Help me relieve my boredom.
November 5, 2011 3:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm sick and in bed and bored out of my gourd. Recommend guilty pleasure-type movies for me! Bonus points for government conspiracy / mysteries.

I'm stuck in bed with a respiratory infection and I'm getting pretty bored. I've watched all the tv shows I care to, and now I want recommendations of the kinds of movies that are good for a sick, squishy mind like mine right now. Anything too high-brow will probably bore or annoy me, as my brain is a bit mushy, and my concentration isn't great since I have to blow my nose every five g.d. minutes.

Specifically I'm looking for schlocky Hollywood films. Bonus points for early to mid 90's. I love mysteries, and movies featuring conspiracies are pretty captivating -- we're talking Pelican Brief, National Treasure, the 9th Gate, Da Vinci Code. Sandra Bullock in "The Net". Like, my standards of quality here are not what they would normally be. I don't like aliens or scary special effects. Horror films are great, but they should be about ghosts and not monsters feature gratuitous blood/guts. Protagonists should uncover a web of secrets leading to a revelation of some vast mystery of conspiracy. Film noir-type detective movies are okay -- (I love Hitchcock) but films that are too good make me inspired to get up and do stuff, and I kind of want to feel OK about laying around being sick and doing nothing. Guilty pleasures here, folks.

Nothing foreign!
Not too obscure, please. I will likely be committing piracy via internet to watch this.

Feel free to recommend your favourite not-too-highbrow films as well... I'll probably be in bed for another two days at least and I'm kind of done with napping. Nothing too depressing or political, and thinking too hard will make my brain hurt. Documentaries OK.
posted by custard heart to Media & Arts (41 answers total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
The Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Wallaby is just what you need. Also, perhaps, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:09 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

This only somewhat fits your criteria, but my very favorite sick day movie is 2012, for the sheer ridiculousness of it (plus a bored john cusak as the main character).
posted by ruhroh at 3:12 PM on November 5, 2011

Best answer: The original UK State of Play is 6 hours worth of finely-wrought conspiracy, but not too finely-wrought to be lacking in schlocky aspects.
posted by Beardman at 3:13 PM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]

Enemy of the State!
Edge of Darkness was surprisingly good, but might be a bit on the political side.
posted by raihan_ at 3:14 PM on November 5, 2011

The Conversation, Rosemary's Baby
posted by empath at 3:15 PM on November 5, 2011

The Saint (I get no bonus points since this is a 1987 movie)
posted by Sassyfras at 3:15 PM on November 5, 2011

Shlock? The Clonus Horror.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:18 PM on November 5, 2011

Best answer: Maybe slightly too highbrow but The Spanish Prisoner is my favorite '90s conspiracy movie. Mamet's later movie Heist is more pure schlocky fun.
posted by pete_22 at 3:20 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

posted by mannequito at 3:21 PM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Secret societies and secret codes encouraged.
posted by custard heart at 3:29 PM on November 5, 2011

No, wait! It's a 1997 movie (The Saint). (still no bonus points since it's late 90's).

The Italian Job

Conspiracy Theory


The Thomas Crown Affair
posted by Sassyfras at 3:30 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Let's go ahead and add JFK to my list of guideline movies.
posted by custard heart at 3:31 PM on November 5, 2011

Does 1987 count? No Way Out -- Kevin Costner and Sean Young.
posted by Cocodrillo at 3:34 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You want 1993's The Firm. Bonus: Great score even if you're dozing off. And David Strathairn!
posted by argonauta at 3:34 PM on November 5, 2011

Response by poster: Grisham! nice one, argonauta! You know what I mean.
posted by custard heart at 3:37 PM on November 5, 2011

It's 1999 but feels like 1992: Double Jeopardy, with Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones.
posted by Beardman at 3:38 PM on November 5, 2011

Have you seen The Usual Suspects? Or The Game? I have a feeling you might like both of them.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:39 PM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

You might want to go through Michael Cain's back catalog - so many schlocky spy movies, conspiracy stuff and generally weird bits. Stand out awfulness would be The Billion Dollar Brain (AI, cults, world domination) and The Holcroft Covenant (Nazi billions, world domination), but for some good old fashioned violence the original Get Carter is your man and The Ipcress File (psychological torture, spying, secret service) is actually pretty good (for 1965).
posted by ninazer0 at 3:51 PM on November 5, 2011

Best answer: For secret societies- The Skulls
posted by get off of my cloud at 3:56 PM on November 5, 2011

Best answer: Witness For The Prosecution
posted by rhizome at 4:06 PM on November 5, 2011

I recently saw Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau on a plane and it was quite a fun conspiracy movie.
posted by merocet at 4:06 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

David Mamet's House of Games (1987) : secrect society and consipracy.
posted by exphysicist345 at 4:11 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Two other 1993 classics of the genre: The Fugitive and In the Line of Fire.

More recently (and far less schlockily), have you seen Inside Man? So very good. And speaking of Clive Owen, maybe the noir-y Croupier?

I love Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997), too. Web of secrets and moody Scandinavian scenery to boot.

Hope you feel better!
posted by argonauta at 4:13 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another Clint Eastwood: Blood Work. He also has some 70s paranoia schlock candidates like "The Eiger Sanction."

The Bourne Identities are good, and in a similar vein, the Transporter movies.
posted by rhizome at 4:27 PM on November 5, 2011

Best answer: Sandra Bullock's "The Net" will have you howling.
posted by hermitosis at 4:47 PM on November 5, 2011

Ha! I saw that you mentioned that. I guess there's always Speed 2...
posted by hermitosis at 4:48 PM on November 5, 2011

The Manchurian Candidate.

(The original, not the stupid remake)

Now why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:24 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Coyote Ugly? Enchanted? Adventures in Babysitting?
posted by feelinglistless at 5:34 PM on November 5, 2011

Best answer: A little out of your preferred time period and maybe a little high-brow, but Chinatown is probably my favorite conspiracy/mystery movie. Another decent conspiracy flick from the same year is The Parallax View (sorry, probably won't be finding that one online).

I find myself also enjoying Cars 2 quite a bit (action, espionage, and conspiracy), as my kids insist on watching it everyday since it came out on Blu-Ray.

Not sure if this one will violate your alien rule, but Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country is a great mystery flick.

The Big Lebowski is another good mystery...IIRC, the Coen Bros were heavily influenced by Raymond Chandler and they likened The Dude to Philip Marlowe.
posted by puritycontrol at 5:41 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I absolutely loved Arlington Road (Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack):
"Widowed when his FBI agent wife is killed in an FBI anti-terrorist operation gone wrong, a college professor becomes increasingly obsessed with the culture and sub-society of these dangerous groups. The arrival of new neighbors, gives him new spirit, as they are gregarious and friendly, with two children that his son can be friends with. He is even beginning to see another woman. However, he begins to suspect something is odd about the neighbors, something about the way they don't want him to see certain parts of the house, or a set of blueprints they have there. Are his neighbors terrorists... or is the stress of losing his wife merely driving him past the point of paranoia?"
posted by humph at 5:51 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

L.A. Confidential. Movie stars, murder, scandalous secrets, cops, blackmail, a hooker with a heart of gold... and the plot thickens.
posted by likeso at 6:26 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

I always watch Romy and Michele's High School Reunion when I'm sick. It's the AV equivalent of grilled cheese and tomato soup.
posted by phunniemee at 6:56 PM on November 5, 2011

Best answer: seconding No Way Out.

Really, the grandaddy of this genre is All The President's Men. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 7:03 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by YukonQuirm at 7:25 PM on November 5, 2011

Best answer: Duplicity--it's utterly ridiculous, but Clive Owen can make everything awesome
Minority Report--I normally do not like Tom Cruise, but he is good in this, and the story is immersive
Hackers--pretty, pretty Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie + (now) hilariously dated computer stuff
Ocean's Eleven: George Clooney and his friends make a heist movie, basically
Three Days of the Condor: Robert Redford is a mild mannered researcher who is suddenly being pursued by deadly bad guys
Tailor of Panama: Geoffrey Rush is a tailor who gets in over his head with spies
Day of the Jackal: Someone wants to assassinate Charles deGaulle!
The Tourist: very silly, set in Venice, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie
Russia House: Sean Connery as a publisher who turns spy; Michelle Pfeiffer also stars
The Holcroft Covenant: trifecta of cheesy fun: Michael Caine, John Frankenheimer, Robert Ludlum
Ronin: mysterious packages, spies, Jean Reno and Robert DeNiro
Grosse Point Blank: funny and action-y movie about an assassin who wants to get out of the business and also wants to go to his high school reunion
2 Days in the Valley: intersecting stories about criminals in Los Angeles
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:46 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Weekend at Bernie's
posted by snowjoe at 9:18 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sounds like you may be in the exact mood to watch Dead Again.

(Early 90's, check, web of secrets, check, film noir, check, standards aren't quite what they'd normally be, check! It's pretty good but super melodramatic)
posted by furiousthought at 9:28 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Contender and seconding Arlington Road.
posted by maggieb at 9:39 PM on November 5, 2011

A Very British Coup - talk about government conspiracy...
posted by krikany at 11:31 PM on November 5, 2011

British series "The State Within" was excellent and no so predictable like American series. Netflix has it.
posted by 4midori at 11:13 AM on November 7, 2011

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