As A24 Films celebrates it’s tenth anniversary this year, every cinephile has to admit that this company has quickly risen to one of the most impressive studios releasing movies today. Their films are commercially successful, critically acclaimed, and adored by film geeks all over the universe. As an exercise, we gathered a group we loving call the Fancy Boys Film Society (Matt Drufke, Rick Copper, Kate Peterson, Riki Adams, Waleed Ismail, David Sitko and Joshua Chuboff) and while sports nerds were doing their fantasy football drafts, we had them create a fantasy A24 roster. For six rounds, each picked their favorite films from the acclaimed studio. Here is that draft.
36. The Humans (2021) | Dir: Stephen Karam | Drafted by: Rick Copper
[Rick’s previous picks: The Florida Project (#7), Room (#8), The Disaster Artist (#21), First Cow (#22), Gloria Bell (#35)]
Thanks Walleed for taking The Death of Dick Long. It looked so intriguingly idiotic and apparently it was. As for The Humans, Matt called this one a great pick which really made me nervous as I had never seen it.
For once he was correct. A24 Films website calls The Humans “piercingly funny” which in my mind is an “achingly stupid” comment. There are a few funny lines (mostly from Amy Schumer) but this film is written and directed so well by the playwright of The Humans, Stephen Karam. It’s apparent a lot of care was spent on the blocking just as it were on stage as every character movement is so well done. Each character has something to give to the film, except maybe the Alzheimer’s riddled grandmother. However, her part is important as it reveals how fucking delusional her son Erik is (Richard Jenkins who slays it in the role) regarding his entire family. As the film progresses, the old apartment of Richard (Stephen Yeun) and Brigid (Beanie Feldstein) slowly falls apart and lights go out until none remain… just like the fragile family dynamic.
Big reveal at the end – nope I am not that dude, so you won’t hear it from me. However, I will say once I heard said big reveal my first thought was the sensitive character of Richard is a total magnet for depression.
They all pretend to get along while the grandmother pretends she knows these people.
37. The Death Of Dick Long (2019) | Dir: Daniel Scheinert | Drafted by: Waleed Ismail
[Waleed’s previous picks: Everything Everywhere All At Once (#6), Uncut Gems (#9), The Green Knight (#20), Mid 90s (#23), Hereditary (#34)]
Full disclosure: When I selected The Death Of Dick Long, I selected it based on the blurb and the movie poster, which featured a man shooting giant flames out of his wang because I am an adult. It was billed as a hillbilly dark comedy about two rednecks accidentally murdering their friend and trying to cover it up.
Imagine taking that premise and deciding we need to give it the gravitas of 12 Years A Slave, with none of the directing quality. Then make every character both unlikable and uninteresting. That is The Death of Dick Long.
It is billed as a dark comedy, but the only thing funny about this movie is how just about every choice they made is the wrong one. Somehow, they made a movie about two hillbillies getting drunk and accidentally murdering their friend by having him fucked to death by a horse boring. Against all odds, Daniel Scheinert succeeded in making an absolute failure. Unfortunately, with his triumph of mediocrity, we all end up losing. The only comfort I find is that this movie only made $36,856.
38. Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (2022) | Dir: Dean Fleischer-Camp | Drafted by: Josh Chuboff
[Josh’s previous picks: Moonlight (#5), Eighth Grade (#10), The Last Black Man In San Francisco (#19), The Tragedy Of MacBeth (#24), Midsommar (#33)]
It’s so rare to see a movie like Marcel which is endearingly funny and has a surprisingly emotional depth, yet still suitable for the whole family. It’s full of wit without resorting to crude/raunchy humor, and that alone is quite a feat. There’s also something so graceful and poetic about the life of a shell that’s so inspiring. I’m not sure if there’ll be a sequel for this or maybe even a TV series, but I’d easily watch more of Marcel’s adventures!
-Ruth Maramis, FlixChatter
39. Mississippi Grind (2015) Dir: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck | Drafted by: David Sitko
[David’s previous picks: The Farewell (#4), The VVitch (#11), Spring Breakers (#18), A Most Violent Year (#25), The Lighthouse (#32)
Gambling movies. You know the main guy is going to fly too close to the sun and lose it all. And yet, this movie still manages to keep you engaged, and guessing what will happen next. There is a sense of excitement and thrill to this, as you keep wanting Ben Mendelsohn to win. And to quit when he is ahead. But thus is the nature of gambling movies. And yet, even with it playing out like it always does, this movie still finds a way to feel fresh. And Ryan Reynolds is so charming. Again, brilliant acting, tight pacing, and great tension makes this movie my last pick of the draft.
40. Good Time (2017) | Dir: Josh & Benny Safdie | Drafted by: Matt Drufke
[Matt’s previous picks: Ex Machina (#3), The Lobster (#12), First Reformed (#17), Lean On Pete (#26), A Ghost Story (#31)]
All of my choices have had an intensity to them, most of which has been emotional intensity. But there are those other movies and then there is good time, which is the Safdie Brothers doing what they do better than anyone in movies: Ratcheting up anxiety as characters make one bad decision after another. Between this film and Uncut Gems, you would need a bottle of Maalox just to get through them.
The Batman himself, Bobby Patts, took this while working making the choice to work with a series of interesting directors (Clare Denis, David Cronenberg) and the Safdies absolutely throw him in the shit. Trying to save his brother, Pattinson makes every single bad decision and just keeps scrambling to make the next, somehow even worse, choice. You may not consider this an action film, but you heart will be racing by the time you’re done.
41. Locke (2013) | Dir: Stephen Knight | Drafted by: Riki Adams
[Riki’s previous picks: Lady Bird (#2), Climax (#13), Laggies (#16), 20th Century Women (#27), How To Talk To Girls At Parties (#30)]
Full disclosure, by the time we got to the end of the list, I had a handful of flicks I was considering. Saint Maud, Under the Silver Lake, and The Rover, each almost made the cut for their own reasons, but in the end I settled on Locke for one reason- Tom Hardy. Tom Hardy plays the only character we see during the runtime of the flick, he spends all but maybe a minute or two sitting in a car, driving and having phone conversations. And he’s mesmerizing on screen the whole time. That’s an impressive feat. Writer/director Steven Knight crafts a tense narrative of a man who is dealing with the implosion of his life based on a series of decisions he’s made both before and during the narrative. A collection of voices on the phone including Olivia Coleman and Tom Holland help to move the story along, and the shot selection of car interiors and exteriors give a feel of momentum in a flick that in lesser hands could’ve been a terrible bore, but instead it’s quite engaging.
Potential Trigger Warnings- Tense arguments both familial and work-related, but I can’t think of anything outside of that.
42. Slice (2018) | Dir: Austin Vesely | Drafted by: Kate Peterson
[Kate’s previous picks: The Blackcoat’s Daughter (#1), Obvious Child (#14), Green Room (#15), The Hole In The Ground (#28), Share (#29)]
Like a good supreme pizza, Slice has a lot going on, and even if its calories are empty, it still tastes pretty fucking delicious. The story concerns the hunt for a serial killer who is targeting pizza delivery people in the fictional city of Kingfisher. Also, it’s important to know that in Kingfisher (and, presumably, elsewhere?), ghosts hang around long after death. They’re so prevalent, they’ve been given their own neighborhood to hang out and be undead in. This also means that if a character dies, they’re not gone from the film — they’re just going to continue on, with some vaguely unsettling make-up.
-Tori Preston, Pajiba