1. Enter the Void (2009)
This movie, directed by Gaspar Noé, is a trip, taking you inside the mind of someone who seemingly has died but whose spirit travels between past, present, and future. A unique, intense, colorful ride of a movie, one of the rare that fully exploits the potential of movies.
2. Heartbeats (2011)
This visually beautiful and compelling movie by Xavier Dolan tells the story of two friends, a guy and a girl, who fall in love with the same man. It’s a romantic, intriguing, and gorgeous film.
3. Party Monster (2003)
This cult classic, starring child star turned eccentric visual artist Macaulay Culkin in a memorable performance as “King of the Club Kids,” as well as Seth Green and Chloe Sevigny, is a gaudy, eye-popping tour through late-80s/early-90s New York clubland. To me the low production values and sometimes sloppy directing and acting are excusable, charming even, and Culkin gives a great performance.
4. Bernie (2011)
This Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunset) comedy about a small-town mortician who gets away with murder features one of Jack Black’s best performances to date. It also stars Matthew McConaughey, who has been starring in better-quality films since his scene-chewing performance in Magic Mike.
5. Take This Waltz (2011)
This slow-paced but gorgeously shot and acted movie by Sarah Polley (Away From Her) stars two of my favorites, Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen, and deals with the universal but very confusing and troubling issue of one’s emotions straying in a relationship.
6. Alexander the Last (2009)
Joe Swanberg, notorious central figure in the Mumblecore film movement, has made a lot of movies in a short period of time, and some of them I don’t care for, but this one is a winner. A married actress and her sister fall for the same guy and drama, as well as some genuinely sexy scenes, ensue.
7. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
If you haven’t already seen this uproarious comedy classic, please do so immediately. Honestly one of the funniest, most enjoyable movies I’ve ever seen. Stars Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, and Law & Order: SVU‘s Christopher Meloni in one of the most memorable, awesome comedy roles I’ve seen.
8. Lost in Translation (2003)
If you somehow haven’t already seen this movie by Sofia Coppola, I highly recommend it. Funny, visually appealing, and features one of Bill Murray’s all-time best performances.
9. 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 are what make it so good to watch.
10. 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.