Yes, I am responsible for this topic. Awesome responses, guys. I thought I was the only one who remembered Hal Hartley. I think Victoria now has a viewing list that will get her into the next millennium.
Ahhh college. I saw a lot of good movies in college. They helped me find my adult brain.
So here they are in no particular order:
The Crying Game
I remember my friend Jake didn't see Crying Game right away, and one day in a lecture hall, he had to change seats five times because all he kept hearing was ‘I saw the Crying Game, and. . . .' He eventually managed to see the film without the big secret being revealed to him.
When I saw it, I figured out the big secret before the big reveal, but I still fell in love with Stephen Rea's deep sad eyes and dark curly hair. I recently saw this film again, and it has really stood the test of time. It's not about a big secret, but about how a man can redeem himself through love. Awww.
Henry V, Dead Again, Peter's Friends
Remember when Kenneth Branagh was a bright young phenom who made great films? With a supporting cast that included Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Ian Holm, Christian Bale, and Emma Thompson (speaking only French), Branagh stormed onto the screen as Henry and conquered France in a film that makes warmongering sound like a pretty good thing. And the post-battle tracking shot kicks ass. In Dead Again, he went to Hollywood with a time shift thriller that's a lot of fun. It's a little film that's done really well. And watch those scissors. With Peter's Friends, he and some actor friends play old friends who meet up again at a mansion in England. It's sorta like Big Chill only they're ten years younger and English. Emma Thompson steals the show as the shy friend, and yes, that's Hugh Laurie, that guy from House.
The Lovers (Les Amants)
Every young lady should see an Anna Magnani film (my preferences are Momma Roma, Open City, The Fugitive Kind, and The Rose Tattoo) and a Jeanne Moreau film (especially Jules and Jim). My absolute favorite Moreau film and favorite French guilty pleasure is Louis Malle's Les Amants. Shot in black and white, Moreau plays a bored provincial wife who visits her party-girl friend in Paris and carries on an adulterous love affair with a polo player. And that's just the first five minutes. And look at the clothes and the hair---oooohlala.
The Unbelievable Truth, Trust, Simple Men
Three Hal Hartley gems from Long Island. Great romantic character pieces with casts that included Adrienne Shelly, Martin Donovan, Edie Falco, and Elena Lowensohn. Great, smart fun.
A major work of American independent cinema by Todd Haynes. Before he made Far from Heaven, Velvet Goldmine, and Safe, he made Poison on very little money. This film is a series of three short stories about sex, violence, and obsession, but just see this film. It's good. My roommate had a poster for Poison on our dorm room wall.
My Own Private Idaho
She also had a poster for My Own Private Idaho on the wall. I'd wake up in the morning, and Keanu and River were staring back at me. I've been on this road before. It looks like a fucked up face. I saw this film again recently. Gus Van Sant took Shakespeare and made fucking poetry.
I remember seeing this movie in a crowded tiny theatre on 8th Street. A greasy buttered popcorn smell hung in the air like cheap cigarette smoke as wannabe filmmakers witnessed destruction in the name of cinema.
Wings of Desire, The State of Things, Until the End of the World
This is the Wim Wenders section. I went through a Wim Wenders phase in college. Wings of Desire is both beautiful and brutal, and I am convinced real angels made some of those shots happen. And it has Peter Falk and Nick Cave. Over the years, I've met people who absolutely love Wings of Desire. When I mentioned it as a favorite film, their faces would light up like Solveig Dommartin at the end. The State of Things is a sharp quick film about a film production that runs out of money. Hollywood, Hollywood, never been a town where people had it so good. Until the End of the World is set in 1999, the year the Indian nuclear satellite went out of control. Claire, a party girl, falls for a mysterious man played by William Hurt and follows him around the world on a strange quest. In the end, she comes face to face with the addictive and destructive power of dreams. Beautifully shot epic with amazing soundtrack. Everyone had the soundtrack back in the early nineties. I remember once in London listening to it while. . . .moving on.
Hard Boiled, The Killer, Better Tomorrow Parts 1 and 2, Once a Thief
There is this actor named Chow Yun Fat, and he once made action movies with John Woo. Chow Yun Fat is not only handsome, he can act too. If you want action like a slo mo ballet, check these out. I discovered these while working in a video store. I warn you though. It can sometimes get brutal. Hard Boiled's climax takes place in a hospital. Also check out Chow Yun Fat in City on Fire which is remarkably similar to Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.
The Heroic Trio
Yes, I went through a Hong Kong action phase when I worked in a video store. In this one, three female superheroines kick ass and take on a baby kidnapper. The three female superheroines are played by Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, and Anita Mui. Beautifully shot and choreographed. And did I mention they kick ass?
Whilest in college, I discovered the films of Robert Bresson. All of his films are amazing, but I'm choosing Pickpocket because it was the first one I ever saw. I showed up late for the showing at Lincoln Center. The next week, I made my teacher describe the first five minutes of the film. He described it perfectly.
Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise)
Don't watch this film on a television. Watch it on a big screen. It is so beautiful that you will weep.
I watched Speed five times on five consecutive days when I was in grad school. I had gotten it out from the video store I worked in, and my boss told me to just keep it. My roommates and I were smoking a lot of pot at the time. There's a bomb on the bus, and they can't go below fifty, and they're in LA. Whoahhhh.
Pump Up The Volume
Chris down the hall loved this movie and saw it twelve times at the Angelica. Christian Slater plays a pirate radio DJ in high school. It's just plain fun. Hard Harry.