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Stew Ranks His First 24 Movies From A24 (#24 – 13)

May 6, 2024 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Hereditary Image Credit: A24 Films

Fittingly, I have now seen 24 movies from the A24 film studio.

It feels like I have to have seen more than that. A24 has been one of the biggest studios of the last several years. It seems as though every other movie that comes out nowadays is released by the near-ubiquitous production company. And yet, I’ve somehow only seen twenty-four of them. Weird.

At least, that’s 24 based on this handy-dandy Wikipedia list that I found right here. There were a few movies I assumed were released by A24 (The Northman chief amongst them), but it turns out… nope, I am apparently incorrect on that. So maybe that’s why I think it should be more than 24 so far; I’m chalking every indie flick I’ve seen in the last five years up to A24 whether they are or not.

So 24 in, which does seem to be their favorite number, I thought I’d rank them all from worst to best. A24 is certainly a divisive studio, and my rankings reflect that that division is alive and well in me, too. In just 24 movies, I run the gamut from a 0.5 out of 5 stinker I consider the worst movie I’ve ever seen in theaters, all the way to a 5 out of 5 treasure that’s in my top 25 movies of all time. And there’s a lot of everything in between.

So let’s get into the list and see what makes up the first half of A24 flicks I have seen!

24. Midsommar


It’s the 24th of 24, and I don’t see anything replacing it anytime soon. If I get up to 50 A24 movies, this will be 50th. If I see 100, I bet this is still 100th.

For me, there’s no redeeming value to this movie. It’s one of the most poorly written films I’ve ever had the misfortune of sitting through. I’ve written on it at length before years ago, but where can I begin now?

– There are several plot points that go nowhere.

– The characters do not behave in anything resembling true-to-life human ways. And NO ONE is likable.

– The movie conflicts what it itself is trying to accomplish (if it WANTS the viewer to feel lost and confused, why do they subtitle the Swedish?).

– Most of the acting is abhorrent, and I even think Florence Pugh is wildly overacting in this one. Jack Reynor is particularly bad and feels like he’s asleep half the movie.

But I mean, I guess it’s… pretty? So there’s that? I notoriously despise this movie, and I’ve even sat through it twice to make sure it if it was something I’d come around to on a second viewing. Nope. Just… not for me at all, and its generally favorable reviews bewilder me.

23. Pearl


Another movie whose general acclaim baffles me, I personally found Pearl to be utterly laborious to sit through.

When I hear “who needed this movie?”, Pearl is what I think of. Nothing about the prequel to the vastly superior Xmade me think I needed to know more about the creepy old woman in it. And Pearl as a character experiences no growth or change in her prequel. She starts off delusional and murder-hungry, and she ends that way, too. If you took the beginning of Pearl, cut out much of the middle 70 minutes, and went straight to the ending, she still ends up on the same exact path. There’s no development or inciting incident. She starts crazy and ends crazy.

I’m very curious as to where I’ll land on Maxxxine after enjoying X and then hating Pearl, but I will say the trailers don’t have me too hopeful. Maybe I just need Mia Goth in smaller doses and surrounded by a quality cast of equal importance to the plot. But we’ll see!

For my more in-depth review of Pearl, click here.

22. Val


Admittedly, I’m not much for documentaries. I find them hard to rate because, well, what’s the criteria? How truthful they are? It’s hard to gauge them on editing, lighting, setting, and the like. They are just relaying a true story and generally not using too many tricks to do so.

Val Kilmer’s autobiographical documentary is more of the same. And while it certainly made me feel for the star actor, I couldn’t help but find the whole thing a bit overproduced. Parts of it are a touch too melodramatic for me. Others feel too sanitized. It’s his own story, and everyone is the hero of their own story, so I couldn’t help but think there was dirt brushed under the rug to make him seem more clean. Maybe that’s not fair to assume, but… that’s my relationship with docs, I guess.

It’s worth a watch if you really dig documentaries or celebrity lives. But I’m not deeply into either, so it was something short of powerful to me.

21. Under The Skin


Here’s the first of A24’s notoriously weird films. The kind that leave you sitting in your seat and stewing over what you just watched. They take a lot of pride in those movies, and I find them to be hit-or-miss. If they land with me, they create a sense of wonder and amusement. If they don’t, they just make me feel like I need to yell at a wall about what I just watched.

Under The Skin was the latter for me. It’s a slow burn in the truest sense of the word, and the back half just gets incredibly strange after the first end is glacial, but at least feels like it is moving somewhere.

This one was just a bit too “out there” for me in concept.

20. Dream Scenario


Being something of a fan of some of Nicholas Cage’s antics and films from the past few years, I went into Dream Scenario with relatively high hopes. Not nearly everything he has done has landed with me, but a good amount has, and I like the Good more than I dislike the Bad.

Dream Scenario would score much higher but for one lengthy segment of the movie that seems to betray Cage’s character and the entire set-up of the plot as the movie had established it. It was a big down for me. If the flick had just left that chunk of the middle out, I might have enjoyed this more, but as I sat in the theater watching this one, I never did get past it.

Add in a third act that sees the message of the movie take a wild turn, and this is a movie that isn’t bad at all, but was still well short of being “Good”.

19. After Yang


Here’s the biggest issue I, as a movie watcher, have with After Yang: I’ve forgotten every damn thing about it other than that I have seen it.

I’d love to regale you with reasons why I scored this movie a 2.5, but the thing is, it ultimately was just not a memorable movie in the least.

All I can leave you with is my shamefully brief Letterboxd review I wrote in its wake:

“There is a LOT of stuff densely packed in the themes, direction, and storytelling in  this movie where there is not much at all actually happening.

This was too smart for me, man. I just can’t quite wrap my head around everything/whatever it was trying to convey.”

I feel like, re-reading that review, that even a few minutes after having seen it, I was already starting to forget everything that happened. Sorry, After Yang.

18. The Zone Of Interest


The Zone Of Interest is a very well-made movie that haunts you as you watch it, and really makes you think about what people are able to excuse in life, even as they are incapable of escaping it. It’s a movie I have talked about and thought about a lot ever since I saw it in preparation for this year’s Academy Awards.

So why is it this far down?

As effective as it is, I’m a story-driven movie fan, and The Zone Of Interest does not have a plot. There’s nothing to really grab onto and no characters to let steer you through a narrative. It’s very much… Stuff Happens: The Movie.

So while I think it’s effective and accomplishes its goal, I’ll never watch it again, and I find it hard to believe many people would see it a second time. So I can’t claim I enjoyed it on any stretch, and I’d rather re-watch anything ahead of it on this list.

17. Talk To Me


I do feel like that score is a bit too high, so I’ve downgraded Talk To Me somewhat, but we’ll talk more about having done things like that in a second.

What I remember most about Talk To Me is that it had a phenomenal and creepy last, like, two minutes. But the ride to that point was a roller coaster of ups and downs. They screenwriters clearly just thought “Because spirits do what they do” was a sufficient answer to any question the audience might have; those writers just wanted to write scenes, but they didn’t think about whether it was all particularly cohesive.

Still! There were some quality scares and moments throughout. And again… the very end of the film is unimpeachable.

16. Hereditary


Much like how I am sure Talk To Me would drop a bit if I ever watched it again, Hereditary is a movie that has grown in my estimation since I first watched and rated it. I mean… a little bit, anyway. We’re not talking leaps and bounds here.

Hereditary was a movie that I initially found pretty uninteresting. The third act reveal of what was going on felt just like every other horror movie from the decade leading up to this flick, and the first two acts were mostly a snooze.

That said, I’ve come around on the acting quality (Colette and Wolfe are terrific here), the cinematography, and most of the technical elements. I do think Ari Aster has some skill behind the camera. I just think his screenwriting leaves a LOT to be desired.

15. Swiss Army Man


Hey, look! It’s the 24th A24 movie I saw; the one that brought me to this list. And what a friggin’ weird outing this was.

I could have done without the extended and repeated fart humor, which just doesn’t typically get much of a laugh out of me. I’m not a “body humor is hilarious” kind of guy. But then, maybe that was the point of this flick.

It’s a strangely endearing little movie that I kept wanting to shut off during the first half hour, but it eventually finds its message and grows a heart. The second act–the act with the most Manny and Hank interactions–is the soul of the movie, and then the third act tosses everything you think you know on its head.

14. The Florida Project


Well this was just depressing.

A look at a subsection of America–the poor, desperate, single mother who isn’t necessarily a hard-working hero, but is, in fact, a pretty shitty human–can be hard to watch.

No matter how desperately you cheer for Moonie to have a good life (and that can be difficult because she’s not often a lovable kid here), you kind of always know this flick only has so many possible endings. And very few of them are good.

The last 15 minutes are extraordinarily hard to watch. Then we get a strange, tacked-on last scene which… I’m not really sure what the movie was trying to do there.

13. Ex Machina


This came in at the bottom of my 3.5 ratings for me, and I guess I was a little less hot on this movie than most folks were. Don’t get me wrong: it’s very good! But I guess I never felt as grabbed as the folks who would rank this much higher.

The ending upset me, but it was probably in that GOOD way, where I was invested enough in the characters to have wanted a different/better ending for them than what they got. So maybe I’m holding the ending against this film but should actually be using it to prop the whole thing up because it really affected me.

The acting from Isaacs, Gleason, and Vikander are all top-shelf. They deliver all of the heart and intrigue the plot demands. I really don’t have much in the way of specific negatives to say about this; we’re in the Very Good movies range (3.5+), and I just think others were better.


But WHAT movies were better? Well, we’ll find that out in the next article where we cover #12-#1.

Until then, let me know how many A24 movies you have seen! What have been the most disappointing ones from the studio so far?

Until next time… take care!

article topics :

A24, Hereditary, Midsommar, Pearl, Rob Stewart