There comes a moment in every movie lovers life, when they start to wonder if their film tastes lie somewhere other than in lock step with the popular culture's. For some, it's the first time they saw an action movie everyone loved but they thought was boring. For others, it's the time they accidentally rented a classic film and found themselves wondering what else that person had directed.
For me, it was when I saw Aronofsky's "The Fountain." It was anon linear, artistic expression of themes surrounding life, death, and rebirth. Walking out of the theater, I heard some of the friends I saw the movie with asking, 'What the heck was that? I couldn't tell what was going on." All the while, I couldn't get the imagery out of my head. I realized I had seen something special and I had seen it in a way most of my friends had not.
After that, I slowly started my journey into cinephiledom. But where to go next? As burgeoning cinema lover, I didn't really know what to try next. More Aronofsky? The AFI top 100?
Well here are out TOP 10 GATEWAY FILM PICKS to help you get your feet wet in the world of film appreciation.
If you want more discussion on these films check out Episode 22b of the True Myth Media Podcast.
One of Chaplin's best. If you find it tough to wade into Silent Film waters this might be the perfect film to open you up to the humor and charm that made Chaplin the world's most famous and recognizable man. One of the first great film celebrities in one of his greatest hits.
Nicolas Winding Refn, may not always hit it out of the park but he's always doing something unique and interesting. Starring Ryan Gosling, "Drive" is his most popular film and while it is slow to develop, it crescendos in violence and action that will get your heart pumping. If you dig this movie, maybe it's time to start looking into some other films with an emphasis on stylistic production and deeply motivated characters.
For many people, finding out a film is in black and white will turn them off. There are too many great B&W pictures to skip them all, so ease your way in with one of the greatest movies ever made. I have literally not met anyone who watched this story of love, tragically cut short by war, and didn't like it. See? Black and White CAN be good.
If you have found this website than you have probably already heard “Get Out”, the outstanding film about a young black man visiting his white girlfriend's family for the first time. If you find yourself vibing with the creepy offness of many of the characters or the very well done hypnotism sequences and effects, you should definitely check out some more surrealist film.
Tarantino is one of those few directors that regularly crosses the audience/critic divide. His works are almost always loved by both those who are steeped in film culture and those who just like a good bloody tale with interesting characters and dialogue. "Pulp Fiction” is the film that put him on the map and may just be the first of his you check out.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
A bit trippy, ESotSM is an amazing deconstructive look at relationships, all centering around a new form of technology, which erases memories. Stunning performances make this absurd premise reach into your heart both for laughs and feels. Learning to roll with the crazy is par for the course with Jim Carrey and with many art films so you definitely can't go wrong feeling out your taste for such fare with this film.
A delightful animated tale about a young girl who stumbles into a thinly veiled spirit realm bathhouse and gets pressed into servitude. This truly unique coming of age story is perfect for people who find many asian films too strange as the animation helps you bridge that gap of credulity. You may just find yourself looking for more by Miyazaki.
One of the aspects of film that cinephiles revere is lighting. Blade Runner is phenomenal example of cinema that uses light to illustrate its story. No wonder it won best Cinematography at the 2018 Academy Awards. Films are meant to be watched and this films use of color and atmosphere will have you struggling to look away.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Is there anything more epic that 3 films all shot continuously? Is there anything that compares to the armor, weaponry, costuming, set design and production, and VFX in the LOTR trilogy? When Hollywood does an Epic they do it big and many of these films are worth the runtime because of the spectacle they contain.
There may not be much action in this film, but the violence in every word that Daniel Plainview speaks drips from his devious lips like the oil he seeks. A true masterpiece of acting, it's hard to recommend a better film as an example of sheer acting power and presence. It doesn't look bad either.