Movies & TV / Columns

Stew Ranks His First Twenty-Four A24 Movies (#12 – 1)

May 13, 2024 | Posted by Rob Stewart
The Iron Claw Image Credit: A24 Films

And we are back!

When last we discussed A24, I mentioned I had finally gotten up to twenty-four films from the studio that I have seen. Seeing as how that is apparently their favorite number, I decided to rank all of them. Last time, we covered #24-#13.

We are back this time to get through the rest, so let’s do that now!

12. The Whale


A bunch of really strong performances buoy a movie that has kind of a middling plot that I know some folks out there took offense to. But I’m here for any type of Brendan Fraser renaissance, so I was a fan of this one.

Fraser is incredible here, and not just for the fat suit they covered him in and his ability to move and act in it. He is believable as a man under the actual invisible weight of guilt and depression. His quest to reconnect with his daughter has real emotional power to it, and I was invested the whole time.

It’s probably not as good as my initial LB rating implies, and there are movies I scored lower I likely do enjoy more, as you are about to see. So that explains why a 4.0 is down here. But by no means does that imply I still don’t think it’s very good!

11. X


It’s weird thinking I have this ahead of Ex Machina, but here we are, and I AM a big appreciator of horror, so I guess it makes sense for me. I’m not all the way in on Ti West as a director. Even having dug X, I wasn’t sold on his directing of it. It all feels a bit gimmicky and purposeless at points. I thought Pearl was more of the same.

But leaving that qualm aside, we still have a strong modern horror that doesn’t play at being “elevated”. It’s just an updated kind of slasher with slasher sensibilities. The cast is strong (and as noted with Pearl’s entry, it surrounds Goth with equally important cast members, which I think she benefits from), and the brutality is there.

10. Past Lives


Greta Lee not getting nominated for Best Actress for this role was highway robbery by the Academy last year.

That’s what Past Lives is: an incredibly strong performance lifting a movie on its back and carrying it home. Lee outshines everyone here. While I think The Whale had several great actors throughout, it’s hard to see what anyone else is doing in Past Lives because Lee just dominates the screen every second she is on it.

The story is… fine. It’s a lot of pregnant pauses and characters repeatedly saying “Wow”. But it can make you nostalgic for the things you’ve missed out on in life, and it also makes you wonder if your road would really have been all that better if you actually grabbed those opportunities anyway.

Come for Greta doing her spectacular job. Stay for the things it makes you think about your own life… and maybe the ones you lived before.

For my in-depth review, click here!

9. The Farewell


We are sticking to movies that focus on the differences between life in the East and in the West as we move from Past Lives to The Farewell. I’m a huge Awkwafina mark, but even if you aren’t a fan of hers, you should really appreciate the work she is putting in here. She can ACT, and I think that would surprise a lot of folks. She has some really excellent timing and range.

The story here is a very interesting one about whether someone’s life belongs to them alone. Does someone who is dying deserve to know the truth, or can they be left in the dark if it makes them and everyone around them happier?

This is another movie I’m obviously upgrading from my initial rating. That score was brought down by some directionless subplots, and while those are problematic, I remember this flick for the main story, not those unresolved points.

8. Lady Bird


This was a very recent watch of mine when it kept getting recommended to me when I said I wanted to ingest some more A24 efforts. And I’m glad it was recommended so strongly and often because it’s a high quality little film.

The charisma radiating off of Saoirse Ronan is undeniable, and I’d have watched this character live her life for two-plus hours. The movie has the sense to only be a bit over 90 minutes, though, because it’s another Slice Of Life movie that doesn’t have a real story or plot driving it.

It’s just charming, funny, and real. I enjoyed Lady Bird’s dynamic her with mother (Laurie Metcalfe) and their toxic/loving relationship.

7. Green Room


A tense little thriller starring PATRICK STEWART as a neo-Nazi! Wild. This is an intense ride from early on, and the film doesn’t let every protagonist make it out alive. There are definitive stakes to the situation our heroes find themselves in.

The stunt casting of Stewart and the overall tension and brutal action make up for story that has a few minor holes. It’s also efficiently short and maximizes what it achieves in its runtime.

6. The Disaster Artist


The wild, true-ish story of how one of the biggest cult films of all time ever got made! I watched this with my wife who had never heard of The Room before we turned it on. She was amazed by everything she saw, and she couldn’t believe it was based on a real, actual movie that exists.

I will always remember that after we watched this, we tried to put on The Room, and she only got about 20 minutes in before she said to turn it off. The Disaster Artist was a better representation of the movie than the actual movie was.

I know he is persona non grata nowadays due to his slimeball behavior, but Franco is terrific as Wiseau here. He makes the wildman seem even more crazy.

5. Civil War


For my in-depth review on Civil War, click here!

The most recent A24 outing (that makes this countdown, anyway) comes in pretty high up on this list, which is wild because I thought for sure I wouldn’t like this one very much. The decision to make the actual war in a movie called CIVIL WAR tertiary to everything else, especially the character work, was a wonderful decision. It stopped the movie from polarizing one aspect of an audience against the other, and it allowed the movie to just tell the story of a group of journalists trying to cover the war.

With how meticulously it was made, I couldn’t help but be a fan.

4. The Iron Claw


I will always remember talking my wife into seeing this movie on the power of “It stars the guy from The Bear“, and then her reaction to it when it was over. She was floored at how depressing the story was and that it was a true tale.

Being a big wrestling fan, I was instantly into this one. I knew chunks of the Von Erich story, but not the whole thing, and I certainly did not know that Fritz was as much of a monster as this film portrayed him as. The Iron Claw is wonderfully acted, especially by Zac Efron who really showed he can do drama to add to his resume. And they treat the subject matter with the rest and somber presentation it deserves.

For my in-depth review, click here.

3. Bodies Bodies Bodies


Ha! I don’t even care; I loved Bodies Bodies Bodies. It’s so well done, the way it sets up a Whodunnit story and gives you a house full of characters that are either all suspicious, unlikable, or both. You almost enjoy seeing these entitled, awful kids get taken out one-by-one until the final reveal of who is responsible for it all, and that moment is just a big ol’ chef’s kiss. It’s exactly what the characters and story needed it to be.

I just had a lot of fun with this one. I know it’s not one of A24’s most widely revered movies, but I thought every bit of it was a pure blast, and the actors involved all gave it their all.

For my in-depth review, click here.

2. The VVitch


Boy, 20-30 minutes into this one, I was afraid I’d found another critically beloved film that just wasn’t doing anything for me. Luckily, this starts getting interesting in the second act, and by the third, it is fully engrossing. Even though I had heard the ending years ago, I was still in a gray area of not really “knowing” if everything was actually supernatural, or if we were just seeing shitty colonial life.

Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, and Harvey Scrimshaw are all superb in their roles and just command their scenes. GREAT performances!

1. Everything Everywhere All At Once


If this feels cliche, that’s because it is. A24’s awards darling is my #1 movie from the studio, at least of all the entries I have seen thus far.

EEAAO really lives up to its hype. It’s got action, humor, and an absolute ton of heart. Ke Huy Quan’s comeback to Hollywood story by itself makes the movie stand out (and he is marvelous in the movie; his performance drew some tears from me the second time I watched this). Then you have Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu turning in equally stellar jobs. Jamie Lee Curtis finally won an Oscar for her portrayal (even if I don’t agree that she should have won it over Hsu), and that is great for her!

After a second watch to confirm I loved this as much as I thought I did after the first, I went ahead and updated my Top 25 movies of all-time. This definitely deserves a spot there.

Cliches be damned.


And that’s it: Midsommar to Everything Everywhere All At Once.

So now I need you to tell me: what should I watch next? What A24 films am I MOST missing? Hit me with your suggestions, and I’ll see about filling in the holes. And maybe I’ll revisit this list when I get up to, say, 50 or something. Who knows?!

Until next time… take care!