If you’re wondering what the fall spirit is, we’re choosing to define it as those feelings that arise when you walk into a coffee shop, notice a change in their menu and think, “Wow, there’s apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice? Is it fall already?” It’s like you blinked and just like that, the streets are littered with fallen orange leaves, the weather calls for beanies and scarves, and you’re busy lighting candles and carving up pumpkins. The next logical step is dimming the lights and cozying up for a movie marathon (with some kettle corn of course!)
We adore the autumn academia aesthetic, and “The Chair” serves just that. Think “Dead Poets Society,” but instead of a group of private school teens led by Robin Williams, it’s Sandra Oh’s Professor Ji-yoon who becomes the newly appointed chair of her university’s dying English department. It’s up to her to restore student interest in the department, manage her challenging colleagues, and prove to everyone that she’s capable of the position. As the first woman of color to be appointed head of the department, stakes are high, but Ji-yoon’s not one to back down from a challenge.
“Gilmore Girls” is our year-long favorite, but it definitely hits different in the fall. Something about the big maple trees, New England architecture, and small town feel makes it seem like Stars Hollow is eternally in fall. Stars Hollow would also be nothing without our favorite residents, Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) and Lane Kim (Keiko Agena). These two balance each other out in the best possible way, as Lane grounds Rory and Rory provides Lane the space to be who she actually is: a rebellious rock-loving teen. We all wish we had a friend like Lane growing up, but that’s okay because we’ll always have a friend in her on screen!
On a cold fall night when the mere glimpse of a barren tree’s silhouette sends a shiver down your spine, you need something dark and spooky to watch, and “Wendell and Wild” is just that. Be sure to prep yourself with a box of tissues because this is no ordinary Key and Peele collab. This stop-motion feature gets deep, touching on heavy topics such as grief, power, and political corruption. The Klaxons, who are rich private prison owners, are at the forefront of this corruption as they are responsible for the deaths of the town’s root beer brewery workers. Rebel preteen Kat, whose parents owned the brewery, tragically passed years earlier. As Kat tries to bring them back to life with the help of demon brothers Wendell and Wild, the Klaxons set their own evil plans in motion with the help of Kat’s school headmaster, Father Bests (James Hong). Ramona Young also appears as Sweetie, a friend to the Klaxons’ spoiled daughter.
If Stars Hollow had a twin sister, it’d be the fictional small town of Squahamish, where straight-A student Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) excels at everything school-related (with the exception of making friends). It’s only until she starts writing commissioned love letters for naive jock, Paul (Daniel Diemer), to give to his crush that she experiences the semblance of a real friendship. It’s rare to see movies these days centered around friendship arcs so “The Half of It” feels like a pleasantly surprising, ever-so-warm hug.
We’d be remiss not to include the TATBILB trilogy. The story of Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) captured our hearts in 2018 and is now a feel-good rewatch. The meet-cute-esque moment when Peter walks up to Lara Jean, brows furrowed and love letter in hand, is forever seared into our minds here at Character Media. We propose you throw a TATBILB marathon night so you can ride the highs and lows of these teens’ love story as they navigate the terms of their fake-turned-real relationship, love triangles and college — all in one sitting!
As the legend of the Mid-Autumn Festival goes, the mystical moon goddess, Chang’e (Phillippa Soo), drank an immortality elixir to save her life when threatened by her lover’s greedy disciple. The elixir granted her flight to the moon, where she’s believed to be waiting to reunite with her love. 12-year-old Fei Fei (Cathy Ang) was often told this folktale by her mother, but since her passing, she’s especially felt her absence during the Mid-Autumn Festival. This time around, Fei Fei decides to meet Chang’e once and for all. Follow Fei on her adventure as she takes off on her self-made rocket ship to space.
Set in ancient China, a nameless fighter (Jet Li) approaches the imperial king with the weapons of his three enemies, all of whom attempted to assassinate him at one point or another. In disbelief, the king asks Li’s unassuming hero for an explanation. The story of “Hero” unfolds from there as Nameless recounts his various encounters with the deadly assassins: Long Sky (Donnie Yen), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung) and Broken Sword (Tony Leung). Even if you don’t watch the entire film, you can still surrender three minutes of your time to watch Moon (Ziyi Zhang) and Flying Snow’s sword fight in the beautiful backdrop of swirling orange leaves. Cinematography, hello?! This scene alone makes “Hero” a fall must-watch.
- Wes Anderson’s Roald Dahl Adapted Shorts: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,” “The Swan,” “The Rat Catcher” and “Poison”
The warm fall-toned color palette of Wes Anderson’s cinematography earns his Roald Dahl adapted shorts a spot on our list. A 4-for-1 if you will! The shorts feature Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley and Richard Ayoade in the rotating cast with Ralph Fiennes, who portrays the beloved author himself. Behold as they shapeshift into each role throughout the series: in one story, Kingsley is a magician who can see without his eyes? In another, Patel narrates a tale of his friend who’s crushed by the weight of a (very real) snake?! Watch all of them in one sitting and, combined, it’ll be like you finished a 90 minute movie— each short is 17 minutes besides “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” (39 minutes).
Craving an autumnal romance? We got you covered. Live vicariously through video store owner Neil (Cillian Murphy), who spends most of his days wishing life was more like stuff in the movies. His girlfriend just wants him to look away from the silver screen and live the life that’s right in front of him. Then, almost as if on cue, Violet (Lucy Liu) enters the picture and turns Neil’s life upside down. She’s the manic pixie dream girl he’s been wanting — or so he thought. We know what you’re thinking, “Why wasn’t Lucy Liu not cast in more rom-coms?” Trust, we feel the same way.
Spooky season isn’t over just yet! Taika Waititi’s co-directed horror mockumentary makes for the perfect binge-watch. Follow the adventures of three vampire roommates, Viago (Waititi), Deacon (Jonny Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) as they acclimate to modern life, all while being filmed by a documentary crew. Living as a vampire in a human-centered society proves to be challenging. For one, they can’t go anywhere without an invitation. These kinds of vampire-specific stipulations create quite the comedic setup. We promise, this bloodthirsty yet endearing trio’s antics will have you rolling in your grave laughing this fall.