Movies have always been a vehicle for escapism, but I’m not sure there’s been a point in the last several decades that we’ve so desperately needed escapism as much as we do now. I’ve loved using some of the extra time I’m finding myself with to catch up on movies that have long been on my To Watch list. But in addition to those films, I’ve turn to these 11 picks because they’re so packed with famous faces that I’m immediately transported into another dimension — one where I’m not stuck in my house with my two crazy kids all day and where there are a lot of really good-looking people who appear to have actually showered within the past 5 days (don’t judge me!).
The Gentlemen – New to the Box and Redbox on Demand, this Guy Ritchie action-comedy stars Matthew McConaughey as the American mastermind behind a London-based marijuana empire who’s looking to retire. That means there’s an opening for someone else to make a lot of money. Enter Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong and Charlie Hunnam. If you’re a fan of the movies that put Ritchie on the map — Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels — this return to form for the famous director is the one for you.
Avengers: Endgame – Said in a Chandler-from-Friends voice: “Could there be any more celebrities in a movie?” No. The answer is no.
Knives Out – This end-of-2019 breakout hit follows Daniel Craig’s private investigator and Lakeith Stanfield’s local police detective as they try to figure out who murdered a famous mystery writer (Christopher Plummer) in his bedroom. Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon and Katherine Langford play family members who all might have a motive.
Magnolia – Before I even talk about the cast of this nearly indescribable drama from director Paul Thomas Anderson, I need to give you a pro tip: Its Aimee Mann-centric soundtrack is perfect for what we’re living through right now. Trust me. The film intertwines a lot of really bizarre stories, and really you just need to watch it if you haven’t yet. Its many characters are played by Tom Cruise (who earned an Oscar nomination for his intense performance as a motivational speaker), Julianne Moore, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzmán, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, Patton Oswalt, Felicity Huffman and Alfred Molina.
Ocean’s Eleven – No one can say that seeing Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Elliot Gould, Scott Caan and Casey Affleck as part of a crew that attempts to rob three high-end Vegas casinos owned by Andy Garcia isn’t going to be a good time. Oh and there’s also Julia Roberts and a ton of celebrities playing themselves.
Bridesmaids – This blockbuster 2011 comedy reminded Hollywood that women can be hilarious. (Duh!) Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper, Rebel Wilson and a then-unknown Melissa McCarthy play a group of friends out to give Maya Rudolph the bridal shower of her life. There’s also Jon Hamm, Chris O’Dowd, Terry Crews and freakin’ WILSON PHILLIPS!
Murder on the Orient Express – Kenneth Branagh plays Agatha Christie’s clever detective Hercules Poirot, who must figure out who killed a passenger aboard the famous trans-European train. Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi and Michelle Pfeiffer are all in the mix!
The Expendables, The Expendables 2 and The Expendables 3 – In this line of work I have to watch a lot of movies I would’ve never chosen to see on my own. This franchise of over-the-top films about elite (and many times aging) mercenaries falls into that category, but you know what? They were a ton of fun, and we have Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Bruce Wills and more (“more” as in Chuck Norris, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Ronda Rousey and still more) to thank for that.
This is The End – If stoner humor is more your speed these days, then you can’t go wrong with this apocalyptic comedy starring pals Jonah Hill, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride, and featuring soooooooo many celebrity cameos (Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Channing Tatum, Kevin Hart… and again, MORE). The whole apocalypse thing might hit a little close to home these days, but hey, at least you’ll laugh.
What’s another movie you can think of that’s just packed with stars?