20 Films I love that my non-filmy friends don't know exist

by inspired-kiwi | created - 17 Oct 2010 | updated - 26 Dec 2010 | Public
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1. Life as a House (2001)

R | 125 min | Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
45 Metascore

When a man is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his misanthropic teenage son, for whom quality time means getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution, and avoiding his father.

Director: Irwin Winkler | Stars: Hayden Christensen, Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jena Malone

Votes: 40,626 | Gross: $15.65M

A gaggle of fantastic performances (my favourite by HC) and a moving script.

2. Before Sunrise (1995)

R | 101 min | Drama, Romance

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
77 Metascore

A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Andrea Eckert, Hanno Pöschl

Votes: 212,286 | Gross: $5.54M

Great interludes, great chemistry, lovely setting.

3. Before Sunset (2004)

R | 80 min | Drama, Romance

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
90 Metascore

Nine years after Jesse and Celine first met, they encounter each other again on the French leg of Jesse's book tour.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff, Louise Lemoine Torrès

Votes: 186,184 | Gross: $5.79M

Great interludes, great chiemistry, lovely setting AND 9 years of anticipation.

4. The United States of Leland (2003)

R | 108 min | Drama

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
37 Metascore

A young man's experience in a juvenile detention center that touches on the tumultuous changes that befall his family and the community in which he lives.

Director: Matthew Ryan Hoge | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Don Cheadle, Kevin Spacey, Chris Klein

Votes: 21,098 | Gross: $0.34M

Sad, beautiful, thought provoking - this film just got to me and it's never gone away.

5. Buffalo '66 (1998)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
68 Metascore

After being released from prison, Billy is set to visit his parents with his wife, whom he does not actually have. This provokes Billy to act out, as he kidnaps a girl and forces her to act as his wife for the visit.

Director: Vincent Gallo | Stars: Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, Ben Gazzara, Mickey Rourke

Votes: 39,993 | Gross: $2.38M

The interaction between characters haunted me. I found this film mesmerising.

6. The Lives of Others (2006)

R | 137 min | Drama, Thriller

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
89 Metascore

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck | Stars: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 291,935 | Gross: $11.29M

To try and say in a few words why I like this film would do it an injustice. So I'll just say I think it's wonderful.

7. Laurel Canyon (2002)

R | 103 min | Drama

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
61 Metascore

When an uptight young man and his fiancee move into his libertine mother's house, the resulting clash of life attitudes shakes everyone up.

Director: Lisa Cholodenko | Stars: Frances McDormand, Alessandro Nivola, Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale

Votes: 13,787 | Gross: $3.66M

Amongst other highlights, the hottest non-touch love scene EVER!

8. Young@Heart (2007)

PG | 107 min | Documentary, Music

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
75 Metascore

A documentary on a chorus of senior citizens from Massachusetts who cover songs by Jimi Hendrix, Coldplay, Sonic Youth, and other unexpected musicians.

Directors: Stephen Walker, Sally George | Stars: Joe Benoit, Helen Boston, Louise Canady, Elaine Fligman

Votes: 3,681 | Gross: $3.96M

I loved their passion and energy, I fell in love with them as people and then I mourned those who were lost.

9. Rain (III) (2001)

92 min | Drama, Romance

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
71 Metascore

Whilst on a family vacation on the Mahurangi Peninsula in New Zealand, 13-year-old Janey begins to realize that her parents' marriage is on the rocks.

Director: Christine Jeffs | Stars: Alicia Fulford-Wierzbicki, Sarah Peirse, Marton Csokas, Alistair Browning

Votes: 1,477 | Gross: $0.45M

Emotive, atmospheric, and provoking.

10. The Dreamers (2003)

NC-17 | 115 min | Drama, Romance

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
62 Metascore

A young American studying in Paris in 1968 strikes up a friendship with a French brother and sister. Set against the background of the '68 Paris student riots.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci | Stars: Michael Pitt, Louis Garrel, Eva Green, Anna Chancellor

Votes: 91,668 | Gross: $2.53M

A guilty pleasure. Love the leads, love the film references, love the boundary pushing.

11. The Edukators (2004)

R | 127 min | Drama, Romance

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
68 Metascore

Three activists cobble together a kidnapping plot after they encounter a businessman in his home.

Director: Hans Weingartner | Stars: Daniel Brühl, Julia Jentsch, Stipe Erceg, Burghart Klaußner

Votes: 28,468 | Gross: $0.18M

Another great German film. Captivating and clever.

12. Thumbsucker (2005)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
69 Metascore

Justin throws himself and everyone around him into chaos when he attempts to break free from his addiction to his thumb.

Director: Mike Mills | Stars: Lou Taylor Pucci, Tilda Swinton, Vincent D'Onofrio, Keanu Reeves

Votes: 19,494 | Gross: $1.33M

Well written, I love the realtionships and the unusual situations that occur.

13. Man on Wire (2008)

PG-13 | 94 min | Documentary, Biography

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
89 Metascore

A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".

Director: James Marsh | Stars: Philippe Petit, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix

Votes: 45,946 | Gross: $2.96M

The guy has guts and that blows me away, and I also loved the human element of him processing personal issues.

14. In My Father's Den (2004)

R | 127 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A disillusioned war journalist's return home is blighted when he becomes implicated in the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl he has befriended.

Director: Brad McGann | Stars: Matthew Macfadyen, Miranda Otto, Emily Barclay, Colin Moy

Votes: 6,628

I love love love the relationship between Paul and Celia, the scenery is to die for, and the whole film is beautiful, sad and moving. What a shame Brad McGann has passed.

15. The Station Agent (2003)

R | 89 min | Comedy, Drama

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
81 Metascore

When his only friend dies, a man born with dwarfism moves to rural New Jersey to live a life of solitude, only to meet a chatty hot dog vendor and a woman dealing with her own personal loss.

Director: Tom McCarthy | Stars: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale, Paul Benjamin

Votes: 61,580 | Gross: $5.74M

Just a beautiful little film with humour, heart and great performances.

16. L'auberge espagnole (2002)

R | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
65 Metascore

A strait-laced French student moves into an apartment in Barcelona with a cast of six other characters from all over Europe. Together, they speak the international language of love and friendship.

Director: Cédric Klapisch | Stars: Romain Duris, Judith Godrèche, Kelly Reilly, Audrey Tautou

Votes: 36,285 | Gross: $3.90M

I wanted to move in!

17. I Heart Huckabees (2004)

R | 107 min | Comedy

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
55 Metascore

A husband-and-wife team play detective, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, the happy duo helps others solve their existential issues, the kind that keep you up at night, wondering what it all means.

Director: David O. Russell | Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Mark Wahlberg

Votes: 58,919 | Gross: $12.78M

Clever and so, so funny.

18. Live and Become (2005)

Unrated | 140 min | Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A Christian boy escapes to Israel from famine-stricken Ethiopia by pretending to be Jewish.

Director: Radu Mihaileanu | Stars: Yaël Abecassis, Roschdy Zem, Moshe Agazai, Moshe Abebe

Votes: 5,324

A mini epic with a great storyline about love, being family, belonging and self-definition.

19. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

R | 106 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
88 Metascore

In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Stars: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ana López Mercado

Votes: 98,925 | Gross: $13.62M

Hot, fun, a great journey, and lots of heart.

20. Donnie Darko (2001)

R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
88 Metascore

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

Director: Richard Kelly | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne

Votes: 647,588 | Gross: $0.19M

Challenging, mysterious, affecting, and a giant bunny!