Alicia Silverstone in a wink-wink comedy about a hilariously oblivious valley girl. The characters and script for this are even more fun than I remembered. Includes Paul Rudd in an Amnesty International t-shirt drinking OJ out of the carton while Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” plays in the background.
2. A Woman Is A Woman (1961)
This is a good place to start if you’re new to Jean-Luc Godard movies. It stars the lovely Anna Karina, Godard’s real-life wife at the time, as a striptease artist with a baby dilemma. She wants a child, her boyfriend doesn’t, but his friend does. What to do? The use of color is striking, and it’s a fun, playful tribute to (and deconstruction of) American musical comedies.
3. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)
If you haven’t already seen this beautiful movie directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, A Little Princess, that one Harry Potter movie that was better than the others) and starring Gabriel Garcia Bernal, I highly recommend it. Features a good story — about a road trip shared by two teen boys and an older woman — beautiful cinematography, and some pretty hot sex scenes.
4. Barbarella (1968)
I think you can tell whether or not you will dig this Jane Fonda 60s cult classic based on your reaction to the plot summary: “A shapely 41st-century space traveler dispatched to find a missing scientist discovers the joys of celestial sex and experiences kinky misadventures.”
5. Oldboy (2003)
This beautiful movie, directed by Chan-wook Park, is set to be remade by Hollywood with Spike Lee as the director. Hard to predict how that will turn out, but the original is great. It tells the story of a man imprisoned, drugged, and tortured for 15 years, who goes on a revenge spree when he finally gets out. There’s a surprising twist late in the movie that messed with my head when I first watched it. An engrossing, unique movie.
6. Happy Together (1997)
This is my personal favorite of Wong Kar-Wai’s movies. It’s about a gay couple whose relationship is falling apart on a trip to Argentina. The cinematography by Christopher Doyle is very pretty and the performances are affecting. I found it sad and moving. One of Kar-Wai’s more well-known movies, In the Mood for Love, is also currently on Netflix, and I recommend that one as well. And if you want more, 2046 is another of my favorites by him, but it’s not currently on Netflix.
7. The Future (2011)
I liked Miranda July’s second movie a lot more than her first. It’s about a couple who quit their jobs and disconnect from the Internet and start to disconnect from each other, but the plot isn’t the thing. July’s ability to create compelling, odd moments and to demonstrate her (and cinema’s) ability to be unpredictable and personal that make it so good to watch.
8. 8 1/2 (1963)
This classic by Federico Fellini tells the story of a film director who retreats from filmmaking into his fantasies. The imagination and style of this are fantastic and have influenced other great movies such as Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories and many more. I also recommend Amarcord and La Dolce Vita by Fellini.
9. Metropolitan (1990)
Whit Stillman’s first film, about upper-class young people at debutante balls during winter break, is charming and fun. Stillman is known for his dialogue — the characters in this movie talk in an exaggerated, gently satirical version of young educated New Yorker. There’s also romance in it and lots of music (another Stillman trademark). I highly recommend all of his movies.
10. The Graduate (1967)
This classic movie, Dustin Hoffman’s first big Hollywood break, has been very influential. The scene where the camera follows Hoffman underwater in his backyard pool has been imitated many times. It’s one of the great coming-of-age movies, stylishly directed by Mike Nichols. Also: the ending is very memorable.