The 5 Best Apple Original Films, Ranked
It must come as a surprise that Apple – A multinational tech company took so long to dive into original content production. Starting off from 2016 and only getting into the game in late 2019, Apple TV+ is slowly becoming the talk of the town. Much of the buzz has to do with some of the biggest festival picks to shoot up their original programming slate and a free year access to Apple users. In the following list, I look at the Best Apple Original Films and rank them on the basis of their sheer will to stand out of the crowd.
Here are some of the Best Apple Original Films ranked from worst to best:
5. Palmer (2021)
Every single beat and note in Fisher Stevens’ Plamer feels familiar. It is probably the nth iteration of the felon on parole redemption arc that takes up an abandoned kid to shower its white-savior complex some loft heartbreak. The only change here is the kid in the arc being a sensitive, different one who needs a father-figure. Thankfully, this age-old cliche machine doesn’t feel too on the nose because of Timberlake’s dedicated performance at its center.
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He stars as the titiular Plamer. A man who has been in jail for around a dozen years. The reason becomes evident quite early, opening up multiple threads that could erupt at any moment of time. Ryder Allen stars as the kid who needs a father figure and a sensitive outlook on his feminine side. The film is punctuated with numerous moments of forced manipulation but mostly, it remains a casual viewing experience.
Watch/Stream Palmer Here
4. Hala (2019)
Minhal Baig’s semi-autobiographical film Hala is about a 17-year-old Pakistani-American girl living with constant conflict – both at the family front and within her life in general. As a teenager who is growing up, this skateboarding Muslim girl readily follows her family’s ethic on the surface but is far removed from it in reality.
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In trying to make sense of the conflicting worldview she has been a part of, Hala tries to find herself. This is a typical coming-of-age troupe that sometimes gets lost in numerous expositions and an inability to really find a real voice within this archetype of lost causes. With a genuinely moving and understated performance by Geraldine Viswanathan, the film still manages to evoke a certain reaction from the audience, even if it misses its mark quite often.
Watch/Stream Hala Here
3. On the Rocks (2020)
On the Rocks is a mellow Sofia Coppola stint. Mellow as in its inhibitions and conflict resolves are quaint and easy. However, there’s no denying the fact that it still feels like a Sofia Coppola film. The coupling narrative of the old versus the new, the slight shifts and turfs in relationships that nudge towards a crescendo of chaos and ultimately a charmer that follows the life of women unaware and not-so-happy with their current existence.
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That said, it doesn’t manage to focus on the third and most essential Sofia Coppola troupe. I’m not sure if it’s Rashida Jones’ muted performance or Bill Murphy’s incredible charm that completely overshadows her, but it’s there and you feel it with every passing minute. There’s a feeling of incompleteness and that’s not something you’d want from a film.
Watch/Stream On the Rocks Here
2. Wolfwalkers (2020)
Wolfwalkers is drenched in cultural history. It takes its mystical and imaginative worldbuilding to a deeper, more personal level by just reveling in the folktales it is surrounded by. Moreover, the themes of love and loss have both a personal edge and a poignant foreground that ably handles its character’s traits and their motifs. It’s only a huge plus that the animation is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous and the voice acting is superior to anything else you might have seen in recent memory.
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Deep down the film remains an amusing, colorful, and enjoyable coming of age tale that doesn’t restrict itself to that definitive arc. The fact that it will cater to a varied number of audiences where everyone has a different take on it, makes it all the more intriguing and urgent. Also, look out for “Running With The Wolves” by Aurora – a track that enchants and puts its spell on you with how incredibly accurate it represents the imagery it is supposed to accompany.
Watch/Stream WolfWalkers Here
1. Boys State (2020)
Boys State is an exceptional documentary that captures something so absorbing and sublime that it feels like it is also staged. Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss’s film is about an exercise that sets young teenage texas boys in a sort of Summer camp where they play a mock government building experiment. Don’t get me wrong, it is exactly as it sounds. The film follows over a thousand teenage boys as they battle it out to form a government – right from the campaign to the final election results that happen with every step.
With their brilliant documentary, McBaine and Moss discover a pretty rational and alarming truth about modern-day politics. That, more than anything, politics is a game that two parties play and the stakes are always high because power is supreme.