I’m not a big fan of the drama genre, which is why so many of these are older movies. These are my classics.
10) Lord of the Flies – The first time I saw this I was in elementary school and I didn’t care about the underlying themes like savagery vs. civilization, individualism vs. community, authority, and anarchy and all that other crap. It was like soft core porn to me seeing all those half-naked, older boys in loin cloths as they sharpened their spears.
9) King of the Hill – Before there was a cartoon series, there was a movie based on the memoir of A.E. Hotchner. Summer during the Great Depression was accentuated by the warm camera filter and everyone constantly perspiring. Poor Aaron. No kid should ever have to cut out pictures of entire meals and eat them. No kid should have to mix ketchup with water for tomato soup. No kid should ever fight off a Nazi bellhop whose purpose in life is to wait for unsuspecting tenants to leave so that he can lock them out. No kid should ever have to attend his middle school promotion alone. The upside? Ruffian Adrien Brody in the back of the auditorium cheering you on as you ascend the stage. This movie has Child Protective Services written all over it. It always reminds me of the time I had to cook for me and myself and my brother for about two months. What did I cook? Corned beef and onions. I lost five pounds on that diet.
8) The Sixth Sense – A lot of rule-breaking in this movie, but we all were in need of it. Bad. Best part of the movie – realizing New Kids on the Blocker, Donnie Wahlberg, is the guy who shot Bruce Willis. I didn’t even recognize him from my Tiger Beat magazine clippings he was so thin. Maybe if he put on his holey acid washed jeans and a grew a rat tail I would have recognized him. Nevertheless, his 30 seconds in the movie was pretty damn good.
7) Gone Baby Gone – I can’t believe Casey Afleck and Ben Afleck came out of the same vagina. When I first saw “Gone Baby Gone,” it was before Ben Afleck had done some really good movies that made up for the crap that he’s done before. So you can imagine how shocked I was to see Ben’s little brother show some delightful talent.
7a) To be fair to Ben, I did love “Gone Girl.” The twist came in about 2/3 of the way in rather than at the end, but it worked.
6) The Usual Suspects – This is one of those movies you have to watch at least four times (depending on your mental capabilities) to really understand what just happened. You’ll feel like you just got duped, but in the end you’re rooting for the right side. The montage at the end (the Guatemalan coffee, the Kobayashi mug, et al.) has you questioning just what exactly is the truth. Well, guess what…there IS no Keyser Soze! I had a fun time with that during my struggling college years working at a local cafe. Once I worked the morning shift, which entailed slicing slicing Havarti cheese at precisely 0.75 ounces per slice. Each person who slices has to write their name on the food. I wrapped and labeled each stack of Havarti that morning, not with my name, but signed elegantly: Keyser Soze. And so, all day, I snickered to myself as I told everyone who asked that there, indeed, was no Keyser Soze.
5) Tombstone – You’re lying if you’re a guy who won’t admit to having a man-crush on Val Kilmer. You get a little taste of just how an obnoxious poor winner Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday can be in the beginning poker scene as he stabs Frank Stallone, but it’s not until he stops an irate Johnny Tyler, equipped with a shotgun, from opening fire on Wyatt Earp. Doc goes on casually, greeting each Earp brother in front of Johnny, who is dumbfounded and shocked at all these celebrities before him. Doc then turns to Johnny, still hanging on to his weapon, one last time and tells him, “I didn’t know you were still here. You may go now.” My best friend had a crush on him when after she saw this movie.
“Girl, please. Name another movie he’s been in,” I told her.
“I didn’t think so.”
4) Se7en – This whole movie is fucked up. The ending is even more fucked up. Just be glad it’s not based on a true story. I keep track of the seven deadly sins within the movie because it encourages you to. Toward the end you think, “In what other sinister ways can these sins be shown?” When Morgan Freeman opens the box at the end and cries, “John Doe’s got the upper hand!” I still get a knot in my stomach as Brad Pitt pleas with his homicide partner. Every time I watch it, I hope that he chooses to take the higher road, but that would go against the movie title, wouldn’t it?
3) The Road – This is one of the most stressful movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life. If they’re not looking for food, they’re trying to fight off cannibals. What in holy crap?! Even when they’re huddled around a fire in their tattered clothes and in no immediate danger, I still feel unsafe. The first time I watched this movie, I stopped it three times because I couldn’t handle the stress of the dad deciding on whether or not to shoot his son in order to keep him from getting captured or them running into strangers in general.
2) What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – A few years before the Titanic guy saved Rose, he was in this little movie with Johnny Depp flaunting his acting skills. Who knew? The first time I watched this I was at my aunt’s house. She rented it from the local movie store on VHS. At the end of the movie, the VCR rewound the tape automatically, but wouldn’t eject it afterwards. As my aunt fiddled around with the tape, I said, “Well, it looks like the VCR ate Gilbert Grape.” Hee-hyah hee-hyah.
1) The Professional – You know what’s beautiful? A hit man taking in a 12-year-old so that she can avenge the death of her little brother. Jean Reno as the Professional is so endearing because of his innocent, goofy look, and it’s also forgivable that he kills for money, like “He just shot that drug dealer in the head…aww!” My favorite scene is when Gary Oldman and his crooked cops massacre the family of a little girl named Mathilda. No, not that. But when young Natalie Portman is forced to walk by her murdered family nonchalantly in order to land at the doorstep of her neighbor, the Professional. The music is intense, the Professional is torn with the decision to leave her outside, while he sees her begging with her teary eyes through the peephole to let her in. Oh, Mathilda..you’re such a badss when you smoke cigarettes. Ok, I tried a few cigarettes once because I wanted to be a little bad ass too. It was Earth Day and I thought it was hilarious and I thought it would be a perfect day to pick up a bad ass habit. I chain smoked six cigarettes (is six considered a chain?) at a party with older, seemingly bad ass kids. I got a chance to practice my bad ass move of flicking the ass with my middle finger. An older girl walked up to me and asked if she could bum a smoke. I turned to her badassingly and said, “Nah, this is my last one.” My mom ended up taking my bad ass to the hospital that night because of hives.