that kind of catch you off guard. You can never really get comfortable with this movie. It leaves you feeling conflicted, shocked, and on edge, but in the best way possible. Give this one a watch and you’ll understand the hype behind it.
Avengers: Endgame: Has anyone not seen this movie? Of course it’s great, it broke all the records. The only reason it’s not a ”buy it” is because some people just genuinely don’t like superhero movies, so if you haven’t seen any of them then this ones not going to be for you either. If you’re reading something on TNC though I’m pretty sure you’re cool with superhero stuff. Go watch it again.
Frozen 2: I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a grown ass man and I’ve seen this 4 times in the theatre. It is a rare sequel that rivals the original. Frozen 2 has great songs, a great story, laugh out loud moments, and a refreshing sense of self awareness. It also manages to do all of this without falling into the trap of overdoing things they found successful in the first movie.
Little Women: This movie was incredibly impressive. I left the theatre trying to think of something I didn’t like about this movie and I couldn’t come up with anything. The acting was fabulous, the characters were believable, and the story was compelling. Don’t brush this one off a just a “chick flick”, do yourself a favor and go check this one out.
Knives Out: A fun murder mystery full of twists and turns that is also refreshingly different that the typical, predictable “who done it?” This movie is also genuinely funny without having to dip into cheesy one liners or over used cliches. Points all around to the stellar ensemble cast and for excellent direction throughout.
Spider-Man: Far From Home: Tom Holland cements his status as the best Spider-Man with this one, don’t @ me. I was there for the Sam Remy’s, and I sat through the Garfield era, this is the true Spider-Man golden age. Jake Gyllenhaal was marvelous (pun intended), add in a twist at the end to make us all pumped for what’s next, and I’m ready for it.
Rocketman: For those crying about this movie not having a correct music timeline, cram it. It’s not a documentary, it’s basically a musical. It’s also fabulous. I mean what’s not to love about a movie filled with Elton John songs? Taron Egerton beautifully portrays Elton in a very believable way, and he manages to hold his own as a singer too.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu: Man this one could’ve been bad. Ryan Reynolds coming off of Deadpool to play Pikachu? I was a little worried going in, but they managed to make something that was both entertaining for kids and nostalgic for those of us that grew up with Ash Ketchum. I was pleasantly surprised to see a movie that was genuinely solid.
Shazam!: Finally! A DC movie that doesn’t suck! (Except you Wonder Woman, you were fantastic.) This movie is fun, funny, and everything you want in a hero flick. Take notes DC, more of this and less of Zack Snyder. Sorry Zack.
Captain Marvel: Marvel just keeps making hits. There are a few things in this movie you could nitpick, but why waste your time? Grab some popcorn, sit back, relax, and watch Brie Larson kick some alien butt.
Bohemian Rhapsody: Maybe it’s not as historically accurate as they try to make it seem. Maybe the living members of Queen were a little greedy with screen time. Maybe that doesn’t matter because this is still a really good movie. Take some points off for Rami Malek lip syncing if you want, but his portrayal of Freddie Mercury is incredible.
Venom: I’m not sure why this movie got as much hate as it did. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a perfect movie. You can complain even more if you’re a comic purist, but this was fun! Venom is funny, action packed, and already working toward joining the MCU.
A Star is Born: Lady Gaga can act, Bradley Cooper can sing, and this movie can join my collection. Touching, heartfelt, and all of those other words you see with movies like this. Honestly, this ones worth the watch.
Ant-Man And The Wasp: What a brilliant job Marvel did by having Paul Rudd play Ant-Man. My biggest gripe is when movies like this use “quantum” to lazily get passed having to explain anything. This movie is very guilty of that, but still definitely worth watching.
Watch it, but don’t pay for it:
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: In terms of Star Wars movies, this one’s in the middle. It’s not great, and some of the plot points are very convenient and bland. It’s also not bad, and the chemistry that has developed with some of these characters is very charming.
The Lion King (2019): This movie is a classic case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Disney kept this live action remake fairly close to the original with some minor tweaks here and there. Watch it if you’re a fan of Disney movies, but wait until it’s streaming on Disney+.
Booksmart: This movie has the feel of an early 2000’s comedy classic without having that not aging well cringe factor that those movies are starting to have. It’s very refreshing to see a movie with characters that I believe could actually exist in the real world, instead of seeing what some 50 year old rich dude thinks teenagers act like.
Wonder Park: A cute animated movie that any kid would like, and any adult would find totally watchable. What bothers me about Wonder Park is that the park in Wonder Park is called Wonderland. They don’t even say the words “Wonder Park” one time in this movie. Am I being pedantic? Maybe, but what gives?
How to Train Your Dragon the Hidden World: A very well written way to wrap up a great trilogy, but man did they murder any semblance of character development with all of their secondary characters. This one is probably the worst of the three movies, but the other two were amazing so that doesn’t mean this one is bad.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: This movie is just fun, dumb, and nice. The duel plot lines in different times is well done, the songs are catchy and make you tap your feet, and you’re just in a good mood after watching this. Give it a shot one day if you’re bored and tell me you won’t have Waterloo in your head and a smile on your face.
The Meg: Talk about fun and dumb. This movie is exactly what you think it’s going to be. If you’re down to watch a cheesy shark movie with way over the top everything and so-so acting then you’ll be in heaven.
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: I feel a little bit bad putting this down here with a movie like The Meg, but I already did so there’s no going back. It’s a nice movie. If you liked the first one you’ll probably like this one, but I wouldn’t say it’s worth spending $20+ on. If you can stream it, do it. If you find it on sale, grab it. You’re not missing much if you don’t though.
No need to see it, no need to avoid it:
Jumanji: The Next Level: Classic money grab sequel from a studio. Is it bad? No. Is it good? Not really. Watching Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson play grandparents was kind of funny for a little while, and Danny DeVito is a welcome addition to almost any movie. However, watching Jack Black pretend to be a black teenager wasn’t what anyone needed to see. Not quite racist, but uncomfortable.
Zombieland: Double Tap: This one was almost a don’t watch. Another classic flop of a sequel that relied way too much on riding the wave of the original, but Zoey Deutch has a few moments that are absolutely hilarious as Madison.
Men in Black International: One of many in a long line of movies that didn’t need to be made, but if you have some housework to do it’s worth throwing on in the background. Charming but forgettable.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: This movie falls victim to what is happening to so many preplanned movie franchises. They take the second movie in the series and make it entirely setup with no real movement behind it. You spend the entire movie waiting for climax and resolution and then the credits start rolling. They don’t care if you like it because they know you’ll be back for the next one. It’s fine, but don’t spend your money on it.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters: Even for a Godzilla movie this was kind of a let down. Maybe I’m a little harsh on it because I have a vendetta against movies that break their own rules. I’m all for agreeing to whatever rules the movie tells me this universe follows, but if you point blank tell me something that is a rule in your universe, then 5 minutes later break that rule, I’m out.
Alita: Battle Angel: I really like the idea of this movie, and Christoph Waltz is an amazing actor, but this one is just another movie that tries to wow you with visual effects in an era where that’s not enough to set a movie apart anymore . It may have worked for Avatar back in 2009, but it’s nothing special now.
Glass: Unbreakable was really cool when it came out, and James McAvoy deserves an award for each personality he played in Split, but this movie just feels forced. It’s unnecessary, and underwhelming. Chalk this one up to another miss from M. Night Shyamalan.
Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch (2018): Why? The animated one from the 60’s is perfect, and the live action one with Jim Carrey became an instant classic. What was the plan here? I guess it’s not terrible. That’s the best it’s going to get from me.
Equalizer 2: Can we please stop ruining good movies with unneeded sequels? Or at least make the sequel interesting. I had to rewatch the trailer to remember what happened in this movie. Although, the scene where he beats the hell out of those frat bro’s is awesome.
Tag: I actually like this movie, and it was the first movie I saw with A-List, but it’s still very dumb. If you pass by it while scrolling through Netflix go ahead and give it a watch, but don’t waste your time searching for it.
The House with a Clock in its Walls: This movie came close to being passable, but then they made me see Jack Black with a CGI baby body and a freakish little head. That’s something I can never unsee. If you ever played the horror game PT and saw the baby in the sink just picture that but with Jack Black’s face.
Don’t watch it:
Dolittle: For a large part of my life there really wasn’t a movie I could consistently call the worst movie I’d ever seen. I thought that had changed after I saw Cats (see below), but even with Cats I could see how that might work for someone. Dolittle showed me that there can in fact be a “worst movie I’ve ever seen”. This movie didn’t know what it was, it didn’t know what it wanted to be, and it didn’t know who it was trying to talk to. There was literally nothing in this entire movie that wasn’t inexcusable, horrendous garbage. This was a movie that seemed to go out of its way to try and break all of its own rules. They also cut out huge chunks of the movie and just had a parrot tell you what happened. Why am I even watching it at that point? I won’t even mention the horrors with the dragon. I almost considered creating an new tier to my list that would be exclusively for this movie, a Dolittle tier, because comparing this movie to the other “Don’t watch it” movies is disrespectful to the other terrible movies I told you not to watch.
Cats: WTF. This acid headed fever dream was doomed from the start. The director didn’t even finishing the movie by the time it came out, and rereleases of the new edit didn’t help. We still had to watch crazy cockroaches with human faces being eaten, the most ridiculous CGI I think I’ve ever seen, and no continuity on the size of these demons. If you are a true lover of the musical then maybe this is for you, but honestly I feel like “Don’t watch it” doesn’t quite cover it.
Dark Phoenix: Other than the big hero deaths, this movie is completely forgettable. I don’t have anything terrible to say about it, but I can’t think of anything good to say either.
Dumbo: Weird. I’m all for Disney movies, and the cast in this movie has a long history of success, but don’t waste your time. If you need to see a dumbo movie just watch the original.
Aquaman: God this movie sucks. Terribly cheesy superhero poses and quips, wasted talent, spotty CGI, and a brutal murder of Africa by Toto thanks to Pitbull. This movie is full of inconsistencies and it’s frustrating to watch. It just sucks.
Robin Hood (2018): Yikes. Let’s be honest here, the bar for a Robin Hood movie is set somewhere around “good, not great”. This one misses completely and manages to underperform all of the previous adaptations.