The Best Movies on Apple TV+ Right Now (October 2023)

Need help on what movies on Apple TV+ to watch? We've got you covered. Here are the best movies on Apple TV+ that are worth watching this October 2023.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022)
The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022)

Apple TV+ may not have as robust a library of movies to stream as competitors like Max or Amazon Prime, but that doesn’t mean that what the streaming service has isn’t worth watching. In fact, in recent years, Apple TV+ has acquired rights and deals with some of the hottest films from the festival circuit, as well as movies that are anchored by well-known actors and musicians. The end result is a library of movies that is small but mighty. Here are the best movies you can watch on Apple TV+ right now.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022)

The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022)

Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Zac Efron, Russell Crowe, Bill Murray
Genre: War, Comedy, Drama
Rating: R
Runtime: 2hr 6min
Rotten Tomatoes: 39% (Critics), 91% (Audience) 

What would you do for your friends—or your favorite beer? The Greatest Beer Run Ever tells the story of Chickie Donohue (Zac Efron), who travels to the frontlines of the war in Vietnam to bring his friends a taste of home in a can. Part coming-of-age drama and part comedy, Zac Efron carries the film for the most part, although there are plenty of other great actors in the film, including solid performances from Russel Crowe and Bill Murray. Earnest and charming, The Greatest Beer Run Ever may not have the emotional heft you want for a film about a controversial American conflict, but that doesn’t mean the film is one gigantic ad for PBR either.

Flora and Son (2023)

Flora and Son (2023)

Director: John Carney
Cast: Eve Hewson, Orén Kinlan, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Genre: Musical, Comedy
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 34min
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% (Critics), 84% (Audience)

From John Carney, the director of Once and Sing Street, comes yet another musical: Flora and Son. In this film, Eve Hewson plays a single mom with a rebellious son (Orén Kinlan). Encouraged to find him a hobby, she offers him an acoustic guitar and together, with the help of an LA-based music teacher played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the mother and son embark on an uplifting journey thanks to the transformative power of music. Funny, charming, and touching, Flora and Son is another entry in Carney’s already touching array of earnest, music-centric films.

Swan Song (2021)

Swan Song (2021)

Director: Benjamin Cleary
Cast: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Glenn Close
Runtime: 1hr 51min
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance
Rotten Tomatoes: 79% (Critics), 76% (Audience)

Combining the best elements of a sci-fi film and a romantic drama, Swan Song is, above all else, another showcase for the impressive acting skills of Mahershala Ali (Moonlight). In Swan Song, Ali plays Cameron Turner, a man diagnosed with a terminal illness in the near future and given the option to utilize an experimental treatment to shield his wife and son from grief. Helmed by Academy Award–winning filmmaker Benjamin Cleary, the film is a thought-provoking exploration of love, loss, and fate. With its tantalizing ethical questions (some of which are reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and star turn by Ali playing not one but two distinct versions of Cameron Turner, what could be a downer of a film becomes life-affirming in its portrayal of love and humanity. 

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

Director: Bill Melendez
Cast: Peter Robbins, Sally Dryer, Cathay Steinberg
Genre: Animated, Family
Rating: TV-G
Duration: 25min
Rotten Tomatoes: 95% (Critics), 85% (Audience)

AppleTV+ is still building out its catalog of streamable movies, but it certainly packs one of the all-time greats in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Released in 1966, and featuring the lovably stilted vocal performances of true children, this animated classic based on Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts comics is on many must-watch lists for spooky season, despite being not-so-spooky. With its short run time of just under 30 minutes, this is the perfect way to end a night of more typical horror fare, reminding you of the fun (and melancholy) that can come with Halloween season too. 

Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022)

Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022)

Director: Cooper Raiff
Cast: Cooper Raiff, Dakota Johnson, Vanessa Burghardt
Runtime: 1hr 47min
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% (Critics), 61% (Audience)

Written by, directed by, and starring Cooper Raiff, Cha Cha Real Smooth was a huge acquisition by Apple Original Movies following the film’s impressive run at the Sundance Film Festival. Much has been made of the 25-year-old Cooper Raiff’s meteoric career rise: Cha Cha Real Smooth is only his second feature, one that landed him a $15 million deal and is helping him launch his own production company. But those facts don’t negate the fact that Cha Cha Real Smooth has an earnest, infectious warmth. A film that is focused on all of its characters having kindness, Cha Cha Real Smooth tells the story of a recent college graduate (Raiff), who connects with a young high schooler on the autism spectrum (Vanessa Burghardt) and her mother (Johnson). Burghardt’s performance is measured, genuine, and laugh-out-loud funny, and her relationship with Raiff is the real star of this intimate character drama.

Apple Music Live: Burna Boy (2023)

Apple Music Live: Burna Boy (2023)

Cast: Burna Boy
Genre: Music
Rating: TV-MA
Duration: 1hr 34min
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A Critics, N/A Audience

Remember when Apple was reinventing the way we listened to music with the release of the iPod? In Apple Music Live: Burna Boy, Apple’s long-running history of elevating musicians and music continues with an exclusive recording of a concert at London Stadium featuring Burna Boy and all of his hits. Known for songs like “Tonight,” “Rock Your Body,” and “Money Play,” the 32-year old Nigerian singer/songwriter radiates energy and stage presence while performing in this exceptionally-captured live concert. If you can’t snag a ticket to the Taylor Swift Eras Tour, you might as well feel like you’re in a stadium show by experiencing Burna Boy’s Afropop and dancehall stylings.

The Beanie Bubble (2023)

The Beanie Bubble (2023)

Director: Kristin Gore, Damian Kulash, Jr.
Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Snook
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 50m
Rotten Tomatoes: 49% (Critics), 61% (Audience)

Did you collect Beanie Babies as a kid? If so (or if not, have you seen this cast?), you’ll definitely get a kick out of The Beanie Bubble. Following Ty Warner (the creator of Beanie Babies, played by Zach Galifianakis), this film mixes both comedy and drama to tell the story of a narcissistic toymaker and the women he exploited on his way to the bank. While critics have been mixed about what this genre approach means about the topic itself (is late-stage capitalism really that funny?), the winning cast certainly makes this worth checking out.

The Year Earth Changed (2021)

The Year Earth Changed (2021)

Director: Tom Beard
Cast: David Attenborough
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG
Duration: 48m
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% (Critics), 96% (Audiences)

If you’re looking for a shorter film to watch, the nature documentary The Year Earth Changed provides a unique perspective on what the global pandemic and ensuing shutdown meant for our planet. Narrated by David Attenborough, this documentary features never-before-seen footage that helps illustrate the impact that humans have on our planet’s seas, land, and skies. Especially at a time when climate change and historic weather events continue to make headlines, there is hope to be found revisiting The Year Earth Changed.

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Kingdom of Heaven (2005) on Apple TV

Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons
Genre: History, War, Drama
Rating: R
Duration: 2hr 25min
Rotten Tomatoes: 39% (Critics), 72% (Audience)

AppleTV+ is offering a lot of great historical epics on its platform as of late, and Kingdom of Heaven is one such title. Starring Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, and Jeremy Irons, this story pairs the Crusades with the typical large-scale spectacle you associate with blockbuster war epics. What makes Kingdom of Heaven worth revisiting is the fact that director Ridley Scott humanizes the conflict, too. Sure, the films is bursting with big setpieces and exciting battles, but its human pulse helps the film offer more than your typical blockbuster fare. 

Stephen Curry: Underrated (2023)

Stephen Curry: Underrated (2023) on Apple TV

Director: Peter Nicks
Cast: Steph Curry
Genre: Documentary, Biopic
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 1hr 50min
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% (Critics), 87% (Audience)

There’s been plenty of excellent basketball content to binge lately, and Stephen Curry: Underrated is no exception. Following the rise of NBA player Steph Curry from underdog to dynamic superstar, this documentary features plenty of highs and lows to keep the story interesting — even if we all know Curry is going to end up a four-time champion. Filmed with raw honesty, sports fans and non-fans alike will be able to take something away from this inspiring story of one of the game’s all-time greats.

Troy (2002)

Troy (2002) on apple tv plus

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Cast: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom
Genre: Action, Adventure, War
Rating: R
Duration: 2hr 42m
Rotten Tomatoes: 53% (Critics), 73% (Audience)

Living somewhere on the spectrum between Zack Snyder’s 300 and Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Troy is an epic adventure based on Homer’s The Iliad. In it, Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom star as warring soldiers in the battle between Troy and Sparta over the beautiful Helen (Diane Kruger). Full of thrilling spectacle, what Troy lacks in nuance it makes up for in entertainment. After a rewatch (and while chowing down on popcorn), you’ll likely agree that the critics got it wrong on this one.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Director: Peter Weir
Cast: Russel Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 2hr 19m
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% (Critics), 80% (Audience)

Released the same year as the first Pirates of the Carribean movie, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World takes a more dramatic approach to cinematic swashbuckling. Featuring a stellar cast lead by Russel Crowe, Paul Bettany, and Billy Boyd, this film follows the nautical ventures of the ​​H.M.S. Surprise as it aims to capture one of Napoleon’s most powerful vessels in South America. A story of male friendship bursting with exciting action sequences, this war movie adapted from the novel by Patrick O’Brian is regarded by many as one of the genre’s best in recent decades.

Wolfwalkers (2020)

Wolfwalkers (2020) on apple tv

Director: Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart
Cast: Sean Bean, Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittaker
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Animation
Rating: PG
Duration: 1hr 43m
Rotten Tomatoes: 99% (Critics), 98% (Audience)

With near-perfect Rotten Tomatoes scores from critics and audience alike, it’s a wonder more people haven’t heard of Wolfwalkers, a Celtic-inspired animated fantasy adventure about a young hunter’s apprentice named Robyn Goodfellowe. With bountiful, beautiful hand-drawn animation, this story rooted in ancient tradition quickly casts a spell over you — thanks in no small part to an exceptional cast of voice actors led by Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings). Brimming with lush imagery and emotionally resonant themes, this is one animated flick that children and adults will get something from.

Fathom (2021)

Fathom (2021) movie on apple tc

Director: Drew Xanthopoulos
Cast: Drew Xanthopoulos, Megan Gilbride, Andrea Meditch
Genre: Documentary
Rating: TV-PG
Duration: 1hr 27m
Rotten Tomatoes: 58% (Critics), 32% (Audience)

With memes about orcas attacking fishing yachts been going viral lately, who wouldn’t want to watch a documentary about whales to learn more about these fascinating, majestic creatures? AppleTV+ does a great job with documentary content, and Fathom is no exception to that rule. This doc centers on two scientists—Dr. Ellen Garland and Dr. Michelle Fournet—who are singularly focused on better understanding whale communication. While Fathom doesn’t fully unlock all the secrets of whale song (sorry, yachters!), it does pull back the scientific curtain to illustrate the passion and curiosity at the heart of many scientists’ work. 

300 (2006)

the movie 300 on apple tv plus

Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Gerard Butler, David Wenham, Lena Headey
Genre: Action
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 56m
Rotten Tomatoes: 61% (Critics), 89% (Audience)

This. Is. Sparta! Zack Snyder’s epic adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel of the same name, 300 is now streaming on AppleTV+ as a bonus through the end of July. Bursting with stylish violence, brutal bloodshed, and a gloriously bombastic soundtrack, director Zack Snyder fills this movie to the brim (and then some) with plenty of visual punch. For pure, testosterone-fueled entertainment, it’s hard to beat this ancient story about the Battle of Thermopylae.

Ghosted (2023)

ghosted apple tv streaming

Director: Dexter Fletcher
Cast: Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody
Genre: Action, Romance
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 1hr 56min
Rotten Tomatoes: 26% (Critics), 56% (Audience)

What happens when salt-of-the-earth Cole (played by Chris Evans) falls for a mysterious woman named Sadie (Ana de Armas) who winds up being a spy and whisking him on an international adventure before they even know whether or not they want to have a second date? You get AppleTV+’s action/romance/comedy Ghosted. While it won’t be winning any major awards soon, fans of Evans, de Armas, and Brody looking for a fun popcorn flick will certainly find entertainment in this by-the-book action rom-com.

STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie (2023)

STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie (2023)

Director: Davis Guggenheim
Cast: Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan, Andrew Barber
Genre: Documentary, Biopic
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 35min
Rotten Tomatoes: 99% (Critics), 96% (Audience)

Michael J. Fox has told his story through several books, but never has it been told like this. In STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie, viewers are taken on a journey alongside Fox and his battle with Parkinsons Disease, including plenty of archival video where he was doing his best to cover for his symptoms. The documentarians making this movie had unprecedented access to Fox, his family, and his work, ultimately celebrating the perseverance and character of Michael J. Fox and his career. The end result is an uplifting, poignant documentary full of the same heart you associate with some of Fox’s crowning films, from Back to the Future to Teen Wolf and The American President.

The Way We Were (1973)

The Way We Were

Director: A.V. Rockwell
Cast: Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Bradford Dillman
Genre: Romance
Rating: PG
Duration: 1hr 58m
Rotten Tomatoes: 64% (Critics), 81% (Audience)

If you’re looking for a melodramatic romance with an all-star cast, look no further than The Way We Were, featuring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Like many rom-coms, this is a story of opposites attracting, where Streisand plays a politically-active Jewish woman and Redford plays a WASPY man who dreams of pursuing screenwriting in Hollywood. While the premise begins with sentimentality, the political themes that screenwriter Arthur Laurents includes offer some more heft than romances from this period typically do.

Goliath (2022)

goliath on apple tv

Director: Frédéric Tellier
Cast: Gilles Lellouche, Pierre Niney, Emmanuelle Bercot
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Drama
Rating: R
Duration: 2hr 2min
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A (Critics), N/A (Audience)

Without spoiling too much, Goliath tells the story of an environmental lawyer, an activist schoolteacher, and an international lobbyist intersect in the wake of a tragic event. Part legal thriller, part hard-hitting drama, the film centers on agrochemical corruption and the lengths a large corporation will go to in order to protect the truth from getting out. Politically charged and current, director Frédéric Tellier’s drama is both powerful and engrossing.

A Thousand and One (2023)

Teyana Taylor A Thousand and One

Director: A.V. Rockwell
Cast: Teyana Taylor, Josiah Cross, William Catlett
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 57m
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% (Critics), 84% (Audience)

Featuring a breakout performance for the ages from Teyana Taylor, A Thousand and One is a powerful, raw, and heartfelt film about a mother and son clinging to hope and home in the face of systemic challenges. Not only is this an impressive debut from actor Teyana Taylor; but it’s also an impressive directorial debut from A.V. Rockwell, who coaxes excellent performances from his cast. While A Thousand and One is suffused with tragedy and hardship, it is ultimately a hopeful and inspiring tale of sacrifice.

Mother’s Boys (1994)

mothers boy apple movie streaming

Director: Yves Simoneau
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Peter Gallagher, Joanne Whalley
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 35min
Rotten Tomatoes: 43% (Critics), 28% (Audience)

Don’t let the low Rotten Tomatoes scores fool you, Mother’s Boys is well worth checking out if you’ve yet to see it. In this film, Jamie Lee Curtis plays a wife who returns to her family three years after leaving to enact a murderous plot. Many viewed Jamie Lee Curtis’ Oscar win for Everything Everywhere All at Once as a career award for her work in various horror films, and this movie serves as yet more evidence that Curtis has the goods when it comes to thrills and chills.

The Elephant Queen (2018)

the elephant queen apple streaming

Director: Mark Deeble
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Genre: Documentary, Action, Adventure
Rating: PG
Duration: 1hr 36m
Rotten Tomatoes: 91% (Critics), 88% (Audience)

If you love National Geographic or Planet Earth, The Elephant Queen is the nature doc for you. Featuring breathtaking cinematography, this documentary follows Athena, an elephant matriarch, who leads her pack home across the breathtaking vistas of Africa. The story has moments of action, comedy, and adventure, but it’s also an informative story about the impact elephants have on a variety of African biomes and the circle of life.

Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds (2020)

fireball visitors from darker worlds

Director: Werner Herzog
Cast: Werner Herzog
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG
Duration: 1hr 37min
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% (Critics), 62% (Audience)

If you’re the type of person who looks up at the night sky in awe and wonder, then you’ll definitely enjoy the scientifically-driven documentary Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds. Fireball is largely a documentary about space debris and meteorites; however, it also discusses the ways in which these astronomical materials have awakened the imagination of humans across time and civilizations. Featuring incredible footage of (and from) the sky, Fireball is a unique and engaging documentary by renowned filmmaker Werner Herzog.

Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues (2022)

Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues 2022

Director: Sacha Jenkins
Cast: Louis Armstrong
Genre: Documentary, Music
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 44min
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% (Critics), 80% (Audience)

Engaging, informative, and enriching, Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues tells the story of one of music’s most revolutionary jazz musicians in his own words. Crafted from Armstrong’s own writing and audio recordings, as well as archival footage, this documentary is as rewarding for longtime fans of Satchmo as it is to those new to his work. For anyone looking for a definitive deep dive into one of the true jazz greats, Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues is yet another feather in Apple’s cap when it comes to documentary content about famous musicians.

Tetris (2023)

tetris movie apple streaming

Director: Jon S. Baird
Cast: Taron Egerton, Nikita Efremov, Toby Jones
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Biography
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 58min
Rotten Tomatoes: 78% (Critics), 91% (Audience)

If you’re surprised that everyone’s favorite arcade puzzle game from the 1980s has been adapted into an R-rated thriller, you’re not alone. But that also means that you may not know much about the can’t-believe-it’s-true story and its Cold War-era origins. In Tetris, Taron Egerton stars as Henk Rogers, the man who discovers the addicting game and endeavors to get it the worldwide debut it deserves. As strange as it is to say that a film about 8-bit blocks is edge-of-your-seat entertainment, the film is fun, and epic, and will likely result in you needing to head to your favorite online Tetris emulator to test your skills.

The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

Director: Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Rhys Ifans
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 59min
Rotten Tomatoes: 64% (Critics), 51% (Audience)

While critic and audience reviews tended to be middling, when you take stock of the fact that most of that has to do with the film’s 2-hour run-time and commit to that length of the movie, The Five-Year Engagement is a much more enjoyable experience. It’s got the sentiment and humor you’ve come to expect from previous Stoller/Segel collaborations. It’s got an interesting set-up that doesn’t end in a 5-minute finale that strains credulity. Plus, Segel and Blunt have actual chemistry, which is always welcome in rom-coms from the 2010s.

Out of Sight (1998)

out of sight apple streaming

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames
Genre: Crime, Drama, Comedy
Rating: R
Duration: 2hr 2min
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% (Critics), 74% (Audience)

Three years before Soderbergh and Clooney made Ocean’s Eleven, they made Out of Sight — an adaptation of the novel by Elmore Leonard. Clooney plays Jack Foley, a notoriously successful bank robber who falls in love with Federal Marshal Karen Sisco (Lopez). Smart, sleek, and sexy, Out of Sight is entertaining for its story and craftsmanship as much as it is for the work of its impressive cast. This bonus from AppleTV+ is only available through March 31, 2023, so catch it while you can!

Don’t Call Me Bigfoot (2020)

don't call me bigfoot

Director: Jeremy Norrie
Cast: Alex Mistretta, Matthew Mordovanec, Nick Redfern
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG
Duration: 1hr 21min
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

Fans of cryptozoology and believers in mythical monsters like Bigfoot (but don’t call him that!) will find much to enjoy in this documentary from Jeremy Norrie. Featuring an in-depth survey of famous sightings and hoaxes of the legendary creature, Don’t Call Me Bigfoot offers a wealth of information about the mythology surrounding Bigfoot. As fascinating as Bigfoot is, what really makes this documentary so entertaining is how it delves into the Bigfoot hunters who seek out evidence for the monster’s existence.

Sharper (2023)

sharper movie apple streaming

Director: Benjamin Caron
Cast: Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, Justice Smith
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 56min
Rotten Tomatoes: 64% (Critics), 79% (Audience)

Fans of Ocean’s Eleven and Catch Me if You Can rejoice! A con-the-rich caper with strong performances and writing to back up its premise, Sharper is a great way to spend two hours. Its neo-noir elements and smart screenplay will keep you engrossed and guessing up until the film’s final minutes. Anchored by an excellent Julianne Moore (and an equally enthralling Sebastian Stan), it’s hard to trust anyone in this thrilling Manhattan-set con film.

Find Me (2018)

find me apple tv streaming

Director: Tom Huang
Cast: Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Ben Gavin, Krizia Bajos
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 1hr 44min
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% (Critics), 57% (Audience)

Find Me is an indie film with an interesting premise. In it, an accountant (played by Ben Gavin) breaks from routine to hunt for his missing friend who has left clues at major national parks. Part drama, part travelogue, the movie’s strengths come from the way it captures the freedom, open air, and wonder of so many parts of America. If you plan on watching Find Me, make sure that you’ve already looked up your closest national park. You’ll be inspired to grab some fresh air after you’ve watched Austin’s journey. 

Beastie Boys Story (2020)

the beastie boys story on apple tv.

Director: Spike Jonze
Cast: Beastie Boys, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz
Genre: Documentary, Music
Rating: TV-14
Runtime: 1hr 59min
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% (Critics), 85% Audience

Perhaps unsurprisingly due to Apple’s synonymous with music thanks to iTunes and the iPod, one of the best bets for entertainment on AppleTV+ is their array of music documentaries. From Selena Gomez and Billie Eilish to The Velvet Underground, the streamer has a host of impressive and entertaining music documentaries worth watching — and Beastie Boys Story is no different. Directed live by Spike Jonze with flair and style, this is a film capturing the joy, exhilaration, and funkiness of all rap has to offer. Ad-Rock and Mike D are compelling storytellers, making for a thoroughly honest, emotional (have some Kleenex for the discussion of MCA), and ultimately nostalgic walk through decades of rap history.

Emancipation (2022)


Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Will Smith, Jon Mone, Joey McFarland, Todd Black
Genre: Drama, History
Rating: R
Duration: 2hr 12min
Rotten Tomatoes: 45% (Critics), 55% (Audience)

Will Smith’s first major film following the infamous slap heard ‘round the world at last year’s Oscars ceremony is Emancipation, a historical drama based on the life of Peter, the real-life slave who escaped slavery and whose whipping scars were photographed in gruesome detail and released in 1863 in Harper’s Weekly. Grim, yet stylized, Emancipation is a tough watch but manages to remain engaging, in part, due to some high-stakes action sequences. Critics may have been unnecessarily tough on this movie following the Oscars slap, but if you can stomach the real-life events at the heart of director Antoine Fuqua’s film, Smith gives a dignified performance worth watching.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (2022)

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Director: Peter Baynton, Charlie Mackesy
Cast: Idris Elba, Tom Hollander, Gabriel Byrne
Genre: Fantasy, Animation
Rating: TV-G
Duration: 32min
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A (Critics), 79% (Audience)

If it seems to you like most family-friendly holiday classics were made in the 1960s, do yourself a favor and check out The Boy, the Mole, The Fox, and the Horse. Poised to be the kind of animated tale of hope and courage that warms your heart on a cold winter night for years to come, this 30-minute animated film is as gorgeous as it is emotionally resonant. Richly animated in a unique style evoking both watercolors and ink and pen drawings, The Boy, the Mole, The Fox, and the Horse’s beautiful visuals are matched by an all-star cast of voice actors. At such a short length, this animated tale about an unlikely friendship will hold the entire family’s attention as it spreads its message of kindness perfect for the holidays.

Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special (2020)

Mariah Carey is singing.

Director: Hamish Hamilton, Roman Coppola
Cast: Mariah Carey, Tiffany Haddish, Ariana Grande
Genre: Holiday, Music, Variety
Rating: G
Runtime: 43min
Rotten Tomatoes: 86% (Critics), 79% (Audience)

Want something festive the whole family can enjoy this holiday season? Look no further than Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special, featuring the de facto Queen of Christmas and a stocking’s full of celebrity guests and cameos. Cheerfully choreographed and jubilantly jovial, this 43-minute Christmas special is loosely held together by a story about a holiday cheer crisis in the North Pole. Come for Mariah, stay for Mariah (and Ariana Grande, Snoop Dogg, and Misty Copeland, among others).

Twas the Fight Before Christmas (2021)

A man is on a ladder.

Director: Becky Read
Cast: Jeremy Morris
Genre: Documentary
Rating: TV-MA
Duration: 1hr 31min
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% (Critics), 62% (Audience)

In this can’t-believe-it’s-real documentary, eccentric holiday decorator Jeremy Morris is profiled along with a legal case involving his larger-than-life Christmas light display. Cringey, spirited, and hilarious, Twas the Fight Before Christmas makes almost any stressful family gathering look like a trip to the North Pole as neighbors are pitted against Jeremy — who can’t (or won’t) see himself as anything but a victim. Complete with a Christmas camel and dramatic reenactments, Twas the Fight Before Christmas is one delightfully distressing documentary about just how deep some people’s holiday spirit truly goes.

Spirited (2022)

'Spirited' streaming on Apple TV+

Director: Sean Anders
Cast: Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, Octavia Spencer
Genre: Holiday, Musical, Comedy
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2hr 7min
Rotten Tomatoes: 68% (Critics), 79% (Audience)

Looking for a new holiday movie to cozy up to the fire with this winter? Spirited is a modern take on the classic Charles Dickens story, A Christmas Carol—with an all-star cast to boot. While Will Ferrell is perhaps most famous in the holiday season for his role as Buddy the Elf, he does a great job as the Ghost of Christmas Present struggling to reach snarky business mogul Clint (Ryan Reynolds). With original songs and impressive dance numbers, Spirited offers a comedic romp that’ll warm your heart even on the coldest winter days.

The Velvet Underground (2021)

'The Velvet Underground' streaming on Apple TV+

Director: Todd Haynes
Cast: Mary Woronov, Jonathan Richman, John Cale
Genre: Documentary, Music
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 50min
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% (Critics), 80% (Audience)

This kaleidoscopic tribute to The Velvet Underground is a compellingly crafted rock documentary that honors just how much of a cultural touchstone the band is. Whether or not you’re a fan of the band, Todd Haynes’ documentary is wholly entertaining, full of bold visual and aural choices that perfectly complement additional exclusive interviews and archival footage. Stylized and full of choices that fly in the face of traditional documentarians, The Velvet Underground is a collage of textures and influences, a fitting tribute to a band as idiosyncratic as The Velvet Underground.

Causeway (2022)

'Causeway' movie on Apple TV+

Director: Lila Neugebauer
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Brian Tyree Henry, Linda Emond
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Duration: 1hr 32min
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% (Critics), 77% (Audience)

If you’re a fan of many of the intimate dramas A24 is known for, then you’re definitely in for a treat with Causeway. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Lynsey, a former solder trying to reintegrate in her old life in New Orleans after returning home. As an exploration of trauma and connection, what’s perhaps most impressive about Causeway is how simple it is in execution. For fans who fell in love with Jennifer Lawrence for her work on films like Winter’s Bone or Silver Linings Playbook, Causeway is in some ways a return to form for Lawrence, whose subtle acting shines in this big-hearted film.

Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me (2022)

'Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me' on Apple TV+

Director: Alek Keshishian
Cast: Selena Gomez
Genre: Documentary, Music, Biography
Rating: R
Runtime: 1hr 35min
Rotten Tomatoes: 95% (Critics), 95% (Audience)

This documentary chronicling superstar Selena Gomez’s six-year journey to find light after an unexpected turn in her life is raw, intimate, and, overall, powerful. While just an hour and a half, thanks to Gomez’s honesty and willingness to present herself as authentically as possible, this documentary serves as an impressively deep dive into mental health and stardom. Director Alek Keshishian pulls no punches in capturing her day-to-day realities, ultimately creating a candid portrait of Selena Gomez as a truly genuine human being. The end result is surprisingly of-the-moment as the country still grapples with mental health in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Raymond & Ray (2022)

'Raymond & Ray' movie on Apple TV+

Director: Rodrigo Garcia
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Ewan McGregor, Maribel Verdu
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Rating: R
Runtime: 1hr 46min
Rotten Tomatoes: 45% (Critics), 62% (Audience)

In this film by director Rodrigo Garcia, Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor play half-brothers attending the funeral of their awful father. As a dramedy about grief and grieving, critics and audiences alike had some mixed feelings about the film’s execution. However, that alone isn’t reason to avoid this movie—fans of Hawke and McGregor will be pleased to know that they each turn in excellent performances, making this a film with many moments that sing. As a quirky story of redemption, Garcia brings something new to the table, even if it doesn’t always work as well as it could.

Cherry (2021)

tom holland in the movie cherry.

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Runtime: 2hr 20min
Rotten Tomatoes: 37% (Critics), 69% (Audience)

In this drama from the Russos, Tom Holland shows off his dramatic chops in the titular role of Cherry, a veteran of the Iraq War. Returning from his role as an army medic, Cherry faces severe PTSD, turning to drugs and crime as he struggles to reassimilate in the world as a civilian. Especially if you think of the Russos more for their action films in the MCU, then it’s fun to see them (and Holland) branch out into a much more stylish film with hard-hitting themes about the kinds of issues that face many veterans returning from war. While critics were lukewarm on the film due to a formulaic script, audiences willing to overlook that aspect of the film will still find much to enjoy.

Latest in Pop Culture