Seriously Good Films to Watch Over Thanksgiving

Noted film critic Bill Newcott, creator of AARP’s “Movies for Grownups,” offers his picks for favorite films. From the November/December 2018 issue.

Julia Roberts in Ben Is Back

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The Front Runner (November 21)

Hugh Jackman in <em>The Frontrunner</em>
Hugh Jackman in The Frontrunner

Australian Wolverine star Hugh Jackman disappears into the meaty role of Gary Hart, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee and a philanderer of the first magnitude who famously dared reporters asking about his womanizing to follow him around — and was utterly destroyed when they took him up on the challenge. Director Jason Reitman’s film is a poignant account of the moment when the tide turned against politicians who thought their private lives would remain private.

Green Book (November 21)

Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen in Green Book
Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen in Green Book

This fact-based buddy flick teams Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali as Dr. Don “Doc” Shirley, a distinguished African-American concert pianist, with plumped-up Viggo Mortensen as “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, his driver and bodyguard, as they motor through a perilous 1962 Deep South performance tour. On the road, they learn about the ugly side of humanity as Doc is hit with one indignity after another, and Tony, ironically, exposes Doc to the marvels of popular black music, including Aretha Franklin and Little Richard.

Ben Is Back (December 7)

Julia Roberts in Ben Is Back
Julia Roberts in Ben Is Back

Moviegoers who would never dream of enduring the starkest visions of opioid addiction on screen will willingly enter a theater to see this poignant and accessible family drama about a concerned mom and her struggling son. With her trademark smile, Julia Roberts portrays a mother putting on a happy face when her troubled boy Ben (Lucas Hedges), fresh out of rehab, arrives home for Christmas to the minefield of temptations and often nearly imperceptible triggers that face the addicts among us.

For biweekly video reviews of the latest films, go to or check out Bill Newcott’s website,

This article is from the November/December 2018 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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