The Thunderbeat Staff shares their top movies you should watch


Adviser Julie Rowse – “Casablanca”

I know, I know, leave it to the oldest person writing about their favorite movie to pick one that was released in 1942. But hear me out: “Casablanca,” directed by Michael Curtiz, is as timeless a movie as they come, and is more than worth your time.

Set in Morocco just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, “Casablanca” follows cafe owner Rick Blaine while he grapples with whether neutrality is a feasible option in wartime. On its surface, viewers might see it as a simple love triangle story between Rick, his former lover Ilsa, and Ilsa’s paramour Victor. But “Casablanca” requires a deeper look, one that is relevant to the current political climate.

The city Casablanca was a holding place for refugees fleeing the oppression of the Third Reich, hoping to get to the United States. In one poignant scene, a table of refugees, thinking of their possible new life, toast to America, and the sense of hope they place in the destination is palpable.

Every time I watch “Casablanca,” I am more and more reminded that neutrality truly is the side of the oppressor. Watching Rick move from “I stick my neck out for no one” to actively working to undermine goals of the Nazi general in the film inspires and reminds me that sometimes doing the right thing means taking a risk I might be initially uncomfortable with.

Editor-in-Chief Meg Gross – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

Marvel’s 2014 “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” has been my comfort Marvel movie since the moment I watched it. In the movie, Captain America (Chris Evans),  alongside Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) uncovers a conspiracy in S.H.I.E.L.D whilst fighting off the “mysterious assassin,” the Winter Soldier. 

This movie is the perfect mix for Marvel fans: lovable friends met along the way, including the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), intense fight scenes, and uncovering a secret within a government organization. The movie also includes some of the most famous quotes in the MCU that stick around long enough to even appear in “Avengers: Engame”, like “On your left.” 

The movie most importantly leaves lasting impacts on its succeeding MCU movies through the “Fall of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and gives a full character arc to Steve Rogers as he teaches himself about life in the 21st century, is forced to confront what he believes he knows, and learns to trust his own instincts.

Co-Editor-in-Chief Gnally Boukar – “Head of State”

I started watching “Head of State” straight out of the womb in 2004. The satirical movie follows local district alderman Mays Gilliam, played by Chris Rock, as he’s launched into the life of a presidential candidate. Originally, Gilliam’s debut was a joke for the Democratic party. By nominating a Black man who is seemingly ensured to lose, they hoped to win the “minority vote” for the Democratic party in the next presidential election. 

Chris Rock managed to craft the perfect movie playing off of the complex relationships between race, gender, and politics. Characters like Gilliam’s fun loving-bail bondsman-older-brother-turned-running-mate or his ex-fiancee-turned-stalker provide bouts of comical relief. 

The more I rewatch this movie I start to see more parallels between our political landscape and the one fashioned by Chris Rock. Every joke I’ve heard at least 40 times, yet it still puts a smile on my face everytime.

Co-Editor-in-Chief Emily Mabbitt – “The Social Network”

“The Social Network” follows Harvard undergrad and computer wiz Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) as he creates arguably the most successful social media platform, Facebook. What started in a college dorm room expanded to millions of users worldwide, making Mark Zuckerberg one of the youngest billionaires in the world.

However, with money comes complications. After Facebook started taking off, Zuckerberg found himself wrapped up in two lawsuits. The first from Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence) who claim that they devised the idea of Facebook, the other from his former friend and CFO of Facebook, Eduardo Savrin (Andrew Garfield), who was demoted from his position after Napster co-founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) was brought in. 

Jesse Eisenberg encapsulates the know-it-all jerk persona of Mark Zuckerberg perfectly. This can be seen when one of the opposing lawyers is asking Zuckerberg if he has his full attention to which he responds “You have part of my attention. You have the minimum amount.” 

As much as glorifying billionaires makes my stomach turn, this biopic is so incredibly crafted that I can’t help but admit that this is one of my all time favorite movies. Director David Fincher (“Fight Club”, “Gone Girl”) is such a good storyteller that even though the movie jumps back and forth in time I never found myself lost or confused.

This knowledgeable film is surely a must-watch even if you, like most, hate Mark Zuckerberg’s guts.

Entertainment Editor Owen Reimer – “Get Out”

I’ve seen ‘Get Out’ more than I’ve seen any other movie. It’s my go-to when I’m feeling down, when I want to turn off my brain, or when I want to just enjoy a movie that’s perfect from top to bottom. I’ll never forget the first time I watched this movie in eighth grade, and even though I’ll never get that level of shock again, it still holds up every time I put it on.

One reason why ‘Get Out’ is so rewatchable is that it’s perfectly paced. Director Jordan Peele makes a movie that’s equally hilarious and chilling, which makes it a perfect thriller to put on at any time. It never feels like it’s trying to get a false reaction out of you, but more so presents a situation and allows you to put together the pieces along with Chris, the protagonist.

Not satisfied with being a masterclass in horror movies, it also manages to be full of ingenious social commentary that defines the movie as something more than just a few scares. Peele uses this family to represent a race-obsessed culture in America, and hits the nail on the head consistently. It also helps that the director has a background in comedy, because when things take a turn darker, he makes sure to keep a level of comedy to keep the narrative relatable and wonderful.

‘Get Out’ was the first movie that really encapsulated me into its world. In the many times I’ve rewatched it, it hasn’t failed to put me back there again and again.

Sports Editor Mia Fox – “Ratatouille”

The story behind “Ratatouille” portrays a beautiful, yet unique, friendship between a human and a rat. Characters Linguini and Remy the rat meet in the kitchen of a once-famous restaurant. Their friendship starts when Linguini is given credit for Remy’s creations. Soon after, they begin to electrify Paris with their remarkable cooking. 

With Remy being a “little chef”, he continues to create new cooking sensations which prove anyone can cook. Remy has moments of pure bliss as he experiences the intense flavors of sweet strawberries and savory cheese. This is shown by the contrast and pop of unique colors swirling around Remy as he discovers a new culinary experience. 

Remy is a lovable, passionate, and extremely gifted rodent. He became very loyal and wanted to help Linguini in any way he could. How could you not love such a precious and creative creature? 

This movie is the epitome of a well-rounded film. This visual masterpiece shows how you can make a family-friendly movie creative and funny for everyone. The director, Brad Bird, has created many popular and loveable movies, but this one takes the cake.

Features Editor Emmalie Herd – “Radium Girls”

Abby Quinn and Joey King star in the movie “Radium Girls” playing sisters Josephine and Bessie as they begin working at American Radium. Recently after Marie Curie’s discovery of Radium, the girls begin painting watch faces with a substance called Glodark, a paint-like mixture made with Radium, unaware of its toxicity. They are told to lick the paintbrush in between strokes to create a cleaner line. Doing this puts them at high risk for serious illnesses and bodily injuries. 

“Radium Girls” raises awareness to the struggles that American women faced in the early 20th century. While getting paid only one cent per watch face, they are unknowingly risking their lives so that American soldiers in trenches may keep the time. As their co-workers begin to fall ill, suspicions are raised about just how safe their working conditions really are. This only sheds more light on women’s rights and gender equality in this era.

The movie contains dramatic scenes full of many conflicting emotions, which the actresses convincingly portray. Anyone watching can tell how scared the girls become as the effects of radium are slowly revealed to them. The plot is engaging and it is easy to become invested in the characters. I’ll definitely be rewatching it again soon.

Social Media Manager Claire Wood – “Ocean’s Eleven”

The first installment in the “Ocean’s” movie series has a special place in my heart. Since I first watched it when I was 11, I have made every new friend watch it with me and no matter how they may feel about it (which they mainly all enjoy), I love it every single time. 

This movie makes you turn to the bad side and cheer for the criminals as you go along with Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his comrade Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) in getting a group of guys together and conducting a heist to steal $160 million from the vault of the Bellagio.

The group of men don’t just trick the people in the movie, they trick you as well. The huge plot twist is the exact reason why I love this movie so much. I look forward to it every single time I watch it. Every movie in the series has some sort of twist in the end, but the first movie is by far the best. 

While a movie about trying to rob a casino might seem serious, this group has the time of their lives and has no problems with jokes and comedic timing. Danny and Tess (Julia Roberts) share a bit of romance and give us an insight of criminal love. 

While I recommend you watch every “Ocean’s” movie, ending with “Ocean’s Eight” with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), following in Danny’s footsteps as she gets a team of women together for her own heist, if you are going to watch just one, “Ocean’s Eleven” has to be it.

Reporter Carlee Rigatuso – “Scott Pilgrim v.s. the World”

Released in 2010, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is the kind of movie that can appeal to anyone. Set in Toronto, Scott Pigrim, bassist of the band “Bob-Omb”, must battle seven evil exes in order to continue the pursuit of his love interest, Ramona Flowers. With video game and comic book imagery, this movie is bound to keep you hooked. 

I can’t even count the amount of times I have watched this movie. Typically I have a hard time watching movies because I have a very short attention span, but this is one of the very few movies that can keep me engaged. The plot is witty and each character’s personality is enhanced by their intricate hairstyles and unique style. 

Comedy movies are my least favorite movie genre, however “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” actually makes me laugh. With the main purpose of Scott defeating seven evil exes in a video game style battle-to-the-death, this movie doesn’t take itself seriously, which is something I really appreciate. 

I’ve heard a lot of sounds and songs from this movie being featured on TikTok. This is with good reason. Music is the most notable thing about the film, especially with the movie containing so many musician characters. The music in the film is an alternative/indie rock genre, with the most notable mention being “Black Sheep” by The Clash at Demonhead. 

Whatever appeals to you most, whether it’s the rare animation style or the primo music,  “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” will not disappoint. 

Reporter Chloe McAleer – “Perks of Being a Wallflower”

“Perks of Being a Wallflower” is the definition of an emotional rollercoaster. It’s a heart-felt, coming-of-age movie that makes you laugh and cry within a few scenes. The story follows a young awkward freshman, Charlie (Logan Lerman) as he navigates highschool with the help of two seniors; Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller). 

The movie manages to capture all aspects of teenage life, from social hierarchies, to awkward school dances, and to the overwhelming unknown of post graduation. As a teenager, it’s easy to relate to the characters on some level, whether it’s the sarcastic and witty comments made by Patrick or the sincere actions portrayed by Sam. 

Out of all the actors, Logan Lerman is truly the one who shines the most. His portrayal of Charlie is what brings the whole movie together as he’s able to play a somewhat shy and inconspicuous character longing for acceptance.

Apart from highlighting the carefree antics of three best friends, the movie also dives into heavier issues that teenagers experience. These serious incidents are what gives the movie a sense of reality that other coming-of-age movies fail to achieve. 

I fell in love with this movie within the first few minutes, by the time the credits rolled I knew I would be rewatching it again. The relatable characters are what drew me in the first place along with the beautiful soundtrack. Personally, I recommend that every teenager watches this movie at least once.

Reporter Rowan Clang – “Kill Bill”

Released in 2003, Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” follows an assassin, also known throughout the movie as “The Bride”, who wakes up from a four year coma, only to seek revenge after being decepted by her former team.

“Kill Bill” is one of my top favorite movies because it’s not a typical action movie. It’s a thriller and comedy, with a combination of neo-noir filmography, and bloody animation. 

Originally, I was apprehensive of watching because I had heard of the strong gore and violence with cheesy 70’s action scenes but after watching both, I fell in love with Tarantino’s film style and the unusual plot. 

One thing I noticed that stuck out while watching this film was the soundtrack and color palette.  I loved the storyline, and how everything fit together with music and sound-effects. All of it enhanced my film experience.

Overall watching “Kill Bill” is an intense and hilarious experience. It kept me interested throughout the whole film, and I was blown away. 

Honestly, I would recommend watching this movie fifty times over. It’s a classic that probably everyone should watch at least once. And for new Tarantino fans, watch just to get his film experience.

Reporter Caitlyn Wohlford – “Lady Bird”

“Lady Bird”, directed by Greta Gerwig, portrays a story of a troubled bond between a mother and her daughter. Seventeen-year-old Christine McPherson, also known as Lady Bird, is a senior at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic High School, in Sacramento, California. “Lady Bird” is one of my comfort movies, because of its devotion to show the troubles with self-image, friendships, and even relationships. 

The story starts off with Lady Bird and her mother going on a college trip, which eventually goes south when Ladybird brings up the fact that she wishes to go to a college in the East Coast, upsetting her mother knowing she can’t afford that. Her mother does a lot for her, but she believes that she does not belong in Sacramento. The film often talks about money problems the family goes through, which is hard on Lady Bird because she is surrounded by wealthier families. 

Greta Gerwig has put together a heartfelt, and warming movie which speaks to teenage girls, like myself.  Actress Saoirse Ronan plays her part well, and really presents what it means to grow up. “Lady Bird” will definitely be one of my all time favorites, and I will be recommending it to those around me.

Reporter Jacki Petrow – “Thor: Ragnarok”

A magnificent addition to the Marvel Universe, “Thor: Ragnarok” is one of the best movies the studio has made. As Thor (Chris Hemsworth) tries to save Asgard, he also ends up fighting for his own life. The characters are hilarious, making it not just epic but also very entertaining to watch. Perhaps my personal favorite was Korg (Taika Waititi), a rock being whose powerful demeanor initially hides his friendly and caring personality. 

In addition, the settings throughout the movie were creative and fantastical. They included an enormous arena, a deep and cavernous cave, and Asgard, the beautiful city of the Norse gods. As someone who enjoys seeing what artists can do with CGI, I loved all the otherworldly scenes. 

Overall, this movie just had an amazing feeling to it. The excitement merges perfectly with the humor, and I always leave feeling pumped up. This is the perfect movie for a pick-me-up, for watching something fun with friends, or just generally whenever. Whatever your reason, definitely watch this electrifying film when you next get the chance.

Reporter Taylor Horton  – “Venom”

Marvel’s 2018 film, Venom, starring actor Tom Hardy, is the story of journalist Eddie Brock, who gets immediately fired for investigating notorious Carlton Drake. After an inside source of Drake’s lab releases information of human experiments, unemployed Brock investigates, or in other words breaks in, to the lab where he becomes host to his symbiote, Venom. The two then must learn to share host Eddie’s body, for the greater good. 

In all honesty, the main reason this movie is significant to me is because I find all Marvel movies in some way entertaining. This movie was enjoyable because Venom is audacious

 and his lack of anger management, plus his training in not eating ‘the good people’, is cute in its own twisted kind of way.

The whole movie is relatable. I’m not saying people often get stuck with symbiotes to share a body with, but the characters all have their own levels of relatability. Put simply, the movie is realistic with reactions, not to mention plenty of personality, sarcasm, and audacity to go around.

Regardless of critics, I found “Venom” was enjoyable, funny, and an overall fantastic movie. I happily rewatch it, and it does not disappoint.