Culture / Film

Our pick of the best Friday night flicks on Stan right now

best stan movies

The near-unsolvable question we are broached with each Friday night in, is what movie to settle into the couch with to accompany the greasy takeout food and marginally-above-average bottle of wine we've purchased for the occasion. Do we want to be challenged by a thriller? Terrified by a horror? Transported by a romantic comedy? Or do we simply want to re-watch a predictable classic, just for the nostalgia and guaranteed dopamine hit?

For those who can't stand the thought of another evening endlessly scrolling through options on their screen, we've done the heavy lifting for you to create our list of what we consider to be the best films on Stan right now, all for your viewing pleasure. Thanks us later.


1. Promising Young Woman

The New York Times dubbed this a 'feminist revenge thriller' and we couldn't agree more. Starring Carey Mulligan as Cassie, a young woman full of potential whose life is derailed by trauma, the film explores the ideas of consent, power and grief from a unique lens.


2. Groundhog Day

The amount of times we will re-watch this 90s classic is a testament to the film's central theme. Bill Murray leads this funny and heartwarming film about a jaded weatherman stuck in a loop, reliving the same day over and over again in a desperate attempt to get it 'just right'. It's a warm and fuzzy reminder to lead our lives with gratitude and kindness.


3. Loving Vincent

Art history buffs will get a kick out of Loving Vincent, a meticulously crafted animated film about the titular painter Vincent Van Gogh, created entirely out of oil painted frames. The story follows a young man who arrives at the painter's hometown to deliver the troubled artist's final letter, before investigating his final days there.


4. Burlesque

A film to get the girls going, Burlesque is a Chicago-esque feast for the eyes and ears. Think Christina Aguilera and Cher dancing in a glamorous nightclub, sizzling music and even hotter costumes. Small-town singer Ali moves to LA to pursue her shot at fame, and is taken under the wing of a Burlesque Lounge owner in need of a new star act.


5. Call Me By Your Name

Timmy's breakout role in Luca Guadanino's Call Me By Your Name is honestly nothing short of a masterclass. Be swept away to a family's villa in rural 1980s Italy, where romance is blossoming between an American research assistant and the family's 17-year old son.


6. Easy A

Emma Stone sharpens her comedy teeth in this coming-of-age comedy about a straight-cut teenager who lies about losing her virginity in an attempt to mirror 'The Scarlet Letter', only to have her high school's rumour mill spiral out of control as a result. The perfect low-stakes comedy to get your evening going.


7. McQueen

One of fashion's most influential designers of the 20th century was none other than the late Lee Alexander McQueen. Hailing from the East End of London, McQueen defied all expectation to become one of the world' most successful fashion designers. Take a look inside the archives of film, and brush up on your knowledge of the indelible designer and the iconic fashion house he left behind as his legacy.


8. My Best Friend's Wedding

A 90s cult film classic, starring Julia Roberts (as all good 90s films do), whose best friend and ex-boyfriend Michael is about to get married. The only catch is that she may still have feelings for the soon-to-be-groom, and they did make a pact to get marry each other if they hadn't found love by the age of 28. It's an easy, feel-good movie for your Friday night.


9. Blue Valentine

A heartbreaking portrait of a young marriage falling apart at the seams, that stars the electric duo of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. Paul Mescal's called it his favourite movie on multiple occasions, and we trust his judgement here.


10. The Social Network

If you're looking for something a little more cerebral, look no further than The Social Network. It's an immaculately crafted film, from the stinging dialogue to the razor sharp pace. Following the rise of ubiquitous social media platform Facebook, and all the rivalry, back-stabbing and envy contained within their not-too-distant origin story. Andrew Garfield is a standout as ousted Facebook founder Eduardo Saverin, and Jesse Eisenberg is exasperating to the extreme as the infamous Harvard-graduate, Mark Zuckerberg himself.


11. Crazy Rich Asians

This feel-good rom-com from 2018 caught our attention for all the right reasons. Not only was it delightfully entertaining, but it starred the first all-Asian cast in a Hollywood-produced movie since the 90s! Based on the novel of the same name, we follow loveable, down-to-earth Rachel Chu as she heads to Singapore for her boyfriend's best friend's wedding. Upon arrival however, we watch her navigate new terrain as she learns that her boyfriend's family is stupendously wealthy.


12. Into The Wild

Based on the best-selling novel, we follow young Christopher McCandless as he turns away from his family and society to hitchhike across the country and live in the Alaskan wilderness. In a story that explores what real freedom means, the youthful abandon of people like Chris, and the unforgiving nature of the wild.


13. Step Up

There probably isn't anything that gets us going quite like the Step Up movies. The original film, starring Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, sparked a street dance revolution in the early 2000s, and is a perfect balance of dance prowess and impeccable storytelling.


14. Moonlight

If you want something a little heavier, a movie to get into your feelings with, then Oscar's Best Picture winner Moonlight is your pick. Another A24 masterpiece, we follow a young African-American boy as he journeys through a deprived childhood, coming to terms with his sexuality, and finding an unlikely mentor in a drug dealer. It's a subversive and heartbreaking portrayal of masculinity in a modern age. You'll want to have the tissue box on hand, though.


15. American Hustle

Name a better trio than Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and David O. Russell. If you loved Silver Linings Playbook (and who didn't?), you'll want to get your eyes on American Hustle. Cooper, Russel and Lawrence reunite for this film about a couple of con artists forced to cooperate in a sting operation for the FBI under an amnesty agreement. It's worth it alone for Lawrence's fiesty portrayal of Rosalyn Rosenfeld.


16. Arrival

Denis Villeneuve was directing epic sci-fi thrillers long before his remake of Dune. This cult favourite amongst science fiction enthusiasts follows Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner as two experts hired to communicate with extraterrestrials that have landed on earth. Except nothing is like you think it is.


17. Clueless

Alicia Silverstone is at her prime as ditsy, loveable high schooler Cher. The fashion is iconic, the dialogue is quote to this day. And if that's not enough, young Paul Rudd should be enough to convince you of a watch (or a rewatch).


18. The Godfather

Classics are deemed classics for a reason. And The Godfather is heralded one of the best movies of all time for a damn good reason. This film epic by Francis Ford Coppola follows the controversial succession of a long-standing mobster family, and the brutal consequences of the family's estate being handed over to a young, new heir.


19. La La Land

Emma Stone stars opposite Ryan Gosling in this musical drama about love, fame and the struggle to truly 'make it' in Hollywood. If not for the song-and-dance numbers alone, the film is well worth a watch for its heartbreaking portrayal of personal sacrifice in life and in love.


20. Mad Max: Fury Road

For the cinema buffs amongst us, this one's for you. A sequel of sorts to Mel Gibson's original Mad Max trilogy, this time we follow Tom Hardy through epic steam-punk battles, against a harsh desert landscape. Simply put, it's one of the best post-apocalyptic action films you'll see.


21. Mulholland Dr.

Haunting, frustrating, and idiosyncratic - David Lynch's notable film noir follows new-to-town actress Betty, who attempts to help amnesiac Rita seek clues about an accident that may determine her real identity.


22. No Country For Old Men

Cormac McCarthy's terrifying neo-western novel comes to life in this action epic that tells the story of a Vietnam War veteran (portrayed by Josh Brolin) who happens upon a drug cartel's cash in near the US-Mexican border. In his attempts to keep hold of the haul, he is pursued by a spine-chilling assassin (played by Javier Bardem). The film is bathed in near-complete skin-crawling silence, only adding to the panicked atmosphere from start to finish.


23. Pulp Fiction

Arguably Tarantino's most well-known film, Pulp Fiction is a perfect introduction to the famed director's back catalogue. It's got the buddy-comedy duo of John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson as hitmen, it's got dancing Uma Thurman, it's got a perfectly-delivered Christopher Walken monologue. It's worth it just for the cultural capital.


24. Snowpiercer

Bong Joon Ho is a master of metaphors, and this post-apocalyptic film tackles modern ideas of class and God in a truly unique way. When the world's climate is destroyed and frozen-over, the remains of society live aboard a train that has circumnavigated the earth for years. When the last carriage's poor inhabitants have had enough of their lowly treatment by guards, they decide enough is enough and begin a crusade to make their way to the front.


25. Zodiac

For the true-crime inclined among us, Zodiac is the film to watch. Based on the real, unsolved serial murders that terrorised 1970s San Francisco, this film follows a cast of detectives (played by the likes of Robert Downey Jr, Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo) as they attempt to solve the mystery of the 'Zodiac Killer' with nothing but the killer's cryptic clues to go off.


26. Mission: Impossible

Tom Cruise's original secret agent movie is hard to scroll past - and there's a reason it's been successful enough to spawn seven sequels (so far). The iconic theme music is now synonymous with spy movies everywhere, the sequences are brimming with action and special effects. It's a crowd-pleaser and more.


27. The Death of Stalin

This satirical film follows the frantic power struggles that ensue after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in the mid-50s. It's hilarious and a halfway-decent history lesson all at once. It may have been banned in Russia, but you can enjoy it freely on Stan.


28. Good Will Hunting

"How do you like them apples?" is the iconic refrain from a young Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. The film arguably put Damon and Ben Affleck on Hollywood's map, and was one of Robin Williams's all-time best performances. When an undiscovered maths genius is arrested after an outburst, an MIT professor extends a hand to help him out - in return for regular study sessions and weekly visits to a psychologist.


29. Donnie Darko

Gothic cinema meets time-bending realities in Donnie Darko. Trouble teenager Donnie (played by Jake Gylenhaal) is visited by a demonic rabbit who informs him that the world will end soon. After very nearly being killed by a jet engine that has crashed through his room, Donnie must figure out what's real again, before his time runs out.


30. A Star Is Born

Watch Lady Gaga's breakout acting role in this remake of A Star Is Born. The musical drama follows a blossoming love story between an established musician and a young new hopeful. Navigating their romance, their successes and shortcomings, this is a beautiful romance backed by a stellar original score.


31. Almost Famous

70s rock'n'roll is at its best in Almost Famous, a story that follows a teenage journalist as he joins one of the biggest up-and-coming rock bands on tour in an attempt to get the inside scoop for Rolling Stone magazine. We ride the rollercoaster of fame and excess with him, from the intoxicating highs, to the heartbreaking lows. And along the way we meet Kate Hudson in her breakout, iconic role of miss Penny Lane.


32. I, Tonya

Infamous figure skater Tonya Harding's biopic stars Margot Robbie in arguably one of her best roles. It's a film that easily sits among the ranks of movies like Black Swan and Whiplash, centring in on the anatomy of the obsessed artist.


33. Blade Runner: 2049 

Blade Runner is a cinematic universe to get lost in, from neon lights to post-apocalyptic ruins. Ryan Gosling stars as LAPD Officer K, who unearths secrets on a mission that threaten to crumble everything he knows. Denis Villeneuve expertly tackles Ridley Scott's classic film, offering up a sequel that some have argued may even outperform the original.


34. The Matrix

The Matrix is one of those movies that you just have to take the time to see. It has permeated popular culture to the point of ubiquity, and there's nothing quite like seeing a young Keanu Reeves at his peak.


35. John Wick

And while you're on your Keanu Reeves bender, why not throw in another classic: John Wick. This time he plays a retired assassin, pushed back into the game by the brutal actions of a sadistic mobster bent on revenge.


36. Ocean’s Eleven

The heist movie to end all heist movies, Ocean's Eleven features an all-star cast of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Don Cheadle just to name a few. Freshly paroled from prison and already planning his next elaborate crime, Clooney stars as the effortlessly charismatic Danny Ocean. It's a movie you'll find yourself coming back to time and again for the thrill.


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