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5 Must-See Movies December 2023

Which films warrant a trip to the theater this winter?

Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth in 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes'. Credit: Murray Close/Lionsgate
Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth in 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes'. Credit: Murray Close/Lionsgate

The holidays are just around the corner, and there is no better way to celebrate than with a trip to the cinema.

Whether you go with loved ones or alone to escape loved ones, here are my picks for must-see films debuting in the coming months.

Happy holidays!

1. Anyone But You

Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell in 'Anyone But You'. Credit: Brook Rushton/Sony Pictures
Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell in Anyone But You. Credit: Brook Rushton/Sony Pictures

Will Gluck’s upcoming romantic comedy starring Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell look standard at best. It tells the story of two enemies pretending to be a couple at a wedding. Surprise, surprise: they then (I’m assuming) fall in love. If the storyline and pretty actors haven’t enticed you, watch this movie for the rumored behind-the-scenes drama.

News of real romance between leads Powell and Sweeney broke at the beginning of the year. This was extremely controversial as both were in other relationships at the time. It’s impossible to write these rumors off as either true or a PR stunt, but they make the movie exciting nonetheless.

Anyone But You will be released on December 22, 2023.

2. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth in 'The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes'. Credit: Lionsgate
Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Credit: Lionsgate

As I get older, I find that the holidays become increasingly nostalgic. What better way to commemorate such nostalgia than with the prequel to a pop culture sensation? The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, based on the book written by Suzanne Collins, tells the story of the villain, President Snow before he was President Snow. Once a mentor to a tribute from District 12, this story shows Snow’s descent into the antagonist of our childhood. It also tells the story of Lucy Gray Baird, the aforementioned tribute and original singer of “The Hanging Tree”, as she is forced into the games.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes will be released on November 17, 2023.

3. Wonka

Timothée Chalamet in 'Wonka'. Credit: Warner Bros.
Timothée Chalamet in Wonka. Credit: Warner Bros.

I’m going to be completely honest. I don’t think Wonka looks great. However, it has made its way onto this list because I think seeing potentially bad movies is really fun. I am also curious to see how Timothée Chalamet’s performance as Willy Wonka actually holds up against previous interpretations if it’s good, good for him! If it’s bad, I’m sure we will all be treated to beautiful internet jokes at the start of 2024. In that case, good for us! It’s a must-see either way. Wonka is yet another Hollywood prequel, and while its predecessors arguably do not have the same ties to Gen Z as the prequel mentioned above, there is appeal to it all the same.

Wonka will be released on December 15, 2023.

4. The Boy and the Heron

'The Boy and the Heron'. Credit: The Criterion Collection/Hayao Miyazaki
The Boy and the Heron. Credit: The Criterion Collection/Hayao Miyazaki

There are few things more comforting than a Hayao Miyazaki film. As the weather gets colder and the holidays draw near, The Boy and the Heron is perhaps my most anticipated “must-see” of these must-see movies. There’s a certain cinematic magic that is inherent in Hayao Miyazaki’s work. The imagery, the music, and the lessons continue to make for incredibly impactful art. Whether or not The Boy and the Heron will live up to Miyazaki’s past classics of course remains to be seen, but in my opinion, even his most mediocre work is worth viewing.

The Boy and the Heron will be released on December 8, 2023.

5. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving movie poster. Credit: Sony Pictures

The final film I’m including on this holiday must-see movie list is the only film here with an actual holiday theme. While most holiday films focus on Halloween and Christmas (with the occasional New Year’s Eve mention here and there), Thanksgiving is about… well, Thanksgiving. It’s also a slasher film, which is so ridiculous that I just had to mention it. I love slashers, so I needed little in the way of convincing to see this movie. It might not be the most uplifting or artistic thing to see during the holidays, but I think it could be fun regardless of the absurdity of its plot.

Thanksgiving will be released on November 17, 2023.

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