The Great Fall Movie Watch List – 2019

I love fall movies. This is known.

Last year, I put together a quick post that highlighted the various movies I was excited to see and their release dates. It was pretty basic stuff that didn’t quite stir me like I thought it would. I was excited for the season, all right. But it didn’t introduce me to any new movies, nor did it create another gear of excitement for that year’s movies in my soul. Maybe it was just a down movie year? Or maybe I didn’t do it right.

Let’s go with the latter. In this post, I’ve outlined 47 movies that are generating some kind of buzz for next year’s Academy Awards — any buzz counts. In my estimation, these are the movies that people will be talking about in some form or fashion for the next five months, which means they are the movies on my radar this year. Will I see all of them? Probably not, that would be expensive for a guy who spends most of his money on food (or, yes, his upcoming wedding); rather, they’re all movies that, if I see them, I’d feel fulfilled.

Because going 47/47 is unlikely, I decided to spend some time prioritizing the upcoming releases into several tiers. I’m trying to do a little more movie writing this year, so check back in to this page to find the links to some fresh movie blogs.

Without further ado:

Tier 1: The Ticket Is Literally In The Mail

Ad Astra

Date: Sept. 20
Director: James Gray
Stars: Brad PittLiv TylerTommy Lee Jones
Description: Astronaut Roy McBride undertakes a mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.

Joker

Date: Oct. 4
Director: Todd Phillips
Stars: Joaquin PhoenixRobert De NiroZazie Beetz
Description: An original standalone origin story of the iconic villain not seen before on the big screen, it’s a gritty character study of Arthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society, and a broader cautionary tale.

The Report

Date: Nov. 15
Director: Scott Z. Burns
Stars: Adam DriverAnnette BeningJon Hamm
Description: Idealistic Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones, tasked by his boss to lead an investigation into the CIA’s post 9/11 Detention and Interrogation Program, uncovers shocking secrets.

Ford v. Ferrari

Date: Nov. 15
Director: James Mangold
Stars: Caitriona BalfeMatt DamonChristian Bale
Description: American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Date: Dec. 20
Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Daisy RidleyKeri RussellAdam Driver 
Description: The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

1917

Date: Dec. 25
Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Richard MaddenBenedict CumberbatchMark Strong
Description: Two young British soldiers during the First World War, are given an impossible mission: deliver a message, deep in enemy territory, that will stop their own men, and Blake’s own brother, from walking straight into a deadly trap.

Tier 2: You Want To Grab A Beer And Go Watch Something?

Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

Date: Already out
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprioBrad PittMargot Robbie
Description: A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.

The Farewell

Date: Already out
Director: Lulu Wang
Stars: AwkwafinaTzi MaDiana Lin
Description: A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.

Pain and Glory

Date: Oct. 4
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Antonio BanderasAsier EtxeandiaLeonardo Sbaraglia
Description: A film director reflects on the choices he’s made in life as past and present come crashing down around him.

Jojo Rabbit

Date: Oct. 18
Director: Taika Waititi
Stars: Roman Griffin DavisThomasin McKenzieTaika Waititi 
Description: A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.

The Irishman

Date: Nov. 1
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De NiroAnna PaquinAl Pacino
Description: A mob hitman recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Date: Nov. 22
Director: Marielle Heller
Stars: Tom HanksMatthew RhysEnrico Colantoni
Description: Based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod.

Dark Water

Date: Nov. 22
Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Anne HathawayMark RuffaloBill Pullman
Description: A corporate defense attorney takes on an environmental lawsuit against a chemical company that exposes a lengthy history of pollution.

The Two Popes

Date: Nov. 27
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Stars: Jonathan PryceAnthony HopkinsJuan Minujín
Description: Behind Vatican walls, the traditionalist Pope Benedict and the reformist future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.

Just Mercy

Date: Dec. 25
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Stars: Brie LarsonMichael B. JordanJamie Foxx
Description: Just Mercy shadows world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson as he recounts his experiences and details the case of a condemned death row prisoner whom he fought to free.

Little Women

Date: Dec. 25
Director: Greta Gerwig
Stars: Timothée ChalametFlorence PughEmma Watson
Description: Four sisters come of age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Tier 3: This Is A Taylor Swift House

Cats

Date: Dec. 20
Director: Tom Hooper
Stars: Idris ElbaTaylor SwiftRebel Wilson
Description: A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.

Tier 4: Is This Streaming Yet?

Rocketman

Date: Already out
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Stars: Taron EgertonJamie BellRichard Madden
Description: A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John‘s breakthrough years.

Toy Story 4

Date: Already out
Director: Josh Cooley
Stars: Tom HanksTim AllenAnnie Potts 
Description: When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

Downton Abbey

Date: Sept. 20
Director: Michael Engler
Stars: Matthew GoodeMaggie SmithMichelle Dockery
Description: The continuing story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century.

Judy

Date: Sept. 27
Director: Rupert Goold
Stars: Renée ZellwegerJessie BuckleyGaia Weiss 
Description: Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.

The Laundromat

Date: Sept. 27
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Meryl StreepGary OldmanSharon Stone
Description: A widow investigates an insurance fraud, chasing leads to a pair of Panama City law partners exploiting the world’s financial system.

I WATCHED IT.

Gemini Man

Date: Oct. 11
Director: Ang Lee
Stars: Will SmithMary Elizabeth WinsteadClive Owen
Description: An over-the-hill hitman faces off against a younger clone of himself.

The King

Date: Oct. 11
Director: David Michôd
Stars: Timothée ChalametLily-Rose DeppRobert Pattinson
Description: Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life.

Harriet

Date: Nov. 1
Director: Kasi Lemmons
Stars: Joe AlwynCynthia ErivoJanelle Monáe
Description: The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Marriage Story

Date: Nov. 6
Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Scarlett JohanssonAdam DriverMark O’Brien
Description: Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.

Bombshell

Date: Dec. 20
Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Margot RobbieCharlize TheronNicole Kidman
Description: A group of women decide to take on Fox News head Roger Ailes and the toxic atmosphere he presided over the network.

Tier 5: If It’s Just Me And The Dog At Home, Sure I’ll Throw It On

Us

Date: Already out
Director: Jordan Peele
Stars: Lupita Nyong’oWinston DukeElisabeth Moss 
Description: A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.

Brittany Runs A Marathon

Date: Sept. 13
Director: Paul Downs Colaizzo
Stars: Jillian BellJennifer DundasPatch Darragh
Description: A young woman decides to make positive changes in her life by training for the New York City Marathon.

Hustlers

Date: Sept. 13
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Stars: Constance WuJennifer LopezJulia Stiles
Description: Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.

Dolemite Is My Name

Date: Oct. 4
Director: Craig Brewer
Stars: Eddie MurphyWesley SnipesKodi Smit-McPhee
Description: Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.

Parasite

Date: Oct. 11
Director: Joon-ho Bong
Stars: Kang-ho SongSun-kyun LeeYeo-jeong Jo
Description: All unemployed, Ki-taek’s family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they get entangled in an unexpected incident.

Waves

Date: Nov. 1
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Stars: Alexa DemieClifton Collins Jr.Sterling K. Brown
Description: Two young couples navigate through the emotional minefield of growing up and falling in love.

Knives Out

Date: Nov. 27
Director: Rian Johnson
Stars: Katherine LangfordAna de ArmasChris Evans
Description: A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.

Queen & Slim

Date: Nov. 27
Director: Melina Matsoukas
Stars: Chloë SevignyIndya MooreDaniel Kaluuya 
Description: A couple’s first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.

Tier 6: Is It Nominated For Something Big?

Lucy In The Sky

Date: Oct. 4
Director: Noah Hawley
Stars: Zazie BeetzNatalie PortmanJon Hamm
Description: Astronaut Lucy Cola returns to Earth after a transcendent experience during a mission to space, and begins to lose touch with reality in a world that now seems too small.

The Goldfinch

Date: Oct. 11
Director: John Crowley
Stars: Nicole KidmanFinn WolfhardSarah Paulson
Description: A boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Lighthouse

Date: Oct. 18
Director: Robert Eggers
Stars: Willem DafoeRobert PattinsonValeriia Karaman
Description: The story of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

Motherless Brooklyn

Date: Nov. 1
Director: Edward Norton
Stars: Bruce WillisEdward NortonGugu Mbatha-Raw 
Description: Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, Motherless Brooklyn follows Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna.

The Aeronauts

Date: Dec. 6
Director: Tom Harper
Stars: Felicity JonesEddie RedmayneHimesh Patel
Description: Pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) and scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) find themselves in an epic fight for survival while attempting to make discoveries in a hot air balloon.

A Hidden Life

Date: Dec. 13
Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: August DiehlValerie PachnerMichael Nyqvist 
Description: The Austrian Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious objector, refuses to fight for the Nazis in World War II.

Tier 7: Probably Not, But I’m Aware Of Its Existence

The Souvenir

Date: Already out
Director: Joanna Hogg
Stars: Neil YoungTosin ColeJack McMullen
Description: A young film student in the early ’80s becomes romantically involved with a complicated and untrustworthy man.

The Kill Team

Date: Oct. 25
Director: Dan Krauss
Stars: Alexander SkarsgårdNat WolffAdam Long
Description: A young American soldier in Afghanistan is disturbed by his commanding officer’s behavior and is faced with a moral dilemma.

Midway

Date: Nov. 8
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Patrick WilsonLuke EvansDennis Quaid
Description: The story of the Battle of Midway, told by the leaders and the sailors who fought it.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Date: Dec. 6
Director: Céline Sciamma
Stars: Noémie MerlantAdèle HaenelLuàna Bajrami
Description: On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.

Uncut Gems

Date: Dec. 13
Director: Benny SafdieJosh Safdie
Stars: Adam SandlerJulia FoxKevin Garnett
Description: Set in the diamond district of New York City, Howard Ratner, a jewelry store owner and dealer to the rich and famous, must find a way to pay his debts when his merchandise is taken from one of his top sellers and girlfriend.

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