Artisanal, Hand-Crafted Movie Recommendations

Mmmmm...anthropomorphic hot dogs

Mmmmm…anthropomorphic hot dogs

As the most beloved living film critic, people often ask me if they should see a movie, and for me, the answer is always yes because I like to have people to talk about movies with, and don’t really care if you waste two hours of your life on Black Swan or whatever. Still, in the interest of being somewhat helpful, here’s pretty much every movie I saw in 2013 as well as a description of what kind of person should watch these movies.

You should see this movie if you…

The Vanishing (1988)

…like the idea of you and a loved one being buried alive.

L’Enfant (2005)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French people.

Kid with a Bike (2011)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French kids.

La Haine (1995)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French kids in black and white.

Festen (1998)

…find it plausible that a big party could continue as if nothing happened after the host is accused of child molestation.

District 9 (2009)

…believe that comparing black Africans under apartheid to hideous bugs is helpful somehow.

Upstream Color (2013)

…think not enough movies center on piglet murder.

A History of Violence (2005)

…like your murders arbitrary and awesome.

A Prophet (2009)

…want to spend three hours being REALLY EXCITED about a guy slowly infiltrating the Corsican prison gang while growing a mustache.

Cries and Whispers (1972)

…wonder if being surrounded by bright red walls all the time keeps you from being awful and miserable (it doesn’t).

The Seventh Seal (1957)

…want to see chess with death!

Bicycle Thieves (1948)

…like Italy, but hate the persistent image of it as “fun.”

Big Fan (2009)

…hate anyone who likes sports.

City of God (2002)

…believe movies about the protagonist’s closest family members being murdered in the slums of Rio should be FUN.

Come and See (1985)

…want to feel cool for knowing that the real worst stuff in World War II happened in Russia.

Das Boot (1981)

… are on a plane and want to feel marginally less claustrophobic by imagining the massive amounts of personal space you could have on a German submarine.

Dazed and Confused (1993)

…want to see Matthew McConaughey star as himself. Also, young Tim Lincecum.

Loves of a Blonde (1965)

…believe the plot of pretty much every episode of Girls (someone sleeps with someone, realizes that person doesn’t like her) would be interesting if only it were set in communist Czechoslovakia.

Amour (2012)

…want to have a long talk with your spouse about whether or not you’d be willing to kill each other, should it come to that.

The Man Without a Past (2002)

…want to have seen a movie about Finland that has a wacky, positive take on massive head trauma.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

…like movies that are about movies.

Ran (1985)

…prefer your Shakespeare to be epic, colorful, violent and in Japanese.

La Stanza Del Figlio (2001)

…hate scuba diving and enjoy being emotionally manipulated.

Le Samourai (1967)

…wish Drive were in French and starred someone even more handsome than Ryan Gosling.

Knife in the Water (1962)

…were on the fence about whether or not to go on a boat trip in Poland.

Robot & Frank (2012)

…think Wall-E was for pansies.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

…don’t care if a movie with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper goes nowhere so long as there are some fun dance scenes.

Spirited Away (2000)

…are seven years old.

Star Trek (2009)

…want to be blinded by blue light flares

Solaris (1972)

…need to be convinced that a movie whose primary villain is a magical space ocean can be awesome.

The Apartment (1960)

…miss when a movie based on suicide attempts, drug addiction, alcoholism, and extramarital affairs was a lighthearted comedy romp.

The Remains of the Day (1993)

…want to spend two hours experiencing the emotion of regret.

In The Mood For Love (2000)

…want to spend two hours experiencing the emotion of regret in Chinese.

True Romance (1993)

…think we haven’t come a long way in regards to race relations in the past two decades or so. Also, Drexl Spivey.

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

…need to see proof that a book about raising a school shooter doesn’t translate well into a movie.

The Man From Earth (2007)

…love the idea of a bunch of bad actors sitting around and talking about philosophy.

Monsieur Hire (1989)

…like it when the creepy guy gets the girl.

Audition (1999)

…like it when the creepy guy is brutally dismembered by the girl.

Klown (2010)

…believe that the problem with Curb Your Enthusiasm is that it’s not awkward enough.

Brother (1997)

…enjoy the combination of violent Russian crime and synth-pop.

Primer (2004)

…like time travel movies, but hate when you understand them.

Reprise (2006)

…want to watch a movie about the Norwegian literary scene, but were waiting for one starring a Norwegian Buster Posey lookalike.

Bliss (2007)

…want to watch a movie about the Turkish fundamentalist Islamic scene, but were waiting for one starring a Turkish Colin Kaepernick lookalike.

This Is England (2006)

…think skinheads have gotten a bad rap.

Live-In Maid (2004)

…think drunk, rich ladies have gotten a bad rap.

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

…have wondered what it would be like if a romantic comedy actually made sense.

Young Adult (2011)

…find it possible to pity someone as attractive as Charlize Theron (note: this is the same as my review for Up in the Air).

Departures (2008)

…know that the only true way to rediscover your love of the cello is through touching a lot of dead people.

The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

…are having trouble sleeping.

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006)

…find James Bond too self-aware and not misogynistic enough

OSS 117: Lost in Rio (2009)

…liked the last one, but wish it were set in Rio.

Rubber (2010)

…want to see how it’s possible to make a movie about a psychic tire that explodes people’s brains be boring.

Naked (1993)

…have room for one more charming antihero in your life.

Bernie (2011)

…want to see something that really nails the Texasness of Texas.

After The Wedding (2006)

…don’t find it weird for a dying person to import some guy from India for the purpose of marrying his wife after he dies.

I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK (2006)

…are into robosexual Korean acid trip romcoms.

If somehow these recommendations weren’t actually helpful,  I went ahead and italicized ten of my favorites, but don’t let me stop you if you find  yourself really pumped at the idea of watching a bunch of HOT CHINESE REGRET action. Unless you want to watch Festen. Don’t watch Festen. That movie is terrible.

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One thought on “Artisanal, Hand-Crafted Movie Recommendations

  1. Anonymous says:

    I loved your reviews. Especially for the two entries in the overlap section of our “watched in 2013 movies” Venn diagram: Swimming Upstream and the Bicycle Thieves.

    (I know – I am also amazed that those turned out to be the 2 shared film experiences – weird death on on weird pig farm futurism movie, which I saw at Stanford with your fellow alum director – and “why didn’t they say this was a sad movie since it has “bicycle” in the title and it’s Italian?”

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