Great Movies

Sure, there are lots of great movies, but I certainly don't like them all. If you watch one of these, you know it's going to be good.

Remember to check out the categories in the list on the right.

 

 

This section is just for the search engines, since the Amazon iframe won't say what my site is about.

 

The Man Who Would Be King
Two members of the Masonic lodge head into the wilds of central Asia to take over a country in the late 1800's. Great views and great drama with a bit of action along the way.  Good movie for men and women. With Sean Connery and Michael Caine.
 
Sleuth
Movie adaptation of a stage play.  An old man and a young buck fight over his wife. A top quality mystery that keeps you going all the way to the end.  The story is slow to develop, but if you can stick with it you'll be rewarded with a great show. Done in the 60's, you have to be in the mood for older production values. No blood, no guts, and incredible twists. With Sir Lawrence Olivier and Michael Caine.
 
Running On Empty
A pair of aged hippies are in hiding from the FBI for a bombing that happened years ago.   Their son is about to graduate from high school and that forces the family almost into the open. With Judd Hersch
 
Unstrung Heroes
A young boy and his off beat father ignore his mother's terminal illness. The father works harder, the boy hangs out with his certified crazy uncles. Be prepared to cry.
 
The Navigators: travel through time
A dark Australian movie set in the dark ages. I can't say more about it without giving away the plot, but this one is great.
 
Glengarry Glennross
Tale of two dishonest real-estate salesmen, one on the way up, one on the way down.   It's an intimate view of an ugly side of life.  They must say "fuck" a million times in this movie.  As in, "Get your fucking feet off my desk."   "This ain't your fucking desk anymore."  "Tom, tell Sam to get his fucking feet off my fucking desk."  "That desk is for closers. Why don't you go close some fucking sales?"   Jack Lemmon plays the role as Death of a Salesman, while Al Pacino is the young whippersnapper.  It's a star studded cast. (I say it's little known, but *every* salesman I know can quote the lines. Even those who don't know the movie say "ABC: Always Be Closing".)
 
Searching For Bobby Fischer
Sounds like a dud. I thought it would be some ridiculous story of an ego maniac. Instead it is a heart warming story of a young boy growing up and his relationship with his father. 
 
The Life of David Gale
I watched this entranced. Sure, the dialog in the first scene is a bit trite, and we did guess the ending. Still, powerful movie for me. I sent an email to a bunch of friends and then I found a review calling it the worst movie of 2003. I guess I'm an idiot.
 
Spellbound
This is the story of six children who compete in the national spelling bee. Again, it sounds like a dud, but it's a wonderful look at how each family responds differently to the pressure.
 
Wordplay
A delightful documentary of the national crossword puzzle championships. If you like the Sunday NY Times puzzle (I do) then you will love this movie.
Memento
He can only remember three minutes and this movie forces you to live that horror with him. Brilliant.
The Name of the Rose
A mystery set in the dark ages involving a famous, secret library.
 
 
 

Movies with Big Twists 

If you like to be surprised, these will do it. I can't say too much about them without giving it away. Thinking about it, I'm amazed that these movies have very little graphic violence in them. Good stories with suspense and then a twist that makes your head spin.

Sleuth 
 See above. (Michael Cain, Sir Lawrence Olivier)
 
The Sting
Con men gang up to avenge the killing of a friend. (Paul Newman, Robert Redford)
 
Body Heat 
A scared woman needs help from her lawyer. Whew, hot sex. (Kathleen Turner, William Hurt)
 
Dead Again 
Two dead people come back to avenge their murders. Once the twist is exposed my brain went into overload trying to remember what clues I'd missed. (Ok, this one has some freaky violence at the end. Close your eyes.) (Kenneth Branagh)
 
The Game 
Tired of his easy life, a rich businessman signs up for a reality game. (Michael Douglas)
 
The Sixth Sense 
A psychiatrist want to help a young boy. (Bruce Willis)
 
Fight Club 
I was prepared to hate it, but loved it. By the time the fighting starts, it almost makes sense. The violence is physical, but not overdone. (Brad Pitt)
 

Classics Anyone?

The Importance of Being Earnest
You've all seen high school productions of this. It is a funny, funny story.
 
The Thin Man series with Nick, Nora, and Asta
These two detectives solve murders with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other. 
 
Citizen Kane
This was a shocking movie at the time. Not only for the subject, but also for the "odd" camera angles, focus, etc. It was a pioneering film.
 
The Navigator
Buster Keaton's silent classic. If you think of it in today's terms, it appears trite. Then you think, this guy was the very first person to *ever* do this stuff. Fencing with a swordfish under water? Walking around the walls? These must have driven the audiences of the day wild. 
 
Fail Safe
Not the new one, the old one. Henry Fonda, Larry Hagman. The tension is real, the cinematography excellent. A sober movie.
 
Cool Hand Luke
Paul Newman is stuck in jail in the deep South. He's too smart for his own good.
 
The Graduate
Dustin Hoffman is a self absorbed recent college grad, living at home and having sex with the wife of his father's best friend. Sometimes a comedy, always dark.
 

And just for the record, here are great movies that are well known:

Pulp Fiction
If you've ever read one of those crappy novels that has criminal hit men spouting off about pop philosophy and thinking their big shots, this movie is exactly that. It is sooo good.
 
Doctor Strangelove
This is laugh riot. Peter Sellers plays four different parts. George C. Scott "Mr. President, the commie will see the big board!" Slim Pickens and James Earl Jones. And the CRM-115. Remember, Purity Of Essence. "Mandrake, I do not shy away from women. But I do deny them my essence." A complete spoof of the old Fail Safe. We watched this right after that and it made a fantastic double feature.
 
The Shawshank Redemption
What most people don't know is that the story was written by Stephen King. Consider: what is more horrific than being in jail for life when you didn't do it? The book is Four Seasons. This book also has the story for Stand By Me, another good movie.
 
Apocalypse Now
A surrealistic look at the war in Viet Nam. Surrealistic enough that it might be true. (I do not recommend the Redux version. It adds scenes that explain the story and as a result it looses some of the punch.) Listen to Robert Duvall when he delivers the lines about napalm. In his interview on 60 Minutes he said he was pissed off at Marlon Brando and he was sarcastically imitating Brando when he said, "Smells like . . . . .  Victory".  
Kill Bill
Personally, I prefer #1. The fast paced surrealistic story appeals to me. #2 ties up too many loose ends.
 
 

Good Comedy

Roxanne
The story of Cyrano de Bergerac updated and played by Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. I'm a sucker for CdeB stories anyway and this is a fun movie from the get go.
 
Beetlejuice
A modern ghost story.
 
L.A Story
Another Steve Martin story. A love story of a man who's lost his way.
 
Groundhog Day
Bill Murray keeps working (working on it) day after day after day. 
 
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
I do like Steve Martin and Michael Cain. Put them together in a movie and they play off against each other very well. This is the story of two gigolos that compete to rip off one poor woman from the mid West.
Rat Race
A fast paced wild ride from Las Vegas to nowhere. Lots of stars.
Trading Places
Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd have such great chemistry in this class based satire. My folks loved it.

 

Sophomoric Comedy, Dick Jokes, but I still love 'em.

Animal House
This reminds me a lot of what we were like in college. Sure, this is over the top, but it's what I want to remember doing.
 
Caddy Shack
Nothing but laughs from start to finish.
 
Sordid Lives
Poor white trash hold a funeral for their dearly beloved mother
 
Risky Business
A young man trashes his parent's house while they're on vacation.
 
Exit To Eden
Adapted from an Ann Rice novel, this is a romp through a sexual BDSM holiday with Dan Ackroyd and Rosie O'Donnell. Funny stuff, but a bit more risqu� than I remembered.
 
Young Frankenstein
Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, a crew of famous funnies. How the story might really have gone.
 
Monty Python and the Search For the Holy Grail
It's like a bunch of small comedy sketches all strung together into a real movie. Love it.