With November comes the thick of awards season, and this 2019’s is a doozy. Here at Nerd It Here First, we’re thankful for the eclectic mix of esoteric indies and crowd-pleasing wide releases that will factor into the Academy Awards race. In fact, there’s so much coming out in Thanksgiving, that we were forced to omit a certain time-traveling cyborg, a great Shakespeare adaptation, and the sequel to the biggest animated film of all time. Read below to see what six November movies we think are most worthy of your time and attention.
The Irishman – Theatrical: Nov. 1; Netflix: Nov. 27
It’s finally here. Decades in the making and after numerous false starts, Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus about Frank Sheehan (Robert De Niro, re-teaming with Scorsese for the first time in 24 years) has arrived. The Irishman chronicles Sheehan’s life and his relationship with Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino, working with Scorsese for the first time), whose still-unsolved disappearance Sheehan may have been responsible for. Co-starring the likes of Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, The Irishman could be branded as Scorsese Avengers, but given his recent comments, he probably wouldn’t like that. Let’s just call it what it is: arguably the most anticipated movie of 2019, and an early frontrunner for several Academy Awards — including Best Picture.
Doctor Sleep – Nov. 8
Based on the 2013 novel by Stephen King, Doctor Sleep is a sequel to one of the most famous movies ever made: The Shining. That it’s able to reconcile the differences between both Stephen King’s novel and Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation is a stunning achievement. Mike Flanagan’s film of Doctor Sleep isn’t in the same league as Kubrick’s, but it doesn’t have to be. Walking a fine line between fan service and striking its own identity, the movie works as meditation on grief, trauma, substance abuse, and seeking and giving help. Ewan McGregor stars as the grown-up Danny Torrance, with Rebecca Ferguson as the villainous leader of a cult hunting down those who “shine.”
Ford v Ferrari – Nov. 15
It’s good to have a new James Mangold movie to talk about. The venerable journeyman director, whose previous work includes Walk the Line and Logan, returns to tell the story of Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), who together with driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), work to build a Ford car that can beat Scuderia Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans race. It’s uncommon to get a bona fide sports movie in the awards race these days, and I’m sure Mangold will have a few tricks up his sleeve to keep this from being a formulaic racing picture. This should be a great crowd-pleaser that’ll play well with awards bodies, and will likely crop up for at least several technical nominations at the Oscars next year.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – Nov. 22
Tom Hanks plays Fred Rogers, but the movie isn’t about Mr. Rogers. Directed by Marielle Heller (last year’s very good Can You Ever Forgive Me?), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is actually about Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), an Esquire writer reluctantly assigned to write a profile of Rogers. Trailers have been careful not to paint this as maudlin awards bait or a derivative rehash of last year’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? documentary. Early word is good and awards buzz is strong, with particular awards attention paid to Hanks as a Best Supporting Actor contender. Here’s hoping the movie lives up to the hype.
Knives Out – Nov. 27
Featuring easily the most star-studded cast of the year, Knives Out is Rian Johnson’s first movie since setting the internet ablaze with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The movie is a whodunnit in the vein of Agatha Christie, assembling a cast that includes no less than James Bond, Captain America, and Baron von Trapp. If you’re not excited to see this movie, I don’t know what to tell you. You may need to see a doctor.
Queen & Slim – Nov. 27
One of the most exciting movies left in 2019, Queen & Slim is the directorial debut of music video director Melina Matsoukas. Starring Oscar-nominee Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther) and Jodie Smith-Turner, the film follows two African-American youths who kill a cop after getting pulled over while on a date. As they run from the law, the incident takes on a “Bonnie and Clyde”-esque notoriety, shining a light on complex race relations and violence in modern America. The trailer for Queen & Slim is one of the best I’ve seen in years, and if the movie is just as good, we’re going to have an instant classic on our hands.
But in all seriousness, what are you excited to see this month? Do you already have your tickets in hand for one of these movies? Or did we leave your favorite picture off our list? Let us know on Twitter @NerdItHereFirst. And be sure to subscribe to The Watchmen podcast where we review a new movie every week!