Spectacular Spectacular!
June 22, 2015 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I would like to watch some BIG DUMB* MOVIES that look good and go down easily—modern epics, dramas, and adventure movies with an old-school sensibility. Cheesy sentimentality and/or problematic politics are okay. Bonus for scores that tell you exactly how to feel, old-fashioned adventure, lush scenery, sweeping romance, shameless tearjerking, improbable history, etc. Basically, spectacle-style pictures that are really good at being spectacles, if not at being great movies.

I just got a projector and BOY IS IT FUN to watch gigantic things! I need to pad out my list of let's-all-go-to-the-movies movies with films that are:

- Not to dark, gritty, or sadistic. Heavily stylized violence is fine, even if there's lots of it.
- If about war, not JUST about war.
- Simple. As in, good guys are pretty good, bad guys are pretty bad, everyone wears great-looking clothes. Things turn out more or less all right in the end.
- Exciting. Not necessarily action-packed (and probably not full-on action movies) but a good chase or heist or some swashbuckling never hurt anyone.
- Good-looking. I want flyovers of green hillsides and guys galloping across deserts and stylish editing. Workmanlike cinematography is fine; what I really want are gorgeous locations, clothes, and people.
- Probably more on the historical drama/epic/adventure side than pure action movie/scifi/fantasy side.
- From 1990 on. I'm good on classics, I want new movies that feel like spiritual sisters to them.

Examples of movies that fit the bill (no judgement! I told you I wanted dumb movies!) - Epics like The Last Samurai or Kindom of Heaven or anything directed by Kevin Costner. Earnestly whimsical fantasies: Big Fish, Moulin Rouge, Stardust. Old-fashioned adventures or capers like Ocean's Eleven or National Treasure (sheesh, even I'm embarrassed by that one). On the outside, stylish action movies like Kill Bill 1 + 2 or 300.

Please help!

*Movies do not NECESSARILY have to be dumb, especially if they are very very good on the beauty dimension (Terrence Malick movies have been great on the projector) but in general the less demanding they are of critical thought, the better. In fact, these are usually movies that are really hard to enjoy if you do think about them, like, at all.
posted by peachfuzz to Media & Arts (83 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

Okay, NOT A MOVIE, but the first season of Downton Abbey in particular is so beautifully cinematic and each episode is truly like a film. (Seasons 2-5 are still decent, but less stunning and delicious.)
posted by kate blank at 12:32 PM on June 22, 2015

Mostly before your time period, but my first thought was the Indiana Jones series.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:35 PM on June 22, 2015

Moulin Rouge is the best of all, but consider Baz Luhrmann's other films: Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Australia, and even The Great Gatsby all have spectacle galore.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:36 PM on June 22, 2015 [10 favorites]

HERO is very epically beautiful and dramatic with lots of swordy action. I wouldn't call it dumb, tho.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:38 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Sooooo it doesn't exactly tick off multiple check-boxes but I feel compelled to recommend Pacific Rim at the level of "If you have HBO and it comes on, check it out."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:38 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Another fun caper movie: Flawless from 2007 with Michael Caine and Demi Moore.

(I'll probably keep coming back with more. We have very similar taste in movies)
posted by hydropsyche at 12:39 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Far and Away was, indeed, not a great movie. But it was shot in 70mm and has all the sweeping swooping scenery shmooping you could ask for. Plus Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise (standing on a box).
posted by rikschell at 12:43 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

The Fall, a visual masterpiece of fantasy storytelling, directed by Tarsem Singh, allegedly using no CGI, just in-camera effects, and probably an assload of color correction. I have my doubts, but it's a feast for the eyes, and a great little story about an painkiller-addicted stuntman (Lee Pace) spinning a yarn for a young girl who is in the same hospital as him, and we see the story through her inner vision. It's magnificent, and it's got adventure in spades. I haven't seen anything else by Tarsem (as he is known), but he directed "The Cell," which was a movie about JayLo getting trapped in a criminal's dreams, or something.

(Not to be confused with the recent Gillian Anderson thriller miniseries, which is good, but not a fit here.)

Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy 2 were both directed by Guillermo del Toro, who erases the line between fantasy and horror and has a great sense for visuals. Hellboy 2 is a more traditional superhero movie plot, but is a cut above on the visuals, while Pan's Labyrinth is alternating between the bad-goings-on of the Spanish Civil War and the escapist fantasies -- sometimes a bit horrific -- of a child, roughly 50/50. Buuuuut, the Civil War bits are dark, gritty, and yes sadistic.

On preview: Strictly Ballroom is exquisite; Australian melodrama at its finest.
And Pacific Rim is also del Toro... I have to recommend it. It doesn't have any pretension of being a deep thinker-- it's all right there on the surface, its glaring and spectacular surface.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:43 PM on June 22, 2015 [14 favorites]

The movie you're looking for is James Cameron's Titanic. Already seen it? I'll stifle my surprise. The thing about big dumb movies is that they were huge projects with massive marketing campaigns and there's a good chance you've already seen them. Maybe the English Patient?
posted by Locobot at 12:43 PM on June 22, 2015 [6 favorites]

Fifth Element is a natural for this, imho. WALL-E. Everything by Pixar. The Big Blue (with the original/non-US ending).
posted by AwkwardPause at 12:45 PM on June 22, 2015 [10 favorites]

The Painted Veil; also The Illusionist (Edward Norton fan here!).
posted by mmiddle at 12:46 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Hi, I would like to introduce you to my close personal friend Roland Emmerich.
posted by phunniemee at 12:46 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

You know, it's not exactly a modern classic, but The Mask of Zorro ticks like every single one of your boxes and then some. Plus: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, and Catherine Zeta-Jones!
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:46 PM on June 22, 2015 [7 favorites]

I imagine lots of Terry Gilliam would fit here-- certainly "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen," and "Brazil" (dark and gritty there, though-- The Zero Theorum is also dark and gritty).
posted by Sunburnt at 12:47 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Heavily stylized violence

Dredd. Almost an arthouse film in terms of imagery and cinematography, but with lots of killing.

The new Mad Max when it comes out on DVD will fit the bill in the same way as Dredd.

The new Godzilla as well as the now-old-new King Kong (he fights T-Rexes!).

Continuing the theme, the new Planet of the Apes movies.

All of the Marvel movies to date.

Yes to Fifth Element. Top gun. A Few Good Men. Apollo 13. Castaway. Forest Gump. Water World. Spielberg in the 90's. Training Day. Collateral. The Mission Impossible Movies. The GI Joe movies, believe it or not. Remember the Titans. The Sandlot.

If you want to go full-on dumb, the Transformers movies.

I too have a projector, a giant screen, and a love for these kinds of movies.
posted by cmoj at 12:50 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Wild Wild West, and the Back to the Future movies!
posted by cmoj at 12:51 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it might actually be a little too stupid, but I was also going to suggest Wild Wild West. That spider robot would look pretty dope projected onto a wall...
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:51 PM on June 22, 2015

Oh, and while I had a projector I had people over to watch the Wachowskis' Speed Racer. It was a good decision. Don't believe the tons and tons of incredibly negative reviews! Believe the ones who call it "a cult classic in the making" or even "an unsung masterpiece".
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:52 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oooh, yeah The Fall and The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus and new Godzilla would be great.
-The Fountain
-Big Fish
-Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1 and 2)
-Deep Blue Sea
-The Matrix
-Nightmare Before Christmas
-Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart
-Lord of the Rings Movies
-Jurassic Park Series (Like, yes.)
-Anything Star Wars or Star Trek
-X Files and/or StarGate movies (and shows).
I'm sure I'll think of more...
posted by Crystalinne at 12:52 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Next time I watch "Gravity," it sure would be great to see it on a wall-sized screen.

Seconding the shit out of the Fifth Element. Soooo visually great, especially in the first act. "You have zero points on your license." I started watching it on Amazon Prime last weekend after logging my TV into Amazon for the first time. The opening bit in Egypt is beautifully filmed.

Hmm, I wonder if the original Stargate movie would work....
posted by Sunburnt at 12:53 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Ohhh yess, you all have got my number. Keep 'em coming!

The movie you're looking for is James Cameron's Titanic. Already seen it? I'll stifle my surprise. The thing about big dumb movies is that they were huge projects with massive marketing campaigns and there's a good chance you've already seen them.

This is an excellent point! But I actually have been pretty out-of-touch and almost all the movies listed so far are brand-new to me, which, come to think of it, is actually not even all that important. Titanic is a great answer and is probably the next movie I'll watch, now that I've been reminded of it.
posted by peachfuzz at 12:54 PM on June 22, 2015

Oh and how could I forget:
-Avengers/Hulk/Iron Man/Captain America anything.
-Classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
posted by Crystalinne at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

-The RDJ Sherlock Holmes remake, especially for the soundtrack and stylized fights.
-Mission:Impossible 2 is one of the most ridiculous movies ever made, but it looks amazing while being so absurd. Lots of swooping crane shots, fantastic score. Slo-mo doves 4-ever
-The Fassbender Jane Eyre is not my favorite adaptation of the book, but it has great giant scenes on the moors and a splendid score.
-The Replacements is one of my favorite sports movies, and it looks really pretty up on the screen. Baltimore stands in for DC, but looks lovely while doing so.
-Speaking of Keanu, this might be a great chance to revisit The Matrix!
-Others that come to mind: Babe (bucolic scenery, swelling music), The Natural (AMERICAAAA, swelling music, slo-mo heartrending finale), Sense and Sensibility (score again, so much beautiful English landscape), Field of Dreams!
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen -- great cast, visually and thematically epic, weird and funny and sort of a period piece. (Granted, it falls just outside your "from 1990 on" window, being release in 1988, but it feels timeless.) Contains nearly everything you put above the fold in spades, also no small amount of swashbuckling, daring-do, and excitement.
posted by dryad at 12:59 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Tom Jones (1963)
It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)
The Poseidon Adventure (1972) - if you like Titanic
The Sand Pebbles (1966) For that matter, just about any Steve McQueen movie..
posted by SemiSalt at 1:00 PM on June 22, 2015

Hitting all your points ~ equally well (asterisks mean watch this yesterday):
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon*. Once Upon A Time in China. The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. Grand Budapest Hotel. Much of the Pixar oeuvre. Any/all of the Matrix movies. Lord of the Rings*. The Hunger Games. Pirates of the Caribbean*.

Less action, still beautiful and requiring little brain:
Enchanted. Waking Ned Devine. Amelie*. Microcosmos.

Bollywood is often great for this, though I'm more familiar with older ones. I'll try to think of a few.

Slightly thinkier, but pretty enough for it to not be necessary:
Monsoon Wedding (not action, but hits everything else.) Run Lola Run (nothing but action, but again hits everything else).

I'm sort of astonished that all these movies have ended up in one list, but there you go.
posted by tchemgrrl at 1:01 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

I actually quite liked the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie for the Big! Dumb! thing. I saw it once in the theater when I was feeling kind of depressed, and I remember distinctly thinking that it was a pretty satisfying movie of that general type.

I know you say that you're good on classics, but just in case, have you seen The Leopard?... so much wonderfulness in it, there's a castle and a big fancy dog and aristocratic goings on and it's filmed in Sixties Luxury Vision and it has Burt Lancaster.
posted by Frowner at 1:08 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

YES all the PotC films are excellent for this plan, yes, even the 4th one that people like to pretend doesn't exist. ALL OF THEM.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:12 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd love to see Marie Antoinette that way.
posted by gnomeloaf at 1:14 PM on June 22, 2015

For big, dumb, earnest movies that are 100% spectacle and energizing in ways more movies ought to be,like Mountain Dew and Pixie Stix in cinematic form, I have a sacred trilogy:

Fifth Element
Speed Racer
Pacific Rim

I watch the heck out of these movies. The brain turns off, the wow turns on, and I'm bouncing for days after watching one of them.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:16 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Bollywood is often great for this, though I'm more familiar with older ones. I'll try to think of a few.

On this note, I'd recommend Jodhaa Akbar. Also Devdas is a very lush and gorgeous movie, but I don't recall it being particularly exciting.
posted by yasaman at 1:17 PM on June 22, 2015


I know, I know....just trust me on this one. There are subtleties about that movie which really got lost (hint: the aliens aren't really, not exactly, bad guys in this one.) in the marketing.

And while using a museum ship for actual combat is pretty ludicrous, Old Guys Spinning Up Giant Ship to AC/DC is pretty full-on-dumb-fun as it gets.
posted by Thistledown at 1:18 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

John Carter of Mars.
Big, dumb and Mark Strong.
posted by fullerine at 1:19 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Bollywood is often great for this, though I'm more familiar with older ones.

posted by poffin boffin at 1:20 PM on June 22, 2015

John Wayne as Temujin (later Genghis Khan) and Susan Hayward in The Conqueror.
posted by Carol Anne at 1:24 PM on June 22, 2015

Oh man, John Wick fits this to a T. Stylish! You know who you're rooting for! And you basically have the "oh, it's that guy" every time a new secondary character is revealed. Highly recommended.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:29 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Speed (1994)
posted by Monochrome at 1:31 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Forrest Gump
The Color Purple
posted by bearette at 1:48 PM on June 22, 2015

I'm shocked that no one has mentioned Independence Day.
posted by rocketpup at 1:50 PM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]

Cinema Paradiso
The English Patient
The Rock
The National Treasure movies
Wayne's World

Have you seen the OSS-117 movies? Those are the ones that the people who made The Artist did to raise money to make a black-and-white silent film. They're based on a real series of of James Bond-esque novels and movies that existed before James Bond, but these two are completely over the top parody and SO perfect, especially if you have seen and loved the old Pink Panther movies. (Those are also worth watching.) Jean Dujardin has every tiny tilt of the head and sassy Don Draper walk down to a T. Cairo, Nest of Spies is better than Lost in Rio, but they are both hilarious.
posted by St. Hubbins at 1:51 PM on June 22, 2015

You know what were great movies? The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. They're old school swashbuckling and romance with with a side of John Hanna. Both The Fall and The Cell are exactly what you're looking for, there is some violence but it's too slick to be gruesome as I remember.

There's also certain genre I watched as a horse-obsessed kid that fits this to a T if you don't mind that they're kids movies: Into the West and Black Beauty are the best of the lot. There's excitement and costumes and accents and big emotional beats and lots of horses running across beautiful rolling green landscapes, and they both win big at the "Oh! That Actor!" game.
posted by theweasel at 2:09 PM on June 22, 2015 [6 favorites]

The Mummy
posted by mkultra at 2:10 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, and did you see the new Les Miserables? I'd only ever see it big, I think.
posted by theweasel at 2:11 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I haven't seen it yet, but by all accounts, Dorset, England, is practically a main character in the current "Far from the Madding Crowd."

Somehow "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" hasn't gotten a mention. The third act set at Devil's Tower will knock your socks off on the big screen, and there's a decent chance your sound system will kick the wall down when the aliens start talking.

From bollywood, I'd recommend "Lagaan," about a village of farmers who must learn the game of cricket in order to win a bet against the local English lord and get themselves out of a tax, a lagaan, they cannot pay.

I'll second "John Carter of Mars," which looked great on the big screen, and is set mostly outdoors or in huge indoor spaces. Fullerine, above, is right: Mark Strong's performance in the Mark Strong role nearly saved the movie, but there was too much against him. Still, nobody plays a Mark Strong like Mark Strong.

John Carter had some scenes that reminded me of "Jupiter Ascending," the recent stinker from the Wachowski siblings. I think that movie would fit really nice on your wall, though-- there's nothing wrong with how the movie looks. If you don't like bees, though, skip the latter.

P.S. Order a new bulb now, because with this lineup, you won't want any downtime when the current one burns out.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:20 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

The Phantom starring Billy Zane and Kristy Swanson!
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 2:57 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

The Last of the Mohicans with Madeleine Stowe
Legends of the Fall with Brad Pitt
The Edge with Alec Baldwin
posted by cda at 3:02 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

I liked the new Lone Ranger movie. I thought it was sort of dumb, but incredibly fun, and I enjoyed watching it
posted by I_love_the_rain at 3:03 PM on June 22, 2015

Movies that I'm really glad to have seen in the theatre:
The Harry Potter movies
Guardians of the Galaxy

Things I wish I'd seen:
Secondhand Lions
The Majestic
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Truman Show
The Story of the Weeping Camel

Nth Baron Munchausen & Dr. Parnassus.

This falls outside your timeframe, but Thoroughly Modern Millie ticks a lot of your boxes too!
posted by jrobin276 at 3:15 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh man, you want:

Lawrence of Arabia
Dances With Wolves, of course.
The Spirit is the just the best/worst.
If you didn't see Kingsman when it was in theaters, give it a go.

And I'm nthing the suggestions of The Fifth Element and Independence Day.

Also while I don't think Toy Soldiers fits the bill exactly, it's dumb improbable fun and I hope someone's streaming it.

I love this thread.

posted by Vervain at 3:16 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Your criteria almost perfectly describe every James Bond movie since 1990. (And I mean, if you take away the "post-1990" criteria, it's just every James Bond movie, ever.)

One of my favorite dumb movies of recent years is Cowboys vs. Aliens, which is exactly what it says it is. I will also be the nth vote for PotC 1-4, The Fifth Element, Zorro, and all things Marvel. (Really there are a ton of great recommendations in this thread already.) Oh and a wild-card recommendation: Aeon Flux. Sci-fi action, but it is really dumb and really really pretty.

Also, I know you said you're all set on classics, but I feel strongly that every person on earth should watch Lawrence of Arabia on a big screen at least once in their life. So if you run out of things to do you could take up showing screenings of it as a public service for the rest of humanity. Dr. Zhivago, too.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:21 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I really really like The Librarian: Quest for the Spear for this kind of thing. In the interest of full disclosure, I accidentally imprinted on it while I was breastfeeding and it was constantly on television, but I've also enjoyed it while not doped up on oxytocin and rewatch it every year or so.

Anaconda and Boa vs Python also make for delightful, schlocky viewing, and are definitely better on a huge screen.

Seconding Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, which is gorgeous and amazing.

Also, I feel like this almost goes without saying, but if you haven't seen Jupiter Ascending, this is definitely how you want to watch it. You want to watch it on a huge screen with popcorn and wine, and you want to watch it while you stare in awe at how batshit insane it all is, and you want to watch things get blown up and knocked down while you have a lot of feelings about things. You definitely, definitely want to watch Jupiter Ascending like this.
posted by MeghanC at 3:28 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

I just saw The Librarian reccommended and... oh my god, soooo bad it was good and we went and rented the rest! So you could also include National Treasue and Indiana Jones in that vein. The Goonies too.

Also out of date but (I think) hits all other marks: Legends of the Fall and A River Runs Through It (for epic, cinematic, landscape heavy drama).

But really I cam back to add Amelie and Spirited Away to the list!
And the new Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyn (swoon!).

On preview - apologies for any double-ups; there are so many I want to nth that it's pointless - this is just a big list of all my favorite movies!
posted by jrobin276 at 3:46 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

How the West Was Won. Not really high action, but it was filmed in Cinerama format, so it's really wide and is best viewed on the biggest possible screen. It's also the only Cinerama movie you've heard of, possibly except the show-off-the-format documentary "This is Cinerama;" the other Cinerama-format movies are obscure, and probably for good reason.

Tron. Less so Tron 2, but it should still be pretty cool.

Seconding Cowboys vs. Aliens, which delivers exactly what's on the tin.

Along the lines of Aeon Flux, "Equilibrium" is another 1984ish scifi action flick, stylishly filmed, but with more than a few brain cells to rub together. If you project Christian Bale large enough, you can replicate his Gunkata martial art right there in your home theater. Gattaca is a very pretty and considerably deeper high-concept SF movie which has no real action to speak of, but still carries a lot of weight.

Possibly "It Happened at the World's Fair," a silly Elvis movie in which Elvis is a player and a hotshot cropduster in Eastern Washington, who follows a woman (IIRC) to the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle. 1962ish, obviously, but it's not exactly a classic.

And there's gotta be some way you can watch Sharknado on this setup.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:58 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I will always stop what I'm doing & watch X-Men: First Class whenever it's on. 1960's costumes! Tons of special effects! So many pretty people!
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 4:26 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Ryan's Daughter was acclaimed for it's artistry (I've always thought RD and Last of the Mohicans were worth watching muted just for their beauty) and I think RD won best Oscar for cinematography. Googling Oscar and Cinematography might be yield good results.
posted by mulcahy at 4:31 PM on June 22, 2015

The Saint (the one with Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue) was one of my "always stop to watch it" movies for a while. Also, Prince of Egypt, whose animation holds up really well.
posted by yasaman at 4:35 PM on June 22, 2015

Back again to add:

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Dick Tracy, Jumanji, and The Rocketeer. Also the Night at the Museum movies.
posted by cmoj at 4:57 PM on June 22, 2015

Brotherhood of the Wolf (link is to Elvis Mitchell's bravura review). Think "Last of the Mohicans" in French with kickboxing.
posted by mogget at 5:17 PM on June 22, 2015

District B13- a French film that has a terrible plot, but the parkour is excellent.
Attack the Block- violent, but human vs non-human alien, which makes it easier for me to watch.
posted by aint broke at 5:17 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by mon-ma-tron at 5:24 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

A Walk in the Clouds (with Keanu Reeves!) is just beautiful to watch, with lots of incredibly lush scenery that reminded me of Malick. The plot is ludicrous but exactly in the way you are seeking. Here's Roger Ebert's 4 star review.
posted by veery at 5:53 PM on June 22, 2015

I want to nth The Fall - absolutely beautiful. Also want to add to the Bollywood - Bride and Prejudice - and finally ... for extra big screen silliness..... Bunraku.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 6:12 PM on June 22, 2015

I'm also going to add The Man from Snowy River.... a little out of the time frame - but great scenery and stunning horsey stunts.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 6:17 PM on June 22, 2015

Two more!

Lost in Translation is great, and very beautiful and I bet would be great big.

Bright Star (The three-year romance between 19th-century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne near the end of his life)..... was kind of terrible BUT it was SO BEAUTIFUL I watched the whole thing anyway! Just stunning photography and lighting and lots of long lingering shots (and beautiful countryside and immaculate period costuming).
posted by jrobin276 at 7:18 PM on June 22, 2015

The Black Stallion. A little before your 1990 cutoff (okay, a lot, it's from 1979), but gorgeous and stirring and heart-poundingly exciting. Adventure! Tragedy! Horses! Mickey Rooney as a retired jockey! What is not to love?
posted by woot at 7:23 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yup, Bollywood is perfect for this. I suggest Dhoom 2 as a starting point - basically picture The Fast And The Furious, but it's a heist movie, and a comedy, and it has musical numbers. Plus it's on Netflix.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:38 PM on June 22, 2015

Ha. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz tick all/most of the boxes too. So good. So cheesey.
posted by jrobin276 at 8:44 PM on June 22, 2015

I'll go ahead and add Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec to the list: Luc Besson. Paris. PTERODACTYL.

Seconding: my beloved Pacific Rim, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (beautiful; not dumb), Hot Fuzz for excellent English village shots, Monsoon Wedding/Bollywood comedies. Action-packed: Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Journey to the West, Curse of the Golden Flower, Fearless. Brotherhood of the Wolf for intense but often chilling beauty and lots of galloping. The Mummy! The recent Thor movies.
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:27 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Omega Man
(I know you said 1990 on, but just in case these were not on your radar...)
(on second thought, just make believe this isn't here)
posted by dbiedny at 10:37 PM on June 22, 2015

Easy & Fun: The Vin Diesel Riddick Series..especially the first one, Pitch Black. Seconding Last of the Mohicans. King Arthur. Twelve Monkeys. I always thought Farscape and Firefly looked really cool ..they're TV shows though.

Gorgeous but more plot heavy: Tilda Swinton often makes visually stunning movies..I love Orlando and I am Love especially. Stanley Kubruck movies. Sheltering Sky.
posted by DarthDuckie at 3:45 AM on June 23, 2015

Sahara would fit. Matthew McConaughey, desert adventure, sweeping vistas, great fun.
posted by Otto the Magnificent at 8:45 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Echoing cda - Legends of the Fall is the most epic of all epic movies, and suitably dumb. In fact, it is quotably dumb. But EPIC! Here, just look at the trailer!
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:28 AM on June 23, 2015

You should work your way through the Step Up franchise. You will not regret it.
posted by shelleycat at 3:54 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Speaking of Tilda Swinton...Constantine is very very pretty.
posted by glasseyes at 4:15 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

More James Cameron: The Abyss was 1989, but True Lies was '94. Great action setpieces on the Key Bridge, some anonymous small island in the Keys, 2 different skyscrapers including one in Miami that's under construction. That movie rode the edge between parody and great action and did so flawlessly. Its most astonishing special effect was to make Tom Arnold likable on screen.

Seconding Sahara-- I think it was a better movie than audiences did, but it's a great fit for this question. Big deserts, an exotic power plant as a setpiece, an unlikely historical event, and Steve Zahn as an action sidekick, rather than a strictly-comic-relief sidekick.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:21 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was so surprised to get through this list and not see The Man from Snowy River.. but then I noticed the 1982 release date. Still, if it isn't on your list already, it should be! Sweeping Australian vistas and one of the best "running horse" scenes ever filmed.

Possibly include Interstellar? It's definitely gorgeous, and would probably look amazing on a big screen. They try to visualize things that are really very hard for people to visualize, which is interesting. I find the story kind of dumb for reasons best not discussed here, but purely for visuals it might be a good pick.

Also, Lucky Number Slevin. Snappy dialogue, a bit of mystery, and the trifecta of awesome: Sir Ben Kingsley, Morgan Freeman, and Bruce Willis. With a side of Lucy Liu at her most adorable. Very fun movie that a lot of people don't seem to have heard of.
posted by ashirys at 6:44 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Interstellar has a ridiculous story but is undeniably spectacular.
posted by RubyScarlet at 2:25 AM on June 27, 2015

Gladiator checks nearly every box on your list, but seems pretty obvious.

Inception may appear to demand thought, but it really goes better if you don't engage your brain too much, and I bet there are some scenes that would look great.

Since you mentioned Tarantino, Django Unchained might work.

Nthing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
posted by A dead Quaker at 11:33 AM on June 27, 2015

In all seriousness: the Fast & Furious films. ESPECIALLY the later ones.
posted by kidsleepy at 5:31 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

under_petticoat_rule: "The Phantom starring Billy Zane and Kristy Swanson!"

Campy, fun, and vastly underappreciated! How do you miss out brining up Patrick McGoohan as Kit's father?
posted by Samizdata at 9:31 PM on October 2, 2015

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