4 Movies Like Burn (2019)

Staff & contributors

, 2017

Named after a slur for people of Asian descent, this 2017 film put Justin Chon on the map as a director. More than that, he also starred as the main lead in this raw and uncompromising period drama about Asian-Americans and the LA riots in 1992. Shot completely in black and white, it tells the story of Eli, a scrawny Korean-American, who runs his family shoe store with his brother, Daniel (David So), in several vignettes. They strike up an unlikely friendship with Kamilla (Simone Baker), a black kid from around the way, whose family is not happy with her hanging out with the two brothers. Amidst the ubiquitous violence in LA at the time, the Rodney King riots as well as a tragic shooting of a black teenager by a Korean convenience store owner, it shines the light on America's intra-minority race relations and the more unseen stories behind them. A topic that has come back to haunt America in the 2020s. The film is fierce as it is funny, harsh as it is playful. Uplifting and unsettling.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Ben Munoz, Curtiss Cook Jr., David So, Isaiah Jarel, Justin Chon, Natalie Sutherland, Omono Okojie, Sang Chon, Simone Baker

Director: Justin Chon

Rating: Unrated

John Mulaney’s comedy special has candid interview segments, gallows humor on a children’s show, oddly specific musical numbers, and other variety show tropes. It having a children’s cast is largely why its snarky, uneasy tone works, and the topics that make it so are why you might watch it again. The cute absurdity of it all, as well as brief moments of introspection that can catch you off guard, are why you might even watch this with (older) kids—just don’t expect them to sit through the whole thing. It’s a comedy special for kids, by adults, so by design it’ll always be a bit off.

Genre: Comedy, Family

Actor: Alexander Bello, Annaleigh Ashford, Ava Briglia, Camille De La Cruz, Cordelia Comando, David Byrne, Isabella Iannelli, Jacob Laval, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jake Ryan Flynn, John Mulaney, Jonah Mussolino, Lexi Perkel, Linder Sutton, Natasha Lyonne, Oriah Elgrabli, Orson Hong, Rhys Thomas, Suri Marrero, Tyler Bourke, Zell Steele Morrow

Director: Rhys Thomas

Rating: PG

, 2023

Being made for free, fanfiction is free to play with controversial, less print-friendly concepts like gender-bending your favorite character. This freedom might go into strange territory, but most often than not, writers use fanfiction for escapism or for catharsis of their day-to-day lives. While the film doesn’t delve into fanfiction’s creative process, Polish drama Fanfic does recognize how the genre’s experimentation allows its writers to safely and freely explore different styles of expression, the same way teenage years hopefully do for its viewers. And as Tosiek goes through the trappings of coming-of-age self-discovery, it’s lovely and comforting and cathartic like the stories he writes.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Adam Cywka, Agnieszka Rajda, Alin Szewczyk, Anna Krotoska, Dobromir Dymecki, Ewelina Starejki, Helena Sujecka, Ignacy Liss, Jakub Wróblewski, Jan Cięciara, Kaya Kołodziejczyk, Krzysztof Oleksyn, Maja Szopa, Marcin Perchuć, Mateusz Górski, Natalia Łągiewczyk, Radosław Krzyżowski, Stanisław Cywka, Sylwia Achu, Wiktoria Kruszczyńska

Director: Marta Karwowska

Rating: NC-17

Watch this if you like weird movies. And don't be fooled by the first half, which serves just to set Jesse Eisenberg's character and the monotone life he leads. It's the calm before the storm, during which that character is attacked by a violent gang and decides to take self-defense classes in an unusual club. This is a movie about modern manhood and how it can lead to some pretty strange situations. Great performance from Eisenberg as usual.

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Alessandro Nivola, Apollo Bacala, Caroline Amiguet, Dallas Edwards, Davey Johnson, David Zellner, Frederic Spitz, Hauke Bahr, Imogen Poots, Jason Burkey, Jesse Eisenberg, Josh Fadem, Katherine Smith-Rodden, Leland Orser, Lena Friedrich, Louis Robert Thompson, Mike Brooks, Phillip Andre Botello, Steve Terada

Director: Riley Stearns

Rating: R