I like to imagine that for every person out there, there exists a catalog or library of films that really speak to someone.  Films that you watch and say “Oh my god, I can’t believe I’ve never seen this and now I have to watch it again.”

For me it took till I was in college to finally see The Godfather.  I waited over a year until I watched Slumdog Millionaire.  I’ve still been putting off seeing The Sound of Music, Casablanca and Gone With the Wind.

These movies don’t always have to be film classics and I’m writing today about movies you may have missed and need to rent immediately.

1.  Army of Darkness (1993) – The third installment of The Evil Dead series, Bruce Campbell is at his finest in this masterpiece of horror/comedy.  Much more comedy than horror I have literally seen this movie dozens of times and still continue to laugh.  It tells the story of Ash a department store clerk or accidentally summons the dead and gets transported back to medieval times.  He now much retrieve the Book of the Dead to send himself back to the future and defeat the evil Deadite army.  Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the first two, there is a quick montage in the beginning which fills you in on the previous happenings and puts you right where you need to be to start the film.  Before there was Spiderman there was Army of Darkness.  Thank you Sam Raimi!

If this isn't the most badass photo ever taken I don't know what is.

2.  Requiem For a Dream (2000) –  Called the #2 best film of the decade by film critic James Berardinelli this is THE must see anti-drug movie.  It follows four people and their paths through addiction from weed, to heroin, cocaine and speed.  It not only should be required viewing for every DARE program across the U.S. but also screened for misbehaved juveniles who need a reminder that if you don’t want to end up dead, in jail or in a mental institution to JUST SAY NO.  Note:  You must be in a certain mood to enjoy this movie.  It is a DOWNER.  You will however continue to think about this movie long after you see it and be happy you experienced it.

Everyone in this movie gives a great performance. Yes even Marlon "Scary Movie 2" Wayans. Burstyn even got an Oscar nomination for this.

3.  City of Ember (2008) – Mediocre execution but great concept and great visuals.  While more geared towards kids this films tells the story of what life is like for a group of people who have been raised underground when life on the surface of Earth became impossible.  They’ve forgotten their exit plan and now are faced with the technological collapse of their infrastructure.  Global Warming Avocates take note.  This could be us in a few years!

After the Shawshank county police sniffed out his trail Andy Dufrene was forced to hide out underground in the City of Ember!

4.  The Last King of Scotland (2006) – The movie that won Forest Whitaker an Oscar and based on a true story The Last King of Scotland is the kind of movie that makes you happy you were born into something better.  It’s brutal, honest and shot beautifully.  Forrest Whitaker and James McAvoy both deserve kudos for this film as the acting is superb and really draws you into these characters.

Forest really puts the Dick in Dictator in his portrayal of former Ugandan ruler Idi Amin.

5.  Donnie Darko (2001) – Occasionally you come across someone who hasn’t seen this film that brought Jack (and Maggie) Gyllenhaal to the the limelight.  It tells the story of a mentally disturbed high school teen who starts having visions and is counting down the days to the end of the world.  Set in the 1980’s with and amazing soundtrack and a cameo-esq role by Patrick Swayze if you haven’t seen this movie do it right now.  20 years from now this will be a Sci-fi classic.  Note:  Director Richard Kelly also recently directed The Box starring Cameron Diaz.  DO NOT judge Kelly’s work by The Box as this and that movie are not even in the same league.

I'm just wondering which one's going to pull the yawn move first.

6.  Memento (2000) – Some people love it and some people hate it.  I love it and hope you do it.  Directed by the guy that brought you The Dark Knight and the more recent Inception, Christopher Nolan first cut his teeth with this film.  It follows, Leonard, a man who was shot in the head while protecting his wife and can no longer build memories.  He is limited to remembering the previous 3-5 minutes of his life.  We watch as Leonard hunts for his wife’s killer except the story is told in reverse.  We see where Leonard has ended up and the flashback upon flashback builds to an exciting conclusion.

You mean Trinity from Matrix was in another movie?!?! Woah! I never knew that...

7.  The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) – Wes Anderson fans might argue that The Royal Tenenbaums is his quintessential work but I disagree.  With surreal visuals Anderson takes us on an undersea journey with Steve Zissou as he hunts for an elusive creature, reconnects with his lost son and battles his arch-rival (Jeff Goldblum.)  It’s funny, it’s mentally and visually stimulating and Bill Murray is perfect in the role as Zissou.

I wish real submarines had giant windows and were piloted by wise-cracking ghostbusters. Uggg, reality.

8.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – Mind messing movies seems to be a trend of the past decade and this is one of the better ones.  When Joel and Clementine fall out of love she goes to a doctor who selectively deletes all memories of their relationship.  In his despair he reluctantly does the same.  The movie follows Joel as his memories are slowly killed and he realizes the consequences of what he’s chosen to do.  Dramatic, somewhat funny with a touch of romance this is a great movie.

Kate Winslet set the trend for Scott Pilgrim's Ramona Flowers 6 years ago. You copycat!

9.  Festen (The Celebration)  (1998) – I usually can’t see past the subtitles on foreign films but if they are especially good I do.  This film starts at the 60th birthday celebration of a large family’s father.  The eldest son gets up to give his speech and gives his father two choices of speech, the green envelope or the red envelope.  His decision makes for a disturbing and dramatic film.

The stress of another year really takes it's toll on old man Jacobs. "Too Much Birthday!" he thinks to himself between mean old man frowns.

Advertisements