ICYMI Apple TV+ became the first streaming platform to win Best Picture at the Oscars, which was taken home last year by CODA. The new streamer has less than 50 original films under their belt, but there is still plenty to enjoy! Apple TV+ / Via giphy.com
The streaming service may still be small (it only launched in November of 2019), but it's been consistently turning out quality content including plenty of buzzy films with big name actors and directors. Of course, there is
CODA, the story of a hearing daughter in a deaf family, which was nominated for three Oscars in 2022 and won all three. There's The Greatest Beer Run Ever, a Zac Efron-helmed Vietnam War film, which your dad will certainly love. They've even got the filmed version of Come from Away, a seven-time Tony-nominated Broadway show about planes that were rerouted to Newfoundland, Canada after 9/11. But that's not all Apple TV+ has to offer. Apple TV+ / Via giphy.com
Apple TV+ has been gradually carving out a name for itself in the musical documentary space.
Beastie Boys Story and Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You debuted on the platform early, but Billie Eilish, The Velvet Underground, and Louis Armstrong have all been subjects of critically acclaimed docs more recently. Plus, Selena Gomez's documentary comes out in November.
The streamer also has the rights to all of the old Peanut specials, and have been putting out several of their own originals. Not to mention, there are Mariah Carey Christmas specials to watch during the holidays. And, if you love Tom Hanks (and who doesn't) there are two great performances from America's dad in
Greyhound and Finch. If you want to know my faves (you do), here are my three favorite films currently on the platform: Apple TV+ / Via giphy.com
Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry: IMHO this is one of the best pop star documentaries we have, and it's fun to watch Billie have no idea who Orlando Bloom is.
The Tragedy of Macbeth: Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand are two of the greatest living actors. Watching them tear up some Shakespeare is a treat. Story continues
On the Rocks: Sofia Coppola's father/daughter romp around New York starring Rashida Jones and Bill Murray is fun, funny, and fundamentally heartwarming.
Plus, this month, there is a brand new Louis Armstrong documentary and
Raymond and Ray, a Ewan McGregor/Ethan Hawke dramedy where they play brothers. New This Month: 1. Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues (2022) Director: Sacha Jenkins Genre: Documentary Rating: R Runtime: 1hr 47m Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
You probably didn't know this (I certainly didn't), but iconic singer/trumpet player/perhaps the world's most notable jazz figure, Louis Armstrong meticulously recorded his musings (musical and otherwise) on tapes. During the making of this beautiful black-and-white film, documentarian Sacha Jenkins was given access to hundred of hours of Armstrong's recordings. The result is both a masterful catalogue of the historic life and career of the gravely voiced trumpeter, but also a reframing of the man, his music, and what made him tick. Obviously a must-watch for any jazz lover, but to dive into the psyche of such a legend is revelatory even for those (like me) who don't know the difference between a tuba and a trombone.
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Apple TV+ starting October 28. Apple TV+ 2. Raymond and Ray (2022) Director: Rodrigo Garcia Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ethan Hawke, Maribel Verdú, and Sophie Okonedo Genre: Comedy/Drama Rating: R Runtime: 1h 40m Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
So, you and your brother hate your dad. You haven't spoken to him in years. BUT you get the news that he died and has stipulated in his will that you and your brother dig his grave. And of course, while you dig said grave, you learn about him, his secret life, and, inevitably, yourself. This is the premise of Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke's new dramedy. While not the most profound movie you've ever seen, it's an entertaining adventure with two stars in the driver's seat. Not too serious, not too light, Goldilocks would say it's "just right."
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Apple TV+ starting October 21. AppleTV+ What to Watch: 3. Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry (2021) Director: R. J. Cutler Cast: Billie Eilish, Finneas O'Connell, Maggie Baird, and Patrick O'Connell Genre: Music Documentary Rating: R Runtime: 2h 20m Rotten Tomatoes: 96% (Critics) 95% (Audience)
Newly minted Oscar winner Billie Eilish is a once-in-a-generation talent. Her debut album,
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? did the unthinkable, winning Grammys for Album, Record, and Song of the Year, while Eilish also snagged Best New Artist. This is a feat done only once before in history (by Christopher Cross and this song). And whether by chance or magic or extremely gifted foresight, Eilish's journey from relative obscurity to success was recorded in this documentary. Follow Eilish, her talented brother and collaborator Finneas, and their family as she takes the world by storm. And you get the bonus of listening to her music while you watch.
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Apple TV+. Apple TV+ 4. Boys State (2020) Directors: Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine Genre: Documentary Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 1h 49m Rotten Tomatoes: 95% (Critics) 89% (Audience)
Ah, government camp! That joyous time in every teenager's life where they get to visit the state capital and pretend to make new laws. And while the unhinged government camp I was sent to was in the news for some
questionable opinions, the Boys/Girls State at the heart of this charming documentary seems to actually be training the youth of America in the ways democracy works. Boys State follows a group of Texas high schoolers as they attend the camp and struggle to form parties, choose leaders, and make laws just as their adult counterparts would. On one hand, it is unnerving to see how strong political divides are implanted even at such a young age, but at the same time, the absorbing film also provides some reason for hope in a new generation learning to maturely enter the political system rather than destroy it.
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Apple TV+. Apple TV+ 5. Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022) Director: Cooper Raiff Cast: Dakota Johnson, Cooper Raiff, Raúl Castillo, Odeya Rush, Brad Garrett, and Leslie Mann Genre: Comedy/Drama Rating: R Runtime: 1h 47m Rotten Tomatoes: 86% (Critics) 61% (Audience)
The post-college period of a person's life is often terrifying. After years of knowing exactly what to do and what is expected of you (show up to class, dissect a frog, go to prom, don't get arrested at a college frat party), you are now completely free to do as you please. In Cooper Raiff's new comedy (which he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in), we find Andrew (Raiff) adrift after graduation, working in the mall food court, attending Bar Mitzvahs with his younger brother, and at odds with his mom's new husband. But just as Raiff managed to find incredible poignancy in the arrival at college in his debut film
Shithouse, he does so again here. It was the feel-good comedy hit out of Sundance, includes my favorite Dakota Johnson performance to date, and will have you laugh-crying by the end. After Apple's success with CODA last year, could this be another charming Oscar play? Only time will tell, but I wouldn't mind doing the Cha Cha Slide with the cast post-Oscar win.
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Apple TV+. Apple TV+/Courtesy Everett Collection 6. CODA (2021) Director: Sian Heder Cast: Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant, and Marlee Matlin Genre: Coming-of-Age Comedy/Drama Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 1h 51m Rotten Tomatoes: 94% (Critics) 90% (Audience)
ALL HAIL the 2022 Best Picture Winner! “CODA” is an acronym meaning "child of deaf adults," and in this
Oscar-winning film, Emilia Jones plays Ruby, the only hearing member in a deaf family. As Ruby nears the end of high school and begins to entertain dreams of going to college for music, she comes up against her parents, who rely heavily on her as a translator and don't understand her love of music. The family drama then follows the New England clan of fishermen as they butt heads searching for a way to move forward with their lives. The film won three Oscars including Best Adapted Screenplay for writer and director Sian Heder and Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur. If you aren't crying by the end, I'll buy you a whole tub of mackerel.
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Apple TV+. Apple TV+ 7. Come From Away (2021) Director: Christopher Ashley Cast: Petrina Bromley, Jenn Colella, De'Lon Grant, Emily Walton, Jim Walton, and Sharon Wheatley Genre: Filmed Stage Musical Rating: TV-14 Runtime: 1h 46m Rotten Tomatoes: 98% (Critics) 97% (Audience)
In the immediate wake of the September 11 attacks, hundreds of planes were grounded unexpectedly out of fear of another hijacking. And with New York airports closed, many of the flights destined for the Big Apple were rerouted to *
checks notes* Gander, Newfoundland. This Tony-winning musical tells the story of the 38 planes that were grounded in Gander for several days, focusing on both the terrified visitors as well as the locals forced to feed and house the influx of travelers. As with Hamilton, this is a recording from the original Broadway run and not a movie version. So, if you're still a bit squeamish about entering a packed auditorium or if you just live nowhere near New York City, now is your chance to witness some topnotch live theater from the comfort of your couch and without enduring the intermission bathroom lines.
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Apple TV+. Sarah Shatz / Apple TV+ 8. Finch (2021) Director: Miguel Sapochnik Cast: Tom Hanks and Caleb Landry Jones Genre: Post-apocalyptic Survival Drama Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 1h 55m Rotten Tomatoes: 74% (Critics) 66% (Audience) Finch is primarily a movie about Tom Hanks being a really great dog dad. So, if you love dogs and Hanks and feeling good in a Ted Lasso kind of way, then this movie is for you. After the world has been poisoned by radiation and the United States turned into a Dune-like desert wasteland, Hank's Finch, an inventor, and his dog must go it alone. With the threat of a massive sandstorm bearing down on St. Louis and a newly created AI robot named Jeff in tow, Finch decides to journey across the country in his souped-up RV to find a safe haven in San Francisco. Yes, you've seen this premise before in the likes of I Am Legend and The Book of Eli, but I don't think I've ever felt so cheerful after watching a post-apocalyptic film.
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Apple TV+. Karen Kuehn / Apple TV+ 9. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022) Director: Peter Farrelly Cast: Zac Efron, Russell Crowe, Kyle Allen, Will Ropp, Matt Cook, and Bill Murray Genre: War/Action/Comedy/Drama Rating: R Runtime: 2h 6m Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
How far would you go to crack open a cold one with your besties? Would you travel to the battle-ravaged regions of Vietnam during the height of the Vietnam War? While I most certainly would not, John "Chickie" Donohue actually did back in 1967. In Peter Farrelly's follow up to the controversial Best Picture winner
Green Book, Zac Efron stars as Chickie, who in an attempt to boost the morale of his friends from NYC, flew to Vietnam for a four-month-long beer run. With Farrelly's last film snagging so many awards, all eyes are on his followup which is calibrated for a similar based-on-a-true-story, feel-good-dramedy tone. Also, Bill Murray shows up briefly with a thick New York accent. How could you not love that?
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Apple TV+. Golf Thanaporn/Apple TV+ 10. Greyhound (2020) Director: Aaron Schneider Cast: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, and Elisabeth Shue Genre: War Drama Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 1h 31m Rotten Tomatoes: 79% (Critics) 75% (Audience)
Calling all dads! Have I got the movie for you. It's Tom Hanks. As a commander in the Navy. On a battleship. During World War II. Fighting against the Nazis. Who are on submarines. This Oscar-nominated film is a tight 91 minutes of action as Hanks does everything he can to keep his fleet intact as they cross the treacherous waters of the Atlantic. If you are sitting at home on a Sunday afternoon with your parents and need something to throw on to entertain the whole family, this just might be your best bet. I mean, come on. It's Tom Hanks! How can you not love a T. Hanks movie?
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Apple TV+. Apple TV+ 11. On the Rocks (2020) Director: Sofia Coppola Cast: Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, Marlon Wayans, Jessica Henwick, and Jenny Slate Genre: Comedy/Drama Rating: R Runtime: 1h 36m Rotten Tomatoes: 87% (Critics) 50% (Audience)
No one does odd-couple drinking in hotels quite like Sofia Coppola, and her latest film is another welcome addition to her oeuvre. Bill Murray and Rashida Jones star as a semi-estranged father-daughter duo who have reconnected to investigate whether or not Jones' husband is cheating on her. Murray's character is an expert on the topic, as he has been a participant in multiple affairs. The pair traverse New York City in Murray's roadster, stopping at cozy bars along the way as they discuss Jones' life and their rocky relationship. Funny, melancholy, and sincere, the film provides all of the Coppola wonder with a side of French 75s.
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Apple TV+. JoJo Whilden / A24 / Apple TV+ 12. Peanuts Specials
In a boon for iPhone and Mac users everywhere, Apple has recently entered into a deal with Peanuts Worldwide, which means that Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Sally, Pig-Pen, and the gang are all at home on Apple TV+. Watch all your favorite Peanuts specials like
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas on the streamer. You'll find the true meaning of the holidays and will also have that song Schroeder plays on the piano stuck in your head for DAYS.
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Apple TV+. Apple TV+ 13. Sidney (2022) Director: Reginald Hudlin Genre: Documentary Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 1h 51m Rotten Tomatoes: 89% (Critics) 86% (Audience)
In the pantheon of Hollywood greats, there are few as tremendously talented and consistently groundbreaking as SIR Sidney Poitier. Not only was he the first Black man to win an Academy Award (for
Lilies of the Field), but he relentlessly pushed for Black representation onscreen, taking meaty, complicated, lead roles in Hollywood blockbusters at a time when non-white actors were often relegated to stereotypical bit roles. This documentary is a tribute to the In the Heat of the Night actor following his death earlier this year. Oprah Winfrey produced and was interviewed for the documentary which celebrates his life and the many trailblazing moments in his storied career. And the impressive lineup of talking heads from the industry's highest echelon including Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, and Spike Lee speaks to what a powerful force Poitier was. The doc also includes footage from Sidney Poitier himself that was filmed before his passing, and will be a threat in the Best Documentary Feature race later this year.
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Apple TV+. Apple TV+ 14. Swan Song (2021) Director: Benjamin Cleary Cast: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Awkwafina, and Glenn Close Genre: Drama/Science Fiction/Romance Rating: R Runtime: 1h 52m Rotten Tomatoes: 79% (Critics) 77% (Audience)
At the heart of this drama lies a question: Would you allow a clone to take your place in life in order to avoid causing your loved ones pain? Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali's Cameron must answer this for himself in this futuristic philosophical drama. When he is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he consults a doctor (played by Glenn Close) who offers to create him a perfect clone to slot into his life, allowing him to die without his family grieving. The film is essentially a musing on this moral quandary as we retrace Cameron's life with his wife, Poppy (Naomie Harris), and watch him interact with the two versions of Awkwafina's Kate. Less sci-fi and more quiet meditation on the human existence, the film is a somber affair showcasing the acting talents of its many stars.
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Apple TV+. Apple TV+ 15. The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) Director: Joel Coen Cast: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Corey Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, and Kathryn Hunter Genre: Shakespearean Drama Rating: R Runtime: 1h 45m Rotten Tomatoes: 92% (Critics) 75% (Audience)
If you're a recovering English major, a Shakespeare buff, or were obsessed with the
2021 Oscar race, then you need to watch this latest adaptation of "the Scottish Play" (because we shan't say the name). Denzel Washington plays the regicidal lead, with the role of his wife going to last year's Best Actress winner, Frances McDormand. The film has been a pet project of McDormand and her husband, Joel Coen, for quite some time, and the pair have created a minimalistic black-and-white rendition that is captivating and haunting. Kathryn Hunter gives an especially memorable performance as the Three Witches, using her skills as a contortionist to spookily embody the Weird Sisters. High school English classes all across the country are rejoicing that they'll have this version to watch in the future.
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Apple TV+. Alison Rosa / Apple TV+ 16. The Velvet Underground (2021) Director: Todd Haynes Genre: Music Documentary Rating: R Runtime: 2h 1m Rotten Tomatoes: 98% (Critics) 80% (Audience)
I will freely admit that my taste in and knowledge of music are embarrassingly bad. It therefore came as no surprise to me that I had never even heard of a massively influential alternative-rock band from the '60s called the Velvet Underground. But thanks to this ably constructed documentary from Todd Haynes (
Carol), I am now much more knowledgeable on the subject. The band began as a multidisciplinary cohort working with Andy Warhol and slowly morphed into an improvisation-heavy rock group known the world over. If you are a music buff or are simply someone (like me) who is tired of sounding dumb at dinner parties when they ask questions like, "Who is Lou Reed?" then this is the doc for you.
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Apple TV+. Apple TV+ 17. Wolfwalkers (2020) Directors: Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart Cast: Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittacker, Sean Bean, Simon McBurney, Tommy Tiernan, Jon Kenny, and Maria Doyle Kennedy Genre: Animation/Fantasy/Adventure Rating: PG Runtime: 1h 43m Rotten Tomatoes: 99% (Critics) 98% (Audience)
Guess what? Apparently, there is a bit of old Irish folklore that says there is a race of people who have spirits that turn into wolves and roam around while they sleep. Pretty badass, if you ask me. These wolfwalkers are the focus of this exquisite Oscar-nominated animated film from Cartoon Saloon, the groundbreaking team behind
The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea. Robyn is a young hunter whose community is trying to rid the world of wolves. She meets Mebh, who — spoiler alert — is a wolfwalker. DUN DUN DUN, we have drama as the two friends try to overcome their differences and bring their communities together. A heartwarming watch for the whole family (even if they are part wolf).
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