Will Discusses Movies, Asks a Favor
February 17, 2010

It's come to my attention (unwittingly) that, for some people, a movie is not a thing you sit down with a bunch of friends, watch, and then discuss after. Rather, for what I find a surprising portion of the population, a movie is something you put on in the background so you can chat with your friends and intermittently stare at a screen, presumably because your brain needs time to cool off between spurts of activity.

This sort of activity is best suited to films that repeat their key plot points and transition between scenes with giant fireballs and gunshots, so that it's easy for the audience to pick up and drop the story like they were playing Hot Potato. Also, dialogue is best used as filler, because the audience will be talking over it for most of the duration.

While I accept that some people enjoy this form of film watching, I am not one of those people. As a result, when my roommates invite people over to watch a film I am expecting to sit down, watch it, and occasionally pause to discuss it. Thus, I recommended we watch A Beautiful Mind, partly because I haven't seen it in years, and partly because I remember it being a fantastic narrative, with particular relevance to my interest in psychology, consciousness, philosophy of mind, and to a lesser extent game theory and mathematics.

The evening did not go as planned. I eventually gave up and retreated to my room to finish watching the film in peace.

As I type this, I'm reminded of a similar occurrence some months ago when I recommended for viewing Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, as a result of a conversation about science fiction and how awesome some of the classics are. Subsequent conversations indicate this is not an issue with my roommates, but with the people they tend to associate with, which is reassuring because discussing an interesting film afterward is half the fun.

But more to the point, it's led me to realize that, one, this divide exists (I know, shocking), and two, that I fall quite safely on the "films that make you think" side.

With that in mind, I find in the house library a lack, though not complete lack, of those kinds of films, and I'm wondering if you, the good people of HonestGamers, can recommend any of note.

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honestgamer honestgamer - February 17, 2010 (01:48 AM)
I found The Life of David Gale interesting. I believe that's its title. Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslett, among others. Pretty interesting stuff with a message somewhat worth pondering.
bloomer bloomer - February 17, 2010 (02:27 AM)
The problem with seeing as many films as I do is that for a general plug to someone I little know, I dunno where to begin. And arguably a list is useless. But I'll make one anyway!

I went through my 2009 diary and picked out the films I most enjoyed and regarded most highly from the year's viewing.

That were new at the cinema:

The Wrestler
Revolutionary Road
Milk
The Uninvited
Observe & Report
Orphan
Zombieland
Paranormal Activity
Antichrist

That I watched at home (and therefore could come from any time):

The Duchess
4 Minutes
Rescue Dawn
Girlfight
Mr Brooks
Two Lovers
Shaun of the Dead
In Bruges
La Sconiscuta

I also had a feeling you didn't want me to recommend 'Baby Mama' or 'Yes Man', though they would have been on my list.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - February 17, 2010 (07:25 AM)
If I list war movies, it's because these particular ones have the potential to make you think about stuff.

Pan's Labyrinth
The Others
We Were Soldiers (watched it in my philosophy class)
The Orphanage*
Motorcycle Diaries
Life is Beautiful (I think that's that Italian Holocaust story)
The Sea Inside*

* These, like Pan's Labyrinth, are also Spanish movies. Though in these cases, I'm not sure if they have a straight English title or not. I imagine they would, but I watched them in Spanish so I can't say. (Well, The Sea Inside I know does; I saw it in the Language Lab here.) All, of course, have subtitles in English.

I'll think of more later.
Suskie Suskie - February 17, 2010 (08:25 AM)
I've got one: Memento. Easily one of my favorite movies, and while it's not difficult to follow, the way its narrative is set up ensures that you won't be able to keep up with it if you're not paying attention. I won't say more on the off chance that you know nothing about it, but it's got a wonderful narrative and one of the most creative approaches to telling it I've ever seen in a movie.

If you're into sci-fi, I'd recommend a movie called Sunshine, directed by Danny Boyle, who also did 28 Days Later and just won an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire. It's got a ridiculous-sounding setup, but it's intelligent and well paced, less focused on action and shenanigans and more focused on the natural wonder of space. I have a friend who thought it was "gay as AIDS," and he adores Transformers 2. That should be all the endorsement you need.

A few others off the top of my head:

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Children of Men
Grizzly Man
Heavenly Creatures
The Lives of Others
United 93
Waltz with Bashir

I'm impressed WQ recommended The Sea Inside. Throw that one on my list of recommendations as well, especially if you've seen Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men and want to see him play a character on the exact opposite end of the spectrum.
zippdementia zippdementia - February 17, 2010 (10:50 AM)
Bladerunner is an amazing film that is captivating both visually and story-wise while also giving you a lot to think about, especially if you pick up the newest cut.

Run, Lola, Run is a must-see if you haven't already, as are the following:

Glenn Gary, Glenn Ross
Man on Wire
City of God (holy shit it's incredible)
In the Realm of the Senses
Talk to Her
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Battle Royale
Donnie Darko
Twelve Monkeys
Ghost in the Shell (really anything connected with it, whether it be one of the two films or the series)
Jin-Roh
The Machinist
Now and Then, Here and There
Casshern (live action... very Japanese but shockingly heavy)


Those are the first to jump to mind. The last one I'm going to suggest you might raise eyebrows at, but This is It was an incredible film that very subtly invites you to think about an entire range of subjects, from pop culture, to the work behind putting a production together, to a creative mind at work, to a study of personalities. It's much deeper than people are willing to admit and the only reason they won't admit it is because they are convinced that Michael Jackson was not cool... when in fact he fucking invented cool.

This may also seem a bit unhumble, but I'll send you a copy of my film Population 2 when it comes out. It deals with a very deep theme in an unexpected manner.
darketernal darketernal - February 17, 2010 (11:53 AM)
Watch Jack Ketchum's: A girl next door.


It will make you feel very, very dirty.
WilltheGreat WilltheGreat - February 17, 2010 (02:23 PM)
That's...a lot more responses than I was expecting. I am pleasantly surprised, thanks everybody.
EmP EmP - February 17, 2010 (04:09 PM)
Watch that one, with the guy from that other film. You know, the one with the bit at the end everyone knows. Yeah, the film -- that one.

::word-for-word quote of someone I was speaking to the other week::
darketernal darketernal - February 17, 2010 (04:38 PM)
And I bet you knew what movie he was talking about.

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