3 Best Movies to Watch by Sturgill Simpson

Staff & contributors

Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon isn’t a whodunnit; in fact, it’s closer to a who-didn’t-do-it. We know from the very beginning who is responsible for committing the brutal serial murders of wealthy Osage Native Americans in 1920s Oklahoma that the film chronicles: pretty much every single one of their white neighbors, spearheaded by William Hale (a skin-crawling Robert De Niro). Scorsese, most often associated with mafia stories, stealthily suggests here that the most dangerous gang of all is the one into which all these perpetrators have been born. That’s an idea he investigates through the confused loyalties of Leonardo DiCaprio’s Ernest Burkhart, the Judas-like husband of Mollie (movie-stealer Lily Gladstone), an Osage woman who owns lucrative oil headrights that William wants to fatten his own pockets with. This searing epic — based on a harrowing chapter of real American history — is an unsparing and self-implicating look at complicity and greed in the eye, a monumental movie that cements its maker as one of the greatest to ever do it.

Genre: Crime, Drama, History

Actor: Barry Corbin, Ben Hall, Brendan Fraser, Cara Jade Myers, David Born, Elden Henson, Eric Parkinson, Gabriel Casdorph, Gary Basaraba, Gene Jones, J. C. MacKenzie, Jack White, James Healy Jr., Jason Isbell, Jay Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Jo Harvey Allen, Joe Chrest, Joey Oglesby, John Lithgow, Joshua Close, Justin France, Katherine Willis, Larry Fessenden, Larry Jack Dotson, Larry Sellers, Lee Eddy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Louis Cancelmi, Marko Costanzo, Martin Scorsese, Michael Abbott Jr., Nathalie Standingcloud, Nathaniel Arcand, Nick W. Nicholson, Norma Jean, Pat Healy, Paul Woodiel, Pete Yorn, Robert De Niro, Scott Shepherd, Steve Eastin, Steve Routman, Steve Witting, Sturgill Simpson, Tantoo Cardinal, Tatanka Means, Ted Welch, Victor McCay, Vince Giordano, Wally Welch, Welker White, William Belleau

Director: Martin Scorsese

Rating: R

On their drive back from a Tinder date that was only average, a couple are pulled over by a racist police officer. Things escalate unexpectedly and the couple, one of whom is a lawyer aware of the corruptedness of the system, start a life on the run together. This thrilling set-up mixing social commentary and romance is a movie that's actually many movies in one. And almost as if to cut in-between the different tonalities, there are so many quiet and beautiful shots of the couple: silent, still or dancing - these moments are true cinematic magic. 

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Romance

Actor: Andre De'Sean Shanks, Andy Dylan, Benito Martinez, Bokeem Woodbine, Brian Thornton, Bryant Tardy, Chloe Sevigny, Colby Boothman-Shepard, Daniel Kaluuya, Dickson Obahor, Flea, Gayle King, Gralen Bryant Banks, Indya Moore, Jahi Di'Allo Winston, Jodie Turner-Smith, Joseph Poliquin, Karen Kaia Livers, Lucky Johnson, Melanie Halfkenny, Robert Walker Branchaud, Soledad O'Brien, Sturgill Simpson, Thom Gossom Jr.

Director: Melina Matsoukas

Rating: R

The big ideas swirling at the center of The Creator are about human heartlessness versus AI compassion, man’s coldness versus robot warmth. Unfortunately, the movie winds up being an unwitting example of the former: visual effects take precedence over emotion here, meaning you rarely feel any of the intended poignancy of this story about a soldier driven between warring sides by love.

Part of that effect might be because the premise is an iffy one to swallow, as The Creator drops during a time when the once-theoretical threats posed by AI start to become disconcertingly real. But mostly, the sterile feeling of the film is a product of the writing, as a shallow script prevents most of the cast from ever making their characters compelling. Though its lifelike effects are something to marvel at, The Creator never quite convinces us that any of its humans are real — a pretty gaping flaw for a movie that wants to sell us on the idea that robots might one day be sentient.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction

Actor: Allison Janney, Amar Chadha-Patel, Brett Bartholomew, Charlie McElveen, Eoin O'Brien, Gemma Chan, Ian Verdun, John David Washington, Karen Aldridge, Ken Watanabe, Leanna Chea, Mackenzie Lansing, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Marc Menchaca, Michael Esper, Ralph Ineson, Robbie Tann, Sawanee Utoomma, Sturgill Simpson, Teerawat Mulvilai, Veronica Ngo

Director: Gareth Edwards

Rating: PG-13