Top 10 films
November 6, 2011 10:23 PM   Subscribe

I have a sturdy little collection of films I love (Charlie Kaufman/Solondz/Wes Anderson/Coen Brothers/Jeunet/B. Del Toro/Fincher/Herzog....etc) and usually really enjoy going to the cinema. It's just, the past few weeks I haven't been excited about anything coming out (I usually find something to really look forward to...) and I've watched the DVDs I have a million times. I feel like there is amazing celluloid that could blow my head off out there, but I don't know what it is. Please help! What are your all-time-favourite, changed-my-life films? Your top 10 must-sees?
posted by everydayanewday to Society & Culture (77 answers total) 137 users marked this as a favorite
I don't see Gilliam in your list - surely you've watched his films?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:28 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Fear and Loathing and Brazil are the ones I've seen - any others I should've?
posted by everydayanewday at 10:32 PM on November 6, 2011

I looooved Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" growing up. Rewatched it recently and it lost a bit, but it's still quite a unique film with a lot of wild stuff going on.

I just watched Errol Morris' "Tabloid" this evening. It's decent, but it certainly reminded me how much I loved his "Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control" and "Fog of War" documentaries. Both near the top of my list (though, again, I haven't seen "Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control" in a decade).

Just a few thoughts for ya.
posted by chasing at 10:36 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

oooh, I love all of his stuff

but some of the best to start with:

Twelve Monkeys
Fisher King

and getting further into his more surreal stuff
The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen, Time Bandits, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:39 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Fall, Tarsem Singh
Cache, Michael Haneke
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Chan-wook Park
posted by lewedswiver at 10:39 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also Tideland, but it's got some pretty, well, surprizing moments
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:40 PM on November 6, 2011

Response by poster: Oh I forgot about Time Bandits! Love that film.
posted by everydayanewday at 10:44 PM on November 6, 2011

As far as Gilliam, Brazil and The Fisher King are pretty much it, as far as I'm concerned, plus his spectacular intro to The Meaning of Life.

You should check out Jacques Tati, especially Mon Oncle. Wes Anderson seems to have taken all of his aesthetic cues from that film (ditto Todd Solondz). It accurately skewered everything wrong with the late twentieth century, and it was made in 1958.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 PM on November 6, 2011

The Lives of Others
The Barbarian Invasions
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Pan's Labyrinth

Head blown off when I watched each of these. I still think about them. They're all good, but The Lives of Others, that's at the top of my list for a reason. If you haven't seen it yet, you definitely need to.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:50 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]

If you're a fan of Wes Anderson, have you seen Noah Baumbach's films? Kicking and Screaming and Mr. Jealousy are my personal favorites. Whit Stillman's films (Metropolitan, Barcelona, Last Days of Disco) have a similar wordy, erudite feel to them.

Guy Maddin is a director whose work is consistently strong and strange. I'd recommend starting with his short film "The Heart of the World"--which, in my opinion, is among the greatest six minutes of film a person can encounter--and then checking out Careful.

I recently saw Lars Von Trier's Melancholia, which was a sincere blow-my-head-off experience. I've followed his work for some time, but I was completely unprepared for this one. (In keeping with Von Trier and his roots in Dogme 95, Festen (Celebration) is pretty awesome, too.)

Oh, and how about Hal Hartley? Trust is great in that sort of quiet, unassuming way that an Anderson or Solondz movie is great. (And one of Hal Hartley's regulars, Martin Donovan, just directed and starred in a movie that will hopefully end up in wider release at some point--Collaborator.)
posted by 2or3things at 10:55 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have been feeling the same recently and while it's not a recommendation per se, I've added a lot of stuff to my list filling out this film checklist site. It's quite comprehensive if you can look past the dated design.
posted by Lorin at 10:55 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've only seen the Squid and The Whale and Margot at the Wedding by Baumbach, and though I found the latter really depressing, I really like his stuff - thanks for the tip!
posted by everydayanewday at 11:00 PM on November 6, 2011

Robert Altman's Nashville is one of my all time favourite films.
posted by honey-barbara at 11:01 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Does Darren Aronofsky fit into your collection? Christopher Nolan?

Not as archly playful with the medium, but subtly so, brilliantly so, and definitely part of my core collection: Kieslowski. Double Life of Veronique is a nice point of entry, and from there you can go back to the Decalogue and forward to the Trois Couleurs trilogy.
posted by holgate at 11:02 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

The atmosphere of Michael Clayton is pitch-perfect. Seconding The Lives of Others. Fog Of War is a brilliant documentary. Anything by Michael Mann is a safe bet. Moneyball is out now, and I loved it.
posted by migurski at 11:09 PM on November 6, 2011

Agree with Sys Rq - Jacques Tati is a wonderful surprise.
posted by Paragon at 11:14 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some older films, classics as it were, that you may like.
'The Seven Samurai' Kurasawa
'Tokyo Story' Ozu
'Koyaanisqatsi' Reggio
'Touch of Evil' Welles
'The Third Man' Reed
'Bande a Part' Godard
'Wages of Fear' Clouzot
'North by Northwest' Hitchcock
'The Lady Eve' Sturgess
'Sweet Smell of Success' Mackendrick
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:16 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Have you gone through The Criterion Collection?
posted by loriginedumonde at 11:18 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Proposition, Punch Drunk Love, all of Tarantino.
posted by mleigh at 11:19 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here are a few movies that might not be top 10 but are interesting and (possibly) less obvious than most:

For your Lynch fix check out The Reflecting Skin.

American Splendor

The Parallax View - Best conspiracy movie ever!

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story - directed by Michael Winterbottom

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada - directed by Tommy Lee Jones

Enduring Love - The opening scene is definitely one of the best ever, the rest of the movie can't quite live up to its intensity unfortunately.

Also going to second The Lives of Others, Fog of War, The Fall, and Time Bandits and all those older classics above.
posted by shucksitsjeremy at 11:21 PM on November 6, 2011

Wings of Desire. Here's an interview worth reading if you've watched it.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:21 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

I've been watching a lot of amazing Korean movies in the last year or so, these were the stand-outs:

Memories of Murder and Mother by Joon-ho Bong.
The Chaser by Hong-jin Na
The Man From Nowhere by Jeong-beom Lee
I Saw the Devil by Ji-woon Kim

If I had to pick just one, it would be Memories of Murder, it's incredible.
posted by muta at 11:32 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

Jeux d'Enfants (Stupidly titled Love Me If You Dare in the US)
Crash (the Cronenberg one)
Videodrome, also by Cronenberg
posted by Roman Graves at 11:46 PM on November 6, 2011

Yay, we like the same movies. Thirding The Lives of Others and The Fall and seconding North by Northwest. Also throwing in Twyker and Wong Kar-wai. I've recommended this one here before, but if you like Jeunet when he swerves from quirky into weirdness, you might like Joaquin Oristrell's Unconscious (Inconscientes). Oh, and maybe try Scherfig's Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself.
posted by mochapickle at 11:55 PM on November 6, 2011

posted by Because at 12:10 AM on November 7, 2011

By which I mean that Schizopolis is all 10 of my top 10 films.
posted by Because at 12:10 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have two standard suggestions for absolutely wonderful films from the recent years that people have quite possibly missed.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World sounds to my ear like the name of a boring film but by accident I nevertheless saw it and it is easily one of the best adventure films I've seen. Like some other good films mostly situated in a narrow setting (Casablanca and Alien come to mind), the environment (British navy warship in the Napoleonic wars) really comes alive in this film.

Another standout quality is the interaction between the two lead characters which is very convincing, almost like a character in its own right.

Pride & Prejudice (2005) is the other film. What can I say, it's just perfect in pretty much every respect :). Particularly if you happen the mood for a 'cozy' film, you have no option but to see this.

Some less non-obvious suggestions would be There Will Be Blood and Mulholland Drive which at the moment are tied for my number one favorite spot.
posted by Anything at 12:15 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't Look Now is killer. Maybe my favorite movie.

King of Comedy is an odd Scorsese piece that has DeNiro as a delusional would-be comic, Sandra Bernhard as Sandra Bernhard's idea of a crazy person, and Jerry Lewis (who should take self-hating straight parts more often, because he is wonderful in them) as a cold, pissed-off Johnny Carson type.

When I was 19 I stayed up till 4:30 in the morning by myself in my parents' house, sober, to watch Grand Illusion all the way to the end on TCM.

People have a lot of different ideas about what the best pre-Annie Hall Woody Allen movie is, but it's probably Love and Death.

Bringing Up Baby.
posted by Adventurer at 12:18 AM on November 7, 2011

My top ten changed-my-life films span about 25 years of movie watching. I think I own a copy of each of these.

Star Wars

Seven Samurai
400 Blows

The French Lieutenant's Woman
Bringing up Baby
Secrets and Lies.

I don't know that these are the 'best' movies I've seen, but they're probably the ones that for months or years I kept going back to and thinking about. That's right, Stripes with Bill Murray et al.

Movies I would particularly recommend might go (not including any that have been mentioned upthread I think I agree with all of those picked as well) in no particular order:

Secrets and Lies
Wild Strawberries
Downhill Racer

The French Lieutenant's Woman
La Strada

French Connection
posted by From Bklyn at 12:32 AM on November 7, 2011

So, so many awesome suggestions. Nthing especially Trust (check out Henry Fool too), Nashville, Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, Master & Commander, Assassination of Jesse James and Wings of Desire. And older classics, '60's Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Tati, and Criterion.

Hunger (dir. Steve McQueen)
Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold)
Both of the above star the deathly amazing Michael Fassbender, who is also in McQueen's new film, Shame. Avoid reviews & spoilers.

How do you feel about non-English language films? Don't know if they are life-changing per se but here are more than 10 movies that made me remember why I love movies so fucking much (like getting struck by a lightning bolt).

I am not a romance person. In the Mood for Love (dir. Wong Kar-Wai) makes me cry every. single. time.

Revanche (dir. Gotz Spielmann) was incredibly powerful.

-- Jeanne Dielmann (dir. Ackerman). 4 hrs & so slow it feels like real time. I swear to god you will be mesmerized.
-- Last Year at Marienbad is maybe the most frustrating movie I've seen in the last few years. Muriel is devastating. (dir. Alain Resnais)
-- Cleo a 5 to 7 is a complete and utter delight. Le Bonheur is also great, in a very undelightful way.(dir. Agnes Varda)
-- A Woman is a Woman, Vivre sa vie (dir. Jean-Luc Godard). Someone mentioned Bande a part above, that one too. Anna Karina!!!!

Some great, great stuff being made right now. Beyond the Vengeance trilogy --

Secret Sunshine (dir. Lee Chang-dong)
Mother (dir. Bong Joon-ho)

(a bit more 'genre-y,' but thumped on and tweaked and re-attired)
A Tale of Two Sisters horror) (dir. Kim Jee-woon / There was an American remake called The Uninvited with David Strathairn. Hopefully you haven't seen it.)
The Host (rompin' fun monster movie!) (dir. Bong Joon-ho)
Memories of Murder (police procedural) (dir. Bong Joon-ho)

[haha muta got to it before me!]

Crimson Gold (dir. Jafar Panahi)
The Deserted Station (dir. Alireza Raisian) and Leila (dir. Dariush Mehrjui) --- sidenote: the star of both these movies, the amazing Leila Hatami, is in a brand new film I am excited to see called A Separation, which is getting good buzz. So look for that in the arthouse theatre.
Through the Olive Trees (might be hard to find), Ten, Certified Copy (dir. Abbas Kiarostami).


With the Iranian movies (except Certified Copy), if you don't know very much about Iranian history or Islam, it definitely wouldn't hurt to read up just a bit before and/or after on the topics; censorship is such that directors have to be careful with what they put on film if they don't want to get in trouble and they want their movie to be released/funded/made at all. So, the results can be somewhat puzzling on 1st watch for non-Iranians like myself. I don't have any reading recs to point you towards off the top of my head but I can get back to you if you want via msg.

Otherwise, I'd recommend going into the rest of these cold because I am like that ... but especially the Korean ones.
posted by phonebia at 12:56 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Chan-wook Park's Vengeance trilogy is excellent. Watch Oldboy first if you're unfamiliar as it's his most well-known and well-received of the three. It marked a major turning point in my film-watching, not only opening up east Asian cinema to me but also turning me into a total film snob (too much disappoints me now).

(I'm now off to track down muta's other suggestions to see if they are anywhere as amazing as The Chaser and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance are.)
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 1:04 AM on November 7, 2011

How about some Peter Greenaway? This is a good start
posted by St. Sorryass at 2:10 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

There is a film coming to the US, but has been released in Europe called The Artist. It's a French film shot black and white and silent!

Hopefully, you'll enjoy that.
posted by Yellow at 2:24 AM on November 7, 2011

Here are some favorites:

Pulp Fiction blew my mind when I saw it in the theater as a teenager, but the Kill Bills are my favorite Tarantino.
Pan's Labyrinth deserves an additional mention. Creative and haunting.
All About Eve
On the Waterfront (everyone should see Marlon Brando in his prime)
All About My Mother (you def need some Almodovar on your list)
Whale Rider
I Heart Huckabees is fun and quirky and similar to some of the other stuff you've mentioned.
And lastly, if you haven't seen it, It's A Wonderful Life is actually a pretty fantastic film.
posted by emd3737 at 2:50 AM on November 7, 2011

You don't mention Kubrick?
posted by gaspode at 3:42 AM on November 7, 2011

Everything by Mike Leigh is pretty good, I think my favorite is Naked.
Man Facing Southeast (Hombre Mirando al Sudeste) is very good but probably hard to find.
Burnt by the Sun
Miller's Crossing is a great underrated Coen brothers movie, it gets better with every viewing.
posted by Red Loop at 3:55 AM on November 7, 2011

The film I most want to live inside: Diva
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:41 AM on November 7, 2011

Raging Bull
Once Upon a Time in America
Mean Streets
Godfather 1 & 2
Five Easy Pieces
The Conversation
The China Syndrome
posted by dfriedman at 4:50 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

The American Astronaut.
Possession (1981).
After Hours.
Toto the Hero.
Santa Sangre.
Glengarry Glen Ross.
Before the Rain.
Lord of War.
The Weather Man.
Bitter Moon.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:59 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'll bet you'd like some of the recommendations in this old question (by me under a different username).
posted by John Cohen at 5:16 AM on November 7, 2011

My list of top ten films only has 4 entries so far:

Harold & Maude
I Heart Huckabees
posted by hworth at 5:30 AM on November 7, 2011

You list the Coen Brothers, but have you seen The Hudsucker Proxy? People always forget about it for some reason. I love it.
posted by phunniemee at 5:42 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Must see:
The Falls (Peter Greenaway's first feature length)
Being There (Overlooked film, one of Peter Seller's last roles)
Stolen Kisses (essential Truffaut)
Sans Soleil (Dir. Chris Marker, changed how I thought about memory and narrative)
posted by 2ghouls at 5:45 AM on November 7, 2011

Have you watched any Powell and Pressburger? A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven), The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus will blow you mind.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 5:49 AM on November 7, 2011

"Run Lola Run".

I saw Christopher Nolan mentioned, but specifically, "Memento" blew my socks off. It's an ugly, odd, amazing movie.

I also love "Fight Club". It's one of the few movies that is just as good, maybe even better than the book, albeit in a significantly different way. And I really, really do not like Brad Pitt. As an actor or trademarked Handsome Dude, I'm not into Brad Pitt. But in Fight Club, he just works. And you get to see Helena Bonham Carter really turn it out- plus she is neither tethered to Tim Burton nor in period dress.
posted by Leta at 5:51 AM on November 7, 2011

nthing Tati. Playtime is his masterpiece, in my opinion. The visual humor is so layered that you won't get it all in one viewing, so the film becomes funnier the more you watch it.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:37 AM on November 7, 2011

Wim Wenders, Until the End of the World.
posted by vers at 6:38 AM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

My favorite movie that no one else has seen might not be quite to your taste, but if you're in the mood for something fun and light but still smart and engaging, it's perfect. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day is a 1930s screwball comedy that happened to be made in 2008. It stars Amy Adams and Frances McDormand as an American ingenue and the washed-up governess who puts her life in order. It's set just before WWII, and it's perfectly made-- the costumes and music are spot-on and totally delightful, the performances are wonderful, and oh, did I mention? It has Ciaran Hinds and Lee Pace, too. Watch this movie, people.
posted by nonasuch at 6:49 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

the past few weeks I haven't been excited about anything coming out

Have you seen Weekend yet? It's not ironic or elaborate, like some of your faves above, it's "naturalistic" in the extreme, but it's a pretty damn impeccable movie--probably one of the best movies of the year. Also Melancholia, which is not impeccable at all, it's a hot mess, but the first 45 minutes are incredible weirdo comedy, and you can definitely say upon departure that you've never seen anything like it before.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:08 AM on November 7, 2011

Withnail and I.
i Know Where I'm Going
the Triplets of Belleville
Secrets of the Beehive
Old Boy
posted by Ideefixe at 7:11 AM on November 7, 2011

GoodFellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
Naked (Mike Leigh, 1993)
Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)
25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
Fargo (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1996)
Glengarry Glen Ross (James Foley adaptation of David Mamet's 1994 play, 1992)
Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)
Heat (Michael Mann, 1995)
posted by porn in the woods at 7:15 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Brazil, Harold & Maude, Koyaanisqatsi, Mon Oncle, Playtime, Withnail and I and Repo Man are all covered, so I'll just add Eraserhead and be on my way.
posted by flabdablet at 7:27 AM on November 7, 2011

Along with the recommendation for Tristram Shandy, I'd add The Trip, I just watched it the other night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Also Hamlet 2
Pretty sure Steve Coogan is a genius.
posted by saffronwoman at 7:31 AM on November 7, 2011

Videodrome, Eastern Promises, A History of Violence - all by David Cronenberg.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 7:43 AM on November 7, 2011

Naked is a fabulous, if bleak, film. And I say that as someone who found Margot At The Wedding unintentionally hilarious.

I really enjoyed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy recently - beautifully shot. Not sure when it's out in the US but would be worth keeping an eye open for.
posted by mippy at 7:53 AM on November 7, 2011

Glengarry Glen Ross (James Foley adaptation of David Mamet's 1994 play, 1992)

It was a 1984 play, and the film was in 1992.
posted by John Cohen at 8:17 AM on November 7, 2011

Croupier, directed by Mike Hodges. Clive Owen as struggling novelist who lets his dad get him a job dealing in a London casino and finds his life and even his identify sort of spinning off course.
posted by Naberius at 8:24 AM on November 7, 2011

Most of my favourites are already mentioned, so here we go:

Percy Adlon's Out of Rosenheim/Baghdad Cafe and better / quirkier his Zuckerbaby are great films.

Wim Wenders' The Million Dollar hotel is worth a go, too.
posted by Thug at 8:33 AM on November 7, 2011

No Malick yet? Start with Days of Heaven which looks utterly beautiful on Criterion Blu-Ray.
posted by Gortuk at 9:00 AM on November 7, 2011

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead - so good, if you can find it.
posted by saffronwoman at 9:11 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

SLC Punk is well worth a watch - the main character gradually grows up before your eyes, transforming and evolving into something much different than what he started out as. It's a film that lets an unreliable narrator break the fourth wall and rant at you for minutes on end. Amazing. It encourages you to take a look at your own bullshit, and decide if your life is really what you think it is.

Also, it appears Matthew Lillard can act, with both subtlety and intensity, which came as a complete surprise.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:23 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Okay, you didn't include Miyazaki on your list. A half dozen of his films are great. He probably peaked with Spirited Away. But the change in perspective of who is good/bad and how he achieves it effortlessly and profoundly is the changed my life aspect.

Pixar wasn't on your list, but I will say the last time I cried at a film it was a Pixar film. And the second to last time, and the third to last time. For adults I would rank the top three as Up, Finding Nemo and Wall-E. Toy Story Trilogy is great. If there is one lesson that I would say summed these up is: silence done correctly is always more powerful than words.

Documentaries have changed my perspective on the world. The Sorrow and the Pity, Capturing the Friedmans and Paradise Lost: Child Murders in Robin Hood Hills. For the last of these I assembled a massive website related to the case, so it did change my life.

Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast changed my perspective on how I look at the world much the same way reading Rilke did or a good Leonard Cohen song.

Polanski is not on your list, but when he isn't being routine, his films are soul-shaking.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:15 AM on November 7, 2011

Jonathan Demme is a great director who never gets enough credit. "Melvin and Howard", "Something Wild", and "Rachel Getting Married" are three of my favourite films.
posted by Chenko at 10:22 AM on November 7, 2011

Seconding Thug's suggestion of Bagdad Cafe (note spelling), and in a similar strange quiet vein, The Station Agent.

A few favorite directors:

Akira Kurosawa:
High and Low
Dersu Uzala

Wong Kar Wai:
In the Mood for Love, already mentioned, is amazing, although the sequel 2046 doesn't do as much for me.
Chungking Express

Jim Jarmusch:
Coffee and Cigarettes
Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai
Night on Earth
Mystery Train

Billy Wilder (classics all, but if you haven't seen 'em...):
Double Indemnity
Sunset Boulevard
Stalag 17

Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire

Jacques Tati's Trafic

Aki Kaurismäki's The Man Without a Past
posted by McCoy Pauley at 10:30 AM on November 7, 2011

Smoke is a lovely little film, which had its very very early roots in a Paul Auster short story (will not link to the story proper, as the very end of the film has one of the characters tell that very story to another, and it'd spoil it for you a bit if I did). Three beautifully subtle subplots all combining and intertwining in different ways, all anchored by the Brooklyn tobacco shop one of them owns.

It has a "sequel" -- sort of. One day, Harvey Keitel (the tobacco shop owner) started goofing around with the extras while they were setting up a scene, all of them doing this sort of spontaneous improv'ed scene, and they got so into it that the director and writer got permission to extend shooting a few extra days and improv a completely new movie, which they called Blue In The Face. Along with a couple of the original Smoke cast, they got Jim Jarmusch in to deliver a monologue about smoking being cool, Lily Tomlin to play a strung-out man (yes, man) in search of Belgian waffles, Michael J. Fox to play a guy with a corporophilic fetish, and Lou Reed to (He was supposed to play the Belgian waffle guy, but didn't return anyone's phone call in time, so they brought him in anyway and just put a camera on him and filmed him talking about whatever came into his head for two hours and figured they'd do something with it). It ended up being a weird cinematic collage that's a salute to Brooklyn in general. Kind of. It's VERY different in tone from Smoke, but the contrast is fun.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:42 AM on November 7, 2011

Please check our Ramin Bahrani's amazing films: Goodbye Solo, Chop Shop, and Man Push Cart.
posted by jindc at 12:25 PM on November 7, 2011

Jodorowsky - Santa Sangre
Tykwer - Winter Sleepers
Wong Kar-Wai - In the Mood for Love
Tarkovsky - Stalker
Gilliam - Brazil
Wenders - Kings of the Road (Im Lauf der Zeit)
Herzog - Fitzcarraldo
Malick - Days of Heaven
Kurosawa - Ran
Scott - Alien
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:13 PM on November 7, 2011

How do you feel about animation? Judging by the movies you've enjoyed, I would recommend the works of Satoshi Kon (especially Millennium Actress) and Hayao Miyazaki. (Spirited Away)
posted by lekvar at 1:17 PM on November 7, 2011

Movies that have pleasantly surprised me:
8 1/2 (Fellini)
posted by Gucky at 1:20 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Danton — Gérard Depardieu as Danton, Wojciech Pszoniak as Robespierre, remarkable performances by both of them, a perfectly executed period movie — the dining room scene one of the most amazing things I have ever seen on screen, ever, Depardieu as Danton trying to be a cultured host when he can only possibly be himself (Depardieu at the top of his powers here – explosive, passionate, lusty), Pszoniak cold as a fish and as emotionless -- outstanding movie for both of them.
Wings of Desire — of course
Reservoir Dogs — Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth cast in the ultimate buddy movie
Delicatessen — Outlandish, hilarious, a movie comprised almost entirely of great character actors, and while Dominique Pinon owns the movie, Silvie Laguna is perhaps my favorite — as always, in this film she plays to perfection the role of elegant, skinny, nervous, neurotic wack-job.
Raging Bull.
I've Heard the Mermaids Singing — Impossible for me to not love Sheila McCarthy, cast here as the best, artsiest, the absolute biggest dork in Canada, unbelievably great and has no idea of it, yet holds to her art heart with all her might. If it's possible to love a character in a film, well, I love Polly. I pretty much have to see it once a year. Read the reviews on Amazon — I'm not the only one who loves this movie. A great story, real fun acting, creative as hell. Don't miss this movie.
Oh, and I didn't understand the gorgeous music played throughout Mermaids — The Flower Duet by Lakmé until I saw later saw The Hunger (from The Olden Days, where a gay love scene had to be in a vampire movie) with that seduction of Susan Sarandon by Catherine Deneuve, which featured The Flower Duet playing underneath it.)
Other fun movies – You might want to see The Hunger, Sarandon and Deneuve and Bowie when they were impossibly young and beautiful, look for small bit of young William Defoe on the pay phone, The Bad Lieutenant with Keitel as a real piece of shit finding redemption, La Femme Nikita (you'll have to suspend disbelief but still, it's cute), Jeremiah Johnson to get your outdoorsy frontiersman-type kicks, obviously Godfather 1 and 2, Goodfellas is cute, Nashville, Short Cuts, a movie that is never, ever mentioned but absolutely should be is The Player, also Altman, another huge, beautiful tracking shot, good in its way asthe shot in Nashville, a great, fun movie, Tim Robbins in the lead but everybody who was anybody in Hollywood at that time is in this flick, in cameos …
posted by dancestoblue at 4:24 PM on November 7, 2011

Andrei Tarkovsky - Andrei Rublev
Andrei Tarkovsky - The Mirror
Andrei Tarkovsky - Nostalgia

Bela Tarr - Sátántangó
Bela Tarr - Werckmeister Harmonies

Werner Herzog - Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Werner Herzog - Fitzcarraldo

Rainer Werner Fassbinder - Despair
Rainer Werner Fassbinder - Berlin Alexanderplatz

Harmony Korine - Gummo
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:55 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Smoke, definitely, but Blue in the face left me cold. Miyazaki, Totoro will help you feel the sense of wonder you had as a child, but have since misplaced, Spirited Away will give you a stunningly beautiful story that you'll need to fight to focus on because there are so many throw away bits of beauty and wonder littering the film that it's easy to get lost in them, and each one of them could be a film in its own right ( te shadow people on the train, in particular). Pompoko, or The Heisei Tanuki War is the most heart crushing film about magical shape shifting, prank playing raccoon dogs you'll ever see. I can't have a rational conversation about the film without tearing up.

Nolan is fantastic, but to me, The Prestige is a perfect film, no note out of place, a stunning ending after the twist that you thought you saw coming, plus Michael Caine being, well, Michael Caine, and David Bowie as Nikolai Tesla.

Brad Bird. Seek out his films. Iron Giant (pre-Pixar, possibly the most beautiful non-cg American animation ever), Up (stunning, wept openly at roughly four different parts), The Incredibles (shockingly real depictions of grief and loss in an otherwise family friendly film) and, best of all, Ratatouille. A movie about a rat that cooks has some of the best explanations about the wonders of food an cooking I've ever seen, and the scenes showing the ability of food to trigger memory are perfect. His films have been so note perfect that I have to keep my hopes in check for the new Mission Impossoble film, which he's directing. I half expect him to make me like Tom Cruise again.

Zatoichi, the Beat Takeshi version. If you can ignore the cg blood (te only off note in an otherwise wonderful film), wait for the dance scene at the end. Stunning.

Grosse Point Blank. What if Lloyd Dobbler had just disappeared, joined the army, and become a hit man, then went back to his high school reunion. A fun film, yet loaded with layers of meaning. Amazing direction of the extras at the reunion, if you watch carefully, complete stories play out between people whose names we never even hear. Great film masquerading as a farcical romantic comedy.

The Constant Gardener. After the film was over, my wife said to me "my heart hurts." beautifully shot, impeccably acted.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:36 AM on November 8, 2011

(In no specific order)
Ground Hog Day
Fight Club
Shawshank's Redemption
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
No Country for Old Men
Mystic River
Big Fish or When Did You See Your Father Last

Anything that provokes an emotion is good in my opinion, hope, sadness, futility, love, hate, control, and in a nut shell, how we define our reality. These are my profound movies that evoke in me a sense of humanity. They aren't my favorite, but they are the ones people need to watch. Some of these I cannot watch again, especially the last three. "When Did You See Your Father Last" was the day I forgave my father for being a bastard at times. We are all just human in the end.
posted by nomad005 at 4:00 PM on November 11, 2011

Changed my life, but may not necessarily be the best films:

David Lynch's Elephant Man - I will forgive David Lynch all of his other excesses for this almost perfect, simple movie.
Something Wicked This Way Comes - a strange Disney horror that introduced me to Ray Bradbury's bittersweet nostalgia
Highway 61 - A strange little Canadian movie that deals with an introverted small town barber and a bingo playing maniac who may or may not be Satan.
My Winnipeg - Guy Maddin's story of growing up and trying to escape the influence of his sleepy winterized hometown
posted by benzenedream at 1:38 PM on November 13, 2011

I tried to peruse the other recommendations prior to posting in an effort to avoid duplication - I apologize in advance if there are repeats:

Memento (Christopher Nolan - 2000)
Inception (Christopher Nolan - 2010)
They Live (John Carpenter - 1988) *somewhat campy but premise of film is excellent
Best In Show (2000) *or any Christopher Guest Film/Mocumentary
The Hedgehog (Mona Achache - 2009) *French film w great plot line

If you've access to Indie film houses in your area, I highly recommend the new release "The Skin I Live In" - (Pedro Almodovar - 2011)
posted by GeekSpeak at 7:05 PM on November 13, 2011

Fellini movies in general

But especially 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita


Akira Kurasawa movies

but especially Ran and Dreams
posted by j03 at 4:05 AM on November 29, 2011

Amazingly, this is still open, just as I've discovered the cross between FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS and HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING, called 99 FRANCS. Violent, drugs, sex -- but funny, bittersweet... yeah. Jumped to my top ten.
posted by Gucky at 12:11 PM on May 17, 2012

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