While college students are busy studying for midterms, applying for internships and going out on the weekends, the rest of the country seems to have time to go see the best movies of November and December, premiering just in time for Oscar season. Sure, not all of these are contenders for that prestigious golden statue, but they are definitely hotly anticipated and sure to have audiences lining up around the block. If you get the time to take a break from calculus homework, or get sick of watching Netflix, head over to the local theater and check one of these out.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (Oct. 21)
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s little sister, Elizabeth, stepped into the spotlight and stirred Oscar buzz at the Sundance Film Festival as a troubled girl who escapes from a cult. The film had a limited release on Oct. 21, but look out for this one to gain speed and come to a theater near you.
J. Edgar (Nov. 11)
We all know there’s nothing Leonardo DiCaprio can’t do, which makes him the perfect choice to play the complex former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. DiCaprio, director Clint Eastwood and Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black make up a dynamic Hollywood trio that likely won’t disappoint.
Melancholia (Nov. 11)
Kirsten Dunst won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival in this sci-fi drama for her portrayal of a newlywed spiraling into a deep depression. The kicker? The impending crash of Earth and the planet Melancholia.
The Descendants (Nov. 18)
After his wife suffers a serious accident, George Clooney’s character tries to reconnect with his two daughters, in the meantime discovering a not-so-secret about his wife. Clooney is bound to show audiences that life in Hawaii is not as easygoing as it may seem.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 1 (Nov. 18)
Hey, this is a list of the most anticipated movies, not necessarily the best. All I’m expecting from this one is countless “Team Jacob” Facebook statuses and throngs of pre-teens staying up past their bedtimes for the midnight premiere.
The Muppets (Nov. 23)
Jason Segel stars. Lady Gaga, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman and Ricky Gervais, among many others, make cameos. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is on the soundtrack. Need I say more?
My Week with Marilyn (Nov. 23)
Michelle Williams stars as ultimate American icon Marilyn Monroe, and the film depicts the making of The Prince and the Showgirl, the famous 1957 film in which Monroe stars. Given Williams’ acting chops, it’s likely that she will shine as brightly as Monroe does.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Dec. 21)
This Swedish best-selling novel and 2009 film adaptation come to America in David Fincher’s next film after The Social Network. Rooney Mara stars as Lisbeth Salander, the damaged, badass computer-hacking extraordinaire, and Daniel Craig is sure to bring his James Bond edge to the film.
We Bought a Zoo (Dec. 23)
Based on a true story, Cameron Crowe takes on a film about a family that buys a zoo in the countryside. Although this has the potential to venture into corny territory, Crowe, Matt Damon and newcomer Elle Fanning could also make this unique dramedy soar.
The Iron Lady (Dec. 30)
The Iron Lady is about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Historical dramas and Streep, especially when combined, tend to make the Academy fall to its knees—expect Streep to earn her 17th Oscar nomination before the film even comes out.