7 Films I’d Recommend to Anyone

I’ve sorta gotten back on top of my movie game recently. I’ve caught Funny People, Transformers 2, The Ugly Truth and Public Enemies in recent weeks. There is maybe one good film and a few good lines in that entire bunch. Not too surprising. If you know me, you know I’m a movie snob.

So like I did a few weeks ago with albums, here are a few movies that have affected me that I’d recommend to anyone. No real order. These are some of the films I go to when I need inspiration for writing and don’t quite feel like reading. But also because they intrigue me. They’re all tales of morality. Feel free to notice the absence of Madea.

I was extremely satisified when Michael Clayton was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 2008.

I was extremely satisified when Michael Clayton was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 2008.

1. Closer. My favorite film about the complexity of relationships. Also my favorite film when it comes to dialogue. It’s unmatched. I actually read the screenplay from time to time. Don’t get me wrong. I never want a relationship like the ones displayed in this film. But you can learn from the mistakes that are made.

2. Traffic. It’s Crash before Crash, and woven just as intricately. It delves it to drug cartels, failed friendships and broken American families. It tells just as many complex tales that will compel you to reconsider the way you see our way life.

3. Michael Clayton. You ever leave the theater, think to turn around so you can watch the film again, then actually do it because it was that good and you want to try to understand it better? ……. Just me? Well, this film is that good. I’m a fan of moral tales, and Michael Clayton is cloaked in them. Well written and great acting. Seriously, Tom Wilkinson plays a neurotic crazy man better than anyone else I’ve ever seen. And if you don’t know the name Tony Gilroy, Google him, please.

4. Stranger Than Fiction. It’s strange to see Will Ferrell do anything on a screen that keeps you from bursting into laughter. It’s about an IRS Agent who consumes himself with mundane job, and does little else with his life…until he realizes that he has a voice in his head telling him what he’s doing. I can’

5. Rounders. I love poker. This is the film that jumpstarted the poker boom. If you don’t know how to play, it sort of gives you a good feel for what the game is about… it’s highs and lows. It’s also a story about reunited best friends and realizing what you’re supposed to do with your life.

6. The Wood. The more I think about it, this may be the best black film I’ve seen in the last 10 years. When I first saw it, I didn’t think it was as good as I do now. But so much of what happens in the film is easy to relate to for young black people. Needless to say (<—why do we say that phrase?), there need to be more films like it.

7. Lucky Number Slevin. The ultimate tale of serving vengeance on a platter, and a film too few know about. Honestly, it gets better every time I watch it, and that’s inspite of the fact that Bruce Willis is in it.

Which of these films have you seen? Your thoughts? And because I’m always curious, what are a few films you’d recommend to anyone?

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86 responses to “7 Films I’d Recommend to Anyone

  1. You are one of the few other people who loved Closer. As you say, not relationships to emulate but a definite “what NOT to do.”

    I also liked Stranger than Fiction though not generally a Will Ferrell fan. Traffic is a top ten movie any day of the week.

    I also recommend Spanglish, it’s the best acting Adam Sandler has ever done. LA Confidential, Shawshank Redemption, Love Jones and the Usual Suspects also top my list.

    • @onechele: Closer strikes me every time I watch it… I know it’s hard for some people to watch because it’s all about the dialogue… but that’s what’s most important to me about any film.

      I still haven’t seen Spanglish, which means I haven’t seen Adam Sandler in a role worth anything but a good chuckle.

      and yeah, Love Jones deserves to be on this list. Just figured someone else would slip it in there. It took all of one comment. lol.

    • @OneChele: Spanglish is a good recommendation. I really enjoyed it.

  2. I’ve seen them all except Michael Clayton and Rounders. I will definitely check them both out though, I love a good movie.

    I like to think of myself as more of a movie addict than a snob because I’ll watch pretty much anything (except Madea). My husband and I go to the movies every week for our “date night” so I’ve seen most of the major releases this summer. My favorite so far has been Star Trek.

    Here are two obscure movies that I often recommend to people:
    1. Momento – The way the story is told is what makes this an awesome movie.

    2. What Dreams May Come – This is one of the most powerful love stories I’ve seen. I cry everytime I watch it.

    • Good choices! I loved Momento. It’s definitely one of those movies that you have to watch more than once to figure out all of it’s intricacies. When Christopher Nolan was chosen to reboot the Batman franchise, I knew that he’d come up with something good.

      I’d also recommend the Prestige (another Nolan film) for those who haven’t bothered to see it. It’s Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) vs. Batman (Christian Bale) in the ultimate tale of how obsession can destroy.

      • @kos: Prestige is a great movie. I think Christian Bale is a wonderful actor. I’m glad he is finally getting roles in larger movies.

      • @Tam

        ‘What Dreams May Come’ makes me cry every time I watch it! I think love like that only happens in the movies….

      • I LOVE Memento and the Prestige. The first time I saw the Prestige, I told everyone that they had to see that movie. It is sooo good. It’s like the Sixth Sense in that you were told what was going to happen at the end, but you still were shocked silly when you found out. Love both of those.

    • I seriously just teared up right this moment when I thought about Robin Williams telling her at the end “…you were my life…” There was something about the way he said it and meant it…and everything he went through…ok, I’m gonna cry for real!

      • @jlbd: You have me about to cry too, LOL. My heart actually aches for them during some parts of the movie. I don’t see how you can believe in love and not appreciate this movie.

        • @jlbd & @Tam: Y’all got me wanting to see What Dreams May Come. I love love stories. No idea why I haven’t seen it before now…it’s on all the time too.

    • @tam: I have a great story about not having seen Memento yet … One of my college friends was too hype about having me watching it with her. She was doing backflips with her voice.

      She came to the house one summer. Had the DVD case and everything. But no DVD in the case. She didn’t realize that until she got to the house. Went back to her place. Couldn’t find it. Realized someone probably procured it…. And I Still haven’t seen that film.

      • @damon: Oh, no! That is the worst. There is nothing worse than being excited for something only to not have it happen or not have it happen the way you planned for it to happen. I would have been so disappointed and mad if I were her and had to go back home looking for it only to find that it was nowhere to be found. Boo!

  3. I am a movie snob too but I will go see just about anything. If it is at the discount movie theater and I am bored then I will be there. I have seen every movie on this list except Michael Clayton. Now I gotta see it.

    I agree with every assessment except The Wood which I thought was typical black romantic comedy crap that tried to be this nostalgic coming of age story too. It just didn’t work for me.

    When I went to see Lucky Number Slevin there were only 2 people in the movie theater- me and my sister. I thought it was really good and I told everyone I knew to go see it.

    • @teddi: The Wood seems typical, but I don’t think it is… the more and more I watch it, it grows on me because it’s reflective.

      Reflective within the film for the characters, and reflective for a certain age group of people. And the writing is actually pretty good in it…considering what they’re doing.

  4. I HATED Lucky Number Slevin… after I left the theatre, I felt as if I’d been raped of time and money! lol

    I do love The Wood though.

    I’d recommend:
    1. The Break up
    2. Jerry McGuire

    • @Nicki: I love The Break Up. The first time we saw it, we did not like it. At all. My husband gave me such a hard time about picking it…we take turns. But now we both like it & I watch it just about every time it’s on (which is a lot).

    • Jerry Maguire is one of my classic films. I can quote most of the movie.

      The Break Up is a good one, too. I just don’t suggest that anyone sees that film with their spouse or significant other …

      • @damon: You’re right; JM is very quotable. One of my favorite scenes is when he’s like “I am a cautionary tale. I am cloaked in failure. I lost the #1 draft pick the night before the draft.” Funny.

  5. 1. Closer, I haven’t seen it. I’ll be sure to check it out.

    2. Traffic, was awesome.

    3. Michael Clayton, again awesome.

    4. Stranger than Fiction, Will Ferrell sucks. I doubt I’ll ever see this one.

    5. Rounders, poker? Meh.

    6. The Wood, have not seen this one. I’ll check it out.

    7. Lucky Number Slevin. Awesome.

    I’ll agree that Memento was a great movie and cast side-eyes on What Dreams May come.

    A few I recommend: The Twilight Samurai, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage, Glory, Galaxy Quest.

    • @Travis: Dang, why does What Dreams May Come get the side-eye? You didn’t like it?

      Pan’s Labyrinth was visually amazing, the story was good too. I am planning on checking out The Orphanage since it is by the same person.

      • I’m channeling “Men on Film”….Hated it. LOL. The wife and I renamed it What Bunk May Come. Didn’t like it at all.

        I too checked out The Orphanage because of the del Toro connection. It is super creepy, but it’s pretty awesome, IMHO.

    • Why have I not seen this “What Dreams May Come True?”

      When did it come out? Who’s in it?

  6. Movies I’d Recommend:

    – Forrest Gump
    – City of God (Subtitles but movie is like a Brazilian Godfather)
    – The Kingdom
    – Traitor (Surprising ending makes movie all worth it plus Don Cheadle is a local guy)

    I’m sure I’m missing some more and if I think of ’em I’ll come back.

    And of course all 3 of the Mighty Ducks…God bless those Ducks…

    • @Oates: City of God is a great film. I was reluctant to see it at first but ended up thinking it was a good movie.

    • @Oates: I haven’t seen The Kingdom but all of the other movies you listed are great movies. I love Don Cheadle.

    • @oates: You really do love Forrest Gump, huh? lol …

      I enjoyed The Kingdom … and the Traitor was meh, in my opinion. But I’m a big fan of Cheadle. Good actor from a good place.

      • Man Forrest Gump is my hero. Just a simple man trying to do his thing. Not to mention that a majority of it was filmed in Savannah, GA so it has a special place w/ me.

  7. Damon,

    You are the one that made me go rent Closer. Sorry, but I fell asleep every time I tried to watch it. The only thing that semi kept me going was watching Jude Law and this was before he started banging out the babysitter so I actually still liked him at the time.

    Honestly, when I watched Michael Clayton, I ain’t gonna lie, I did rewind that mug (didn’t see it in the theatre) and re-watched that entire scene at the end all over again starting when the ugly red-head walked out of the auditorium. That scene gave me the chills just watching her squirm…

    • @jlbd: Love you homey, but you’re wack. lol. Hell, even Natalie Portman is believable in that film.

      And yeah, it’s rare someone gets to get back like Michael Clayton does in that film.

  8. Morning, y’all.

    @Damon: Good post. I love movies. I agree w/@Tam, I’m more of a movie addict than a movie snob (but I do have my standards…lol).

    The seven movies you listed are all really good. I like Rounders. A college roommate had me watch it one night and I enjoyed it but it always makes me think of how well Ed Norton plays a prick. Has he ever played a decent character?

    Movies that I like but probably wouldn’t recommend to everyone (because I usually like movies that no one else likes) are:

    – Under the Tuscan Sun
    – In Her Shoes
    – Hope Floats
    – Sliding Doors
    I like the above four films because I like the idea of reinventing one’s self & starting over to find what truly makes you happy (and the process it takes to get there)…and because I’m a sucker for love stories. Yes, even the sappy, cheesy ones. 🙂 I also like watching movies & comparing them to the books.

    – Donnie Brasco
    – Goodfellas
    – Casino
    – Snatch

    • @Shawnta’

      I loved ‘Donnie Brasco’. Johnny Depp is the truth. Have you ever seen him in ‘Chocolate’? I think he looked the best he has ever looked in that movie…. 🙂

      • @jlbd: I haven’t seen Chocolate. I’ll have to check it out. But that title made me think of another book/film combination I’ve enjoyed…Like Water for Chocolate.

        • Yeah, make sure you pick it up. It’s French so it’s pronounced ‘sho-co-lot’ with that french roll to the tongue….lol

      • @jlbd: I love Chocolat. Johnny Depp has never been dreamier than in that movie. Plus, the movie makes you hungry, so have a box of chocolates or a Hershy bar nearby.

      • I really liked him in Public Enemies.

        • Public Enemies is the one good film the four I mentioned at the top of the post…

          I’m not much of a Johnny Depp fan… that’s maybe the first of his films I’ve seen since Edward Scissorhands …

    • @shawnta: I watched Casino for the first time in full about a year ago…I was extremely caught up in how Kansas City was so connected in the mob game… made me want to learn more.

      And Joe Pesci was murderous in that film.

  9. Honestly, my favorite movie of all time has and always will be Pulp Fiction. This was a movie that I absolutely HATED when I first watched it. But, I later realized the true masterpiece behind its making and how intricately woven together the scenes are. Plus Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, and John Travolta are classic in this movie. It’s one of Quentin Tarantino’s greats and I’m really anxious to go see ‘Inglourious Basterds’…that should be a riot and I love Brad Pitt…

  10. I’m not as much of a movie snob, but there are movies that I enjoy a lot.

    1. Scarface — hate if you want to, but this movie is never not fully entertaining
    2. Kill Bill 1 &2 — Tarantino’s best work. The differences between the two movies are so small yet big at the same time. And, you learn the five-point-palm exploding heart technique. Can’t beat that.
    3. Goodfellas — by far the best gangster movie ever.
    4. Departed — it may have won the Oscar, but I don’t think this movie gets its due from audiences. The story similarities between Leo and Matt alone will keep you hooked.
    5. The Color Purple — nuff said.
    6. Almost Famous — Kate Hudson will never be this good again, so watch it to enjoy what all the early fuss was about.
    7. Love Jones — nuff said, again.

  11. I too am a movie snob. To the point that if something gets bad reviews, I will not waste my money and see it. I’ll catch it on Redbox for $1 later on. And I only buy on DVD movies that impressed me somehow.

    On the list, my favs I’ve seen are Traffic and Closer, which has one of my favorite lines ever – “I wasn’t spying, I was lovingly observing.” I’ve seen the Wood, Michael Clayton and Lucky Number Slevin but they don’t stand out to me. The Wood just kind of runs together with other black movies that didn’t stand out a lot like the Brothers or Inkwell (to me, Love and Basketball, The Best Man and Brown Sugar are better); Michael Clayton was ok but I liked George Clooney way better in Syriana. And Lucky Number Slevin seems a lot like Smokin Aces or Guy Ritchie’s films from what I recall.

    Other great movies I love about morality, or that make you think:
    Blood Diamond (yeah I still don’t want a diamond engagement ring)
    Casablanca
    The Life of David Gale (about the death penalty)
    A Beautiful Mind
    Sleepers (the ultimate revenge movie)
    Slumdog Millionaire
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (the “joys” of erasing memories of someone you fell in love with)
    Pursuit of Happyness
    Cruel Intentions (I added this one because I LOVED it when I was in high school)

    • @D-milz

      I really loved ‘Cruel Intentions’ too…this movie alone made me love The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, it’s a young tale of love that every young person wishes they could experience at some point in their youth (sans the death of Ryan’s character)

    • A Beautiful Mind
      Sleepers (the ultimate revenge movie)
      Slumdog Millionaire
      Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (the “joys” of erasing memories of someone you fell in love with)
      Pursuit of Happyness

      @D-milz: I agree with you on all of these.

    • @dmilz: A Beautiful Mind, Slumdog Millionaire and Cruel Intentions are my favs from your list.

      I haven’t seen A Beautiful Mind once since I saw it in the theater, though. It’s a tough one to watch because of what Crowe’s character goes through.

      Similar can be said about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I like the film, but man do those people go through some strange stuff. i don’t think I could ever watch it again.

      I have to watch Cruel Intentions every time it comes on, though. One of my fav teen films ever.

  12. Another one that I really like and I’m not exactly sure why is Good Will Hunting. It isn’t a great movie but I really liked it for some reason.

    • i need to watch it again. I watched when I was 17, and wasn’t really paying any attention to the film …

      • @damon: Don’t be mad at me if you don’t like it. LOL..that’s why I rarely make movie recommendations because no one likes what I like. I still have to watch Fight Club again. I remember saying I didn’t like it (probably because I fell asleep & had no idea what was going on) and you recommended that I watch it again. I still haven’t done so but will.

        • I remember liking it, though. So i wouldn’t be too shocked if I did. …

          Once I found out what was really going on in Fight Club, I knew I’d never want to watch it again. Good movie, though.

  13. Traffic was a serious movie, i loved it.

    My list of movies:
    Vantage Point
    Hangover
    Superbad
    The Wackness
    Eagle Eye

    and there’s a movie i cant remember where the population has a certain number and if another person comes in or is born, they have to kill someone. It was nutty

    • @Peyso: Hangover & Superbad are hilarious. Did you like Knocked Up? I thought it was funny too. Hmm…the movie you can’t remember the title for sounds interesting. If you (or anyone else) think of it, I might have to check it out.

      • I didnt like Knocked Up. Seemed slow. I usually like all the movies from the Jew Tang Clan and the Frat Pack

        • @peyso: Got you. I like all of their movies too. Knocked Up was funny to me because of her sister’s (Debbie) character and all of his friends…not so much the two main characters.

    • Gattaca?

      • @Travis: I don’t think the movie @Peyso’s talking about but can’t remember the name of is Gattica. I’ve seen it before and that was more so about creating a perfect race of humans…right? Almost like Minority Report. Correct me if I’m wrong; I’ve only seen it once.

      • Naw, it wasnt Gattaca

  14. I have only seen the Wood. I am open to look at the others though.
    My recs are:
    1.Knowing: there is a lot of theology in there.(If you in to that)
    2.5 Heartbeats, because I got nothing but love for you baby!
    3. Asian Film. Yes, there is a lot more to it than martial arts.
    4. The Princess Bride Nuff said!
    5. Office Space. Ummmm Yeah.
    Just for fun, Goonies. HEY YOU GUYS!!!!!

    • @Ernesto: Aww…The Five Heartbeats…classic. 🙂

      I liked Office Space too.

      Funny story about The Princess Bride…I was watching The Prince of Tides and told someone this over the phone, they thought I was saying The Princess Bride and man, did we have the craziest conversation ever. We thought we were talking about the same movie for a good 2 or 3 minutes…lost in translation. Craziness.

  15. Has anyone seen equilibrium

  16. Oh and another movie is Dark Knight and The first three Pierce Brosnan 007’s (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough).

    I absolutely love the turn that the Batman and 007 series has taken. It paints Bruce Wayne/James Bond as quite disturbed individuals which should be the truth in reality. The plots of the stories are great and esp the new Batman’s have me on the edge of my seat each time I watch it.

    • Totally agree on the turn for Batman and 007! I like them as more realistic people (as compared to Superman. I had to ask my mom when Isaw the most recent one, “have they always been so cheesy?”).

      Even the most gifted, giving, selfless, heroic people are still tragically flawed somehow and I really like seeing that depicted in some of America’s fav superheroes. I think that was why I always loved X-men too.

  17. A few films I recommend:

    American History X
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    Once
    The Reader
    Tsotsi
    Amelie
    The Color Purple
    Love, Actually
    When Harry Met Sally
    The Lion King (lol, shutup)
    As Good As it Gets
    Slumdog Millionaire
    Goodfellas
    Memento
    Schindler’s List

    • @Cheekie: I love The Lion King & When Harry Met Sally. As Good As it Gets is good too. I think Slumdog Millionaire is good and will be a classic.

  18. THANK GOD Hav Plenty didn’t make your list. My list off the top of my head:

    Gia, Eve’s Bayou, The Departed, Pay It Forward, Knocked Up, The Last King Of Scotland & The Notebook.

    • @Brownblaze: LOL…what’s wrong with Hav Plenty? I like that movie and actually considered listing it. 🙂

      From your list…I agree on Pay It Forward and The Notebook. Both of these are so good.

    • @brownblaze: Why won’t you let my love for Hav Plenty be great? Hater. lol.

  19. I’m 2-for-10. I’ve seen “Stranger Than Fiction” and “The Wood”. Oh and I’m with you Damon. “Hav Plenty” is one of my all-time favs… Terrible acting, but I love the film. Had you given that script to some qualified actors… It could’ve been something.

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