One of my coworkers suggested I draw up a list of movies that people should watch. So, here are 36 movies you should watch! All but one of them were released after 2000.
- The Wolfpack (2015) – Follows six brothers who were isolated in their apartment by their father. Their method of learning about the outside world was through movies, which they would reenact and film. Thus, this is a documentary about movies and people watching movies. Meta as shit.
- Grizzly Man (2005) – Werner Herzog’s documentary on a man who lived with grizzly bears every summer in Alaska until, eventually, he was killed by one of them. Herzog, I think, is about as close to an incarnation of God as we’ll ever see, and any time you can see him wax philosophic on the interaction of humans and nature is a blast.
- Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016) – Werner Herzog’s newest documentary, about the Internet, technology, and how people interact with it. Come for the ethics of connection, stay for the bit where someone suggests robots could make movies.
- Jesus Camp (2006) – [screams]
- Trekkies (1997) – Documentary about Trekkies and what it means to be a Trekkie
- When Jews Were Funny (2013) – A perfect companion piece to two web series: Old Jews Telling Jokes and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Jokes! So many jokes!
Drama, Westerns, & Others I’m Too Lazy to Classify
- The Road (2009) – Post-apocalyptic movie adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name. It’s a challenging one to watch. You’ve been warned.
- Only God Forgives (2013) – Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, Only God Forgives is another entry in the Fucked Up Movies genre, following Ryan Gosling as a young drug dealer in Bangkok, being hunted by a merciless, machete-wielding police officer. Dialogue is sparse in this movie, which is driven more by a dreamlike atmosphere than conventional storytelling.
- Tangerine (2015) – Two trans prostitutes are on the warpath in Los Angeles after their pimp cheats on one of them while she is in prison.
- Slow West (2015) – Western with Michael Fassbender playing an Irish outlaw escorting a young Scottish noble who’s trying to track down his exiled paramour in the expanse of the American West.
- The Witch (2015) – Horror film about a 17th century New England Puritan family exiled from their township for blasphemy. Living in isolation, they fall prey to malevolent forces in the woods.
- Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) – Directed by Werner Herzog and starring Nicolas Cage, this movie is something else. Oftentimes manically edited to match the eponymous cop’s drug habit, you need to be on your toes for this one, lest you’re left behind, stuck in the mire of post-Katrina New Orleans.
- Creed (2015) – Fighting harder, fighting stronger.
- Mad Max: Fury Road (2016) – Once again, we send off my War Rig to bring back guzzoline from Gastown and bullets from Bullet Farm. Once again, I salute my Imperator, Furiosa and my Half-Life War Boys, who will ride with me eternal on the highways of Walhalla! I am your redeemer! It is by my hand you will rise from the ashes of this world!
- Dredd (2012) – Brutal reboot of the Judge Dredd film property with Karl Urban. Taking heavily from The Raid, Dredd is a fantastic action flick that more than redeems the travesty that was the Stallone film from the 90s.
- John Wick (2014) – Don’t fuck with a man’s dog.
- Ip Man 3 (2015) – Donnie Yen plays the embodiment of awesome in this third installment of the Ip Man series. Loosely based on the life of Bruce Lee’s mentor, Ip Man follows Yip Man as he defends family and country against aggressors. Ip Man 3 finds him against an American real estate developer played by Mike Tyson and his horde of greaser minions. It’s a lot of fun, even if the pacing’s off at times.
- JCVD (2008) – I’m not quite sure where to put this one. It’s a drama, and an action movie, and at times a comedy. JCVD follows Jean-Claude Van Damme as he reflects on his life, imminent divorce and bankruptcy, and also gets held hostage in a bank robbery. And it turns out that JCVD is a really fun guy to watch, even to this day.
- Moon (2009) – Directed by Duncan Jones, Moon follows astronaut Sam Bell as he experiences some super weird shit on a lunar installation on the moon.
- Ex Machina (2015) – What’s worse than an egotistical startup tech genius? An egotistical startup tech genius dicking around with AI research.
- Children of Men (2006) – In a world where procreation is impossible, one woman can suddenly have a child. Clive Owen puts in a legitimately good performance in a bleak post-apocalyptic film about humanity.
- Prometheus (2012) – An extremely divisive film, Prometheus is the prologue to Alien. It has a similar plot trajectory, but delves just a bit more into the lore of the Alien series, and has some extremely striking visuals and a very unique tone throughout the movie.
- Interstellar (2014) – Christopher Nolan’s entry into the sci-fi canon. Interstellar acts in a way very similar to a lot of older sci-fi novels. The plot is slow, the science is somewhat heavy, and the characters are not so much people as interactions of ideas and philosophies. Notable as a think-y blockbuster in an age of sequels and series.
- Pandorum (2009) – This movie is garbage, but it’s occasionally creepy garbage.
- What We Do In The Shadows (2015) – A New Zealand faux-documentary about vampires sharing a house in Wellington. It’s hilarious, and has so much more than the “werewolves not swearwolves” line that everyone latches on to. Pray you never meet The Beast.
- The Nice Guys (2016) – Shane Black’s post-Iron Man 3 movie follows Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as slimy private investigators with hearts of gold, caught in the midst of a plot between 1970s Big Auto, the porno industry, and their own lackluster professional lives. It’s a fantastic crime-comedy that borrows from Black’s earlier work, the buddy cop genre, and Abbot & Costello in equal measure.
- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) – Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer star in Shane Black’s other mystery-crime-comedy. This one is equally as amazing as The Nice Guys, and it’s awesome to see pre-Iron Man Downey Jr do a comedy schtick relying on him being an idiot. Amazingly meta. Great fucking watch.
- Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010) – A horror-comedy about two rednecks who are hunted by college students in the backwoods. Officer, it’s been a doozy of a day.
- In The Loop (2009) – British comedy about American and English diplomats inadvertently starting a war. Brilliant satire that has some of the most artful swearing in the history of cinema.
- A Serious Man (2009) – One of the most Jewish movies in the history of movies, the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man follows a put-upon physics professor as his life takes on serious undertones of the Book of Job. Contains a fantastic slew of an ensemble cast, and then this scene, which is [drools].
- Hail, Caesar! (2016) – The Coen Brothers’ latest movie follows a studio fixer as he herds cats including George Clooney’s idiot movie star character, a charming hick of a horse rider-turned-star, twin gossip columnists, and Scarlett Johansson’s foul-mouthed It Girl who is on the prowl for a dependable man in Hollywood.
- In Bruges (2008) – The best Irish movie set in Belgium in the history of Irish movies set in Belgium. Maybe that’s what hell is. Being stuck in fucking Bruges for all eternity.
- The Lobster (2015) – A very weird movie about the horrors of dating and being a single person in modern(ish) society. Very worth a double feature with In Bruges just to see Colin Farrell suddenly put on thirty pounds and grow a dorky mustache.
- It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012) – An incredibly moving short film about a man struggling with a severe brain disorder, made up of several short films, so I’m counting it.
- World of Tomorrow (2015) – A young girl is visited by her clone from several hundred years in the future.
- The Attack of the Weretimberwolf-Hybrid (2010) – An amazing short film directed by and starring an unheard-of visionary