The first group are films you have most likely seen, then there’s a few that there is a chance you may have not seen (although have definitely heard of), and then there are those that may have slipped through the cracks when you were debating on what to watch when you were scanning the walls at Blockbuster a million years ago/hitting up Netflix for movie night. Don’t get me wrong – this is not my list of favorite movies of all time. Yes, some of those are on here but I’d much rather give you a list of suggestions. Chances are you’ve seen or heard many of these before, but I guarantee you’re going to at least contemplate watching one of these movies that you haven’t seen after reading this. Oh, and one last thing before I start: I’d like to remind everyone this list is completely subjective and there are plenty of movies I believe should be watched by everyone that I did not include on this list. Also, nothing is in any particular order.
NECESSARY VIEWING: Movies you have most likely seen or heard of in your life (and if not… you live under a rock and should be ashamed).
I don’t even know where to begin with this film. It won 6 Oscars in 1995, and had another 37 wins and 44 nominations for various awards. In my humble opinion, I think the best part of this movie is that you are taken on a cultural and historic journey through the point of view of a simple mind.
There is absolutely NOTHING bad to say about it. It is brilliant from top to bottom – the cast, the acting, the script, the concept, the score, the story… it’s all just amazing. It is easily one of the most quotable movies out there. Not everyone knows this but it’s also based on a book.
I’m sure you’ve all seen this movie so I’m going to stop there, but if you haven’t seen it don’t tell me because I’m going to judge the shit out of you. If you have seen it (which I’m sure most of you have) then I LOVE YOU JENNAY.
The Shawshank Redemption
There’s not much to say about Shawshank Redemption other than that it’s remarkable and considered one of the greatest movies of all time. I mean, Morgan Freeman has the voice of God so if you are going to watch it for any reason at all it should be that he narrates and stars in it. Who DOESN’T like Morgan Freeman? If he narrated a documentary on the history of tooth floss I would probably be captivated.
Shawshank Redemption has one of those stories that keeps you intrigued from the very beginning to the very end. Andy Dufresne is a character that you root for the whole way through. His intelligence is astounding, his gumption is unrivaled, and his scene at the end with the rain (trying not to give anything away) is just… unreal. This is a timeless movie and if you have any depth in your appreciation for film you’ve seen it or plan on watching it at some point.
Quentin Tarantino is probably my favorite director. He is a fucking weirdo but I love him.
Pulp Fiction is pure dominance. Like most of Tarantino’s films, Pulp Fiction is not told in chronological order, and it is broken up into chapters. Also, the characters are connected in some way. But most of all, the best thing about a Tarantino film is that things usually start out going one way, and then everything changes in a matter of seconds with a shocking turn of events.
Pulp Fiction has some legendary scenes- everyone who has seen this movie and loves it has a particular favorite scene. In my opinion one of the best quirks about Pulp Fiction (and most Tarantino movies, for that matter), is the character dialogue. Only in a Tarantino movie will you find Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta discussing the different interpretations of a foot massage. The thing is it’s hard to really explain this movie to someone who hasn’t seen it. It’s one of those movies that you have to just watch based on someone saying “Seriously this movie is awesome. Watch it”.
The Silence of the Lambs
What a creepy movie. Silence of the Lambs seriously scared the hell out of me, probably due to the fact that it’s about the investigation of a transsexual serial killer who murdered fat chicks so that he can sew their skin together and consequentially put on their skin to feel like a “real woman” while he dresses up as a lady and tucks his dick in so that he looks like he has a vagina.
Let’s not forget Hannibal Lecter… I learned what cannibalism was after watching this movie. The words “I ate his liver with some fava beans with some nice Chianti,” kind of don’t settle in your stomach too well either. But in all seriousness this is one of those epic horror movies. It’s also a psychological thriller and I love me a good psychological thriller.
This was the first time I ever watched an Anthony Hopkins movie… that man is mesmerizing. If you can move past the sick and twisted serial killer and the cannibal that is continuously fucking everyone’s shit up and eating them afterwards even when he’s under maximum security, you’ll dig this film. It’s quite spectacular as far as movies go. But if you have a weak stomach I do not recommend it.
I’m not going to say much about The Godfather because I don’t have to. It would be overkill to reiterate how it’s one of the best movies ever made and how it’s one of the most epic trilogies of all time. Pretty much everyone has seen The Godfather or knows about it. I will say this one thing though: if character development is something that you really appreciate in a film, then The Godfather would be one of your favorites. Fucking Al Pacino. He is so damn good. Rugrats did an episode once where Angelica watched The Godfather with her parents one night and then went all Marlon Brando on the babies and watching it now in retrospect is hilarious because as a child you wouldn’t know what the hell they’re doing or talking about.
I’m not going to go on saying why this movie is amazing because it would literally be beating a dead horse with a stick. Or chopping off the horse’s head and having the aforementioned severed head placed in bed with someone who denied a request of The Godfather himself.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Movies you may or may not have seen but probably have heard of and are seriously worth watching.
Sometimes I ask people if they’ve ever seen this movie and I’m usually surprised as to how many answers are “no”. If you’ve never seen it, here’s a brief synopsis. You have your standard dysfunctional family in suburban America. Kevin Spacey plays the father, who is depressed and in a mid-life crisis when we find him in the beginning of the film. He is also narrating the story from heaven (we find out he dies in the first 5 seconds of him speaking). Upon laying eyes on his daughter’s best friend (played by Mena Suvari) who he finds himself wildly attracted to, he wakes up and begins to change his life.
The characters are phenomenal and totally fucked up they actually make you feel sort of normal. If you are someone who can handle a heavy film, I highly recommend watching it. If you’re taste in movies runs no deeper than a coy pond, don’t watch it.
Not only a great movie, it is also a pretty awesome read (yes…it was based on a book. Most good movies are).
Brad Pitt in his prime and Ed Norton is just good at pretty much everything he does.
I don’t know HOW some people have never seen Fight Club.
This is short because the first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club.
My Cousin Vinny
This is a brilliant comedy; one of my all time favorites. When Bill and Stan (the two wrongly convicted “felons”) are facing execution for the crimes they did not commit they are conveniently able to call in Bill’s lawyer cousin Vinny.
Inconveniently, Vinny is way out of his league, and has no idea what the hell he is doing when he takes on this case. He is also accompanied by his fiancé (played by Marisa Tomei) and the two find themselves entirely displaced in this old school Southern Alabama town.
Marisa Tomei steals the show – Joe Pesci is perfect – this movie is perfect.
Little Miss Sunshine
One of my all time favorites. I don’t know what it is about movies about dysfunctional families but I really just love them.
The characters in this family are out of this world… you have Greg Kinnear playing the lamest dad in America who is failing at selling his system of “self-improvement”. You have Steve Carell playing the suicidal gay uncle who also happens to be a genius scholar. Alan Arkin plays the heroin-addicted and obnoxious as hell grandpa. And you have Abigail Breslin, the endearingly nerdy youngest child who the family supports by getting in their broken VW bus and travelling to California so she can participate in a children’s beauty pageant.
Little Miss Sunshine is simple, exquisite, and heartwarming. I love it… you will too.
As Good As It Gets
You have Jack Nicholson starring in this one; his character Melvin is basically the rudest man to grace the streets of Manhattan (which speaks volumes because NYC is filled with a lot of rude people). He is a writer with OCD and he is just a straight up asshole.
He is infatuated with his regular waitress at the diner, Carol (played by Helen Hunt). He lives next door to a gay artist named Simon (played by Greg Kinnear).
After Simon is tragically attacked and nearly killed, Melvin finds himself held responsible for watching his little dog. Paired with the fact that Carol had to take care of her sick son and can’t wait on him at the diner for a few days, Melvin flips a fucking shit and his OCD world is turned upside down.
It’s really a touching film and if you don’t mind a long movie that will leave you feeling happy inside you will really enjoy this one.
TOTALLY UNDERRATED: Movies you most likely haven’t seen, but you definitely should watch at some point.
I guarantee you’ve never watched this one. It’s an oldie – Ed Norton’s first movie (he’s so young).
Ok – so here’s the deal. You have a stuttering and simple altar boy (Ed Norton) accused of murdering a priest. His lawyer is played by Richard Gere who really seems to have a knack for playing the role of a hotshot lawyer who takes on seemingly pointless and unwinnable cases.
The investigation of the crime and end of this movie will make your jaw drop. It’s so good.
From Dusk Till Dawn
This is a vampire film like no other. It starts out with two criminal brothers played by Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney. They’re busting out of the country after a serious bank robbery and crossing the border to Mexico.
Eventually they take some hostages with them (Harvey Keitel and his son and daughter) and seek refuge at a sketchy bar in Mexico where they have to chill until the morning, when they are all home free. Unfortunately, the place is infested with vampires and they have to literally survive until the morning. This movie is a bloody, ridiculous fucking AWESOME mess. If you’re into blood and guts watch it; if not this isn’t for you.
If you’re into psychological thrillers, consider this one.
It’s about this guy Leonard, who suffers from severe short-term memory loss. He uses notes and tattoos on his body to help himself investigate the murder of his wife.
If that’s not enough for you, then maybe the fact that the story is told backwards will pique your interest.
It’s such a unique film that really keeps you at the edge of your seat.
Big Fish is not your typical Tim Burton film (although there are some weird parts… it wouldn’t be a Burton film otherwise). The story focuses on a dying father (Ed Bloom) and his son (Will Bloom) and their failed relationship. Will feels as though he doesn’t really know his father, because all he has heard is countless stories and myths that don’t exactly add up. The audience is taken on the journey of Ed Bloom (played by Ewan McGregor) as he recounts his own version of his life to his son. This is a great movie, it has a great cast and a wonderful storyline and it’s quite the tearjerker.
Now I’m pretty sure the only people I know who have seen this one are me, my mom and my dad. It’s a Woody Allen film starring Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood and it’s super weird. Whatever Works is about this misanthropic, genius quantum-physicist named Boris (played by Larry David).
For those of you who are unaware of what a misanthrope is, it is an individual who HATES people. So it is rather interesting when Boris develops a very unlikely relationship with Melody (Evan Rachel Wood), a VERY simpleminded young girl who has just come to New York from Mississippi. I know right? What the hell. But it’s a great movie.
And there you have it. If you actually read the whole thing, that’s awesome because this turned out to be way longer than I anticipated. Hopefully next time you want to chill out and watch a movie you take one of these suggestions. If so, let me know how sweet my suggestion was.