Here Are The 47 Netflix Titles Leaving In January

It’s that time of the month again where Netflix announces what it’s taking away from us.


But don’t worry, they’re giving us lots of good stuff like The Incredibles 2, Pulp Fiction, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!

So let’s get right to it — here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix throughout January:

1. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Fifteenth Year

2. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Sixteenth Year

3. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Seventeenth Year


4. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

5. Kung Fu Panda

6. Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World

7. Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure

Paramount Pictures

8. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

9. Love Actually

10. Marie Antoinette

11. The Princess Diaries

12. Finding Neverland

13. Friday Night Lights

New Line Cinema

14. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

15. Journey to the Center of the Earth

16. The 6th Day

17. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

18. Blade

19. Blade II

Columbia Pictures

20. Rent

21. Like Water for Chocolate

22. I Am Ali

Warner Bros.

23. Million Dollar Baby

24. It Follows

25. The Reaping

Paramount Pictures

26. The Godfather

27. The Godfather: Part II

28. The Godfather: Part III

Warner Bros.

29. The Shining

30. The Green Mile

31. Into the Wild

Touchstone Pictures

32. Armageddon

33. Mortal Kombat

34. Face/Off

35. Monsters vs. Aliens

The Asylum

36. Sharknado

37. Sharknado 2: The Second One

38. Sharknado 3

39. Sharknado: The 4th Awakens

40. Sharknado 5

Universal Pictures

41. Meet the Parents

42. Meet the Fockers

43. The Iron Giant

44. The Queen of the Damned

Geffen Pictures

45. Interview with the Vampire

46. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

47. Catwoman

The Netflix January Titles Are Here And There Are So Many Good Ones

Here’s the full list of everything coming to Netflix in January:

Jan. 1

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 3

Across the Universe


Black Hawk Down

City of God

Comedians of the World

Definitely, Maybe


Happy Feet

Hell or High Water

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

It Takes Two

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Jersey Boys

Mona Lisa Smile

Mr. Bean’s Holiday

Pan’s Labyrinth

Pinky Malinky

Pulp Fiction


Tears of the Sun

The Addams Family

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Dark Knight

The Departed

The Mummy

The Mummy Returns

The Strangers

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo



XXX: State of the Union

Jan. 2

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Jan. 4

And Breathe Normally

Call My Agent!, Season 3

El Potro: Unstoppable


Jan. 9

GODZILLA The Planet Eater

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Jan. 10

When Heroes Fly

Jan. 11

Friends from College, Season 2

ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium

Sex Education


The Last Laugh

Jan. 15


Sebastian Maniscalco: Stay Hungry

Jan. 16

American Gangster

Jan. 17

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

Jan. 18

Carmen Sandiego


FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened


Grace and Frankie, Season 5



The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes, Season 2 Part B

Trigger Warning with Killer Mike

Trolls: The Beat Goes On!, Season 5

Jan. 21


Jan. 24

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

Jan. 25


Black Earth Rising

Club de Cuervos, Season 4


Medici: The Magnificent


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 4 Part 2

Jan. 27

Z Nation, Season 5

Jan. 29

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: One Show Fits All

Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp

Jan. 30

Disney•Pixar’s The Incredibles 2

Coming Soon

Marvel’s The Punisher, Season 2

25 Horror Christmas Movies Ranked From Worst To Best According To Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes score: 25%

Synopsis: Tells the tale of Billy Chapmen, orphaned at 5 after witnessing the murder of his parents at the hands of a Santa suit-clad madman on Christmas Eve. Now 18 and out of the brutal grip of orphanage nuns, Billy is forced to confront his greatest fear, sending him on a rampage, leaving a crimson trail in the snow behind him.

Watch it on YouTube for $1.99.

25 TV Performances From 2018 That We Can't Stop Talking About

🚨Warning: A year’s worth of TV spoilers ahead! 🚨


First, Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer gifted us with our favorite new pairing when they brought Eve and Villanelle’s complicated dynamic to life in Killing Eve.

BBC America

From Villanelle’s iconic pink dress to Eve telling Villanelle that she thinks about her constantly, Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer gave us some iconic TV moments this year. While Sandra may have received the groundbreaking Emmy nomination, the most memorable Killing Eve episodes were rooted in the dynamic Sandra and Jodie created on screen. Eve wouldn’t exist without Villanelle and vice versa.


Each actor in The Haunting of Hill House brought their own incredible talents and reminded us how powerful an ensemble can truly be.


It’s very rare that you care for every single character in a TV show, but this year, The Haunting of Hill House gifted us with that rare occurrence. Every single actor gave a spellbinding performance and proved how important the relationships between all the characters were. These actors helped turn a horror TV show into a believable story about grief and family.


Cody Fern’s portrayal of Michael Langdon in American Horror Story: Apocalypse rejuvenated the series in the best way possible — plus, we love falling in love with a villain.


Playing a villain in Season 8 of a beloved TV show is no easy task, but Cody Fern did it so well that we’re sad to see the character of Michael Langdon go. His ability to hold his own in scenes with Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson was a testament to how talented he is. Michael may be gone, but we hope Cody continues to be part of the AHS family.


Sarah Paulson’s ability to slip back into the role of Cordelia in AHS: Apocalypse solidified her as one of the best TV actresses in 2018.


Not only did Sarah Paulson direct one of the best episodes of TV this year, but she managed to bring back AHS: Coven’s beloved Cordelia in a fresh and exciting way. Plus, this is Sarah Paulson, so she also played two other characters flawlessly.


This Is Us revealing how Jack died remained one of the most talked about TV moments this year and it’s all thanks to Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore’s work as Jack and Rebecca.


The. Crock. Pot. This Is Us didn’t slow down during Season 2 and seeing how Jack died only made us cry harder. While Milo Ventimiglia perfectly played Jack’s heroic nature in his final hours, it was Mandy Moore’s heartbreaking portrayal of Rebecca’s grief that made this a memorable performance.


In The Good Place, William Jackson Harper continued to make Chidi one of the most relatable and lovable characters on TV.


While the cast as a whole is extraordinary, William Jackson Harper’s role as Chidi particularly stuck with us this year. From his romantic relationship with Eleanor to his shirtless moment, William Jackson Harper made us laugh and fall in love with Chidi’s adorableness all over again.


Taking on the first female version of The Doctor was a massive undertaking, but Jodie Whittaker made this season of Doctor Who a memorable one.

BBC America

Jodie Whittaker waltzing into the Doctor Who universe in a trench coat and pants with pockets was arguably one of the best TV moments of 2018. The poignant stories showcased this season, namely the Rosa Parks episode, have only been elevated by Jodie’s adorable and quirky turn as The Doctor.


Justina Machado made us both laugh and cry, so it’s no surprise her work as Penelope in One Day at a Time made a lasting impact this year.


One Day At A Time continues to be one of the best comedy series currently airing, but this year, Justina Machado took the show to new heights. While her comedic timing continued to be impeccable, it was the episode where Penelope dealt with her depression that was truly remarkable. Justina perfectly captured Penelope’s highs and lows.


Rachel Brosnahan continued to amaze as the quick-witted Midge Maisel in the newly-released The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2.

Amazon Prime

In the first episode of Season 2, Rachel Brosnahan goes from performing a hilarious comedy set in Paris to crying on the phone with Joel, and it was in that moment that we realized the full range of her potential. While we don’t want to give too much away, Rachel and Amy Sherman-Palladino’s iconic quick-witted dialogue full of pop culture references continues to be a match made in TV heaven.


In a TV show dominated by veteran actors, Eliza Scanlen’s work as Amma in Sharp Objects left us speechless.


For her first major acting role, Eliza Scanlen did not disappoint. Amma was the evil character you couldn’t help but love this TV season. Eliza’s ability to stand out during scenes with both Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson only solidified what an incredible performance she gave this year.


Another crazy talented ensemble, the cast of Elite gifted us with one of the best teen TV shows in recent memory.


The cast of Elite reminded us how incredible teen TV can be. This series wouldn’t have worked without the incredible ensemble dynamic the actors created in each episode. You not only understood each character’s motivations alone, but their relationships with each other were unmatchable.


Darren Criss’s Emmy Award-winning turn as Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story gave us chills from start to finish.


Goodbye Blaine Anderson, because now every time we think of Darren Criss, we’re reminded of his chilling performance as Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. His Emmy win was totally worth it this year as he portrayed a complicated antagonist that stole every single scene.


Elizabeth Olsen delivered a powerful performance in Sorry for Your Loss as her character Leigh struggled to accept her husband’s sudden death.

Facebook Watch

A lesser-known series this year, Sorry For Your Loss worked because of Elizabeth’s ability to showcase every stage of grief. Even more impressive were the wordless moments where Elizabeth conveyed everything Leigh was feeling with just a single look.


Melanie Scrofano and Dominique Provost-Chalkely’s sisterly bond as Wynonna and Waverly in Wynonna Earp had us both crying and laughing this year.


In a show filled with demons, it’s the human moments between the characters that make Wynonna Earp a great TV show. Melanie continued to perfect Wynonna’s witty humor, while Dominique took the usually light and bubbly Waverly to some dark and emotional places effortlessly. However, it was Wynonna and Waverly’s sisterly bond and the raw moments between Melanie and Dominique that left us utterly speechless this year.


While The Walking Dead has struggled these last few seasons, Andrew Lincoln’s final moments as Rick Grimes reminded us why we fell in love with the show in the first place.


We never thought we would live to see the day when Andrew Lincoln hung up Rick’s iconic sheriff hat, but here we are. While the series has been met with mixed reviews in recent years, Andy’s final episode that showed Rick sacrificing himself to save his family reminded us how much we love Rick Grimes.


Catherine O’Hara continued to prove why she’s one of the funniest actors ever because Moira Rose in Schitt’s Creek still made us laugh hysterically.

Pop / CBC

In Season 4 of Schitt’s Creek, Moira was ecstatic to learn that the internet thought she was dead and that was just the beginning of Catherine O’Hara’s hilarious season. With every season, Moira continues to be one of the funniest parts of Schitt’s Creek and this year was no exception. This is our official plea for a Catherine O’Hara Emmy nomination in 2019.


Yvonne Strahovski’s ability to somehow make us feel for Serena Joy in The Handmaid’s Tale remained one of the biggest TV shockers of 2018.


Truthfully, there are no good characters in power in The Handmaid’s Tale and that’s why it was surprising when Serena Joy’s storyline was spun in a somewhat sympathetic way. Yvonne Strahovski perfectly portrayed Serena Joy in a way where you didn’t forget her horrible actions, but you were able to see a woman broken by a system she helped create.


Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, and Lakeith Stanfield not only grew their respective characters this year, but they continued to amaze us as an ensemble in Atlanta.


Atlanta continued to be one of the best TV series of 2018 and we have Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, and Keith Stanfield to thank for it. Not only did the trio continue to work flawlessly together, but their individual characters excelled in more ways than one. We’re in awe of all the talent packed into this single series still.


We’re still not over the almost-cancellation, but despite it all, the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine continued to develop their characters in all the right ways.


We almost lost them forever this year, so we have to celebrate the incredible work of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine cast. While remaining a cohesive ensemble series, the cast managed to develop their individual characters even more in Season 5. From Rosa’s bisexuality to Jake and Amy’s wedding, we loved every second with these lovable goofballs.


Andrea Navedo gave a heartbreaking performance when Xiomara was diagnosed with cancer in Jane the Virgin.

The CW

A character that is usually the life of the party, Xiomara had to navigate the harsh reality of being ill, and it was brutal to watch. Andrea Navedo’s work alongside Gina Rodriguez and Ivonne Coll further proved how powerful the female dynamics on this show are.


The Americans may have ended in 2018, but not before Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell continued to prove why this show was so damn good.


A series that flew under the radar for a majority of its run, The Americans gave us memorable performances from both Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell right until the end. In the series finale, Keri delivered two heartbreaking, and almost wordless, performances, while Matthew proved time and time again why he deserved his Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Drama.


Sophie Skelton’s work as Jamie and Claire’s daughter Brianna in Outlander proved that, even on an established drama, the best is yet to come.


While her best episodes of 2018 are on the horizon, Sophie Skelton has perfectly incorporated herself into the Outlander universe. Brianna’s struggles with being a woman in the 1970s, navigating her relationship with Roger, and traveling back in time to save Claire and Jamie have beautifully played out on screen. Book fans know what lies ahead for Brianna and let’s just say, Sophie knocks it out of the park.


Nothing on TV this year quite compared to D’Arcy Carden’s work in an episode of The Good Place where she played Janet, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason.


D’Arcy Carden continued to be amazing this entire year on The Good Place, but her defining moment came in the Season 3 mid-season finale. When Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason are sucked into Janet’s void, D’Arcy played each character flawlessly. She had every mannerism of each actor down in an Orphan Black-like tour de force.


Richard Madden’s work as David Budd in Bodyguard proved that a lot can be conveyed with a single look.


Richard Madden quickly made us forget about his memorable role as Robb Stark in Game of Thrones with just a single episode of Bodyguard. While the entire season showcased Richard’s incredible talent to command a scene, the season finale in particular when David had to negotiate for his life after a bomb was strapped to him left us speechless.


And finally, only Michelle Gomez could make a character named Madam Satan in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina one of the most talked-about characters on TV this year.


Madam Satan was equal parts evil and hilarious in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and that’s what made her so damn great. Michelle Gomez brought the same passion that she brought to Doctor Who to this role and we loved every single second of it. Honestly, Madam Satan’s takedown of the patriarchy was a highlight of the year.

What were your favorite TV performances this year? Tell us in the comments below!

It’s the end of 2018, and we’re looking back on the year. Check out more of our Best of 2018 coverage!

These Are The 11 Best Movies Of 2018

Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News; Everett Collection

If there’s any grand, overarching story to the movies this year, it might just belong to MoviePass. For a heady stretch that included the first half of 2018, the company’s now-defunct movie-a-day-for-$10-a-month deal had everyone I knew — not just dedicated film fans — going out to theaters. It was an unsustainably good offering that was obviously destined to implode like the beach house at the end of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But before it did, it seemed to create a noticeable, if impossible to quantify, uptick in people talking and caring about movies, both online and in person. Hell, strangers were making plans on Facebook to go see films and talk about them afterward.

A bargain’s a bargain, and I know I shouldn’t read too much into people taking advantage of this particularly absurd venture capital–fueled one. But it’s been worryingly easy to believe that streaming has become dominant not just because it’s cheap, but because people prefer staying at home, and will settle for the good-enough options they can just hit play on. The MoviePass heyday was a reminder that people still take pleasure in the shared experience of gazing up at something projected larger than life — provided the price is right.

Even Netflix, a company that set itself up in opposition to all things traditional, ceded territory this year by putting Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma in theaters first. With its meditative pace and intricate widescreen compositions, it’s a movie whose very existence is a feature-length argument for why some things really are best experienced on a big screen. Roma didn’t make this list, which could have easily gone on twice as long if it included close calls like Cold War, First Man, First Reformed, Mission: Impossible — Fallout, On Her Shoulders, Paddington 2, Revenge, Shirkers, Shoplifters, Summer 1993, and Widows. They didn’t all have to be seen in theaters, but I appreciated the luxury of getting to experience them that way, and I wonder if other people felt similarly. In a year like this one, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to lose themselves in the dark for a little while?

11. Hereditary

Hereditary is the kind of movie that leaves marks. When I first saw it at the Sundance Film Festival in the bright light of a crisp Utah morning, I stumbled out shaken, but certain I was fine. A series of car-to-plane-to-monorail-to-train-to-subway maneuvers later, I collapsed in bed at home, exhausted but miserably incapable of sleep, courtesy of the disturbing images that would rattle around in my head for days afterward. Ari Aster’s directorial debut is as finely made as it is frightening, the camera coaxing ghostly specters out of dark corners, lingering on a roadside that later plays a part in a ghastly development, and capturing the creepiest dioramas of all time. The final act is pure nightmare, anchored by a go-for-broke performance from a fearless Toni Collette that includes…let’s call it a medical procedure? that belongs on an Oscar reel from hell. But the early scenes of the film are the ones that have stuck with me the most, the ones where you know that something is very wrong with the Grahams, but you’re not sure what. Every family has its troubles. What’s remarkable about Hereditary is how long it keeps you on the knife-edge of uncertain dread, waiting to learn if some type of horror is descending upon these characters, or if it’s been there all along.

Hereditary will be streaming on Amazon on Dec. 27.

10. Support the Girls

Magnolia Pictures

Support the Girls shares some basic DNA with movies like Waiting… and Empire Records, workplace comedies about how camaraderie can offset the tedium and petty humiliations of the minimum wage grind. But while there’s also a sense of community at the Hooters knockoff in which this movie takes place, there’s nothing cozy about it — it’s born out of necessity, an attempt to patch holes in the social fabric, like a lack of affordable child care, or help for someone dealing with an abusive relationship. At the movie and the restaurant’s core is Regina Hall, who — in one of the year’s defining performances — plays Lisa, the warmhearted manager juggling schedules, protecting employees from their own mistakes, dealing with the difficult owner, and basically destroying herself by caring too much. Support the Girls ambles along in such a deceptively good-natured manner that it takes a while to appreciate just how despairing it actually is. Andrew Bujalski’s film is nothing less than a testament to the dehumanizing effects of capitalism, tucked inside the story of a day in the life of an Austin breastaurant.

Support the Girls is available to rent.

9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Sony Pictures Animation

2018 kicked off with a major milestone of superhero representation and imagination in Black Panther. It ends with another, and this one isn’t saddled with any of those regulation-issue Marvel CG action sequences that make a diverse slate of movies briefly look alike. Watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, you might start to believe animation is the medium all superhero movies are meant for — that’s just how joyously liberated the origin story of Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) is in this feature from Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman. The screen breaks into comic book–inspired panels, characters are textured with Ben-Day dots, spider-sense gets represented by a series of squiggles — and that’s before we meet spider-people from mecha anime, film noir, and Looney Tunes–inspired universes, all bringing their respective styles with them. It’s dazzling, witty, and, when you least expect it, startlingly poignant. The message of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not just that Miles, an Afro-Latino teenager from a gratifyingly detailed present-day Brooklyn, gets to be in a superhero movie, too. It’s that he can be the hero at the center of the story, built around his journey to figure out what it means to do good.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse opens in theaters on Dec. 14.

8. Burning

Well Go USA Entertainment

I’ve been thinking a lot about the ending of Burning, South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong’s slippery stunner based on a Haruki Murakami short story that in turn owes some inspiration to one by William Faulkner. I won’t spoil what happens here, but I’ll just say that I’ve been wondering if the final scenes are meant to be taken literally, or if they represent a scenario that the film’s hapless hero, Lee Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in), an aspiring writer, has put to the page. Burning is a story about being stuck — creatively, economically, romantically, and geographically. So much of its menace and mystery stems from its main character’s metaphorical immobility and his limited perception of the two people who crash their way into his purgatorial existence. They’re an alluringly enigmatic pair, unpredictable oddball Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo) and dead-eyed playboy Ben (Steven Yeun), and their respective gravitational pulls turn Burning from a potential romance to a love triangle to a thriller, and finally to something that eludes labels or any easy interpretation of what’s really going on.

Burning is now in theaters.

7. You Were Never Really Here

Amazon Studios

You Were Never Really Here is an action movie that belongs in therapy. I mean that as the highest possible praise; Lynne Ramsay’s human trafficking drama is as emotionally damaged as it is unstintingly violent, Taken if its tough-guy rescuer actually exhibited the cumulative effects of a lifetime’s worth of brutality and trauma. Joaquin Phoenix’s character, the depressive fixer Joe, is terrifyingly competent when it comes to hurting people for pay, and yet somehow the film accomplishes the nifty trick of making the viewer deeply invested in sparing his character from further harm. Phoenix gives an astonishing performance, playing the ridiculous badass as a battered survivor of abuse, living with and taking care of his mother and all the while dreaming about death. It doesn’t surprise me at all that one of the most virtuosic movies about wounded masculinity this year was made by a woman director — there are shades of Kathryn Bigelow’s intensely female gaze to the film and the way it regards its morose main character, though the jolting terseness is all Ramsay’s own.

You Were Never Really Here is streaming on Amazon.

6. The Death of Stalin

In 2018, we may not need reminders that absurdity and horror are perfectly capable of coexisting without canceling each other out. But Armando Iannucci’s movie about the power struggle in the wake of Josef Stalin’s 1953 death is a masterful exploration of this juxtaposition. It turns out that when you run dark history through the filter of a blithe sitcom, it can be even bleaker! Iannucci, the creator of TV’s The Thick of It and Veep, obviously knows his way around bitter political comedy. But he outdoes himself in The Death of Stalin with the help of an incredible ensemble of actors — including Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, and Andrea Riseborough. They look and sound nothing like the real figures they’re portraying, and they play characters engaged in awesomely petty (but not inaccurate!) squabbles over control of a nation. The result is something that’s specific in its details and universal in its sentiment, a depiction of totalitarianism as a fear-driven group delusion.

The Death of Stalin is available to rent.

5. Madeline’s Madeline

Oscilloscope Films

This movie is an experimental theater freakout, a tale of creative vampirism, an exploration of race and class, a coming-of-age story, and an attempt to portray mental health issues from inside the head of the young woman contending with them. More than any of that, though, Madeline’s Madeline is host to one of the greatest screen debuts I’ve ever seen. As the title character, first-time actor Helena Howard burns so bright she could scorch your retinas, hurling herself into the role of a scary-talented, not-always-stable teenager teetering in her allegiances between her single mother Regina (Miranda July) and Evangeline (Molly Parker), the director of the theater company in which Madeline is the youngest member. While Regina’s hovering and smothering leads her daughter to lash out, Evangeline treats Madeline like a colleague — but also increasingly exploits her as a source of material, this beautiful girl with volcanic emotions who seems so much more alive than everyone else in the room. Josephine Decker’s movie ducks and weaves its way around traditional storytelling, but the emotions onscreen are always laser-precise, down to the moment Madeline summons the whole world to serve as her chorus, her backup dancers, and amplifiers of the voice she demands be heard.

Madeline’s Madeline is streaming on Amazon.

4. Minding the Gap

There’s no way to pinpoint the moment in Minding the Gap in which filmmaker Bing Liu realizes he’s not just the director of this documentary but also one of its subjects. It’s a decision that happened sometime during his years of shooting, but one you feel onscreen as a kind of gradual yielding. Liu, a first-time documentarian based in Chicago, is a little older than Keire and Zack, the two young men he started filming in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois. But he’s one of them — the product of an abusive household and a city hollowed out by economic blight and narrowing opportunities. They also have a love of skateboarding in common, footage of which is peppered throughout the film, representing both an unbearably wistful sanctuary from the pressures of the real world and a shrinking bit of shared ground as life takes them in different directions. Liu’s film is about seeking out new models of masculinity when all you had growing up were bad examples — but it never feels the need to spell out its themes. They’re there in every moment of this compassionate but steady-eyed portrait of boys trying to figure out if they like the men they’re slowly, even reluctantly, becoming.

Minding the Gap is streaming on Hulu.

3. A Star Is Born

Warner Bros.

Okay, yes, it gets a little weird about pop music and legitimacy. And sure, the second half isn’t quite as magical as the first — how can it be? But none of that really matters when the truth is that there’s no other movie this year than I wanted to wrap myself up in the way I did Bradley Cooper’s luscious, swoony directorial debut. (Bradley Cooper! Who’d have thought!) Cooper’s remake is the fourth incarnation of this semi-disturbing showbiz fable, and the one most rewardingly intent on having its narrative be a tragic love story rather than the saga of a striving woman inadvertently leeching the success away from a once-great man. The update is — in a distinctive and off-kilter way — absurdly romantic at a time when big-screen schmaltz feels like it’s gone out of style. It’s a mix of the outsize and the intimate, best summed up by the fact that the most highly stylized pop star in the world appears without makeup as its female lead. Gaga is good as Ally, and so is Cooper as Jackson, all vulnerability under the rock star trappings. A Star Is Born‘s depictions of the music industry may not always ring true, but its central relationship, and the way that relationship is warped by the weight of addiction, never fails to. I knew what was going to happen to Ally and Jackson from the beginning, and A Star Is Born broke my heart anyway.

A Star Is Born is now in theaters.

2. The Favourite

Yorgos Lanthimos / Fox Searchlight

I know acting categories are an awards season necessity, but I can’t bring myself to think of Olivia Colman as the “actress in a leading role” of The Favourite. She is, don’t get me wrong, fully delightful, playing Queen Anne as a gouty toddler of a monarch, impulse-driven and querulous while also being capable of bursts of devious plotting. But it feels wrong to declare any of the three women at the forefront of Yorgos Lanthimos’s indelibly strange and wonderful period comedy as the main character, when it so deftly shifts the audience’s sympathies around as it goes. For a while, it’s a maybe-career-best Emma Stone as Abigail Hill, who seems like the hero, the young underdog seizing opportunities to get herself into the Queen’s good graces. Then it seems like Rachel Weisz’s gloriously imperious Sarah Churchill is the one to root for, especially after a nasty accident, when it seems like she’s going to return to fuck shit up in her lace facial wrap. And of course, the Queen herself can be a compellingly tragic figure, since the only relationship in her life that seems to be even remotely genuine is hopelessly unhealthy. But to hand ownership of the story to only one of these women seems to miss the point — that there’s no winning the game they’re playing. It sure is a joy to watch, though.

The Favourite is now in theaters.

1. The Rider

Sony Pictures Classics

I realized, as I was making this list, how rife it was with features that are referential and effervescently clever, that play off genre and form and expectations, and that are in different ways about the movies — a reflection of a media-saturated world. And yet my favorite film of the year is nothing at all like that. Chloé Zhao’s South Dakota–set The Rider is so powerfully straightforward and present that it can feel, at times, like it was beamed in from another era. Brady Blackburn (first-timer Brady Jandreau, playing, as does everyone onscreen, a fictionalized version of himself) is a cowboy — he trains horses, competes in the rodeo, and believes that the best way to deal with pain is to walk it off and get back to riding. It’s a rough lesson, especially when he’s sustained a head injury that’s left a line of stitches in his scalp and that gives him periodic seizures. Going back to the arena could kill Brady, but the possibility that he might not be able to rattles his sense of self, a quiet crisis whose aftershocks shape the film. Zhao’s portrayal of life in the badlands is matter-of-fact and without any sense of tourism or outsider gaze; there’s a casual ease to the movie’s beauty that reflects the perspective of characters who’ve lived in this landscape all their lives. But it’s Zhao’s depiction of a man trying to figure out who he is without the thing he loves most that stayed with me — boundlessly tender, mournful without being final. Letting something go doesn’t mean losing it forever.

The Rider is available to rent.