Sometimes, all you want is to curl up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and escape the world for a while.
Maybe you’re going to a distant galaxy. Maybe you’re training famous racehorses. Maybe you’re watching politicians make shady decisions.
Either way, all you have to do is press play. That’s the beauty of the movies.
Of course, it helps if your escapism comes from movies that are worth watching. Here are four must watch movies that you have to see before 2018 is up.
1. Black Panther
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in Antarctica, you heard about the buzz that accompanied Black Panther, a movie that’s unlike any Marvel movie before it.
It’s an Afro-centric comic book superhero movie that’s affirmatively political in its concerns while still finding room for humor, references (Tolkien white guys, anyone?) and a dash of James Bond-style espionage. It’s set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, the only country in Africa that was never colonized.
The film centers on the fight between King T’Challa (the titular Black Panther) and Erik Killmonger for the future of the country, whether to keep Wakanda concealed or use its might to start a global revolution against oppression.
Yet for all of that, it’s a comic book movie with heart and universal appeal, anchored by stellar performances from the main cast.
2. Ocean’s Eight
Alternately, if you prefer a great con movie with a surprisingly good supporting cast (Marc Mani from Billionaire Boys Club, anyone?) then you owe it to yourself to watch the joy that is Ocean’s Eight.
There’s much disagreement over whether or not the movie’s main characters are gay or not, but whether or not you buy it, there are a few pleasures in life we can all agree on: Cate Blanchett in suits, Rihanna in everything, and Anne Hathaway having a grand time playing a caricature of herself.
The premise is pretty simple: Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock, sister to the original franchise’s Danny Ocean) gets out of prison wanting the simple life. So naturally, she calls her old partner in crime, Blanchett’s Lou, and pulls together a heist team to rob the Met Gala.
There are many moments the movie could have fallen flat, but Ocean’s Eight is a delightful little gem in which women are a perfect team, great jewelry deserves even greater heists, and the joy of a flawless con is the real score (also, there’s a surprisingly great ten-minute cameo by James Corden).
3. A Simple Favor
It’s Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick. Do we really need to say more?
Okay, it’s about the surprising friendship between mommy vlogger Stephanie Smothers (Kendrick) and sleek New York fashion maven Emily Nelson (Lively). Emily is, in her husband’s words, a beautiful ghost, and Stephanie is dazzled.
Then, Emily asks a simple favor (for Stephanie to pick up her son) and goes missing. It all goes sideways from there.
But the real joy here is that, despite the temptation, A Simple Favor is unafraid to let its hair down. It takes a good look at the head games women play with each other, but it doesn’t get bogged down in needing to Mean Something(TM).
It doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and that provides two talented actresses space to wow us.
Making Time for Must Watch Movies
There are so many must watch movies out there, it’s impossible to fit them all into one list. But we figure you’ve got three pretty good ones to start with.