17 Movies To Watch Instead Of The Oscars

A bunch of great flicks the Academy apparently missed.

17 Movies To Watch Instead Of The Oscars L-R: Divines (Courtesy of Diaphana Films), Green Room (Courtesy of A24), American Honey (Courtesy of A24), 10 Cloverfield Lane (Courtesy of Paramount)

This Sunday, the Oscars roll around once again. Some movies we really like will get some attention. A whole lot of movies we also adored will be nowhere to seen. If you're not into tuxes and interminable patter, why not spend Sunday night checking out some of these bangers instead?

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The Love Witch

(In theaters now)

Camp reigns queen, witches are goddesses, and men are a sad joke in this, easily the single-most pleasurable moviegoing experience of the year. It was not just written, directed, and produced by Anna Biller — she wrote the original score and handmade much of the costumes and sets. A total triumph of the craft, in both senses of the word. — DUNCAN COOPER

Christine

(Streaming now)

Rebecca Hall is ridiculously good in this stressful 1970s biopic about a psychologically damaged anchor in a flailing Florida newsroom. Getting your more happy-go-lucky friends to watch with you might not be an easy sell, though, especially if they know the ugly real-life tragedy that inspired it. — PATRICK D. MCDERMOTT

Paterson

(In theaters now)

This is Jim Jarmusch's latest, and it’s pretty great. A bus driver named Paterson — who lives and works in Paterson, New Jersey — is also a brilliant, unknown poet. He crafts his poems over the course of the day, pulling inspiration from the things he sees and overhears on bus rides. There's also an amazing Method Man cameo. He raps in a laundromat. — SAM BALABAN

Other People

(Streaming now)

In Chris Kelly’s sickly underrated family drama, Kirsten Dunst’s fiancée Landry Clarke plays a gay comedy writer who comes home to middle-class California to spend time with his dying mom. A never-better Molly Shannon makes the ailing matriarch so likable that just writing this sentence is literally making my heart ache. — PDM

John Wick 2

(In theaters now)

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Re-watching the hyper-violent but gloriously choreographed first John Wick, and following up with the excellent second installment, does wonders in Trump’s America. As a friend told me the other day, “It’s OK to stew in a little anger. It’s a tough time.” For once only the bad guys die. — DC

Things To Come

(In theaters now)

Isabelle Huppert scored a best actress nom this year for her unflinching performance in Paul Verhoeven's twisted rape-focused drama Elle. But don't miss her powerful (and quietly heartbreaking) turn in French drama Things To Come, playing a philosophy teacher at a midlife crossroads and feeling a pull to a former student who lives in an anarchist commune. — OWEN MYERS

Krisha

(Streaming now)

In which a prodigal mother finally returns home to a family gathering and — slowly, surely — ruins everything. Through the crash, we’re never far from the unspoken calamities inside Krisha’s own addled brain. It makes us hate and love her, simultaneously, and fiercely. — AMOS BARSHAD

The Handmaiden

(Streaming now)

Park Chan-wook's psychosexual fairy tale is also the year's most epic queer love story. It's a hyperreal masterwork in three parts, each one more balls-to-the-wall twisted than the last. — PDM

Southside With You

(Streaming now)

What kept the Obamas going during those eight years? I suspect, if you asked, they might offer the politically correct answer. ("The will of the people who deserved a better country and future.”) But the real answer roots back to the summer of 1989, when Barack and Michelle, then working at a Chicago law firm, went on their first date. With a glint of tender magnetism, Southside With You captures the moment they realized their love — for each other, and for their community — could carry them through even the darkest of days. — JASON PARHAM

Green Room

(Streaming now)

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A hardcore band called the Ain't Rights makes the mistake of booking a gig at a neo-Nazi club in rural Oregon. They kick off their set with The Dead Kennedys's eternal "Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” and from there things go incessantly, maniacally south. A gory, glorious "fuck you" to white supremacy. — LEAH MANDEL

10 Cloverfield Lane

(Streaming now)

A perfectly conceived, perfectly executed compact little freakout thriller with an ending that proudly insists on a questionable filmmaking mantra: go big or go home. — AB

The Witch

(Streaming now)

Last year’s best horror movie was this gorgeous pastoral creepshow, so faithful to its 17th century scene-setting that you’ll spend most of the first 20 minutes trying to figure out what the heck anyone is talking about. Almost-famous newcomer Anya Taylor Joy is the best kind of Final Girl: one that might be a little bit evil herself. — PDM

The Apology

(In theaters now)

War stories are often told through the lens of men, but this stunning documentary about "comfort women" — sex slaves of the Japanese army during WWII — reminds us of the real casualties of wartime experiments in social control. In The Apology three of the few remaining survivors, brave women in their 80s and 90s, attempt to force an official apology from the Japanese government. — ANUPA MISTRY

American Honey

(Streaming now)

At nearly three hours, Fish Tank director Andrea Arnold's road movie about millennial beatniks is almost too long. But the way Arnold, who's British, treats even the bleakest American scenery as an object of extreme beauty is flat-out mesmerizing; it’s the sort of accessibly hazy arthouse flick that will undoubtedly inspire lots of young people to make some cool shit of their own. — PDM

Kapoor & Sons

(Streaming now)

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Family dramas are the backbone of Bollywood, and this film — set in the beautiful hill station of Coonoor — reinvents the trope for modern India. There's still some song and dance, but director Shakun Batra leans into narrative with thoughtful character development; significant because it's still early days for independent young women, weary wives, old folks, and queer characters to be treated with real complexity in Hindi cinema. Batra's film moves things in the right direction. — AM

Divines

(Streaming now)

Two BFFs, Dounia and Maimouna, live in one of Paris's poorer neighborhoods and experiment with rebellion to disastrous end. The trouble starts out innocently enough — classroom bravado, shoplifting — but quickly escalates; Dounia succumbs to La Haine-like nihilism, and Maimouna, the voice of reason, suffers the consequences. — AM

Bridget Jones's Baby

(Streaming now)

Renee Zellweger's commitment to playing the wacky, lovable Bridget Jones pays off for real in the series' third chapter where, finally, Bridge isn't entirely hopeless; she's still looking for love (well, this time, the identity of her baby daddy) but she's also damn good at her job. — AM

February 24, 2017
17 Movies To Watch Instead Of The Oscars