I’m clinging to my tanktop as we speak, but even I can admit that summer is over. I’m not thrilled about it, but I have a sensible solution to anyone who’s afraid of jumping headlong into autumn right away: Find these nine movies that define the fall season, arrange them in front of you like dominos, and view them one at a time. I’m rewatching #1 as we speak, and I can already feel the barbecues and SPF 50 of summer slipping into the past. And I dig it.
If fall is about sinister scares and dark humor, then Scream is the perfect autumnal thriller. Honestly, I consider it one of the most terrifying moviegoing experiences of my life. If Drew Barrymore‘s opening scene (where she is quite opened) doesn’t horrify you for centuries, surely you’ll be freaked out by Neve Campbell‘s constant panic, Rose McGowan‘s garage work, and an unbilled Henry Winkler cussing his ass off as the doomed Principal Himbry.
8. Autumn Sonata
Forget Ingrid Bergman’s Best Supporting Actress win for Murder on the Orient Express in ’74 (in case you hadn’t forgotten it already, for some reason). Her defining ’70s performance is in Autumn Sonata, the Swedish-language film by Ingmar Bergman where she plays a neglectful mother who reunites with the children she’s long ignored (including the fabulous Liv Ullmann) and learns plenty about the lives she’s ignored. It’s a grim and gripping drama with some insane moments, but Bergman is just perfect as our flawed lead.
7. Hocus Pocus
The schlockiest of kiddy Halloween comedies features a trio of thespians whose names I only wish Konstanin Stanislavksi could’ve lived on to praise: Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker. These three troublemakers mug and ham their way through this Disney nonsense, and I can honestly say that Najimy kind of kills it. Like, she’s watchable and funny and awesome. You won’t love yourself for loving Hocus Pocus, but I assume you won’t be able to help yourself either.
6. Hannah and Her Sisters
I’d say Hannah and Her Sisters has the highest amount of excellent performances in a Woody Allen flick. The goddess Mia Farrow is so engrossing as Hannah, the Oscar-winning Dianne Wiest is a hysterical trainwreck as Holly, and the killer Barbara Hershey slyly owns the movie as Lee. Hannah is bookended by two Thanksgiving scenes, and I hope the presence of a young Soon-Yi Previn puts you in a familial mood.