It’s Thanksgiving week, which means the holiday season is officially in full swing. In keeping, Paramount+ is stocking up with crowd-pleasers and awards favorites this month, just in time to settle in with friends and family for a good movie.
From Ridley Scott’s sword and sandals epic “Gladiator” to the Coen Brothers-produced Christmas Comedy “Bad Santa” (which is most definitely not appropriate to watch with the whole family, heads up,) here are the best new movies to watch on Paramount+ this month.
Ridley Scott is about to be back in theaters with another historical war epic starring Joaquin Phoenix, which means now is the perfect time to revisit ” Gladiator.” Russell Crowe stars in the action-packed revenge drama, which follows Crowe’s Maximus from leading armies on the battlefield to fighting for his life in the Gladiator arena after a royal betrayal puts Phoenix’s perfidious and power-hungry Commodus on the throne. Fiercely entertaining with a prestige sheen, “Gladiator” is the rare film that thrives in the intersection of crowd-pleaser and awards drama.
Funny Face (1957)
In the year of the “Barbie” movie, it’s absolutely time to “Think Pink.” Candy-coated and directed with panache, Stanley Donen’s musical intersects high fashion and beatnik culture in Paris, set to the immortal sounds of George Gershwin’s music. The musical classic is a bit of a strange brew (none stranger than someone calling Audrey Hepburn’s face “funny”), but it’s a delightful song and dance, with a vibrant turn from Hepburn — you can’t beat that beatnik dance number — and a later-career Fred Astaire musical performance that proved he never lost a step.
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Somewhere along the way, “Catch Me If You Can” earned a reputation as “minor Spielberg,” which seems a real disservice to one of the most entertaining movies of the early aughts. Perhaps it’s because the 2002 film is so light-footed, tender-hearted and ultimately, and such a downright pleasure to watch. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as con artist Frank Abignail, “Catch Me If You Can” follows the gifted fraud through stints as a doctor, pilot, lawyer and forger — while also following the hot pursuit of the FBI Agent (Tom Hanks) who made it his missing to bring the criminal down.
Long Shot (2019)
An odd couple rom-com that really works, Jonathan Levine’s “Long Shot” pairs Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron as the all-time unlikely duo that ultimately wins you over. Rogen plays Fled Flarsky, a gifted but unemployed progressive journalist who reunited with his former babysitter, Theron’s Charlotte Field, who is now a polished politician on the brink of a presidential campaign. Unexpected sparks fly and the mismatched pair has to navigate their newfound romance in the public eye, under all the day-to-day pressures of an international diplomat. It’s sharp and funny, sweet and sexy — just an all-around winning rom-com, with a refreshingly optimistic take on a pair of principled people being the change they want to see in the world.
Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the Bob Fosse-famed musical “Chicago” is a jazzy, toe-tapping spectacle. It’s also loaded up with spectacular performances and enough filmmaking panache to pull off the oft-attempted, rarely successful stage-to-screen translation. Renée Zelwegger and Catherine Zeta-Jones dance and dazzle as two women trying to get out of murderess’ row by winning over the public. “Chicago” took home six Oscars, including Best Picture.
Bad Santa (2003)
Terry Zwigoff’s early-aughts Christmas comedy is a perfect piece of holiday counterprogramming; a foul-mouthed and sour-spirited laugh-a-minute hangout heist film that somehow also embodies the Christmas spirit. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Willie, a small-time crook and full-time alcoholic who makes his posing as a mall Santa and robbing the department stores after the big Christmas spend. The Coen-produced film is packed with knockout comedic performances, from greats like Bernie Mac and John Ritter to inspired casting choices like Tony Cox, Lauren Graham and Brett Kelly.