The Ultimate Movie Guide
Please enjoy this ULTIMATE MOVIE GUIDE to help you pick your movies whether you’re looking for a good laugh or a good cry. Feel free to refer back to this when looking for a good suggestion no matter the occasion because I know the struggle of deciding what to watch. Remember to watch the trailer first because I will surely overhype these films, and they might not actually be to your liking. I will now proceed to sort fifty films into ten categories with five movies each so sorry if the descriptions of the movies are a bit lackluster (update: it took me way too long to get this ready for one sentence summaries next time).
5 Movies to Watch With Your Friends
Watching movies with your friends is great! Pop some popcorn, grab some blankets, and definitely don’t calculate the time the movie will end if you start it at 12 AM! This all sounds like fun, but you don’t want to pick something boring for your friends to watch. I mean, without me you probably would have picked some historical or foreign film without subtitles. You’re welcome.
This hilarious movie follows a spoiled California brat, Poppy Moore (young Emma Roberts), who is forced to go to a boarding school in England. There, Poppy meets her match in head girl Harriet and school principal Mrs. Kinsley. Unwilling to accept the school’s strict rules, she decides to misbehave until she’s dismissed. This movie was as entertaining to me as a kid as it is now, and it's definitely an underrated teen film.
2. “She’s the Man”
Amanda Bynes was part of a slew of young adult movies in her prime, but none of them is as entertaining as “She’s the Man”. It centers around Viola, who disguises herself as her brother to take his place at an elite boarding school. The complexity of different love triangles (it's really a heptagon with the number of characters involved) and the teen drama that occurs makes this one fun to watch. If your friends are being loud, it’s okay to miss a bit of this movie as its sometimes cringy one-liners don’t require you to be glued to your seat. Oh, and this film also has a young Channing Tatum, so there’s that.
3. “The Devil Wears Prada”
Starring acting legends Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, this movie follows a recent journalism graduate who gets the opportunity to intern for the powerful director of the “Runway” fashion magazine, Miranda Priestly. It’s fun to watch as many prominent designers allowed their clothes and accessories to be used in the movie, so it’s the most expensively costumed film in history. If this movie doesn’t want to make you want to be the boss of some company, I don’t know what will.
The first time I watched this was at a sleepover in Middle School and I remember being the only one who hadn’t seen it. Don’t be like me! Seriously, if you haven’t watched it, you are missing out! Even if you don’t think you will enjoy it (I definitely thought I wouldn’t) the charming characters clad in classic 90s couture ends up growing on you. Alicia Silverstone plays Cher, a high schooler living in Beverly Hills whose seemingly superficial appearance covers up her wit, charm and intelligence, which helps her deal with everything going on in her hectic life.
5. “Love, Rosie”
Okay, so I haven’t seen this movie all the way through (yet) but I’ve been meaning to watch it for quite a while, so I think putting it on this list is the first step to getting me to finish it. It’s not that it was bad, but I was just too tired to finish. From what I did watch, this movie follows two best friends, Rosie and Alex, who on Rosie’s 18th birthday realize that there could be something more than friendship between them. I’m excited to watch the rest!
5 Movies to Watch When You Want to Laugh
Lots of people turn to movies for a good pick me up, making comedy a successful and entertaining genre on the big screen. What people consider funny varies, but here are some classic suggestions that at least will attempt to make you laugh.
I watched this last summer at the beach with my dad, and we were actually on the floor by the end of it. The events that lead up to the characters having a hangover are outrageous, and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I laughed. This movie is about three best friends who wake up after a bachelor party in Las Vegas to find the groom missing. They make their way around the city trying to piece together what happened the night before with the limited information they have, and hilarity ensues.
2. “Central Intelligence”
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart always seem to have some movie out, but this one stands alone due to the hilarious buddy-cop dynamic between the two central characters. The plot is that an accountant, who peaked in high school, reconnects with an old friend who lures him into the world of secrets and espionage.
3. “Paul Blart Mall Cop 2”
I watched this at a birthday party in fifth grade, and I still remember it. I was not disappointed, to say the least. If you have not seen this masterpiece I highly, highly suggest that you do so at this very moment. I’m sure it’s available on whatever device you are reading this on. If you are still reading this article and need a description to watch this cinematic wonder, I guess I will write one. Paul Blart, an average mall cop, takes a vacation with his daughter. But when things take a turn for the worse, Blart is there to save the day.
4. “Crazy, Stupid Love”
Steve Carell plays forty-something Cal who experiences a major life change after getting separated. Then, Cal, along with his best friend, hilariously navigate the troubles and tribulations of single life. He learns how to play the field but eventually realizes whom he really loves. Carell’s hilarious acting truly makes this one.
This movie kept me entertained during the entirety of its 125-minute run time, which is an impressive feat. The fast paced and witty plot centers around Annie (Kristen Wiig), a maid of honor at her best friend's wedding. After being introduced to the other bridesmaids, Annie becomes jealous of another bridesmaid, and competition ensues. Fun fact: this movie is the highest grossing R-rated female comedy of all time in the domestic box office.
5 Movies to Watch When You’re Sad
I don’t really watch movies to cry, I just end up crying. But if you’re in your feels and want to just let it all out, try these five picks. Or basically anything with dogs or people dying (but mostly dogs). Also, the beginning scene of “Up” and the signing with abuela scene in “Coco” both always get me, so maybe throw in some Disney movies too. If you’re a sucker for things like Mufasa dying in “Lion King,” these will definitely have you needing some tissues.
“Marley and Me”
I didn’t really want to watch this, but I watched it anyway just so I could include it here. I knew I’d be sad, and I was right. In this adorable, puppy-filled film, a family learns important life lessons from their impulsive and crazy dog Marley. Marley grows up with the family and experiences all of their joys and sorrows right alongside them.
2. “The Notebook”
Local worker Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) meets Allie (Rachel McAdams) at a carnival and they fall in love with each other, despite Noah being poor and the wealth gap between them. With Noah, Allie feels free and alive, but Allie’s parents disapprove of the relationship and they are separated. After waiting for Noah to write her for several years, Allie meets and gets engaged to another man, but she keeps coming back to Noah. It is evident that they still have feelings for each other, and Allie has to choose between her fiancé and her first love.
The situation in this movie is just so sad and portrays struggles that don’t even cross our minds. The story follows a young Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of miles from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. Twenty-five years later, he sets out to find his lost family.Additionally, it’s based off a book, and Dev Patel does a great job bringing that character to life.
4. “A Dog’s Purpose”
A dog tries to find his purpose over several different lifetimes with several different owners. It’s as simple as that, which makes it a very entertaining movie to follow.
5. “My Girl”
A young girl, Vada Sultenfuss, is very intelligent and hypochondriacal and has lost her mother. Her best friend (Macaulay Culkin from “Home Alone”) is also very smart for his age, and they go through an intense summer together. This movie is uniquely touching and reminds me of “Bridge to Terabithia,” which also deals with young kids and sadness.
5 Movies for Teenagers
I love watching movies meant for High Schoolers. Are they accurate and inspiring, or unrealistic and exaggerated? That’s up to you. Thankfully, I’ve sorted through the plethora of “meant for teens” films and picked out a range of encouraging coming of age movies.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
I was really impressed with how the book that this movie was based off describes the complexity of teenage struggles. This movie is about Charlie, who enters high school and is taken under the wing of two seniors who help him come out of his shell and truly experience things. He deals with the loss of his friend, new romantic relationships, and his own mental illness, all while struggling to find a group of people with whom he belongs.
2. “The Edge of Seventeen”
Another inspiring and relatable movie to watch as a High Schooler, “The Edge of Seventeen” follows main character Nadine who has to deal with her life going downhill when her brother starts dating her best friend. I related to her feeling the struggles with growing up and self-identity. Nadine is a super awkward and relatable main character, and she is overdramatic in a funny way. Even though she appears like a quirky and fun person on the outside, Nadine is also dealing with family loss, suicidal thoughts, and self-image. These factors make the movie feel more authentic and in tune with today’s youth.
3. “Love, Simon”
This touching movie has a heartwarming message about staying true to who you really are, even when it isn’t easy. It is really important that a coming-of-age story that focused on a teenager who not only was gay but also human and focused on all aspects of his life was successful- and had a huge impact on kids in real life. The plot revolves around the main character Simon, who has a connection with another boy “Blue,” but the only problem is that Simon has no idea who he's talking to. Simon must discover who Blue is, and in doing so, his secret is threatened by a classmate.
4. “The Spectacular Now”
The setup of the movie is this: Sutter Keely has the perfect high school life and is the life of the party. After being dumped by his girlfriend, however, Sutter gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finecky hovering over him. She’s different from the type of people with whom he hangs out and doesn’t have much relationship experience. While Aimee has dreams of a future, Sutter lives in the impressive delusion of a spectacular now, yet somehow, they're drawn together. This movie takes a more modern approach on the “nice girl fixes bad guy” trope.
5. “The Outsiders”
After reading this book in Middle School, I watched the movie right after I put the book down and was not disappointed. The characters didn’t diverge much off of what the books intended, and since I hadn’t watched many movies about gangs or anything of that sort in seventh grade, I enjoyed watching different characters. I put this under the teen category because the struggles the characters face with brotherhood, love, and friendship embody feelings we’ve all had, even if their lives are completely different. The movie follows Ponyboy Curtis, who lives with his older brothers Sodapop and Darry; along with other members of the group, they are a part of a gang known as the “Greasers.” The Greasers are from the poorer East side of town and have a rivalry with the rich gang from the west side, the “Socs”. While Ponyboy cares about school and writing, he doesn’t focus on them because the group rivalries consume his entire life- especially after he is ambushed thus raising tensions between the groups.
It’s important to respect your elders and the movies that contributed to the wide range of films released today. Characters, lines, scenes, and messages from these movies are still memorable and relevant, so these films withstand the test of time.
I was a little reluctant to watch this movie at first, but besides the quality and color of the movie itself, nothing about it felt old. It is about Rick Blaine, a cynical man who runs a nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco during the beginning of World War II. His café has become a haven for refugees who are seeking papers to get into America. When Isla, with whom Rick has a past, shows up with her husband, Rick faces a tough decision that leads to unforeseen complications, heartbreak, and relationships being tested.
2. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
This legendary movie starring acting idol Audrey Hepburn as an elegant, Manhattan socialite who becomes infatuated with her neighbor Paul. While Holly (Hepburn) is visiting expensive jewelry shops, Paul is a modest writer, then takes a surprising interest in Holly. Ultimately, Paul falls in love with Holly, and she will have to reciprocate his feelings or follow her own path. I love a classy and chic New York love story, and everything about Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly is as fabulous as it is calculated.
3. “The Godfather”
This legendary series surrounds the Corleone family and the head Vito (“Don”) Corleone as a powerful man who is ruthless to those who do not show him respect. When he decides to transfer his position to his son,a clash between Vito's fading old values and the new ways leads the family on the brink of being torn apart. If my love of this movie doesn’t convince you to watch it, maybe the fact that when it came out in 1972 it was nominatedfor ten Oscars and won three (including Best Picture) will.
4. “The Sound of Music”
Definitely different than “The Godfather,” “The Sound of Music” follows Julie Andrews as Maria, who leaves an Austrian convent to help the wealthy Von Trapp family. I can’t do this film justice with this description, but it’s really good, I promise! Maria succeeds in bringing back music to the house, providing some low-key catchy songs dispersed throughout the film. The Von Trapp kids are definitely a unique family ensemble, and it’s fun to see the characters evolve when they are under Maria’s influence. It’s also set in the 1930s in Europe and includes scenes that relate to history, so it’s actually educational.
5. “It’s a Wonderful Life”
This movie is about a frustrated businessman who contemplates committing suicide during a rough holiday season in Bedford Falls. An angel is sent from Heaven to help the desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.
It’s really interesting to think about how life would be if you were somewhere else, had you made one different decision, your parents hadn’t met, or you just didn’t exist all together. Even though this movie came out in 1946, the story still works today, and it holds up in the modern world. It is still on IMDB’s top 25 rated movies of all time.
5 Best 80’s Movies
While these are all basic and super popular, if you haven't seen one of these I’d recommend watching them ASAP. The only reason I’ve seen so many eighties movies is because my dad was avidly watching them a couple decades before me, and the ones worth re-watching he watched with me.
“Ferris Bueller's Day Off”
High schooler Ferris Bueller is determined to have the perfect day off with his friends, and executes a very sophisticated plan that takes him all around Chicago. While they are trapezing around the city, the school principal is convinced that Ferris is playing hooky and is determined to catch him.
2. “The Breakfast Club”
Five high schoolers with differing personalities happen to meet in Saturday morning detention and get to know each other. Throughout their nine-hour detention, they break the mold of who others see them as and arrive at a different perspective about themselves and the others. This movie delivers many iconic moments and definitely helped influence teens in the 80s and today. I like this movie because casual tone and pacing makes you feel like you are hanging out with the characters.
3. “Back to the Future”
This staple time-traveling movie follows seventeen-year old Marty McFly, who is sent thirty years in the past in a time traveling DeLorean invented by his scientist friend Doc Brown. Marty must make sure his teenage parents meet and fall in love so he can get back to the future.
In order to get out of a tight knit clique, intelligent teen Veronica Sawyer plots with her boyfriend Jason Dean to get away from the three Heathers: Duke, McNamara and Chandler. She hates them enough to wish they were dead, though she would never want to be their cause of death. When she starts dating Jason Dean, however, she finds herself involved in the murders of most of her enemies, covered up as suicides. This film goes to extremes portraying the cruelty of the popular crowd and the rebellion against it, and it is definitely for a more mature audience because it is a darker comedy.
5. “The Goonies”
This fun movie follows a group of young kids who discover an ancient map and set out on a quest to find a legendary pirate’s long-lost treasure. These hopeful kids set up for an adventure of a lifetime that has captivated many audiences across the country, so if you haven’t seen this yet it’s such a classic!
5 Movies to Watch With Your Family
Watching a movie about a family of superheroes with your own family is so fun. If you ever need a good idea for something on family movie night, watching “The Incredibles” or “Incredibles 2” is always a good choice.
2. “Mary Poppins”
This entertaining pick for a family to watch surrounds a magical nanny, Mary Poppins, who transforms the life of two kids and their father in London. The cast really pushed this movie to a higher standard; Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke as the chimney sweep Bert are especially good. I always forget about this movie, but I watched it when I was little and it was so magical. I have also seen it on Broadway, and it was an even more in-depth experience. I would definitely recommend watching the original one before the remake because you can’t mess with an original as it always will top the new one (for me at least).
3. “Mama Mia!”
This movie starts out when a woman about to be married discovers that any one of three man could be her father, so she invites them to her wedding. The setting of this movie makes me want to go to Greece, and the music by ABBA makes it so fun. If you are looking for a very enjoyable and light hearted film, “Mama Mia!” is perfect.
4. “Groundhog Day”
If you are sick of watching children’s movies with your family, this one is a more obscure pick, but always is a favorite, especially in early February. It follows a man having to live the same day over and over again until he can make things right.
5. “Finding Nemo”
After Nemo gets lost in the great blue sea, his dad sets out to find him and bring him home. This movie is one of Pixar’s many achievements, and all of Pixar’s films are suitable for watching with the family.
5 Best Movie Duos
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”
“21 Jump Street”
5 Underrated Rom Coms
“How to Be Single”
5 Best Movie Series
Looking to delve into a series? These can be the best because you can grow with characters over time and do not have to say goodbye to them after. While these are all really popular series, if you haven’t really explored one yet, I highly recommend watching the first out of the set of films.