TV shows and movies are proven to be great for unwinding. But they can, and often are, time consuming. So what if you find yourself in a middle of a tight schedule but still want to escape daily stress by watching something? Two hour-long movies don’t leave you with much extra time to do other things and in times like these, movies with two digits runtime are really appealing. They’re everything a two hour movie is—except you know, they’re shorter. Since getting the same amount of fun (or maybe more) in a shorter time sounds like a win-win situation for me, I am going to recommend you ten movies—all 2018 releases—that are less than 100 minutes for you to enjoy anytime.
Before we start, honourable mention for Game Night and Searching which are not more than three minutes over 100 but I guess if you skip the end credits that technically counts as being less than 100 minutes yeah? Anyway, without further ado, here are ten recent releases less than 100 minutes in alphabetical order:
1. A Quiet Place (91 minutes)
As popular as it gets, you’d probably be surprised that a lot of people have not actually seen this movie. If you’re one of them and also happen to be in need of more supporting evidence on why you should really watch A Quiet Place like, right now; this one’s for you. Set in a post-apocalyptic Earth, the Abbotts family had to live quietly in order to hide from monsters that have very-sensitive hearing. Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) have three kids: Marcus (Noah Jupe), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and Beau (Cade Woodward) until the monster took Beau, their youngest due to an accident. Fast forward a year after, the family have been surviving and living in an isolated farm. Lee has been studying the monsters’ weaknesses and Evelyn is pregnant. But their peaceful farm live is about to change when the monsters found out their hiding place. A Quiet Place shows how far parents are willing to go in order to protect their children from any harm—making family and sacrifice the driving force of this movie.
2. Blindspotting (95 minutes)
Here’s the catch: if I had to play favourites, this is my favourite movie from this list. Collin (Daveed Diggs) is on his final days of probation when he witnessed a police shooting on his way home. That event haunts him to the point that his relationship with his best friend Colin (Rafael Casal)—who seems to always get into fights—is tested. There is no better way to describe this movie than “a buddy comedy about gentrification and white privilege” (IndieWire). It has energy, heart, and humour that packs a punch while tackling political issues. Using rap and spoken word as a storytelling device, Blindspotting is one of the most dynamic movies I’ve ever seen. So unbelievably well-made and criminally underrated, this is a movie that will start conversations—or at the very least, stay on your mind for at least a couple days.
3. Cam (95 minutes)
“Black Mirror wishes!” was my first thought after finishing Cam. With original story and trippy execution, Cam is a fresh psychological horror thriller that follows Alice (Madeline Brewer), a camgirl who found out that a replica of herself has replaced her on her own cam show. Not only replaced, her replica also locked her out of her own account. With her rising popularity on the website, Alice desperately tries to get back into her account using any means necessary and we can see her slowly progressing into a madness, consumed by the goal of taking down her replica. The replica became a bigger and more serious threat once she exposed Alice’s cam job to her family. With catchy visuals, strong performance, sex-positive and empowering narrative, Cam maintains a sense of reality throughout the movie that is scary enough to make you rethink your online presence and persona after watching it.
4. Cold War (88 minutes)
Moving on to perhaps the most artistically-inclined film on this list, Cold War recently earned three Oscar nominations for Best Director, Best Foreign-Language Film, and Best Cinematography. Set during the Cold War era, this film was loosely based on the director’s late parents who met during a difficult time that is the post-war Poland. Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) is a music director who fell in love with a singer named Zula (Joanna Kulig). As Polish musicians, they were required to perform communist propaganda and both of them long for creative freedom. They toured around Europe together and one day, Wiktor found a perfect opportunity to defect from Poland to France. He asked Zula to come with him by setting a meeting point, but she had doubts and never showed up. Thus begin a 15 years-long journey of separation and reunion of the mismatched couple until finally they can be together. Cold War is a breathtaking story of impossible love during impossible times that transcends political climates and borders; and even though it is a period piece, the story is timeless and guaranteed to leave you speechless.
5. Eighth Grade (94 minutes)
Written and directed by the comedian Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade brings an honest portrayal of middle school anxieties, social media and self care, and growing up in general. In a nutshell, it’s a coming-of-age movie with half the rebellion and twice the anxiety. Kayla (Elsie Fisher) is on her last week of eighth grade which means she will be starting high school soon. Like us, she spends most of her time online, scrolling through Instagram and Snapchat while occasionally posting affirmation videos on YouTube. However, in real life, she is a loner with very little friends who struggles to connect with her peers. Since it’s her last week of middle school, she is determined to try and talk to and perhaps befriend kids at school who look down on her. Making us celebrate small victories such as a newfound friendship, Eighth Grade is a fun and heartfelt movie that will resonate with our own experience about growing up.
6. Hearts Beat Loud (97 minutes)
Have you ever thought of forming a band? With friends, sure why not? But how about with your dad? That’s a new concept, isn’t it? Hearts Beat Loud follows a widowed musician/record store owner Frank (Nick Offerman) who started a band with his teenage daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons). They both love music and have regular jam sessions until one day, Frank decided to upload one of their original songs to Spotify. Days later, Frank found out the song was featured in one of Spotify’s official new indie playlist and with this newfound excitement, he is keen to make the band a real deal. Hearts Beat Loud is a very light and enjoyable movie that shows how music can bring people closer together. The performances, both acting and musical were very strong, making it a very fun feel-good movie to watch.
7. The Miseducation of Cameron Post (92 minutes)
Set in the 90s, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a coming-of-age story based on Emily M. Danforth’s book published under the same title. Cameron Post (Chloë Grace Moretz) was sent to a gay conversion therapy by her conservative guardians after being caught with a girl on a prom night. The therapy centre was meant to “help” teenagers with same-sex attraction by subjecting them to bizarre practices that include working out to Christian workout videos called ‘Blessercize’ (which by the way, is a real thing). Amidst the conservative and homophobic environment, rebellious and skeptical Cameron befriended Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane) and Adam Red Eagle (Forrest Goodluck). They quickly became family and stayed together as they seek to survive the camp. Dealing with heavy themes such as homophobia and religion, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is surprisingly witty, heartfelt, and funny. And unlike other coming-of-age stories, the hero (Cameron) actually managed to find their identity by resisting transformation. The film also ends with a happy ending and powerful note that got me smiling ear to ear. It is definitely a must-see.
8. The Old Man & the Gun (93 minutes)
Inspired by the true story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), a 70-year-old charming bank robber who has escaped tons of prisons since his youth, The Old Man & the Gun is Robert Redford’s last film before he retired last year. I came across many reviews on Letterboxd that described this movie as the “Baby Driver for old people” and I am thrilled to confirm that they were right. Sure this movie has less gun fights and car chase scenes accompanied with funky music but Forrest Tucker’s story and character are somewhat similar to Baby’s. Forrest is a charming, likeable, and calm man who robs banks purely because he enjoys it. So charming that no one would suspect he’s a criminal. His antics baffled the authorities—including Detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) who was assigned to Tucker’s most recent robbery case. Just like Forrest Tucker, The Old Man & the Gun is very charming; it is also light and enjoyable, just like a good old storytime.
9. Thunder Road (92 minutes)
Officer Jim Arnaud’s (Jim Cummings) life went down a tragic spiral after a divorce and the death of his mother. Haunted by grief, he struggles to take care of his daughter—and himself which results in (very) frequent nervous breakdowns. Jim has trouble confronting his feelings directly so he resorted to making jokes about his shortcomings. He cannot connect with others and his good intentions both as a father and a cop never seem to pay off really well—which drove him nuts and forced him to grow up. Thunder Road might be a slice of life movie, but it is never mundane because of how soulful and raw the performances are. Written, directed, and performed by Jim Cummings, this tragicomedy film perfectly captured how people deal with loss but with a balanced amount of drama and comedy.
10. Tully (96 minutes)
If I want to describe the Tully experience to you in one sentence I’d say, “This will make you want to hug your mum real tight.” That’s right, Tully is all about motherhood–the good, the bad, the ugly, the emotional and physical toll it takes to raise a child (or children, in this case). Marlo (Charlize Theron) is a mother of three and her newborn was an unplanned child. Her eldest son has autism and she struggled in taking care of all three kids at once. For baby shower present, her brother hired a night nanny to help her with her newborn. Soon she develops an unlikely bond with Tully (Mackenzie Davis), the night nanny—which will eventually save her life. Tully has a fair share of fairytale moments but it still keeps its honest and unfiltered portrayal of motherhood throughout. With an unexpected twist during the final act, Tully is a love letter for all mothers out there.
I hope by the time you’re reading this very sentence you’ve already had a movie picked in mind to watch next. So, what are you waiting for? The clock is ticking.