Anna Kendrick can pretty much do it all: she can act, she can sing, she can make you laugh til your belly hurts as much as she can make you cry til you run out of tissues. Her film reel is versatile, from comedies and dramas to musicals and animation. This makes her the perfect actress to binge films of during tough times, no matter what mood you’re in. But how will you choose what classic AK films to watch? Worry not! Here are the Anna Kendrick films you just have to see, and some you can skip without feeling guilty.
- Hit: A Simple Favor
This film may seem like a thriller at first, and it is, but it’s also deceiving in the best possible ways. While A Simple Favor is full of mysteries, scandals, and unexpected twists and turns, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s just as funny, witty and fun as it is suspenseful. Kendrick and her co-star Blake Lively absolutely kill it in this film, serving just the right amount of humor and mystery to make this an incredibly entertaining watch that’ll have you laughing one second, and hanging onto the edge of your seat the next.
- Skip: Mr. Right
Mr. Right is another film that tries to mix genres, fusing an action thriller with the classic rom-com, but just misses the mark. Starring Sam Rockwell as a charming hitman with a twist and Kendrick as a scorned woman turned partner-in-crime, this movie attempts to be a lot of things and doesn’t seem to succeed at any of them. While Kendrick carries the movie with her trademark oddball humor, Mr. Right might not be right for you at all.
- Hit: Pitch Perfect
Who knew the competitive world of college acapella could make for such a good movie? This is one of Kendrick’s staple performances, and it’s for a good reason: Pitch Perfect is chock full of goofy moments, girl power, classic college-movie romance, and catchy musical performances that rival Glee–during their good seasons, of course. Pitch Perfect is an iconic feel-good movie, so this is a definite aca-hit (I had to do it at least once, I’m sorry).
- Skip: Pitch Perfect 2 & 3
Sadly, the same can’t be said about its sequels. While the original became an instant classic, Pitch Perfect 2 and 3, in simple words, just aren’t as good. Yes, the performances are still bops, but the plots are too over-the-top to be enjoyable, and the humor grows stale as a consequence. With the sequels, the charm of the franchise is mostly lost, so it’s best to stick with the original and pretend the sequels never happened.
- Hit: The Last Five Years
Warning: this one is a tear jerker, so get your tissues ready. This adaptation of Jason Robert Brown’s Off-Broadway musical of the same name follows the journey of Kendrick and Broadway star Jeremy Jordan’s characters, Cathy and Jamie, from the beginning of their relationship to the bitter end. With a stunning soundtrack, two incredibly gifted actors and singers, and a touching and heartbreaking story, The Last Five Years will tug at your heartstrings like no other.
- Skip: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
In Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, the titular characters (played by Adam DeVine and Zac Efron, respectively) are the classic ‘too-dumb-for-their-own-good’ brothers who are in desperate need of–you guessed it–wedding dates to keep them in check during their sister’s wedding. But their dates, Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) are just as dimwitted as their male counterparts, which results in a mostly uninspired comedy film that doesn’t take advantage of the talented ensemble they’re given. You won’t feel too bad for skipping this wedding.
- Hit: Into the Woods
The classic Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical gets a worthy screen adaptation in this film. With a star-studded cast (Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine–need I say more?), an amazing soundtrack, and a unique spin on classic fairy tales we all know and love, Anna dazzles as the iconic Cinderella. Her Broadway upbringing shines through her performance in this role, and the movie is full of humor, heartwarming moments, incredible musical numbers and an unforgettable story.
- Skip: Drinking Buddies
This is a hard one. Drinking Buddies isn’t necessarily a bad film, but it’s definitely an acquired taste. It fits into the mumblecore subgenre of indie films, which consist of a low-budget, heavily improvised script, and a focus on dialogue over plot. Still, it has a great cast with Kendrick, Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson and Rob Livingston, but if heavy dialogue and minimal plots aren’t your thing, Drinking Buddies might be a bit of a snooze-fest.
- Hit: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
I may be a bit biased because this is one of my all-time favorite movies, but that doesn’t change the fact that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is an incredibly enjoyable experience. Based on the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley, its movie adaptation feels like a literal comic book in the best ways possible as we follow Scott Pilgrim (played by Michael Cera) on his journey to defeat his new girlfriend’s evil seven exes. It’s witty, clever, wonderfully ridiculous, and an all-around good time!
- Skip: Life After Beth
While this zombie rom-com feels like it’s trying to add something new to the saturated zombie movie scene and the overused rom-com tropes, it pretty much falls into its own trap. Life After Beth, while having a great cast with Aubrey Plaza as the titular zombie, Dane DeHaan as her still-alive ex, and Anna as her childhood best friend, feels like a movie we’ve seen before, and not really one we want to see again.
- Hit: ParaNorman
Let’s end this on a good note, shall we? ParaNorman has everything you could want in an animated movie: stop-motion animation, ghosts, zombies, fantasy, humor, a heartfelt and spooky story, and one of mainstream animation’s first openly gay characters. What’s not to love?
Now gear up your favorite streaming platform and get ready to binge-watch!