5 Movies Like Rocky III (1982)

Staff & contributors

Even a straightforward documentary on the New York East Village visual artist David Wonjarowicz (pronounced VOY-nuh-ROH-vitch) would be thrilling, given the energy and the irreverence of his artworks especially during the AIDS epidemic from the 1980s to the 1990s. But director Chris McKim goes above and beyond, essentially imagining how Wojnarowicz would have directed his own film. McKim treats the movie like a collage in itself, expertly blending footage and sound together not just to capture the artist's fury, but to remember how deeply he loved, transcending space and sickness. As an account of the underground New York art scene at the time, a profile on a supposed enfant terrible, and a tribute to all those who lost their lives to a disease accelerated by discrimination, Wojnarowicz is a beautiful, complex tapestry.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: David Wojnarowicz, Fran Lebowitz, Nan Goldin

Director: Chris McKim

Written and directed by the film’s star, Albert Brooks, Defending Your Life imagines an afterlife in which purgatory is a courtroom, and whether you’ll be saved or damned is judged based on the life you led on Earth.

Did you live courageously, or did you live fearfully? Were you ashamed, meek, afraid of being vulnerable? Or did you risk some tender part of yourself in order to connect with others, to meaningfully impact another life?

Daniel Miller (Brooks) discovers he may not have lived as boldly as he assumed. In the afterlife and awaiting his day in afterlife court, he meets Julia (Meryl Streep, in what is possibly one of her most captivating roles), who is kind and thoughtful and a capital-G Good person. Of course, it’s only after dying that Daniel tunes in to the great possibility of a life not lived on autopilot. But is he too late to atone for his unexamined life—or is there time yet for a second chance?

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Actor: Albert Brooks, Alex Sheafe, Arell Blanton, Art Frankel, Bob Braun, Buck Henry, Cathleen Chin, Clarke Coleman, Clayton Norcross, Clifford Einstein, David Purdham, Ernie Brown, Ethan Embry, Gary Ballard, Gary Beach, George D. Wallace, George Wallace, Glen Chin, Greg Finley, Hal Landon Jr., Ida Lee, James Eckhouse, James Paradise, Jennifer Barlow, Jennifer Barlow Grodsky, Jerry Prell, Jim McKrell, Joey Miyashima, Julie Cobb, Ken Thorley, Kristopher Kent Hill, Lee Grant, Leonard O. Turner, Lillian Lehman, Marilyn Rockafellow, Mary Pat Gleason, Maxine Elliott Hicks, Meryl Streep, Michael Durrell, Newell Alexander, Noley Thornton, Nurit Koppel, Peter Schuck, Rachel Bard, Raffi Di Blasio, Rip Torn, Roger Behr, Ronald L. Colby, S. Scott Bullock, Sage Allen, Shirley MacLaine, Sidney Chankin, Susan Walters, Time Winters, Wil Albert

Director: Albert Brooks

You know Anthony Hopkins as the evil Hannibal Lecter, but in this film he gives a warm and heartfelt performance portraying real life New Zealand motorcycle legend Burt Munro who set a land speed record in 1967 on a hand-built 1920 Indian. It's a story of never giving up on your dream even in the face of ridicule and opposition. Hopkins' performance turns what could have been just another schmaltzy formulaic story line into true gold. You'll be cheering for Burt/Anthony by the end!

Genre: Adventure, Drama, History

Actor: Aaron Murphy, Alison Bruce, Annie Whittle, Anthony Hopkins, Antony Starr, Bruce Greenwood, Campbell Cooley, Charles Halford, Charles Pierard, Chris Bruno, Chris Williams, Christopher Lawford, Craig Hall, Daniel Sing, Diane Ladd, Eric Pierpoint, Gavin Grazer, Greg Johnson, Iain Rea, James Gaylyn, Jessica Cauffiel, Joe Howard, Juliana Bellinger, Latham Gaines, Mark Ruka, Michael Mantell, Mick Rose, Morgan Lund, Patrick John Flueger, Paul Rodríguez, Saginaw Grant, Tessa Mitchell, Tim Shadbolt, Todd Emerson, Walton Goggins, Wesley Dowdell, William Lucking

Director: Roger Donaldson

Rating: PG-13

There is a version of Moon Students that solely focuses on the students of color themselves, victims of racial profiling and injustice, instead of their white teacher and his overbearing white guilt. That would’ve been a slightly better movie to watch, but even then, Moon Students seems broken beyond repair. The film is riddled with technical blunders. The timeframe is confusing, the pacing is off, and the dialogue is unrealistic (and unintentionally funny, because what young person actually says, with full sincerity, “You know what time is it? Party time!”). The actors deserve credit for breathing a bit of life into a limp script, and the cinematography can be nice at times—fuzzy and hazy like an LA dream. But the film’s misguided sense of justice ultimately brings it down.

Genre: Drama

Actor: B.A. Tobin, Cedrick Terrell, Eddie Navarro, Nicholas Heard, Nicholas Thurkettle, Sydney Carvill

Director: Daniel Holland

, 2024

Atlas is bad on every conceivable level. The writing is hackneyed, the cinematography is soulless, and the acting (save for a few) is one-dimensional. Only Jennifer Lopez and Sterling K. Brown are turning in serious performances, but somehow that makes the film worse, not better, because of how mismatched the energy is. If the acting wasn’t so serious, then Atlas could probably pass as camp—so bad and corny that it actually becomes fun to watch. If that’s the kind of film you’re looking for, then by all means, put on this Netflix film. But if you’re looking for genuine sci-fi fare, films with something meaningful and enlightening to say about the scary future of AI, then I suggest you look elsewhere.

Genre: Action, Science Fiction

Actor: Abraham Popoola, Amy Sturdivant, Briella Guiza, Gloria Cole, Gregory James Cohan, Howland Wilson, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Walker White, Lana Parrilla, Lesley Fera, Logan Hunt, Mark Strong, Mel Powell, Michelangelo Hyeon, Nicholas Walker, Paul Ganus, Samantha Hanratty, Simu Liu, Sterling K. Brown, Vaughn Johseph, Zoe Boyle

Director: Brad Peyton

Rating: PG-13