New Year’s Eve is over, Christmas 2023 is in the history books, but there’s still one major holiday left to honor: New Year’s Day. Digital Trends has a suggestion to celebrate: throw a movie party. Why go out when you can stay home, log in to your Netflix subscription, and hang out with cool people like Timothée Chalamet, Julia Roberts, or Jennifer Lawrence?
The following list includes films from genres like sci-fi, thrillers, and comedies, and boasts new titles just released and classics from the ’80s and ’90s. It’s the perfect way to celebrate New Year’s Day, and it’s pretty cheap, too.
Looking for something else? Check out the best movies on Netflix, the best shows on Netflix, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime, and the best movies on Disney+. For Netflix fans, check out the 10 most popular movies on Netflix right now.
Already longing for the summer? The best way to relive the sunny season is through Jennifer Lawrence and Netflix. One of the funniest summer comedies released last year was No Hard Feelings. The movie focuses on Maddie Barker (Lawrence), who, on the verge of losing her childhood home after neglecting to pay property taxes, accepts an offer from a wealthy couple to deflower their introverted teenage son Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman, new to movies but a Broadway veteran).
Yes, No Hard Feelings is bawdy and more than earns its R rating, but it’s also surprisingly sweet and, at times, touching. Lawrence has good chemistry with Feldman, and the bittersweet ending will make you feel great as you welcome in 2024.
One of 2023’s best movies was David Fincher’s noir thriller The Killer, starring two-time Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender and Oscar winner Tilda Swinton. The plot follows the titular character, who embarks on an international manhunt following a botched hit in Paris.
Cool and stylish, The Killer is for action movie fans who enjoyed John Wick: Chapter 4 or any of Fincher’s past works like Se7en or Zodiac. Fassbender shines as the titular assassin, whose deadpan delivery gives the movie a nice comedic kick. Unexpectedly, bitingly funny, and savage, and offering the kind of electrifying moments that make action movies truly timeless, The Killer will surely become a modern classic.
“If you build it, he will come.” Everyone knows that line and almost everyone knows it was uttered in Field of Dreams, the ultimate dad movie, if there ever was one. Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is an Iowa corn farmer who receives a mysterious message while walking his field. An ominous voice says, “If you build it, he will come.” Ray then sees an image of Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta).
Despite his financial hardships, Ray plows a section of his field and builds a baseball diamond. The field becomes a stomping ground for the ghosts of famous baseball players, who begin to play games at night. However, Ray realizes baseball is only the first step as the voice takes him on a journey of self-discovery across the country.
The original Ouija movie isn’t good, but Origin of Evil is the rare prequel that’s actually better than the original. When a woman in 1967 decides to improve her séance act, she inadvertently calls on actual dark spirits. When one of her daughters is possessed, she must fight to save her child and send the spirits back to the realm they came from.
Although it has a by-the-numbers plot, Fall of the House of Usher‘s Mike Flanagan’s sharp direction makes the movie unsettling in ways that most horror movies fail to accomplish. It’s a genuinely scary movie and an effectively spooky way to ring in the new year.
Oppenheimer was one of 2023’s most popular and critically acclaimed movies. It’s not on Netflix yet, but if you want something like it, The Imitation Game should do the trick. Like Oppenheimer’s treatment in the United States, England was unfair and unkind to Alan Turing post-World War II. Turing also played an integral role in swinging the war in favor of the Allies through his codebreaking work at Bletchley Park during WWII.
Directed by Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing, a British mathematician and computer scientist recruited to work for the British government in 1939. Because of his interest in cryptography, Turing and a team of cryptanalysts are tasked with deciphering the Enigma machine, the cipher device used by the Nazis to send secret messages. With an intriguing premise, great performances by Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, and a literate Oscar-winning screenplay, The Imitation Game is a brainy WWII thriller that should satisfy fans of Oppenheimer or historical thrillers.
If you’re more in the mood for vague, end-of-the-world-maybe movies, we have just the film for you. Adapted from Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel of the same name, Leave the World Behind stars Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke as Amanda and Clay, a couple on vacation on Long Island. But their vacation takes a turn when two strangers (Mahershala Ali and Myha’la) arrive in the middle of the night seeking refuge from a cyberattack. In their little refuge, the four people must come to terms with a world that is rapidly collapsing around them.
Already one of Netflix’s most popular movies ever, Leave the World Behind is enjoyably absurd. As usual, Roberts is great, and Hawke once again displays a boyish charm that’s made him into one of the most enjoyably low-key actors around. Just leave your common sense, and your Tesla, at the door.
Dune: Part Two is coming out later in 2024, so now’s a good time to go back and rewatch the original, which is one of the best modern sci-fi films. On Arrakis, the most important world in the Galactic Empire, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) has been given the near-impossible task of making peace with the native Fremen while maintaining the spice flow that allows humanity to travel in space. But when House Atreides is betrayed by the emperor and delivered to their rivals House Harkonnen, Leto’s son, Paul Atreides (Wonka‘s Timothée Chalamet), and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), are forced to flee for their lives into the unforgiving deserts of Dune.
Only 3 years old, Dune still packs a visual and visceral punch, and the cast, which also features Jason Momoa, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, and Dave Bautista, is even more impressive now that they’ve starred in hits like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in the intervening years. Dune‘s a great way to transport yourself to another world without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.
Ignored when it was first released last year, Reptile is an intense crime thriller that never lets the audience get too comfortable with its main character, Detective Tom Nichols (played by Benicio del Toro). In the film, a young woman named Summer (Matilda Lutz) has been killed, and her body is discovered by her boyfriend, Will Grady (Justin Timberlake, taking a break from singing pop songs). And it seems like several men in Summer’s life could have meant her harm, including Grady himself.
As he delves further into the case, Nichols shares some of the details with his wife, Judy (Clueless star Alicia Silverstone). But even Nichols’ relationship with Judy may not be what it seems as he is forced to reexamine his own life while looking for the answers that could bring a killer to justice. Reptile is a great showcase for lead star del Toro, who makes for an ideal noir hero: conflicted, brooding, and just ever so slightly dangerous.
This one is for anyone feeling nostalgic or wanting a good coming-of-age movie. One of the best Stephen King adaptations ever, Stand by Me, is set in 1959 in Castle Rock, Oregon. After learning about the location of a missing boy’s body, 12-year-old Gordon “Gordie” Lachance (Wil Wheaton before he was on Star Trek: The Next Generation), and his friends Chris Chambers (River Phoenix), Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman), and Vern Tessio (Jerry O’Connell) decide to find the body in the hope of being recognized as heroes.
Along the way, they encounter aggressive dogs, truly evil bullies, and some slugs that turn up in the unlikeliest of places. Unlike most of King’s works, Stand By Me isn’t concerned with the supernatural; instead, it tackles something far more scary–growing up and learning to let go. The last five minutes constitute one of the all-time great movie endings, and you’ll be humming the title song well into 2024.
Everyone bemoans the decline of the theatrical rom-com, but why complain when one of the classics in the genre is right there in your Netflix queue? Julia Roberts is both the hero and the villain in My Best Friend’s Wedding, a unique take on a classic narrative where the girl wants the boy even though he’s engaged to someone else. Roberts’ Julianne Potter tries to stop her best friend, Michael O’Neal (Scream VI‘s Dermot Mulroney), from marrying sweet Kimmy Wallace (Cameron Diaz) even though they are seemingly perfect for each other.
Unlike most ’90s rom-coms, My Best Friend’s Wedding still holds up today, in part because it isn’t afraid to get a little nasty. Roberts does some pretty shady things, but her actions are somewhat justifiable. The movie is famous for its Chicago locations and Cameron Diaz karaoke scene, but the best sequence by far is the spontaneous sing-along to Dionne Warwick’s I Say A Little Prayer.
For more New Year’s Eve selections, check out 3 great comedies to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great rom-coms to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great Netflix shows you need to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great dramas you need to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great Netflix thrillers you need to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great action movies to watch on New Year’s Eve, and 3 great sci-fi movies you need to watch on New Year’s Eve.
For New Year’s Day suggestions, try 3 great Hulu shows you need to watch on New Year’s Day and 3 great Prime Video movies to watch on New Year’s Day.
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