Pulp Fiction (1994)
Though this is a crime movie, it has been referenced multiple times in films of all genres and has made it into the ranks of the classics. The protagonist is a hitman named Jules, and though the story is quite serious, there is a great deal of humor sprinkled throughout the film, as well as clever pop culture references.
The War of the Worlds (1953)
This movie was released at a time when nuclear holocaust was a real threat. The idea of an alien invasion had actually not been all that farfetched just a few years earlier. People watching this movie today may think that the special effects are over the top, particularly the flying saucers; however, this film is well-made and has been a source of inspiration for many a disaster movie.
This is a great one for anyone who loves dark comedies and stories about mean girls in high school getting their comeuppance. Winona Ryder plays the only girl with a conscience in a clique of nasty girls who terrorize their peers, and her plot to bring them down takes place with all sorts of dark events, including teen suicide, happening along the way.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
This one is worth watching simply because it is a part of the Hunger Games series. It stays faithful to the book series, and once again Katniss and her teammates are faced with the challenge of staying alive in the Hunger Games.
All is Lost (2013)
Robert Redford plays the protagonist, who finds himself in a yacht that is taking on water, having been on a voyage within the Indian Ocean. He is forced to face his own mortality and do the best that he can. His work as an actor is amazing, despite the fact that he is not interacting with anyone else.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a refined cannibal who shapes a great deal of this movie, still considered to be the top serial killer movie of all time. The acting in this movie is powerful, and the character of Lecter remains astoundingly complex as well as creepy.
A Life in Dirty Movies (2014)
Even though the title makes it seem like this film is all about dirty movies, don’t be fooled. It is actually a beautiful story about Joe and Peggy Sarno, who have been together for decades and felt real love even though society was judging them for their choices in careers.
To Be Takei (2014)
Any fan of George Takei will want to see this one. The film goes through the events of his life, a tale which, in itself, is fascinating. However, at the core of the film is his relationship with his husband, Brad, who has been there for him through it all.
Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
This is the poignant tale of a young woman who falls in love and discovers herself along the way. While she is on her life journey, she falls for another woman and experiences all of the phases of the new relationship. Even though the premise seems overdone, it is a truly unique portrayal of everything that you go through when you find love and then lose it.
Woody is an old man who believes that he is the winner of a million dollars because of a message within his junk mail. He makes his son drive him to Nebraska in order to collect what he thinks is his money. This movie contains a portrayal of the Midwest and the people who live there as individuals who are resigned to exist there and find happiness in their own ways.
Frances Ha (2013)
This is essentially a love letter from director Noah Baumbach to his girlfriend, Greta Gerwig, who stars in the film. She is a young 20-something in New York with major aspirations, and she relates to her female friends in the process. It is an entertaining and touching story about the friendship between young women.
The Double (2014)
Simon James works in an office, and he is ignored by everyone at his place of employment. The girl he has a crush on does not respond to his awkwardness either. However, a new employee, named James Simon, shows up looking exactly like him, which is where things start to become wacky for this normally unnoticeable young man. This is a quirky and interesting movie that will make you think.
Django Unchained (2012)
If you are a fan of revenge fantasies, this movie is definitely worth watching. Jamie Foxx stars as a former slave who goes on a killing rampage of multiple white slave owners. Along the way, his interactions with others are both interesting and hilarious.
This charming French film may not be for everyone, but if you like movies that most people will call “cutesy,” this is for you. Amelie works as a waitress, and her personal mission is to bring joy into the lives of people around her, until she realizes that she needs to be bringing joy to her own life first.
The Master (2012)
Freddie Quell is a drifter who is having emotional troubles, and he develops a friendship with a charming yet manipulative leader of a cult. This film is fairly dark, so it is not for everyone. However, it is worth watching for anyone who enjoys complex stories that force them to think.
The French Connection (1971)
This movie is one of the first violent crime thrillers ever made. It centers around the quest of two detectives to uncover a heroin smuggling operation that extends all around the world. The effect of the film is made through the atmosphere created by the stakeout scenes, as well as the action that takes place until the denouement.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
This movie is a great representation of many high school students’ fantasies. Ferris Bueller is a charming high school senior who seems to get away with everything, and he does it again on this day where he tricks his way out of going to school and spends an amazing, fun filled day with his best friend and girlfriend instead.
Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 & 2 (2014)
Though this movie is known for shock value, it is also a deep look at the psyche to which many can probably relate. The titular character, Jo, goes through moments that are humorous and entertaining, as well as moments that are dark and just so achingly real. This film is great for anyone who wants a unique and poignant look at raw humanity.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
This fantastic spy thriller was originally adapted from a novel by John le Carré. It is full of astounding acting, as well as an ambiance that is characteristic of the genre. The schemes around which the movie center make it a truly fascinating must-watch for anyone who enjoys unwrapping enigmas.
This comedy will appeal to a lot of people, particularly the ones with odd senses of humor. At the center of the story is an indie rock band whose frontman wears a papier-mâché mask that he will not remove. They try to bring in a new member, and Frank all the while is refusing to take off his facade. While it may seem on the surface like nothing more than a shallow comedy, there is actually a great deal of depth to the story that makes it all the more interesting.
Cast Away (2000)
This modern-day reiteration of Robinson Crusoe was a huge hit when it came to the theaters in 2000. Although it is not seen the way it once was, it is still worth watching at least once for anyone. Tom Hanks makes the story captivating, even though it is just him and a volleyball stranded on an island.
Even though Fantasia was released in 1940, it continues to impress today. The music, the colors, and the choreography were all so beautiful and well put together that the film can stand on its own with Disney films that were released decades later. It stars some of the most famous signature Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, and it uses music as a backdrop for storytelling that remains the quintessential exhibit of what Disney had to offer.
The Quiet Man (1952)
The performances in this movie are nothing short of spectacular. Any fan of old movies needs to watch this one at some point. It is a romantic comedy that is set in Ireland, and the presentation and delivery of the comedic punch lines is right on point every time. Though some of the humor is dated, it definitely remains a great film with a lot to offer viewers.
Gimme the Loot (2013)
One of the great things about this film is the authenticity that is constantly delivered by the performances. It always feels so staggeringly real, rather than scripted. Sophia and Malcolm are two teenage graffiti bombers who are planning to tag the Mets Home Run Ball, a plan that is ruined by a rival spray-painting gang robbing Sophia. Malcolm then puts plans in motion of his own for a true adventure in the big city.
Get Low (2010)
Felix Bush is a hermit who teams up with Frank Quinn (an undertaker) to plan out a party for his own funeral. Even though this seems like a strange premise, it soon becomes obvious that what he really wanted to do was revive his relationship with Mattie Darrow, a woman with whom he had broken up with decades ago due to misunderstandings. This film comes off as a classic folk tale, and it is charming in both presentation and performance.
This film was not made by a major studio, but it impressed everyone just as much as it would if it had. James is a virgin and a college graduate who has come back to his hometown to work at the theme park. Here, he meets Em. Both are in their 20s, and the film portrays these two characters as they smoke, drink, and deal with the ennui that surrounds them, all the while falling in love.
In the Loop (2009)
This is a cleverly made political comedy. It is full of satire and presents a very unique way of looking at what happens before a war. It is full of military officials, political reporters, and politicians, all of whom contribute to make the story unique and absolutely hilarious.
Fort Bliss (2014)
This movie is not for those who want lighthearted fun. It is a military drama full of tragedy; however, the way it is told is so meaningful and beautiful. It is the story of an army medic who is trying everything she can to reconnect with her son after a tour in Afghanistan.
Pain and Gain (2013)
This is an action-comedy film that centers around three bodybuilders who are trying to escape from the Miami Police Department. They may be ripped, but they are not that smart. This film finds a way to be incredibly entertaining, with its interesting combination of darkness, humor, and violence.
As the title would imply, the film is set in Copenhagen. It revolves around a man named William who is partying his way through the European continent, although he is considered by many to be too old to be doing so. When he gets to Denmark, he is forced to face his painful family history, all the while falling for Effy, a local girl. This indie coming-of-age story is an exploration of humanity and the aging process that the thoughtful movie watcher will really appreciate.
The Ref (1994)
This unusual story is quite entertaining to watch, especially for any fan of dark comedies. Lloyd and Caroline are a married couple who are currently having some issues. She just had an affair, and they are in marriage counseling. When a jewel thief breaks into their home, these two end up tied to a chair, forced to deal with one another and their issues as they are being held hostage.
The Trip to Italy (2014)
Rob and Steve are eating meals all around Italy, which seems like a strange and possibly uninteresting premise. However, the conversations that they have turn the film into a real reflection on relationships, the aging process, and humanity in general. This film is wraught with humor, as well as depth; it will appeal to all sorts of viewers.
You’re Next (2013)
This movie did not do so well in theaters, but this was mostly because of the timing with which it was released; horror movies were not being sought out at the time. It is unique in the way that it portrays a home invasion, and it defies expectations. The masked intruders are not what you would expect, and neither are the victims. In fact, one of them actually fights back, in a violent scene that will actually elicit some laughs.
This comedy has many moments that are, to put it simply, gross. 18 year old Helen is trying to reunite her parents who have divorced. This seems like a common premise for films, but Helen makes the film different, because she has unusual ideas about personal hygiene and sexuality, leading to scenes where she shaves her rear end and rubs her private parts on an incredibly filthy toilet. However, if you have a strong stomach, this film is still worth watching, because there is a nice story at its core – Helen wants her family to be happy and loved.
A Teacher (2013)
Though the premise of the story may seem overdone, this film presents a unique take on it. Ms. Diana Watts is a high school English teacher who becomes obsessed with a good-looking student named Eric. It explores her psychological state, which is currently unstable and at the point of near-explosion, through various incidents. This unusual angle on student-teacher romances makes this film worth watching for anyone who is skeptical that this type of story can be told in a way that they have not yet seen.
Punch Drunk Love (2002)
Barry is helpless, as well as furious at the world, because of his situation. He has seven sisters, all of whom are manipulative and even emotionally abusive. Additionally, a phone sex company is trying to extort money from him. However, in the middle of all of this brouhaha in his life, he is pursuing Lena, who actually likes him back – even though he is portrayed from the beginning as a bit of a loser. This is a great one for anyone who enjoys watching Adam Sandler (who plays the main character), as well as anyone who enjoys feel-good movies.
Kids For Cash (2014)
Though it is a documentary, this movie has many characteristics of a typical thriller. There is a misunderstood hero, bad guys who don’t care who they hurt, and courtroom antics. The fact that this is actually based on a true story makes it very sad, because there was no way that the people involved who were hurt are ever going to have a happily ever after. The story is about two Colorado judges who embezzled money that had been put aside to administer punishments to juvenile delinquents, after the Columbine school shooting. The case is explored in detail, and the documentary also examines other relevant issues, such as financial incentives to put kids in institutions and the bureaucracy that exists within the prison system in the United States.
Total Recall (1990)
This movie has a reputation for being cheesy, but it is also known as extremely fun to watch. It is a sci fi movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. He signs himself up to go on a virtual trip to Mars, where he will have the chance to experience the life of a secret agent. However, when mad scientists try to change his memories and add in new ones, he freaks out and escapes the facility while he is on a quest to find out if he is still the secret agent that he was during this experiment. The movie is full of energy throughout, and it is just completely action packed. There is violence, dark humor, and vulgarity, so it may not be for everyone, but for people who enjoy these kinds of movies, you will not be bored at all.
Return to Homs (2013)
This is a documentary that will really make you think. Abdul Baset Al-Sarout, a Syrian soccer star at age 19, was the goalkeeper for the national team until his hometown was eviscerated. He had been a peaceful protester, but at this point, he teams up with his friend, a journalist, to fight. This documentary is a reminder to us all about what is taking place in Syria, and it also shows how it is affecting everyone, even national stars. If you are a fan of documentaries, this film is a must watch.
Tiny Furniture (2010)
This movie presents a unique take on modern metropolitan life in New York. Lena Dunham plays a young artist right out of a liberal arts school who is living with her mother and sister. This film is impressive for many reasons, one of which is her lack of reticence when it comes to looking at the female body and sex. If you are looking for a candid film that goes deep into the human psyche, you will want to see this one for sure.
This Ain’t No Mouse Music! (2013)
If anyone is really interested in the history of music, this documentary is for you. Chris Strachwitz is the main subject, and he has been going around the United States for about half a century in an attempt to record and save classic American music of all sorts of different genres, including blues, folk, and R&B. This documentary is extremely interesting on at least two different levels; it is both a riveting character study and a great look at musical genres that helped define Americana music and have become somewhat obscure in recent years.
Blue Car (2002)
This is a somewhat dark drama about a 16 year old girl, Megan, who lives in Dayton, Ohio. She is going through a lot of pain as she deals with her family issues and problems in her social life. She is in an uncomfortable situation with a teacher, and her sister’s mental issues cause her stress as well. The future is not known, and she deals with all sorts of setbacks. There are a few touches of humor, but overall, it is a realistic and somewhat sad film about a young girl who is trying to find her way through a cold, cruel world. Though it is not ideal for people who want a happy ending, it is definitely worth seeing, as it is full of meaning.
This movie is somewhat of an adventure tale. The story revolves around Ellis, a kid living in Mississippi. He and his friend Neckbone make friends with Mud, who is a man who lives on a secluded island. He has people trying to kill him, and he is trying to get back to the woman he loves; the boys help him in his quest. Through everything that happens, Ellis learns a lot about growing up, as well as love and trust. However, this is more than just a simple coming of age film. It works on a cleverly deep level, as the more astute viewers will see the allegory as to the ways that kids deal with all sorts of heavy issues. This is worth watching for anyone, and teenagers may be able to relate to it especially well.
This film revolves around a drifter who makes music and wanders around Memphis. It isn’t the most eventful film, but it plays off of the complexity in the day to day events, such as stopping for drinks or visiting romantic interests. There is a great deal of artistic camera work and gothic imagery, which makes this film a must see for all of the film buffs out there who are into cinematography and editing techniques. People who enjoy somewhat enigmatic storylines and existentialist messages will appreciate this one for sure.
The Italian “Miele” translates to “Honey” in English. This is a short and very intense Italian film that delves into some major moral dilemmas. Miele is the titular character, a young woman who gives dying individuals drugs so that they are able to end their own lives. However, a man named Grimaldi ends up tricking her; he is perfectly healthy and gets these barbiturates from her. She now has a lot of ethical questions and concerns to deal with, and she is faced with having to reflect on her relationships with her patients as well as her own choices.
The Conspiracy (2013)
Just as the title implies, this movie involves conspiracy theories. It is basically a faux documentary about two filmmakers who are delving into the world of people who believe in all sorts of conspiracy theories, including 9/11 theories, the Illuminati, and more. This film cleverly incorporates all sorts of real life theories and points of investigation in order to create a thriller that will satisfy any fan of horror movies. This one will make you think, and it will appeal to movie fans of all genres.
This is actually a three part TV miniseries that was made for German and French television. It centers around the famous terrorist, Carlos the Jackal. This movie captures the terror caused by Carlos extremely well, not to mention that the production techniques and soundtrack are absolutely stellar.
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
A lot of people have seen the 2009 version of Assault on Precinct 13. This is the original. It is the quintessential example of action film, for anyone who loves this genre. This original version is definitely worth watching for anyone who wants to see a movie made before censorship took over Hollywood.
At the Devil’s Door (2014)
This is the ultimate must watch for any fan of horror movies. The three-narrative script makes it unique as well. The movie follows a young girl who has made the decision to sell her soul to the devil, her younger sister who has no interest in living a typical domestic life even though her sister wants her to for certain reasons, and a real estate agent who is selling a home with a malicious presence. The devil, as the title implies, is present in the stories of all three of these individuals.
This film blurs the line between “movie” and “documentary.” It is a high quality cinematic production, but it is also a very realistic view of Naples, Italy and the organized crime that is constantly taking place there. This is a great one for anyone who wants to watch something that is reminiscent of any high quality movie, but also injects a heavy dose of realism.
Room 237 (2013)
This fascinating film basically dissects a fan favorite, The Shining, by Stanley Kubrick. It will show you all sorts of crazy theories and actually make them seem plausible by the end of the movie. This interesting film is definitely worth watching whether or not you have seen The Shining.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
This movie, as many know is based on a true story, that of Jordan Belfort, a stock broker whose actions are consistently immoral. This movie is both excellent in terms of cinematography and hilarious at just the right times. It shows the criminal actions and hedonistic lifestyle of the main character in the most entertaining way possible. The acting in this movie is absolutely stellar, and it is just fascinating to watch all the way through for movie fans of all genres. This one is one that everyone has to see at least once
Short Term 12 (2013)
This movie is amazing in terms of storytelling and writing of characters. Although there are all sorts of hokeyness within the film, the director pulls it off in a way that makes it all work. It centers around Grace, who works at a California group home as a supervisor. She has all sorts of problems, and throughout the course of the film, she is forced to confront them. The film definitely delves into some dark territory, but not to the point where it is depressing. It is actually somewhat optimistic in a way, and it just tells a really good story that many will enjoy, and it is not afraid to get real.
The Kid with a Bike (2011)
This movie centers around a boy who is taken in by a single woman after he has been abandoned by his father. He is dealing with the loss of his father in a way that takes a toll on him physically as he goes all over the place. The story is a lot like a Disney movie, but it is basically stripped down to a minimalistic portrayal. It is, in its own realistic way, full of magic, and it will deliver an unforgettable experience to anyone who wants to watch it.
The Piano Teacher (2001)
This will appeal to all sorts of movie fans. The protagonist is a straitlaced piano teacher who is living with her abusive and possessive mother. She has an unhealthy take on sex, due to the control that her mother has been exerting on her life. She deals with being pursued by a somewhat perverted young man who wants to study with her. The acting in this movie is stellar, and it is a very interesting way to delve into the human psyche. Anyone who is interested in character development should definitely give this one a try.
The Conversation (1974)
Harry Caul is a surveillance expert who is working on a case; his task is to record a conversation that is thought to have been a precursor to a murder. He is already a paranoid individual by nature, and having to perform this task just makes him spiral downward. This is essentially about the loss of comfort and security experienced by the main character. It is definitely an interesting film worth watching for anyone who is interested in human psychology.
A Touch of Sin (2013)
This film has four chapters, each one telling a poignant story. The story that tends to have the most major impact on most viewers is that of Dahai, who is a coal miner furious about his belief that the leaders of the industry are not paying him what they should be; he then goes on a shotgun rampage. Another story involves the receptionist at a sauna who is treated like a prostitute. She ends up taking a knife for her revenge. This movie does contain a significant amount of violence, but it contains a good amount of delving into the human condition as well. Though the stories of these characters are extreme, the film manages to make them somewhat relatable.
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)
This movie is not afraid to go into the dirty and ugly. It centers around a gangster who takes over a restaurant. His wife starts an affair with another man. Though many movies would go the traditional route and present viewers with a romantic comedy or a thriller, this one examines the most visceral and perhaps disgusting facets of humanity. There is graphic and corporeal sex, cannibalism, feces, and more. This is not for viewers who have weak stomachs, but it is a real work of art nevertheless.
This movie is an incredibly real and poignant look at drug use and its consequences. It has humor, but it also gets incredibly dark and disturbing at some points. It is known for making the viewer feel as if he or she has actually done drugs and is experiencing all of the horror and craziness that goes along with a life that involves narcotics. It centers around a group of addicts who are spiraling downward, and it gives the viewer an interesting portrayal that gets very emotional at times. This is a great one to watch, as long as people do not mind the somewhat disturbing subject matter.
Dead Man (1995)
This movie centers around the protagonist, William Blake. He is an accountant living in a town with the name Machine, and he becomes involved with a bad crowd. He ends up killing a man in self defense, which makes him the target of bounty hunters. A Native American man named Nobody comes to his aid as he is trying to save his own life. This is an excellent indie movie that will entertain any viewer with all sorts of interesting and quirky characters, as well as a unique story.
Big Bad Wolves (2014)
When you find out the plot of this film, the title seems very eerie. It does allude to fairy tales and childhood stories, but what happens in the movie is extremely dark and disturbing. It starts out with two little girls and a boy playing hide and seek close to a cabin in the woods. One girl vanishes, and a red shoe is left where she had been. The police find her lifeless body tied to a chair in the middle of an empty field, meaning that the childhood tale aspect has gone as dark as possible. A schoolteacher named Dror is the main suspect. The police and the father of the girl are determined to pin the death on him. It is not clearly stated whether Dror is innocent or guilty, but he is curiously painted as a victim, and the people who are trying to prove he is a murderer are portrayed as sadistic and heartless abusers. This films has elements of multiple genres, including thriller, comedy, and psychological horror. It is a must see for any die hard movie fan who is able to watch dark stories.
American Mary (2013)
The main character is dealing with a lot of issues in her life, including stress associated with medical school, financial problems, and entering the realm of body modification. This movie has a well developed narrative that is dark at times, particularly when Mary gets a violent revenge on a professor who has violated her sexually. This is an interesting delving into the psyche of a character, although it degenerates somewhat into a hodgepodge towards the end. It is still a unique movie worth watching.
Blue Ruin (2014)
This movie centers around Dwight, a drifter who is dealing with the grief associated with the murder of both of his parents. He is trying to avenge their deaths and find the man that he thinks killed them. He is actually no killer, but a nice guy who is just in emotional turmoil and seeking justice. He actually does not even have a well thought out plan, which causes problems when it is time for him to confront the murderer. This movie is very real in a tragic way, and even though it does contain a significant amount of carnage, it also conveys a real vulnerability and humanity.
Fish Tank (2009)
Connor O’Reilly is the new boyfriend of a woman with a 15 year old daughter named Mia, who is the protagonist of this film. She adores rap music and aspires to become a dancer someday. This movie is known for its stellar use of rap music, for any rap fans who are reading this. However, when the man starts making inappropriate advances on Mia, the film goes where many would not dare to go and will really shock viewers.
Old Joy (2006)
This film centers around two old friends who are trying to catch up while taking a camping trip overnight in the mountainous regions of the state of Oregon. They have each been through a great deal since they were last together, and this is clearly shown in the script and events. However, although their reconnaissance of friendship is already well-portrayed, the movie becomes even more interesting due to an unexpected twist that takes place.
This movie centers around a haunted mirror that is actually powerful enough to bring a once loving family to devastation and destruction. This is a horror movie, but it is unique in the ways that it pushes the boundaries of the horror genre. It is character driven and really delves into the psyches of Kaylie and Tim, a brother and sister. It also explores both the past and the present in copious detail, and it does an amazing job of merging the two realities. This film is artistically impressive, and it tells a story that the viewer will never forget.
This movie centers around the type of love triangle that many are afraid to explore. It is a man and a woman fighting for the love and affection of one man. The three characters are actually close friends to boot. This film ends up conveying heartbreak in an achingly real way, and throughout the film are expressions of tension, jealousy, and uncertainty regarding the future. In addition to the wonderful storytelling, the cinematography for this movie is extremely impressive and will fascinate anyone who knows about what goes on behind the scenes.
Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)
Two young best friends have convinced an older female crush to come on a road trip with them. They have told her all sorts of exaggerated lies, such as details of an amazing and paradise-like beach. However, they find out that they are not the only ones who are being less than straightforward. This film delves into raw sexuality, and it is extremely vibrant and full of life. This is no ordinary road trip film; the poignance and the clever storytelling make it one of the best and most successful films of this type that have ever been presented to audiences.
The Act of Killing (2012)
This documentary is definitely worth watching, but you should be warned: it is disturbing and unsettling in nature. It centers around Indonesian gangsters who led a North Sumatran death squad in the 1960s and committed a genocide of alleged communists. They are actually considered heroes, because the current Pemuda Pancasila regime was a result of their actions. The gangsters actually use this film to relive these days, where they play themselves. They are seen bringing terror to their victims, yet what is truly disturbing to the viewer is the way that they are portrayed as so real and so human. They actually seem like normal people. This is a great one for all those history buffs out there, as well as anyone who wants a fascinating look into the complexities of humanity.
People see Sea World as this amazing place that is eternally innocent. However, they do not know what goes on behind the scenes. Families bring their kids to watch these amazing Orca whales do all of these tricks and jumps. What they are not seeing is the way that these whales are treated. They are crammed in tanks with too many other whales, and they are even abused by the workers. Tilikum is a giant male whale who has actually injured several workers and even killed three, because whales are not meant to be contained in that way. This grim documentary shows just how horrible these whales have it via candid interviews with workers and archive footage. Anyone who has ever been to Sea World would find this unbelievable, but be prepared that you will never want to go there again after seeing this.
Paris Is Burning (1990)
This amazing documentary goes into ball culture in the 1980s. This is a breathtaking look at Old New York, containing gay New Yorkers performing in some of the best stunt work that has ever been seen. The slang and the atmosphere that is shown make the film so real and educational, and it is worth watching for anyone who wants to improve their cultural knowledge, as well as anyone who is a fan of New York.
The Invisible War (2012)
Most of the time, documentaries are made to educate people about issues that are already well known in the media and among the public. However, this one actually presents a topic of which the majority of people had never heard. Basically, what it did is let people know all about sexual assault in the armed forces and the disgusting ways in which it is covered up. There are no films before this one that delve into the horrible topic of rape in the military, and it is sure to have a powerful impact on viewers.
The Queen of Versailles (2012)
An American couple, David and Jackie Siegel, are the subject of this interesting and highly rated documentary. They are building a home for themselves, which in itself may seem like a mundane topic. However, what makes this interesting is the fact that their home is the most pricey single-family home in the entire United States of America. They are actually calling the home Versailles. Any fan of reality television will like this one, as it captures a similar feel. However, this adds another layer through all of the political messages that it sends and what it conveys about The Great Recession.
How to Survive a Plague (2012)
This film obviously has merit, as shown by its nomination for Best Documentary Oscar at the Academy Awards this year. This powerful documentary goes into the beginning of the AIDS crisis. At this time, people generally saw this disease as a sort of punishment for being homosexual. The lack of compassion shown towards people who were sick (and at that time, likely dying) is portrayed very well, and many people will be emotionally affected by this, especially given what we now know about HIV, AIDS, and how it has affected so many people of all sorts of inclinations and lifestyles.
Man on Wire (2008)
This film revolves around the story of Philippe Petit, a man who walked on a tightrope in between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. This film is about so much more than walking on a wire, however. It is full of humanity and says a great deal about hope and optimism for the human condition. Although the act of walking on this tightrope was illegal, it was also full of beauty and grace. Particularly since the film was made after the Twin Towers were destroyed, this film will carry a sort of sentimental significance for anyone who was affected by the 9/11 crisis. This emotional film is wonderful for anyone who wants to watch a meaningful film that conveys an uplifting message.
There are many imaginary monsters that scare young kids. In the 1980s, “Cropsey” was an urban legend told to kids. Supposedly, he was a child-killer who was stalking the area around the former Willowbrook Mental Institution. In a horrifying twist, Cropsey actually turned out to be real. It is believed that he was a former employee of Willowbrook, and his name was Andre Rand. He was connected to five case of children who had disappeared. As if this is not disturbing enough, the film delves into the mental state of Cropsey. It is thought that his mental problems originated in Willowbrook itself. This was actually a horribly maintained place, and handicapped people who were supposed to be treated there were actually neglected and would be forced to stay in filthy conditions. This is definitely not a happy film, but it is well done and very poignant. Be warned, though that you will probably hate humanity for a little while after seeing this one.
The Thin Blue Line (1988)
This movie was so powerful that it actually got an innocent man released from prison. This documentary by Errol Morris told the story of Randall Dale Adams, who was convicted and put in prison for a crime of which he was actually not guilty. Morris was interested in this case, and Adams actually ended up being released from jail about a year after the film was released. Morris proved that he was innocent using new interviews and recreations – Adams had been convicted in 1976 of shooting and killing a police officer. Considering that this documentary was able to do this, it is definitely worth seeing for anyone. If nothing else, you have to be curious what a movie that actually restored a life is going to be like.
Hoop Dreams (1994)
This is the poignant and powerful story of two high school basketball players in Chicago, Arthur Agee and William Gates. Though many might be fooled by the title and the general idea of the premise into thinking that this is no more than a sports movie, this is actually not the case at all. The film is every bit as much about other issues, including education, race, and class. All of these elements work together to make this film one of the best sports documentaries, and even one of the best documentaries overall, produced in modern times. Documentary fans, as well as sports fans, will love this one for sure.
In a World… (2013)
As soon as you saw the title, you probably heard the voiceover guy in your head. However, this movie is not what a lot of people expect. Lake Bell wrote, directed, and starred in this movie, and it is a unique story about a woman who is trying to break her way into the world of voiceovers, which is dominated by men. This movie has a lot of hilarious moments, so it is great for any comedy fans. There are so many different elements in this film that it will appeal to all sorts of movie buffs.
Into the Abyss (2011)
This movie is the powerful retelling of two men who have been convicted of a horrible crime – a triple homicide. One character is receiving life in prison, while the other is being sentenced to death in the Huntsville “Walls” Unit in Texas. This is known as the most efficient and expedient death row in the entire United States, and interviews are conducted with the man who is about to be executed, up until a mere eight days before the execution is to take place. If you have ever reflected on the death penalty and whether or not it was right, you should definitely see this film. It will really make you think.
It is a known fact that political races are typically brutal, whether they be on the national, state, or local levels. This movie basically conveys that, using high school students. Even though these are just kids, they manage to make politics in their school just as vicious as it is in official government races. Reese Witherspoon stars as a girl who is obsessively running for student body president at her school, and dealing with all of the drama that happens along with the race. There are bisexual allegations, an athlete who is not very smart becomes a contender simply due to his popularity, and a teacher also gets caught up in the chaos. One idea that this film expresses very well is the fact that these races are often more about popularity contests than any kind of legitimate merit that could make one qualified to be in such a position.
This fine film actually won the Academy Award last year for Best Documentary Feature, and for good reason. Its use of characters that resonate with the viewer, as well as emotions that are startlingly real, is amazing. It is made even more impressive by the fact that these characters are not fictional. It focuses on a high school football team playing in Memphis, Tennessee. Their coach is Bill Courtney, and they have a very dramatic season. However, they manage to play extremely well despite all of the adversity that comes their way. The film really zeroes in on the coach and three specific football players. Each of these individuals represents one part of what makes this team so impressive. People may not think that a sports documentary can be emotional, but this one manages to be, especially at a few particular tear-inducing moments that are definitely worth seeing.
Sexy Baby (2012)
This is a stunningly real look at what oversexualization of women is doing to these women, and even to young girls. The film delves into the lives of three characters, all female. There is Winnie, a precocious 12 year old girl who holds feminist values but still wants to grow up to be just as sensual as Lady Gaga. There is also 32 year old Nichole, who was once a porn star and is now a pole dance instructor. She has learned through bitter experience how adult film stars are treated and viewed. 22 year old Laura is an amateur model who is extremely insecure despite her stunning beauty. She feels that she needs to undergo a labiaplasty in order to be beautiful and sexy. This movie does a wonderful job of showing just how much the digital age and the expectations placed on women by society can hurt these women.
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
This film centers around a group of salesmen who are competing with one another. Whoever wins does not get fired. The cast of this film is amazing, and the writing is done with such confidence and bravado that even the least easily impressed movie buff will enjoy it. There are so many notable moments in this film that you will not want to watch just part of it over again, but the whole thing. This one is definitely worth watching for anyone who is interested in the topic of American capitalism, which is portrayed so realistically and so well here.
Justine is a bride who is creating drama after she has just gotten married. However, the situation is already dramatic, considering that the planet is about to be destroyed by a crashing force. This movie combines all sorts of elements and will appeal to all sorts of individuals. The cinematography itself makes the film worth seeing, as this alone makes it art. On top of that, the story is interesting and riveting as well.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Almost everyone has heard of this movie, and for good reason. It is a classic and a quintessential example of many genres, including independent films, history films, and horror movies. Most films about corpses that destroy and devour human beings would be hokey and ridiculous, and this one manages to transcend those limitations. Basically, the seven main characters lock themselves in a farmhouse while there are flesh eating corpses walking around outside and stalking them. This movie really pushed the envelope in its time, both because of the fact that the leading man was black (in the Civil Rights era) and because of the graphic cannibalism. This is a must see for anyone, especially horror movie fans.
Anyone who loves dark comedies needs to see this film. Bernie Teide, the titular character, is a mortician. He has befriended a rich widow, and he murdered her soon afterwards. However, he makes all sorts of excuses about her absence, and he is not caught immediately. He even uses her money to be charitable to the less fortunate. In fact, he manipulates people to the extent that when his murder trial comes, people are defending him and even saying that everyone hated the widow and she deserved to be killed. This is a fascinating film that delivers several laughs, and also delves quite a bit into the human psyche. It shows how people will react to a murder depending on how much they like the person who has done it, which is quite disturbing.
Upstream Color (2013)
This movie is nothing short of ridiculously clever. Because you will get the most out of it with very little prior knowledge, all that you need to know for now is that it involves two strangers who meet on a train and gradually start dating without the knowledge that they have a past experience in common that neither has been able to wrap their heads around. There is also an eccentric farmer close to the city that has a huge pen of pigs. It may not seem like these elements could be linked, but this film does it impressively. There is romance, drama, and horror in this movie, making it appealing to fans of various genres.
Kill List (2012)
If you want a movie that will disturb you to the point of messing with your head, this is the one to see. The mood is completely dark, and there is an underlying ambiguity through the entire story, which consists of all sorts of disturbing twists. In fact, it actually comes from the scary dreams of the filmmaker himself. The plot is basically about a former hitman and military veteran who is married and unemployed. He gets back in touch with a former partner in crime, and they collaborate to kill off a few people for a new client. This in itself may sound disturbing, but believe it or not, that is the least of it. It can truly be described as psychologically damaging, so do not see this one if you are easily traumatized.
This is a very old movie, made before the vast majority of people now were even on this planet. Yet it remains a true classic, and it helped define the horror genre. This is a take on a classic novel with a character that nearly everyone has heard of – Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The cinematography makes the movie even more chilling than it would have been, and the vampire is so realistic looking that he will enter your nightmares. Be sure that you are able to handle scary movies before seeing this one, but it is definitely worth it.
Any science fiction buff needs to see this one as soon as possible. The plot can simply be described as follows: a video game designer and a trainee of hers go through different virtual realities as they are being chased by assassins. This did not appeal as much to mainstream viewers as did The Matrix, released around the same time. However, it has grown on people over time, and it clearly had a lot of great qualities from the beginning. It does a great job of combining the science fiction and horror genres, and it presents several truly bizarre moments that you can tell took a great deal of creativity to conceive.
This film will resonate with many viewers, particularly because the fantasies of the main character are so relatable. He fantasizes about killing people who annoy him, and then he becomes romantically involved with a much younger woman who has emotional problems. This movie is rife with impressive and rich dialogue and impressively well developed characters. It also does a beautiful job of mixing genres; violent noir, romantic comedy, and psychological drama are all incorporated in this one. The storytelling is magnificent, and the way it all flows together makes this film a work of art that everyone must see at least once.
The Host (2006)
This movie starts off with a beast coming out of the Han River in Seoul and grabbing a young girl. He takes her back to his lair, and the entire story of the rest of the movie revolves around rescuing the girl from the lair under Wonhyo Bridge. Her family is gathering together weapons and preparing to defeat the beast. Done incorrectly, this movie could have been an uninteresting acting film. However, this is cleverly done and incorporates horror, comedy, and even allusions to the way that Korea has been impacted by the United States government. It is definitely worth watching.
This movie is set in the year 2031. There are very few living human beings, and the planet has been frozen. All of the people who have survived the apocalypse are put onto a large locomotive that is just traveling around the now-icy world and not going anywhere. This could be seen as a science fiction movie, but it has so much more than that. It comments on class differences, as the front section of the train is filled with rich people who are living in luxury and partying, while the other sections contain the ill, the prisoners, and the untouchables. The film has a great deal of violence after an attack takes place, and it is full of moments that will rivet and puzzle the viewer simultaneously. This is definitely like no other film you have ever seen.
In Fear (2014)
Tom and Lucy are on their second date, and they end up lost in a backwoods area. This would be scary enough, but it turns out that they are being stalked by someone…or something. This presence is tormenting them via tricks that are getting nastier and nastier, making enigmatic sounds, and actually resorting to physical assault. Since this couple does not know one another very well, they play off of one another in an interesting way. They do not know anything about each other or their surroundings. This makes for a film that is very interesting and unique.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This film looks bizarre to many. However, it has a charm that one would not expect. It appeals to both kids and adults, because of the different elements presented. It has actually become a traditional Christmas film in its own way, although many people would prefer to watch it on Halloween. The plot centers around Jack Skellington, who is a skeleton. He lives in Halloween Town and ends up opening a portal to Christmas Town. All through the movie, he is trying to get Halloween Town to accept the more cheerful holiday. This movie is wonderfully original and unique, and it has a pretty cool soundtrack as well. It is definitely recommended that you see this one, even if you have been avoiding it.
Let the Right One In (2008)
This is a great one for anyone who loves vampire movies. It definitely goes beyond the league of Twilight, in the opinion of anyone who is critiquing films for quality elements. This is a drama about the undead, and it is actually a love story as well, about a little boy vampire and a little girl vampire. It has both romance and horror. However, this is not a conventional horror flick, but it presents more of a quiet horror that will chill your bones. Fans of both romance and horror will see this one as worth watching just because it is done in such an interesting way.
In Bruges (2008)
This film is a comedy that is likely going to be seen as a cult classic years from now. The story revolves around a pair of Irish hitmen. One of them has accidentally slaughtered a young boy during one of their hits that did not work out as planned, and as a result, they are forced into hiding. They hide out in the city of Bruges, where they end up reflecting on guilt and life issues. This actually ends up being somewhat of a morality play, although there is quite a bit of dark comedy as well. It also incorporates good views into the human condition. This is another one that will appeal to fans of different genres, as long as you do not mind the disturbing subject matter that defines the premise.
The Brother From Another Planet (1984)
This film can be classified as a dramedy. Basically, an alien gets out of a spaceship and enters Harlem with the necessity to fit into society despite his inability to speak. While many movies with this premise would have overdone it with all sorts of spaceships, comets, and associated special effects, this one chooses character development and meaningful dialogue instead. This indie film is, in this way, very different from the average sci-fi flick. As such, it will definitely be appreciated by science fiction fans, but you should watch it even if you do not normally like this genre. It has so much else that can potentially appeal to you that you may just end up loving it in spite of yourself.
Joe is an ex-con who works for a lumber company. He ends up hiring a 15 year old boy named Gary, who turns out to be a current victim of abuse. Joe is reluctant, but he eventually cannot help but become a father figure of sorts to Gary. This film is an independent drama that will end up tugging on many heartstrings. The acting is incredibly powerful, and it does a wonderful job portraying a story that has moments of deep friendship and frightening violence. This movie is quite poignant, and it is a great one for anyone who wants to watch a film with a real story with substance that is not afraid to get real.