I’ve seen a lot of movies in my lifetime. Like, over two thousand, a lot.
Now, most of these movies, I’m sure you’ve also seen, like the Batman flicks, Jurassic Park, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as I LOVE blockbusters. I’m not a film snob. That said, I definitely AM a cinephile, so I’ve likely seen a few flicks that you let slip through the cracks. And these are just ten of those flicks.
Now, keep in mind, I’m sure that there are some of you out there who might have seen ALL of the movies on this list because they’re not obscure or anything like that, so don’t be surprised if there’s nothing on here that you haven’t already seen. This list isn’t for you. This list is for those who are casual movie goers who don’t have the time to scan through Netflix or read up on the classics. So, without further ado, the top ten films that I recommend you see that you likely haven’t already. Why? Because I’m cool like that.
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10. The Maltese Falcon
Yes, you’ve heard of The Maltese Falcon and have likely even said that you’ve seen it multiple times. But let’s be honest. Have you really? Or are you just saying that to sound impressive? Well, if you haven’t seen it (And I’m talking about the famous, 1941 film with Humphrey Bogart, and not the 1931 film with Ricardo Cortez) then you should, as it’s definitely worth your time. It’s a great introduction to film noir since it pretty much started the trend, and also a great introduction to the hard-boiled writing of Dashiell Hammett. In the movie, Sam Spade (Bogey, baby, Bogey) has to uncover a mystery involving a statuette that a few others are looking to pluck because of its high value. Along the way, though, all the tropes of the detective genre reveal themselves—the dark shadows, the hot dame, the questionable foreigner—and you almost think that it’s a parody of the genre itself until you remember that this movie started it all in the first place. It’s a great piece of work by director, John Huston, who also did the masterful, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which you should also see. Top notch stuff. Really, it is.
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9. The Princess and the Warrior
Run Lola Run is a great movie, but you’ve already seen that, I’m sure. But have you seen the semi-related follow-up, The Princess and the Warrior, which also features Franka Potente, running from fate for a second time? This film is a much quieter movie than RLR, but also, much more intimate. Franka plays a nurse in a psychiatric hospital who has this big accident that flips her whole life upside down. A lot of strange events follow, and it’s all told in a fairly more structured format than RLR, which I appreciate, because parts of that movie were a bit TOO frenetic for me. A great flick that you should definitely check out if you enjoyed RLR at least a little.
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Directed by William Friedkin, the guy who made The French Connection and The Exorcist, you would think that this movie would have been bigger, but it wasn’t, unfortunately. It stars Ashley Judd and the new General Zod himself, Michael Shannon, and it’s about a crazy war veteran (Shannon) who shacks up with a woman (Judd) in a motel, and starts seeing bugs crawling all over him. The woman at first thinks that he’s nuts, but then, she starts seeing the bugs all over herself as well, and then, well, things get crazy. There are pretty much only three characters in the entire film, with Harry Connick Jr. being the third, and it’s definitely not for everyone. The two friends that I forced to see it with me couldn’t stand it and chalked it up again to my “terrible taste in movies.” Hmm…I still don’t get why everybody thinks my taste in movies sucks. Guess we can’t all like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which is what they wanted to see instead at the time.
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7. Harold and Maude
Featuring quite possibly my favorite soundtrack of all time, which consists of all Cat Stevens songs, Harold and Maude is a really weird flick that initially flopped at the box office but has since grown quite big on VHS and DVD. It’s not Troll 2 big, but it’s big, so I’m surprised that you haven’t seen it already. It stars Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon, and the plot centers around how Harold (Cort) is a guy obsessed with death and Maude (Gordon) is a woman who cherishes life. The two of them bump uglies and all is good with the world. Oh, and did I mention that Harold has probably just crossed puberty and Maude is as old as dirt? Yeah, it’s one of THOSE love stories, and by those, I mean the kind that you don’t see often and haven’t seen since. Harold and Maude is a classic. Please, just see this film.
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6. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead
Troma, if you haven’t seen any of their masterpieces before, make shit and they’re proud of it. But the thing is, their shit is usually pretty intelligent, albeit, in a gross, “that’s-just-wrong” kind of way. Case in point is Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, which is probably the best film Troma co-creator, Lloyd Kaufman, has ever made. In it, it takes a look at the fast food industry and how America totally buys into listening to whoever has the biggest mouth. And it’s also a musical that features a singing Sloppy Joe named “Sloppy Jose,” after one of the Spanish employees who fell into the meat grinder and is served up like any other sandwich. Man, I love this film.
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5. The Warrior’s Way
Generic title aside, The Warrior’s Way is awesome. It features samurais, cowboys, circus clowns, revenge, blood, guts, and the baby story from the movie, Willow. Out of all the films that I’ve mentioned on this list, I’m almost CERTAIN that you’ve never seen this one, and that sucks, because this movie is the cat’s pajamas. See it if you like blades clashing with bullets, and samurais warring against gunslingers. And yes, it’s as rad as it sounds.
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4. In the Bedroom
This Oscar nominated picture got me to fall in love with the acting of Tom Wilkinson. In it, two parents, (Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek), lose their son when he’s murdered by his girlfriend’s ex-husband. The catch? The ex-husband gets off with murder and the husband and wife have to deal with the loss of their son until finally, there’s a breaking point, and the family has to take matters into their own hands since the legal system won’t do anything about it. It’s a really hard to watch film, but it’s brilliant. Drama at its best.
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Vagina dentata. That’s pretty much latin for teeth in the va-jay-jay. Part horror film, and part comedy, Teeth is a really interesting film about an innocent teenage girl who gets raped and realizes that she has teeth in-between her legs to ward off creeps and scuzbags. One of these said scuzbags is her step-brother, who only has sex with girls in the butt after an incident that he had with his step-sister when they were kids and he stuck his finger in a place that he shouldn’t have. I’ve seen this movie multiple times and I love it more and more with each viewing. It’s a great concept that’s exploited for all its worth.
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2. Paths of Glory
This is Stanley Kubrick’s best movie, and one of his oldest. It stars Kirk Douglas, who can’t act and screams too much, but the story is solid. It’s about men who get court martialed during WW1 when they refuse to go into a battle that’s a suicide mission, and they’re to be executed by the military for their cowardice. But Kirk Douglas fights for them, and man, does he fight. It doesn’t have the wondrous effects of 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the violent scenes of Clockwork Orange, but it’s definitely Kubrick’s most complete film, and the pacing for it is great. A masterful work by a masterful director. See this picture now.
(Image taken from: pathfinderpictures.com)
You’ve no doubt seen Ichi the Killer and Audition. Everybody’s seen those. But Gozu is better than both of those films, and it’s the best picture that I’ve ever seen from Takashi Miike, bar none. Shout out to my college buddy, Jesus, for introducing it to me. Telling you a detailed plot synopsis of the film is nearly impossible, because it’s really one big fever dream. But I will tell you this, it has squirting mammaries, a guy in a giant cow’s head, the director making an appearance and constantly saying that it was hotter yesterday than it is today, and a Yakuza gang lord who gets a ladel stuck up his ass. Oh, and a full-grown man who is born from a woman who may or may not be a sexually repressed representation of the protagonist’s homoerotic lusting. So yeah, it’s awesome. It’s a David Lynch film without David Lynch and it was made in Japan. How could you possibly go wrong? Well, lots of ways, but Gozu doesn’t, so see this film. It’s a requirement.
Now, it’s your turn. Write some movies that you’ve seen in the comment box below that you think I may not have seen. I’d love to hear them. I’m always looking for some new movies to watch. Thanks for reading!