Deep meaningful movie recommendations?
March 31, 2006 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Recently I've run out of beautiful, interesting movies I enjoy watching. Over the last few months I ended up watching some predictable romantic comedies I really hate. So what deep meaningful movies would you recommend? Which movies have made you feel, think or cry? Maybe, some of these Top 100 Overlooked Films of the 1990s?
posted by volandmast to Media & Arts (51 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Cleo From 5 to 7.
La Notte.

... two of my favorites.
posted by josh at 6:45 AM on March 31, 2006

Passion Fish.
posted by JanetLand at 6:46 AM on March 31, 2006

i saw a trailer for number 40 on that list - the double life of veronique - at the cinema the other day and it looked very good. directed by the guy who directed the three colours trilogy (kristoff kirslowski (sp???????)) which are also very good films if you havent seen them.
posted by muthecow at 6:50 AM on March 31, 2006

I still throw Powwow Highway in the VCR when I want to restore my faith in simple, well made movies. Gary Farmer shines in this movie.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:53 AM on March 31, 2006

If you like romantic comedies but are looking for something with a little more substance, you might try Playing By Heart.
posted by gd779 at 6:54 AM on March 31, 2006

Once Were Warriors. It took me 3 viewings to actually see the entire movie because I was crying so much at one point that I had to leave the room (not comfortable crying in front of others). It wasn't until I could see the movie alone that I saw the whole thing.
posted by INTPLibrarian at 7:04 AM on March 31, 2006

Smoke Signals (not cry-just fun sweet movie)

Breaking the Waves

Dancing in the Dark

Midnight Cowboy


House of Sand and Fog
posted by beccaj at 7:14 AM on March 31, 2006

Kieslowski is very good, but his best-known films are all melodramas (Trois Couleurs, Decalogue, Double Life...) so keep that in mind if you decide to watch them. (I love them, but I'm not always in the mood to watch one of them.)

On that list, I liked Miller's Crossing a lot and I've thought about it (and puzzled part of it) a bit.

The Butcher Boy was a thoughtful (and occasionally disturbing) film, and one I've remembered off and on for the last six years or so.

I see they list My Neighbor Totoro there, and it is a beautiful charming film, but I think Princess Mononoke is more thoughtful. Still, I've liked everything I've seen of Hayao Miyazaki's work (I haven't yet seen the new one) and almost everything from Studio Ghibli (I'm not sure I'd recommend the one about the shape-changing racoon-like things with the enormous testicles.)

Tootsie always makes me laugh and think, which is a bit rare for comedies these days. If you don't mind older films, Preston Sturges is another who made some thoughtful funny films.

How recent do you want your films? Is the overlooked films of the 1990s a coincidence or do you want your films limited to the 90s?
posted by Tuwa at 7:19 AM on March 31, 2006

If you have not seen it, Before the Rain is an absolute must-see. It fits your criteria of being both beautiful (stunning, jaw dropping cinematography) and interesting (overlapping, intersecting plot that's really skillfully done, and well-acted). It is most definitely not a romantic comedy.

The only problem with this film is it's somewhat hard to find, and as far as I'm aware only available on VHS.
posted by contessa at 7:23 AM on March 31, 2006

Lawn Dogs.
posted by oh pollo! at 7:31 AM on March 31, 2006

I'm shocked that Miller's Crossing is #1 and Barton Fink, probably the Cohen Brothers' finest film, is not even on the list.

It's a bitingly ironic look at 1940s cinema, an exploration of the creative process, and an eerie mystery revealing the insidious side of Hollywood. It bears multiple viewings for subtle symbolism and linguistic patterns (vague, but no spoilers here!).

John Turturro and John Goodman are simply fantastic in it. Great small role by Steve Buscemi as well.
posted by themadjuggler at 7:36 AM on March 31, 2006

From the 1990s list you linked: "Welcome to the Dollhouse", "The Ice Storm", "A Midnight Clear", "Before Sunrise", all made me think. "Ice Storm" and "Dollhouse" left me with the feeling, WTF just happened here? (Not because I was confused by the plot, but because it made me think differently about my own life.)
posted by cass at 7:39 AM on March 31, 2006

Legend of 1900
posted by Leon at 7:43 AM on March 31, 2006

Lilya 4-Ever may make you feel, think or cry.
posted by fire&wings at 7:45 AM on March 31, 2006

How much of a movie/film buff are you? Sorry if I'm throwing out stuff you've already seen.

Overlooked titles off the top of my head: A Very Long Engagement, The Venus Beauty Institute, The Closet, Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring, Tadpole, Broken Flowers, Dear Frankie, The Good Girl, Night Watch

My favorites from your obscure 90's movies list: Bound, Ghost Dog, Dead Again, Beautiful Girls, LA Story, Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Croupier

Movies with 5 stars from my Netflix list: Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tennanbaums, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, anything by Jim Jarmusch, Donnie Darko, Lost in Translation, Adventures of Baron Munchhausen, most movies by the Coen brothers, especially The Big Lebowski and Raising Arizona, Secretary, Whale Rider

My favorite polarizing movie: Closer. People either love it or hate it. I love it -- every other woman I've recommended it to has hated it. The absolute antithesis of "predictable romantic comedies;" it made me think about relationships, control and manipulation in totally new ways.
posted by junkbox at 7:46 AM on March 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Dear god, that came out 14 years ago? I feel old!
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:48 AM on March 31, 2006

You've run out of movies? Wow. They've been making movies for over 100 years. Time to expand your horizons beyond the last 16 years.
posted by cptnrandy at 7:49 AM on March 31, 2006

What cptnrandy said, but these are my favorites from the overlooked films of the 90's list:

The Hudsucker Proxy
Chungking Express
A Midnight Clear
Glengarry Glen Ross
The Ice Storm
Dead Man
posted by Espy Gillespie at 7:51 AM on March 31, 2006

Junkbox, I think you're me.

Heaven by Kieslowski
The House of Yes

I second The Ice Storm
posted by Constant Reader at 7:57 AM on March 31, 2006

Two by Bernardo Bertolucci: Stealing Beauty and Besieged -- he makes pretty films. Or try Twin Falls Idaho, Gridlock'd (yeah, Tupac is in it...), Mumford, or Four Rooms (last two are more fun than meaningful...). And Au Revoir les Enfants. For starters.
posted by penchant at 8:10 AM on March 31, 2006

Some random thoughts:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
My Dinner With Andre
Mindwalk (if you can find it, maybe VHS only)

Heaven by Kieslowski

Tom Tykwer actually made this, based on his script after he died. It's very much in his style, though.
posted by mkultra at 8:14 AM on March 31, 2006

From your list, Ghost Dog. I also enjoyed The Crimson Rivers - though more of a thriller than a deep'n'meaningful. Certainly beautiful. Make sure you get the subtitled version, not the dubbed one.
posted by blag at 8:23 AM on March 31, 2006

"Truly Madly Deeply" - This is the excellent, funny, sad, touching, beautiful version of the execrable "Ghost."

"Igby Goes Down" - Maybe a little affected, but very good.

Second "The Butcher Boy."

While we're in Ireland, "The General" is a very good biopic about an IRA general with a couple of wives.

Get into some Wim Wenders!
posted by mzurer at 8:25 AM on March 31, 2006

Looking at that list, check out any Atom Egoyan, except his latest, "Ararat," about the Armenian genocide. That one blows. I hve not seen "The Adjustor" but it gets good write-ups.
posted by mzurer at 8:28 AM on March 31, 2006

Oh yeah!

"After Life" is a beautiful Japanese movie you're going to want to see.

Just for the record, my favorite three movies are "On The Waterfront," "The Conversation," and "The Limey." So see all of those if you haven't.

I see a couple of clunkers on the list you linked, but of the ones I have seen (about 80 of them), I would recommend almost any.
posted by mzurer at 8:35 AM on March 31, 2006

Tillsammans (Together).
posted by Mocata at 8:38 AM on March 31, 2006

A beautiful and interesting movie is Ruby in Paradise (1993), starring a pre-annoying Ashley Judd. A slow, quiet, lush film, set in Panama City Beach, Fla. during the off-season.
posted by scratch at 8:43 AM on March 31, 2006

"Rabbit-Proof Fence" - Watch the special features on the DVD as well, the kids are amazing.
posted by mzurer at 8:46 AM on March 31, 2006

Wings of Desire.
posted by filmgeek at 8:58 AM on March 31, 2006

El Bola
talk to her
all about my mother
Me and You and Everyone We Know
posted by special-k at 9:10 AM on March 31, 2006

Wings of Desire seconded. Can't believe I missed seeing that for as long as I have (only caught it a couple of weeks ago).
From the list, anything by Wong Kar Wai (Ashes of time, Chungking express, Fallen angels)

The Pillow Book is worth a look too.
posted by juv3nal at 9:14 AM on March 31, 2006

Innocence - about love

Wit - about life and death
posted by Idiot Mittens at 9:18 AM on March 31, 2006

I can't believe no one has mentioned In America. That movie made me bawl like a little baby. I second Rabbit Proof Fence.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 10:49 AM on March 31, 2006

Run, Lola, Run

Auntie Mame

Mary Poppins

Castle in the Sky or Porco Rosso
posted by spakto at 11:00 AM on March 31, 2006

Cinema Paradiso and Rabbit Proof Fence are beautiful. And I cried watching Harold and Maude.
posted by belladonna at 11:03 AM on March 31, 2006

From the list I'd definitely recommend
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Jacob's Ladder
Truly, Madly, Deeply
The Winslow Boy
Cradle Will Rock

Educating Rita
Feux Rouges
J'aime, j'aime pas
Dead Again
Hobson's Choice
The Pledge
Toto le héros
Frankie and Johnny / Sea of Love / Insomnia

posted by ceri richard at 11:03 AM on March 31, 2006

Harvie Krumpet
posted by koenie at 11:19 AM on March 31, 2006

Second In America. Add In The Bedroom - They'll keep you bawling for weeks
posted by Neiltupper at 11:26 AM on March 31, 2006

I loathed In America. Every manipulative note in that movie rang false.
posted by mkultra at 11:40 AM on March 31, 2006

Oh, and I'd add Magnolia. Stick with it. It's an incredible movie.
posted by mkultra at 11:44 AM on March 31, 2006

From the list, I liked Proof and Chungking Express. I'd also recommend In the Mood for Love, which is a bit slow but incredibly beautiful. It may also be a bit obvious but I loved Brokeback Mountain, which was heartbreaking to me, and to everyone else in the theater.

Ebert does an Overlooked Film Festival every year, which may be helpful to you.
posted by hooray at 12:08 PM on March 31, 2006

Top'o'm'head for overlooked, out of 100's:

All the Real Girls
Box of Moonlight
Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her
I Am the Cheese
Melvin Goes to Dinner
The Slaughter Rule
Diamond Men
Yi Yi
His Secret Life
Lawless Heart
Funny HaHa

Newer (not nec. overlooked, but beautiful):
Squid and Whale
Me and You and Everyone we Know
Nobody Knows
Fighting Tommy Riley (well, THIS was overlooked!)
posted by dpcoffin at 1:04 PM on March 31, 2006

I'd definitely watch 'smoke'. I love that film.
posted by iamcrispy at 1:08 PM on March 31, 2006

"The Dreamlife of Angels" (La Vie Revee Des Anges) - very moving French film about two down-and-out young women struggling with life (1998)

"Lone Star" -- a great film directed by John Sayles (1996) starring Chris Cooper.
posted by nancoix at 1:22 PM on March 31, 2006

I was completely blown away by Mabrosi, which is a quiet and somewhat sad Japanese film shot entirely in natural light. It was both visually stunning and narratively compelling. It reminded me, in tone, of the films of Ozu, one of the truly great Japanese directors. His work would certainly be worth checking out.

(I didn't have time to read the thread, so I don't know if you weighed in to say anything more about your prefs. Sorry.)
posted by OmieWise at 1:39 PM on March 31, 2006

American Movie and Grey Gardens. Two documentaries that will induce both tears and laughter.
Fellini's La Strada.
posted by zoinks at 2:59 PM on March 31, 2006


Technically it's a kids' movie but it's a really original movie and tons of fun. If you don't enjoy it I'll give you your money back.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:47 PM on March 31, 2006

Speaking of Kids' movies, although Empire of the Sun may play like a "young adult" novel, it's good. John Malkovich, Joey Pants and Christian Bale.
posted by snsranch at 4:55 PM on March 31, 2006

Tom Twyker DIED?? Couldn't confirm that via google. Anybody?
posted by dpcoffin at 8:48 PM on March 31, 2006

Oh. he=Kieslowski. Sorry.
posted by dpcoffin at 8:51 PM on March 31, 2006

Thanks! :)
posted by volandmast at 2:00 AM on April 3, 2006

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