It seems like people are more obsessed with astrology (the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world) than they’ve ever been before. I do enjoy it all quite a good deal (I’m an Aquarius sun, Sagittarius moon, and Virgo rising, for reference), even if it’s totally possible that its entirely nonsensical and pointless. Even if it is a waste of time, so is much of life, and astrology is loads of fun to read and learn about. With the help of my lovely girlfriend and astrology aficionado, Erica, I spent many hours doing something else that may be totally pointless: Watching tons of movies!
I sought to find two films that accurately captured the essence of each zodiac sign, either because of the way the movie was created, a central character in the film, or the feelings the film elicited. I did my best to include lesser known films as well as some popular ones to mix things up. Below are my findings, with ratings of each film I talk about, for you to enjoy and/or learn something new:
ARIES (Fire Sign) (March 21st-April 19th)
Aries are the first of the zodiac, hence why they’re often referred to as “the baby” and full of youthful charisma. They’re insanely competitive and obsessed with winning everything. Aries are thought of as courageous, if not bordering on reckless and they’ll go to crazy lengths to prove their worth, even if it lands them in tricky situations. Aries are an energetic bunch (and sometimes quick tempered), which can be exhausting, but their unwavering energy comes from a place of love and passion. This is a warm, caring sign that’s wonderfully capable of leading people, and though, in some cases they can be overbearing, they just want the best for everybody around them.
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955) (Dir. Nicholas Ray) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: Jim Stark is a total Aries. He has an incessant need to prove his value to the people around him, going as far as getting into dangerous competitions that put his life at stake on many occasions. He has a quick temper and isn’t afraid to show his passion and emotion at all times and he displays awe-inspiring courage at the end of the movie, sticking his neck out to do his best to redeem and protect his friend.
My Thoughts On the Film: James Dean as “Jim Stark” shines here. He’s effortlessly sexy and full of swagger, he’s dynamic, and he commands attention every second he’s onscreen. Natalie Wood is also appealing and endearing as “Judy”, though it may be unbelievable that she experiences such sudden pain and so quickly overcomes it. Sal Mineo as “Plato” overacts every once in a while, but he still manages to give a compelling performance and particularly excels in the final act of the film. The direction is clever and paced effectively. This is a classic worthy of watching.
ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953) (Dir. William Wyler) (found on Amazon/Prime)
Why It Fits This Sign: ROMAN HOLIDAY is full of life and captures the Aries spirit right away. Princess Ann is the epitome of “baby” in this film. She’s defiant and loves passionately squabbling with all of the staff entrusted to keep her safe. When she doesn’t seem to get her way, she recklessly abandons her post and takes a holiday in Rome, though not before throwing a tantrum and amusingly lashing out. She acts before she thinks and ends up getting into mischief, but she does it with an unruly amount of warmth and energy.
My Thoughts On the Film: As a film, ROMAN HOLIDAY works quite well as a classic romantic-comedy, even if the ceiling for that particular genre is lower than most. It stars Audrey Hepburn giving one of the most deliriously charming performances ever as “Princess Ann” and Gregory Peck as “Joe Bradley”, the reporter who she takes her holiday through Italy with, is appropriately subtle, delivering most of his dialogue with a calm lightness that meshes perfectly with Hepburn’s showier moments. Though Peck is higher billed, Hepburn is why the movie is wonderful. She attacks her character with a gusto and enthusiasm that’s simply captivating.
Honorable Mentions: I, TONYA (2017), SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)
TAURUS (Earth Sign) (April 20th-May 20th)
Tauruses are known as the most stubborn zodiac sign and while that may be true, there is more to them than that. Folks belonging to the Taurus sign are usually extraordinarily patient, to the point that they appear immovable. They have an unbelievable ability to persevere past any challenge thrown at them and they have a way of approaching tasks with a grounded presence. They’re family-oriented, and they can derive quite a bit of pleasure from satisfying aesthetics. They value their comfort and pleasure and can come off as fussy or finicky when said comfort is distorted.
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (2018) (Dir. Barry Jenkins) (found on Hulu/Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: This is a film that follows a family who shows resounding strength and sturdiness in the face of terrible tragedy. It depicts an intense devotion to family and willpowers that seem steadfast and unflinching, regardless of any speed bumps in the way. BEALE STREET also has some of the most satisfying visual aesthetics of any recent film, which adds to the Taurus vibe.
My Thoughts On the Film: This is a criminally underrated film from 2018 by the same visionary that made MOONLIGHT, Barry Jenkins. It doesn’t explore the same themes as MOONLIGHT, but it’s just as powerful. Every shot oozes with love and affection, especially the moments between Tish (a soothing KiKi Layne) and Alonzo (a quietly powerful Stephan James). Regina King won an Oscar for her performance and it’s deserved, but the star of the film may be Nicholas Britell’s score (you may be familiar with his work if you like the opening theme to the best show on television right now, HBO’s SUCCESSION) and the sublime framings from cinematographer James Laxton.
MARRIAGE STORY (2019) (Dir. Noah Baumbach) (found on Netflix/Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: MARRIAGE STORY is a movie about two obnoxiously stubborn people (especially Charlie). It plays right into the idea that Tauruses are the most stubborn zodiac sign. It’s also a film about family-orientated people. As stubborn as the folks found in this film are, they try their best to do what is right for their child and their family. Even when problems are presented to both characters, they do their best at holding their ground and never backing down from a challenge, and both characters in the film value their comfort above everything else.
My Thoughts On the Film: People like to bemoan this film because it’s about wealthy, straight, white people complaining about their cushy lives and while I understand that, that doesn’t make it a BAD film. It’s certainly not perfect. At times, it can be a bit irksome (mostly because Baumbach can be a somewhat pretentious filmmaker), but it’s fairly alright. Scarlett Johannson is decent here (she’s better in JOJO RABBIT from the same year, but that movie is miserably bad), but Adam Driver as “Charlie” is particularly good. The scene (you know the one) that became a meme on Twitter was also made fun of a bunch, but it’s a very earned scene and I’ll stand by that.
Honorable Mentions: GROUNDHOG DAY (1993), FIRST MAN (2018)
GEMINI (Air Sign) (May 21st-June 20th)
Geminis are known as the sign of the twin, which is the symbol associated with them. Geminis are able to blend in with any group of people. Some will mistake this as Geminis being “two-faced” or “fake” (in some cases, this totally can be true), but it can also be viewed as that they are adaptable. They’re excellent communicators and they’re also deeply curious and intellectual. They like being challenged with puzzles/mysteries and having to solve them. They move quickly, so they can sometimes be erratic (they often love partying, too), but they can make for great companions, despite sometimes coming off as a bit cold.
MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001) (Dir. David Lynch) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: Few films feature a more enticing (and confusing) mystery than this film. This is a deeply intellectual film (like Geminis), too, and it gets better and more interesting with every re-watch. Without giving too much away, this film captures the idea of the “twin sign” and two-facedness marvelously. This is a cold and confounding puzzle that should match the sensibilities of most any Gemini wonderfully.
My Thoughts On the Film: This won’t be for everybody, but it’s my ninth-favorite film ever. Personal bias aside, it’s also David Lynch’s masterpiece (even if it’s slightly less accessible than BLUE VELVET). This is an astonishing take on the struggle of the starving artist that may frustrate many, what with its typical Lynch-ian strangeness. Naomi Watts as “Betty” puts on an acting clinic for the whole runtime; she should’ve blossomed into a superstar after this. Laura Harring has a difficult task with “Rita”, but she’s more than up for the challenge. The sequence and song at “Club Silencio” will forever be one of my favorite bits from any film ever. The Billy Ray Cyrus cameo will never not amuse me.
GONE GIRL (2014) (Dir. David Fincher) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: There’s an argument for GONE GIRL to be a Scorpio film, but there’s a stronger case for it as a Gemini flick. GONE GIRL is a film about two people in a relationship who present totally different personalities to others, depending on who they’re around. Amy Dunne, in particular, is somebody who looks perfect and sweet but is actually quite the opposite when she’s not in public. The film is a murder-mystery, too, which plays into the idea of Geminis yearning to solve puzzles. GONE GIRL is a cold film, especially its feelings towards relationships, honesty, and media sensationalism, so this one works for Gemini wonderfully.
My Thoughts On the Film: If any director other than David Fincher made GONE GIRL, it would be considered their opus, but because Fincher made it, its simply his fourth-best film. This is a stellar movie that rewards repeat viewings. Ben Affleck, who’s just a capable actor, is at his finest here, but the star of the whole thing is Rosamund Pike, who gives one of the all-time great villain-turns of this century. She’s chaotic and unpredictable and mesmerizing. She should’ve won the Oscar that year. Tyler Perry also does the most engaging work he’s ever done and Carrie Coon steals every scene she’s in. The Trent Reznor score, though less evocative than his masterwork from THE SOCIAL NETWORK, is also quite good. This film is immensely quotable.
Honorable Mentions: THE PRESTIGE (2006), SHUTTER ISLAND (2010)
CANCER (Water Sign) (June 21st-July 22nd)
This is one of the most nurturing zodiac signs. They’re known for having great parenting skills (specifically, Cancerian women) and for being very loyal, sometimes to a fault. While this can be seen as a good thing in most cases, their loyalty can make them rather clingy and possessive, especially when it comes to relationships. Cancers tend to value their space and can also be moody, having emotions that can alter at breakneck speed. Still, they’re an intuitive bunch, deeply sentimental, and often quite charming.
THE SHAPE OF WATER (2017) (Dir. Guillermo del Toro) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: This is a film that follows the empathetic and good-natured Elisa as she nurtures and cares for… a fishman. Elisa initially takes on an almost maternal relationship with the fishman, even though that eventually turns into a romantic relationship, but her loyalty and devotion to the fishman puts her in a difficult position. She’s protective and possessive of the fishman, too. She has killer intuition about the intentions of the people around her, as well. This film bursts with love and sentiment.
My Thoughts On the Film: Though I originally claimed this was the best film of 2017, I was wrong at the time: Both GET OUT and A GHOST STORY are superior. However, this film still holds up and is worthy of being seen. It’s as sweet as it is quaint, though it never feels overly saccharine. Sally Hawkins is exceptional as protagonist “Elisa”. Her monologue about how nobody else understands the pain she’s endured in her life other than the fishman was one of the defining film moments of 2017. Michael Shannon is delectably evil, and Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, and especially Michael Stuhlbarg (who had an excellent 2017) all make up a terrific ensemble. Del Toro’s direction is sublimely dreamy. The musical number, which is the most brilliant moment of the film, would most certainly have failed had this project been helmed by any other director.
LITTLE WOMEN (2019) (Dir. Greta Gerwig) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: LITTLE WOMEN is a movie about the power and beauty of love and nurturing and the impact that that can have on other people. It’s a movie about familial loyalty, people feeling possessive in their relationships (to the point of clinginess), and characters that have rollercoaster like mood changes. It’s a movie that feels nostalgic, deeply sentimental, and above-all-else, laced with passion and charm.
My Thoughts On the Film: This film will age like fine wine. I won’t be shocked if this ends up being the defining film of Gerwig’s career (even if LADY BIRD is a slightly tighter film). The only weak link in the film is Watson’s “Meg” and even then, she’s not bad, just less compelling than Ronan’s “Jo” or Pugh’s “Amy”. Here, Ronan solidifies herself as one of the most captivating young actresses in the industry and Pugh, coming off her triumphant performance in MIDSOMMAR, proves herself to be a superstar actress in every sense of the word (she should’ve won two Oscars in 2019), stealing every scene she’s in. Laura Dern does better work here than in MARRIAGE STORY, as well. She’s deeply sympathetic and warm. Timothée Chalamet does inspired work, per usual, too. This film is also home to the most bizarrely perfect moment in a movie from 2019, with Bob Odenkirk randomly popping onscreen and bellowing, “My little women!” with as much verve as possible. Incredible stuff.
Honorable Mentions: ROOM (2015), INTERSTELLAR (2014)
LEO (Fire Sign) (July 23rd-August 22nd)
Leos are self-confident and prideful people, hell-bent on being the center-of-attention and most valued person in any room they walk into. They’re often popular and adored because of how charming they are (they’re the biggest cheerleader of all the signs), though it’s not without question that many Leos are obsessed with approval and validation from those around them. Even though they see themselves as the most important person wherever they go, they also need people to let them know it’s true, and when people don’t succumb to their whims, they can become somewhat bratty. Leos are tons of fun, even if at their worst, they can be attention-seekers.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013) (Dir. Martin Scorsese)(found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: The portrayal of Jordan Belfort’s life in this film feels stunningly emblematic of an idealized Leo experience. Belfort is treated like a god by his employees and commands respect and attention in every room he walks into because he oozes charisma. He’s an attention-seeker, brash, and confident. And when anybody tries to defy him of the pleasures he seeks (see: Agent Denham and his wife, Naomi), he lashes out in immature ways.
My Thoughts On the Film: THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is a perfect film. It’s the finest performance of Leonardo DiCaprio’s illustrious career (he should’ve won the Oscar), the emergence of superstar actress Margot Robbie, and an excellent star-studded supporting cast featuring Jonah Hill, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler, and Cristin Milioti. It captures the decadence and depravity of American hyper-masculinity and greed brilliantly. This film is on Scorsese’s Mt. Rushmore, and even though he directed this as a 71-year-old, it still feels as young and fresh as ever.
THE FAVOURITE (2018) (Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos) (found on Cinemax)
Why It Fits This Sign: This is a movie about royalty, attention, and the ensuing (over-exaggerated) despair when people don’t get the attention they deserve. Queen Anne is an absolute Leo. She expects everybody to be at her beck-and-call for even the pettiest of requests and whenever she doesn’t get her way, she seethes like a baby. She struts around with an air of confidence, eager to impress and dazzle all who encounter her and she seduces characters with relative ease because of how charming she can be, but whenever she’s denied, she whines in the most amusing of ways.
My Thoughts On the Film: THE FAVOURITE is far-and-away the best film Yorgos Lanthinmos has ever made (a reminder that THE LOBSTER really isn’t good). Emma Stone does great work as the cunning protagonist, but Olivia Coleman gives the most technically excellent performance in the film (Rachel Weisz is my personal favorite, but she doesn’t surpass either of the other women). The script is clever and biting, like most Lanthimos scripts, but for the first time in one of his films, there also is humanity and heart. Coleman’s line reading of “I like it when she puts her tongue inside of me.” is about as good as it gets.
Honorable mentions: CRAZY RICH ASAINS (2018), THE GREAT GATSBY (2013)
VIRGO (Earth Sign) (August 23rd-September 22nd)
Virgos are known for their hardworking natures and their love of structure, organization, and helping the people around them. At their worst, they can come off as controlling and far too diligent. They’re notable perfectionists and they’ll stop at nothing until they reach their impossibly high standards. They can be judgmental, too. If something doesn’t fit their standards, they’re never afraid of making it known. Still, Virgos are some of the hardest workers you’ll meet and they’ll do everything in their power to help the folks around them.
FANTASTIC MR. FOX (2009) (Dir. Wes Anderson) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: Any Wes Anderson could probably fit the Virgo mold, but FANTASTIC MR. FOX feels especially appropriate, what with the meticulous effort it must’ve taken to ensure that the stop-motion animation works as well as it does. Anderson films typically feature tons of symmetry, too, and this film is no exception. Beyond the craftsmanship this film must’ve required, it’s also a story about Mr. Fox, who has high standards for his life and wants to better the life of his family however he can. Both he and his nephew, Kristofferson Silverfox are almost effortlessly excellent at any skill they put their mind to, too. This is a quintessential Virgo movie.
My Thoughts On the Film: I’m not sure there is a more beloved director on the internet that doesn’t have one classic 5/5 film than Anderson. Despite this, Wes is still a good director who consistently puts out quality films with a unique visual style. This film is as whimsy as any Anderson film, but it’s also an expertly crafted animated film. George Clooney, who’s far more a movie star than a prestige actor, does inspired work here as “Mr. Fox” alongside all of the typical Anderson performers (Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, etc). Meryl Streep is headstrong and collected as “Felicity Fox”. This movie, like most Anderson films, might be filled with more style than substance, but it’s damn good style.
THE AVIATOR (2004) (Dir. Martin Scorsese) (found on Amazon/Starz)
Why It Fits This Sign: Howard Hughes suffers from severe OCD in this film, but he nonetheless carries some of the most integral traits of a Virgo: He works harder than everybody around him, so much so that his pursuit of perfection complicates his day-to-day life. He views the aviation work that he’s doing as important and valuable to all of humanity, too. He works so tirelessly because he holds the idea of helping people as one to be incredibly valuable. When something is brought to him that doesn’t fit his standards, he snubs his nose at it. Besides all of that, he’s one of the most structured, careful, and organized characters in all of cinema.
My Thoughts On the Film: THE AVIATOR might not even be one of Scorsese’s ten best films and it’s still a good movie, which speaks to just how absurdly good Scorsese’s filmography is. Like many Scorsese pictures, this is a long film, but this is one of the rare times where a Scorsese film feels overlong. DiCaprio, one of the most gifted actors alive, gives a very solid performance here as “Howard Hughes”, even if it isn’t even his best performance in a Scorsese film from 2004 (that would be his underrated THE DEPARTED performance). Cate Blanchett, who’s certainly a technically gifted actress, never quite hits the mark here, despite winning an Oscar for her performance, but the supporting cast of Kate Beckinsale, Alec Baldwin, John C. Reilly, Jude Law, Alan Alda, and Adam Scott more than pick up the slack.
Honorable Mentions: BLACK SWAN (2010), THE IMITATION GAME (2014)
LIBRA (Air Sign) (September 23rd-October 22nd)
Libras are probably the most romantic of all the zodiac signs. They absolutely adore love and romance, typically. They’re interested in beautiful things and people, too. They’re an idealistic sign, as well, and believe in diplomacy and order, even if they sometimes have trouble speaking their mind because they’re people-pleasers. They’re great as facilitators and excellent at keeping peace. The major flaw with most Libras is how indecisive they can be. They have trouble committing to anything in particular, mostly because their idealism allows them to find the beauty in multiple options. They’re sponge-like with news and education, as well, and love learning as much as they can, even if they sometimes can be gossipy.
THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (1988) (Dir. Phillip Kaufman) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: Tomas, the protagonist of this film, is the embodiment of a Libra. He’s romantic and charming and allured by beautiful people. He’s also quite brilliant, as he synthesizes information and news with relative ease. Above all else, he’s helplessly caught between two women. He struggles with indecision about what he wants out of romance. Does he want something fun and easy? Does he want something grounded and sturdy? Does he want neither? Like most Libras, he’s obsessed with love and has trouble knowing what he wants.
My Thoughts On the Film: This film meanders and takes its time, but it really is stunning. Daniel Day-Lewis, possibly the greatest actor who has ever lived, is as suave and easy-going as ever as “Tomas”, and Kaufman’s direction does a remarkably good job at capturing the beauty in mundane life. Juliette Binoche is tender and inviting as “Tereza” and Lena Olin is dazzling as “Sabina”. Though, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING is slow, it’s full of heart, especially the final minutes of the film, which are so serene they move me to tears.
BROOKLYN (2015) (Dir. John Crowley) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: BROOKLYN is a film about Eilis Lacey, a young woman who spends much of the runtime trying to make up her mind about which country she wants to belong to and which man she wants to commit all of her love to. It’s a deeply romantic film about indecision and idealism. Eilis even makes many choices in an effort to keep the peace between people in her life, even if sometimes it makes her feel a little stuck. BROOKLYN is an aesthetically beautiful looking film about a beautiful person stuck between two beautiful people and two beautiful places.
My Thoughts On the Film: This is a perfect movie to watch with a parent. It’s a good film, but it does suffer from feeling like it was crafted to get some Oscar nominations. Saorise Ronan as “Eilis” is strong here, though not as strong as she proves to be in some of her later films (LADY BIRD, LITTLE WOMEN, etc), and she isn’t quite able to carry the somewhat trite material to the heights she carries her other films. Domhnall Gleeson as “Jim” is the weakest of the top-billed actors, though it’s mostly due to the fact that he was underused. It’s Emory Cohen who shines the most here as the affable “Tony”. He’s thoroughly endearing and easy to root for. Despite its lack of originality, BROOKLYN is still a more than adequate film.
Honorable Mentions: THE BIG SICK (2017), PRIDE & PREJUDICE (2005)
SCORPIO (Water Sign) (October 23rd-November 21st)
Scorpios are often thought of as one of the more mysterious signs. They’re a fiercely loyal bunch, but because of that, they’re also known to be capable of having vengeful streaks, when they feel wronged. Because of the mystery that comes with them, they’re thought to be secretive, always plotting and planning ahead. Scorpios are typically persistent, which at its worst can come off as obsessive, but usually they’re a dark and sexy sign with an emotional and vindictive nature.
CARRIE (1976) (Dir. Brian De Palma) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: CARRIE fits the essence of Scorpios for a multitude of reasons. It’s a horror film, for starters, and there is a macabre feeling that is present all throughout the film, as well as a sense of mystery. It’s also a film about a deeply emotional teenage girl which features one of the most memorably iconic revenge-sequences to ever grace any film ever. Carrie makes all of the people who wronged her feel just as bad (if not, worse) as she feels all through the movie, which feels completely in the style of a Scorpio.
My Thoughts On the Film: CARRIE is an all-time great horror film. Brian De Palma, one of the most underrated directors of the 20th century, delivers one of the most harrowing and stressful motion pictures ever. It’s tense from the first (and very memorable) sequence and it almost never lets up. Sissy Spacek as “Carrie” gives a performance that is as impressive as it is heartbreaking. She’s especially stellar in the final act of the film. Piper Laurie as Carrie’s evil mother, “Margaret”, steals every scene she’s in. She’s one of the all-time terrific movie villains ever. CARRIE also features an underrated Travolta performance as the bully, “Billy”. This one hits the right notes in every way.
LADY MACBETH (2016) (Dir. William Oldroyd) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: This film stars an obsessive, impulsive, sex-obsessed, vindictive character: Sounds like it fits Scorpios to a tee! Katherine Lester (Lady Macbeth) is deeply emotive and vengeful. After sleeping with a commoner, she becomes obsessed and starts to act as if she possesses him. She’s constantly wronged by her husband and his family, so she spends the entire film plotting out her revenge. The film as a whole feels moody and dark and it’s full of sex. It feels totally emblematic of Scorpios.
My Thoughts On the Film: As a whole, LADY MACBETH is a good movie with a truly excellent final 15-minutes that elevates the whole thing. It features budding superstar Florence Pugh in the title role, just a few years before she became a household name from her turn in MIDSOMMAR and thankfully, she’s just as incredible here as she usually is. Nobody in Hollywood has a face as emotive as Pugh’s; she carries the weight of this whole project on her shoulders. The direction from Oldroyd is careful and focused and the film doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s a quick 86 minutes, and every time it starts to feel slightly tired, it injects a new twist or shock into the story that always feels earned. This one is worth watching.
Honorable Mentions: KILL BILL: VOL. 1 (2003), JENNIFER’S BODY (2009)
SAGITTARIUS (Fire Sign) (November 22nd-December 21st)
Sagittarians are known for their love of adventure and invigorating activities. They can be seen as rebellious because being so care-free so often just isn’t typical for most. Sagittarians do tend to be quite honest, which, in extreme cases can make them appear to be tactless, so don’t seek out a Sagittarius unless you want the truth. They’re usually optimistic and fun-loving, even to the point of naivety, but most all Sagittarians tend to amble through life with a warm glow to them.
ALMOST FAMOUS (2000) (Dir. Cameron Crowe) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: This is the perfect Sagittarius film. ALMOST FAMOUS follows William in the early 70s as he travels with fictional band “Stillwater” and writes a piece about them for Rolling Stone. Through that process, he falls in love with Penny Lane, the free-spirited blonde traveling with the band. ALMOST FAMOUS is two hours of nonstop adventure and exhilarating experiences. There’s a care-free nature to the film, and a sense of rebellion, too, with the film being focused on a 70s rock band, and with William leaving his family/school behind to cover the band. Penny Lane, in particular, comes off as blisteringly amiable and uninhibited in every scene.
My Thoughts On the Film: This is one of the ten best films of the 2000s. Crowe’s direction is hazy and dreamlike and captures both the decadence and unadulterated joy that comes with the rockstar life through the lens of a young boy growing up. Patrick Fugit, who has carved out a nice career for himself, isn’t a technically apt actor, but he serves adequately as the vessel for which we observe the film through as William. Billy Crudup gives probably the performance of his career as the guitar player responsible for much of the tension in the film and Frances McDormand delivers, per usual, as Will’s shrill, overbearing mother. The real star is Kate Hudson, whose Penny Lane is naïve but resilient and full of love and life with every moment we see her.
Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN (2001) (Dir. Alfonso Cuarón) (found on Netflix/Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: Sagittarians will easily see themselves in this film. It’s a 106-minute journey about two boys going through adolescence in Mexico while traveling with an older woman enduring a breakup. It’s a film where people make impulse decisions for the sake of thrills. It has a lightly meandering personality and features characters quite often throwing caution to the wind and doing whatever they think will make them feel the most alive. It’s filled with sex and booze and has this smoldering energy to it that’s quite Sagittarian.
My Thoughts On the Film: This is a lovely, little foreign film from the early 2000s from the same director of GRAVITY, Alfonso Cuarón, except this movie doesn’t suck like GRAVITY does. It takes its time and never feels rushed, but instead, simply allows the three characters to float through their journey and embrace all of the discoveries and uncertainties that come with traveling together. Diego Luna as “Tenoch” is endearing (he’s quite young here) and his costar, Gael Garcia Bernal as “Julio” exceptionally captures the confusion and shock that comes with growing up. However, it’s Maribel Verdú who should be most heavily commended. She radiates with everything she does and she feels the most authentic. She gives a deeply moving and memorable performance in a film that more people should watch.
Honorable Mentions: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1986)
CAPRICORN (Earth Sign) (December 22nd-January 19th)
Capricorns are quietly one of the most admirable signs presented here. They’re ambitious and devoted to pursuing success, sometimes so persistently that they come off as overly relentless and cold. They attack all tasks with a mostly disciplined and calculated mindset, but that doesn’t stop them from being realistic, which some could mistake as pessimistic. They’re a practical sign, sometimes bordering on dry, but there’s very little they can’t accomplish with effort.
WHIPLASH (2014) (Dir. Damien Chazelle) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: Few films feel more perfect for their sign than WHIPLASH does for Capricorns. It’s a movie that follows Andrew Neiman in his pursuit to become the greatest drummer ever. He does it with a tenacious veracity and a standoffish demeanor and goes as far as to essentially cut himself off from much of his family and his personal relationships to accomplish his goal. He’s quiet, dry, and determined in a way that feels completely Capricorn-like.
My Thoughts On the Film: WHIPLASH is Damien Chazelle’s second-best film (his best is LA LA LAND), but that doesn’t prevent it from being one of the 15 best films from the 2010s. Miles Teller, though he has the smuggest face of any notable actor in Hollywood, gives the strongest performance of his career, but it’s J.K. Simmons who people will remember years from now. Simmons as Neiman’s teacher, “Fletcher”, delivers one of the most memorably horrific performances from the 21st century. His “rushing-or-dragging” scene will never not leave me with heart palpitations. In just his first major studio release, writer/director Damien Chazelle provided us with a timeless classic.
PHANTOM THREAD (2017) (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson) (found on Amazon/Cinemax)
Why It Fits This Sign: In PHANTOM THREAD, Woodcock is a total Capricorn. He’s devoted to making brilliant dresses and won’t stomach anything getting in his way. His life is structured and he is disciplined in everything he does. He has a sense of humor, but it’s markedly dry and when he’s around his partner, Alma, he appears mostly cold (though he does love her) and focused. He refuses to let Alma or anybody else prevent him from all that he aspires to achieve… Quite a Capricorn.
My Thoughts On the Film: By the time Paul Thomas Anderson’s career concludes, if he keeps up this pace, he should be considered one of the ten greatest directors to have ever lived. PHANTOM THREAD is underrated in Anderson’s filmography. Most people prefer his two earliest works (BOOGIE NIGHTS and MAGNOLIA) or his masterful 2007 epic, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, but PHANTOM THREAD deserves to be in the conversation with those works, mostly because of Anderson’s careful and deft direction and subtly sharp script. In his final performance before retirement, Daniel Day-Lewis showed the world one last time that he was the greatest actor to ever live. Vicky Krieps should also be commended for her warm portrayal of “Alma”, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mark Bridges impressive costume design, too.
Honorable Mentions: THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007), THOROUGHBREDS (2017)
AQUARIUS (Air Sign) (January 20th-February 18th)
Aquarians are known for being the most innovative and original of all the zodiac signs. They’re deeply analytical in most aspects of life, sometimes to a degree that they come off as detached and aloof. They’re also assertive and don’t easily go with the flow. Once they’ve made up their mind about something, it’s difficult to sway them. More than anything, they’re independent, intelligent, and feel a sense of responsibility towards bettering the world. Aquarians believe in justice and fairness, even if sometimes they neglect relationships and the people around them in the pursuit of changing the world.
12 ANGRY MEN (1957) (Dir. Sidney Lumet) (found on Amazon/Prime)
Why It Fits This Sign: 12 ANGRY MEN is the story of a jury responsible for determining if a young boy in the 1950s is guilty and should be sentenced to death for the murder of his father. The case seems pretty cut-and-dry and the jury takes a vote, expecting it be quickly wrapped up, but one man votes “not guilty”. Then, though the opinion is completely unpopular, one man attempts to argue the rest of the jury to join his side while being down 11-1. This sounds just like a typical Aquarius: Having unique and atypical views and opinions, not being easily convinced or movable, and being staunchly focused with truth, justice, and the betterment of society.
My Thoughts On the Film: Henry Fonda does excellent work as “Juror 8” here (the previously mentioned lone juror), but Lee J. Cobb steals the whole show as “Juror 3”, a hateful, bigoted man who refuses to sacrifice his preconceived biases. Sidney Lumet is probably one of the five greatest directors to never win an Oscar and this is perhaps his finest film (argue between this, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, and NETWORK). It’s tense and fast-paced, which is impressive considering it takes place in one room for the entire duration of the runtime, and perhaps most impressively, the film has aged incredibly well. It still holds up today, possibly even having become more potent.
V FOR VENDETTA (2005) (Dir. James McTeigue) (found on Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: This is a very famous protest film. Its basic concept is that a man (V) leads a rebellion attempting to overthrow a corrupt British government. The tagline is as follows: “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”. This film taps into Aquarians pursuit of justice, liberty, and fairness for all people. Protagonists Evey and V embark on a mission to better their world and improve society for all people, oftentimes ignoring what that means for them in the process.
My Thoughts On the Film: As an Aquarius, I wanted to like this film more than I did. It’s certainly competent, but I always heard such great things about it and I finished the film thinking it was merely decent. Hugo Weaving as “V” is the star of the whole thing. Every time he came onscreen (which wasn’t enough), my interest in the film instantly piqued back up. Natalie Portman does well enough as “Evey”, though there are many times where she feels underwritten. Still, the film has well-paced and exciting action sequences that are competently shot and a clever enough message to keep it entertaining.
Honorable Mentions: SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (2018), ED WOOD (1994)
PISCES (Water Sign) (February 19th-March 20th)
This might be the most empathetic of all the zodiac signs. Pisceans are often emotional and very capable of understanding/experiencing the pain of those around them, which can be both a blessing and a curse. They’re deeply imaginative and fantastical, which can be excellent when they’re drawn towards the arts, but it can also become dangerous and depressing for them to accept reality when things get heavy. Pisceans are a quirky bunch that feel like they come with pools of endless emotional depths.
ANNIHILATION (2018) (Dir. Alex Garland) (found on Hulu/Amazon/Prime)
Why It Fits This Sign: This is a film that’s entirely about the way in which people deal with pain, depression, and grief told in an imaginative sci-fi land with fantastic and terrifying creatures. It’s riddled with emotional sensitivity and captivatingly brilliant visuals that feel like they could be ripped from the mind of any Pisces. There’s also an underlying aching sadness and longing that feels omnipresent throughout the film. It’s very fitting for Pisceans.
My Thoughts On the Film: Though this film isn’t as good as Alex Garland’s 2015 sci-fi masterpiece, EX MACHINA, this is still one of the ten best sci-fi films from the 2010s. Natalie Portman gives a less showy, far subtler performance here than she gives in BLACK SWAN (a film that garnered her an Oscar) and she’s more interesting here because of it. The rest of the supporting cast, made up of Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, is also quite excellent (with Thompson, playing a character unlike most characters she plays, being the strongest of the bunch). The visual style here is what makes this film click like it does. Garland films some of the most breathtakingly distressing sequences I’ve seen in any film ever. It works on most every level.
PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006) (Dir. Guillermo del Toro) (found on Netflix/Amazon)
Why It Fits This Sign: PAN’S LABYRINTH is a film about a young girl who is wickedly imaginative and brimming with emotion. Most everything in the film is fantastically impossible and comes from the mind of a young child, but the sadness and intense yearning for a better and more fascinating life can be felt in every frame. This film radiates creativity and ingenuity and serves as both a reminder of how cruel life can be while also maintaining that the mind of a child can be a wondrous place.
My Thoughts On the Film: While this foreign film isn’t as spectacular as del Toro’s exquisite 2017 film, THE SHAPE OF WATER, it still carries the same irreverent charm and delightfully imaginative qualities that that film has. While THE SHAPE OF WATER feels like an ode to love, PAN’S LABYRINTH feels like an ode to childlike wonder. Ivana Baquero is excellent as “Ofelia”, the protagonist of this whimsical (and scary) tale. Even at a young age, Baquero is more than capable of carrying the film on her back. Sergi López is especially menacing as the wicked antagonist “Capitán Vidal” and Maribel Verdú is more than adequate as the brave and reserved “Mercedes”.
Honorable Mentions: JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH (1996), HER (2013)