50 Best Movies to Watch with Friends

50 Best Movies to Watch with Friends

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There are some movies that fall flat when you view them alone but absolutely soar when seen with the right people. All of a sudden, the jokes are hilarious, the slow scenes are bearable, and the jump scares, which you found ridiculous a while ago, are now ridiculously fun. 

These kinds of movies are just so joyous or meaningful or challenging or thrilling (or all of these combined) that it feels like a waste not to share them with friends. So whether you’re looking to have a laugh with your favorite people, engage in a debate with them, or simply find the meaning of friendship onscreen, you’ll be sure to find the perfect watch in our list of best movies to watch with friends below.

50. Office Space (1999)

7.3

Country

United States of America

Director

Mike Judge

Actors

Ajay Naidu, Alexandra Wentworth, Charissa Allen, David Herman

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Grown-up Comedy, Quirky

Before “burnout,” “bullshit jobs,” and “quiet quitting” became part of our everyday lexicon, there was a film in the ‘90s that prophesied the rise of these workplace problems. Office Space follows three co-workers who, having had enough of their dreary low-paying jobs, fight back against their company via an embezzlement scheme. 

Office Space makes the most out of its indie budget as it mostly takes place in the cramped quarters of a company, effectively bottling us into the cubicled windowless world of the characters. But the real beauty of the film is in the details, from its quick zingers and thoughtful takes on the essence of work down to its elaborate “planning to plan” scheme in the background and the employees’ forced politeness singing happy birthday to their boss. Modern viewers will notice that Office Space sits right in between the dystopian thriller Severance and the beloved sitcom The Office—a dark comedy that highlights the necessity of humanity in everyday work. 

49. Fright Night (1985)

7.4

Country

United States of America

Director

Tom Holland

Actors

Amanda Bearse, Art Evans, Bob Corff, Chris Sarandon

Moods

Easy, Intense, No-brainer

Fright Night wastes no time confirming that, yes, that handsome new neighbor is a vampire, and yes, he has to be defeated. By cutting to the chase, the film refreshingly lets its heroes and villains spend a lot of time together, goading each other on in a battle of wills. But apart from that, Fright Night sticks to the reliable ’80s-horror formula, full of spectacular makeup effects, cheesy thrills, and delightfully over-the-top performances. Chris Sarandon is irresistible as the evil vampire Jerry Dandrige, while Roddy McDowall’s heartfelt performance as the fraud vampire hunter Peter Vincent gives us a redemption arc worth rooting for.

48. 20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

7.4

Country

United States of America

Director

Morgan Neville

Actors

Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Botti, Darlene Love

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Heart-warming

For the background singers featured in 20 Feet from Stardom, music is a vocation. It is not merely an occupation or a pastime; it is a way of life, a “higher calling,” as the legendary Lisa Fischer would say. For 90 minutes, director Morgan Neville superbly maps out the development of back-up singing in the US throughout the decades, exploring its deep connection with African-American culture and women’s history. It’s fun to finally put names and faces on the oohs and aahs we hear on records aplenty, but the film always finds its grounding on the singers’ own unique voices, where its true soul lies.

47. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

7.4

Country

United States, United States of America

Director

Jonathan Lynn

Actors

Austin Pendleton, Bob Penny, Bruce McGill, Chris Ellis

Moods

A-list actors, Feel-Good, Funny

Unlike the many courtroom films of its time, My Cousin Vinny forgoes theatrics and drama for true-blue comedy. It stars Joe Pesci as the titular Vinny, a newly minted New York attorney who’s taking on a murder trial in Alabama as his first case, while Marisa Tomei plays Vinny’s fiancée, Mona Lisa Vito, in an Oscar-winning turn. The loudmouthed couple are decidedly out of place in Alabama, supplying the film with many comedic gems, but they’re also unexpectedly clever. Along with its humor and memorable characters, My Cousin Vinny has come to be known for its legal accuracy and flair.

46. Dear Ex (2018)

7.4

Country

Taiwan

Director

Chih-Yen Hsu, Female director

Actors

Ai-Lun Kao, Clover Kao, Danny Liang, Fang Wan

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Dramatic, Emotional

Dear Ex is a family drama that explores LGBT+ issues in contemporary Taiwan. As much as it is a movie about how people cope with loss, it’s a powerful, heartwarming, and intimate portrait of the relationship between Jay and Song Zhengyuan and all the obstacles they face.

While the themes of Dear Ex are heavy, the director makes the viewing experience easier for the audience thanks to humorous and witty dialogue. Meanwhile, the history between Jay and Song Zhengyuan’s relationship unfolds in a very beautiful, almost poetic way, and by the end of the movie, we understand that everyone gets their own kind of forgiveness. The way the characters effortlessly show that love is something beyond genders is admirable, and it is great to see how everyone gets their own kind of forgiveness whether it’s from themselves or from others by the end of the movie.

45. Microhabitat (2017)

7.4

Country

South Korea

Director

Female director, Jeon Go-woon

Actors

Ahn Jae-hong, Cho Soo-hyang, Choi Deok-moon, Esom

Moods

Character-driven, Depressing, Dramatic

Miso may be living day to day on her meager earnings as a cleaner, but she is decidedly content. She insists that all she needs to get by are cigarettes, whiskey, and time with her boyfriend, so when a spike in rent and prices invites her to reassess her priorities, she doesn’t budge. Instead of forgoing these luxuries, she gives up her tiny place and couch surfs with her old bandmates. What follows is a reunion of sorts, where darkly humorous epiphanies are had on both ends about adulthood, responsibilities, and what it really means to be happy in an increasingly indifferent, profit-oriented world.  

Microhabitat treads on very grave themes, and the images it conjures can be unsettling. But it is also surprisingly light on its feet, displaying sharp satire and sweet empathy for its unyielding protagonist. Miso is portrayed with a smartness and softness that evades rational judgment, and this endearment makes the story, especially the ending, all the more painfulul, poignant, and impactful.

44. The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)

7.4

Country

United States of America

Director

Michael Schwartz, Tyler Nilson

Actors

Ann Owens, Aurelian Smith Jr., Bruce Dern, Dakota Johnson

Moods

A-list actors, No-brainer, True-crime

This buddies-on-the-road drama was the highest-grossing independent film of 2019, which tells you everything you need to know about it: it’s familiar, but it’s not overblown.

A fisherman (Shia LaBeouf) has to flee after vandalizing the property of a rival fishing group who bully him. On the way, he meets a man with Down syndrome, who, unexpectedly, is on a journey to become a pro wrestler.

43. Ringu (1998)

7.5

Country

Japan

Director

Hideo Nakata

Actors

Hiroyuki Sanada, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Hitomi Satô, Kiriko Shimizu

Moods

Dark, Gripping, Slow

Despite being remade, parodied, and absorbed into pop culture over the years, the original Ring defiantly marches to the beat of its own drum. Focused entirely on building a slow-burn mystery instead of dispensing scares, the film provides ample space for a number of interpretations: on the spread of technology, the erasure of traditional beliefs, or even motherhood. It’s all relentlessly quiet and extremely creepy, the tension building with the same energy as ghost stories told around a campfire. And while famous for its eerie images and the rules surrounding its cursed videotape, Ringu also serves as a reminder that great horror should compel the audience to keep on watching, even if they already know exactly what awaits them if they do.

42. Rocks (2019)

7.5

Country

Germany, UK, United Kingdom

Director

Female director, Sarah Gavron

Actors

Afi Okaidja, Anastasia Dymitrow, Bukky Bakray, D’angelou Osei Kissiedu

Moods

Dramatic, Emotional, Heart-warming

It’s rare now to hear the phrase “girl power” without being immediately suspicious of its intentions, reduced as it were to cheesy adspeak and empty platitudes. But in the case of Rocks—a movie helmed by a predominantly female crew and co-written by the teenage cast themselves—the slogan fits. There is power in this type of girlhood: open, collaborative, and supportive, and that’s just what happens off-screen. 

On-screen, what unfolds is even more complex and beautiful. As Rocks struggles to take care of her younger brother all on her own, as she’s forced to grow up and face ethical dilemmas normally reserved for adults, she is backed unwaveringly by her friends Sumaya, Agnes, Yawa, Khadijah, and Sabina. It’s their specific bond, unsentimental but deeply considerate and loyal, that keeps the film as solid and grounded as the title suggests.

41. Bad Genius (2017)

7.5

Country

Thailand

Director

Nattawut Poonpiriya

Actors

Aokbab Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Chanon Santinatornkul, Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Ego Mikitas

Moods

Gripping, Intense, Smart

It looks like something you’ve already seen before: a student genius turns a simple high school cheating scheme into a full-blown, high-stakes heist. But layered with great acting, taut writing, and sharp observations about the ways in which education (and society in general) fails its students, Bad Genius turns a familiar premise into something genuinely exciting and impressively affecting. It’s everything you want a caper movie to be: smart and thrilling, with almost no moment to breathe, and of course, peppered with characters you can’t help but root and be nervous and excited for. 

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