movies 2024 best of

These Movies From The First Half Of 2024 That Had Everyone Talking

The discourse was real.

These are the movies that you should have seen by now, or, at least, felt like everyone else did.

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A lot has been said about the power of cinema these days. The US box office has taken a stumble for most of the year while Filipino movies this 2024 have yet to achieve the same success that the films of the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival had. But movies will always have a place in the cultural zeitgeist, and that remains true today. Over the past six months, there have been movies, regardless of their quality, taking social media by storm. 

Whether they discussed important social issues, started debates among viewers, or were general conversation starters, these movies sparked all kinds of discussions. As we’re now halfway through 2024, let’s take a quick throwback to the movies of the year, so far, that had everyone talking.  


The story of Padre Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez, and Jacinto Zamora went from a lesson in history class you probably forgot about to a box office hit thanks to this movie. It didn’t get lost in the MMFF 2023 crowd as people wanted to watch it long after December 25. This award-winning movie captivated audiences with its engaging story and quality production to be a worthy addition to the historical drama genre of Filipino movies. More importantly, it was a sobering reminder that the causes the three priests died for are the same causes we still fight for centuries later. 


You couldn’t go anywhere online without seeing a post about this back in January. Even if you haven’t watched the movie, you most likely have heard of that bathtub scene that broke the internet. But all that discourse sort of hid the fact that Saltburn had something to say about wealth and its corrupting nature. Sure, it divided critics, with some saying it was a biting take on “eat the rich” while others said it was an aesthetic but shallow attempt. Still, there’s no denying the movie spoke to how the desire for power can lead you down a dark road. 


This campy teen-drama-horror had the heart, though stumbled in its execution. But regardless of the movie’s reception, one thing audiences and critics agreed on was that Liza Soberano did not disappoint in her Hollywood debut. For a while, we knew that Liza was supposed to appear in the film, and when it was finally released, she was a powerhouse that many (us included) said was the best part of the film. As Taffy, Liza embodied cool and popular girl energy while still having a heart, and that isn’t easy to do. At this point, the world is her oyster, and we can’t wait for her next project.  


With all the anticipation and expectations riding on the back of this movie, Dune: Part Two could have easily failed to reach the bar. Not only did it reach it, it arguably surpassed it as well. The movie satisfied fans of the book series while also being welcoming enough to casual viewers. It made for the first must-see blockbuster of 2024. Paul Atreides accepting his destiny may have unleashed a holy war across the galaxy, but it made for a truly epic viewing experience.  


When it comes to horror movies this year, no one did it quite like this indie horror flick. The best horror movie of 2024 so far, this found footage film centers on a telecast of an episode of a late-night talk show on Halloween night in the 70s that went horribly wrong for, among other reasons, holding a live exorcism on camera. It’s a well-executed gem that takes no prisoners and turns a talk show set into a haunted house of horrors. Sadly, the movie also uses AI. While it is only for a few scenes that aren’t so noticeable, it is a reminder to stay vigilant for an art form that should never be wholly replaced by AI.   


In today’s political climate, Civil War was bound to ruffle some feathers. A movie about America in the middle of a civil war that was released in an election year? Oof. While it did start a discourse, the movie itself moved away from trying to champion one side over the other and instead told a compelling tale of journalists traveling a divided America. It’s gritty, gripping, and thrilling. Also, its final act set in Washington D.C and the White House was jaw-droppingly awesome. That’s cinema right there. 


Challengers may have not set the box office on fire the way some executives would have preferred, but the movie did light up many Gen Z TikTok FYPs. The soundtrack, cast, unapologetic sexual tension, and the fact that the movie is genuinely great made for the perfect recipe for Gen Z’s next film to obsess over. If all you’ve seen are the edits and not the actual film itself, do yourself a favor and watch the movie. 


When you have Nicholas Galitzine play a British boy band member who falls in love with a single mom in her 40s (played by Anne Hathaway, of course) in a movie that’s based on a popular romance novel that had Harry Styles fanfiction allegations, sparks are bound to fly. And boy did they. The movie itself is ok, but the real stars are Galitzine and Hathaway and their chemistry that’s just *chef’s kiss*. They carried the film and also started discussions on what it means for older women to find love and happiness and society’s reaction to them doing so. 


Pixar ended their box office disappointments with this sequel. But what made Inside Out 2 special was how relatable it was. It has a realistic depiction of anxiety and how in its nature to help you prevent future mistakes, it ends up messing with you physically and mentally. Anxiety is a non-intentional villain here, which is how often anxiety in real life operates. Riley’s struggle with Anxiety as she wanted to fit in a new setting spoke to so many people, especially teens and young adults because these are the battles many of them go through every day. 


Talk about a sleeper hit. The story of an ungrateful grandson taking care of his dying grandmother for her inheritance might seem simple to some. But the Thai drama found emotional power in its simple yet effective tale. With the title alone, the movie isn’t subtle, so you can imagine where it goes. But more than just how you think this movie ends, it’s the journey that has captivated audiences. 

Even if you aren’t the crying type, the movie knows how to get you to feel your feels. What it lacks in spectacle, it more than makes up for it with its slice-of-life story about the dynamics of generational divide, eldercare, and the importance of family, topics many people in Southeast Asia can relate to. 

As for the movies we think more people should have talked about that can also serve as additions to your 2024 watchlist, check them out below. 

MONKEY MAN – John Wick but with a strong focus on Indian culture and dashes of ACAB and Trans Rights.

FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA – Furiosa’s origin story was a long way, but something worth watching.

ABIGAIL – Why this horror film flopped at the box office we don’t know given it’s one of the year’s best and doesn’t skimp on the blood, gore, and twists.  

THE FALL GUY – This isn’t just for people who like watching movies about making movies. It’s a crowd-pleasing action comedy perfect for a Saturday night. 

MADAME WEB – Charot… Well, if you really want to know why this was memed to infinity and beyond, you can catch it on Netflix

Continue Reading: Your June 2024 Watchlist Isn’t Complete Without These New Movies And Shows