A small mandatory watchlist based on some redeeming quality

by mixedblood74 | created - 02 Jan 2017 | updated - 4 months ago | Public

A list of films which I believe should be watched without hesitation, based on some redeeming quality - whether it's feel-good, enlightening, mind-bending, full of heart and soul, or just sheer originality. You can't please everyone all the time, so try not to be a hater. Hopefully there's something on here that you haven't seen.

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1. Skins (2002)

R | 84 min | Crime, Drama

57 Metascore

An inspirational tale about the relationship between two Sioux Indian brothers living on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation.

Director: Chris Eyre | Stars: Eric Schweig, Graham Greene, Gary Farmer, Noah Watts

Votes: 1,240 | Gross: $0.24M

A powerful Native, brother, redemption film from the great Chris Eyre.

2. Thunderheart (1992)

R | 119 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

A young mixed-blood FBI agent is assigned to work with a cynical veteran investigator on a murder on a poverty-stricken Sioux reservation.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: Val Kilmer, Sam Shepard, Graham Greene, Fred Ward

Votes: 12,365 | Gross: $22.66M

A Hollywood production, but they get it right, tell a good story, and respect Natives while doing so.

3. Smoke Signals (1998)

PG-13 | 89 min | Comedy, Drama

76 Metascore

Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversize glasses and telling everyone stories no-one wants to hear. His parents died in a fire in 1976, and Thomas was saved by... See full summary »

Director: Chris Eyre | Stars: Adam Beach, Evan Adams, Irene Bedard, Gary Farmer

Votes: 8,766 | Gross: $6.72M

Feel good story about the power of fathers.

4. Absentia (I) (2011)

R | 87 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A woman and her sister begin to link a mysterious tunnel to a series of disappearances, including that of her own husband.

Director: Mike Flanagan | Stars: Catherine Parker, Courtney Bell, Dave Levine, Justin Gordon

Votes: 14,726

Low budget indie horror with a griping story and spooky feel.

5. Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

Not Rated | 67 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A businessman accidentally kills The Metal Fetishist, who gets his revenge by slowly turning the man into a grotesque hybrid of flesh and rusty metal.

Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto | Stars: Tomorô Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara, Nobu Kanaoka, Shin'ya Tsukamoto

Votes: 15,932

What can I say? This film just has to be experienced. It's crazy addictive fun.

6. Catfish (2010)

PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary

65 Metascore

Young filmmakers document their colleague's budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries.

Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman | Stars: Yaniv Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost, Angela Wesselman-Pierce

Votes: 37,626 | Gross: $3.23M

I saw this long before the TV show ever came out and wasn't sure if it was a horror movie even while I was watching it. That's the power of it.

7. Slacker (1991)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama

69 Metascore

A day in the life of Austin, Texas as the camera roams from place to place and provides a brief look at the overeducated, the social misfits, the outcasts and the oddballs.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine, Jan Hockey

Votes: 16,972 | Gross: $1.23M

Exemplifies the phrase "Keep Austin weird." In this early film of his, you can see the groundwork Linklater will lay in his upcoming films as both a philosopher and a voice of his generation.

8. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

R | 92 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

57 Metascore

Based on the Bram Stoker Award nominee short story by cult author Joe R. Lansdale, Bubba Ho-tep tells the "true" story of what really did become of Elvis Presley. We find Elvis (Bruce ... See full summary »

Director: Don Coscarelli | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Bob Ivy, Ella Joyce

Votes: 41,502 | Gross: $2.00M

Original all the way. If you can go in with an open mind, you will be richly rewarded with humor and one of the most touching, albeit out there, tributes to the King.

9. Ink (I) (2009)

Not Rated | 107 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

A mysterious creature, known as Ink, steals a child's soul in hopes of using it as a bargaining chip to join the Incubi - the group of supernatural beings responsible for creating nightmares.

Director: Jamin Winans | Stars: Christopher Soren Kelly, Quinn Hunchar, Jessica Duffy, Jennifer Batter

Votes: 19,685

One of my favorite films of all time. Come for the independent and original spirit, stay for the heart and soul.

10. Food, Inc. (2008)

PG | 94 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

An unflattering look inside America's corporate controlled food industry.

Director: Robert Kenner | Stars: Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Richard Lobb, Vince Edwards

Votes: 46,410 | Gross: $4.42M

Will make you re-think what you do everyday.

11. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

R | 86 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

72 Metascore

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel.

Director: Colin Trevorrow | Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni

Votes: 108,545 | Gross: $4.01M

An independent and original love story.

12. Ten Canoes (2006)

Unrated | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

82 Metascore

A story within a story. In Australia's Northern Territory, a man tells us one of the stories of his people and his land. It's a story of an older man, Minygululu, who has three wives and ... See full summary »

Directors: Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr | Stars: Crusoe Kurddal, Jamie Gulpilil, Richard Birrinbirrin, Peter Minygululu

Votes: 4,018 | Gross: $0.28M

Highly original and moving story about Australian Aborigines. Unfortunately, I can't tell you of any other film where Australian Aborigines are shown pre-contact. But I can't imagine a film done better, depicting their sadly lost world.

13. Trudell (2005)

PG | 80 min | Documentary

48 Metascore

A chronicle of legendary Native American poet/activist John Trudell's travels, spoken word performances and politics.

Director: Heather Rae | Stars: Robert Redford, Kris Kristofferson, Sam Shepard, Amy Ray

Votes: 426 | Gross: $0.02M

Riveting and sad. This guy is truly a Renaissance man, and it's cool as hell that he's a Native.

14. Serenity (2005)

PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

74 Metascore

The crew of the ship Serenity try to evade an assassin sent to recapture one of their members who is telepathic.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alan Tudyk

Votes: 259,696 | Gross: $25.51M

Coupled with the Firefly series, of which it's based, this sci-fi world is refreshingly original and very much needed. Ranks with Alien and Blade Runner in quality, vision, character development, and story.

15. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime

66 Metascore

A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns.

Director: Guy Ritchie | Stars: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham

Votes: 467,788 | Gross: $3.90M

Great British gangster film in the style of Tarantino. Still manages to find it's own voice with loads of humor and clever twists.

16. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

R | 111 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

Devastated Peter takes a Hawaiian vacation in order to deal with the recent break-up with his TV star girlfriend, Sarah. Little does he know, Sarah's traveling to the same resort as her ex - and she's bringing along her new boyfriend.

Director: Nicholas Stoller | Stars: Kristen Bell, Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Mila Kunis

Votes: 236,186 | Gross: $63.17M

An original modern love story. Hilariously heartfelt.

17. Downfall (2004)

R | 156 min | Biography, Drama, History

82 Metascore

Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel | Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Köhler

Votes: 286,449 | Gross: $5.51M

Gritty, realistic, and utterly involving.

18. Let the Right One In (2008)

R | 115 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

82 Metascore

Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.

Director: Tomas Alfredson | Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl

Votes: 187,607 | Gross: $2.12M

This film came out of nowhere. It's subtle but unrelenting all at the same time.

19. The Elephant Man (1980)

PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama

77 Metascore

A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud

Votes: 188,064

Part tear-jerker, part historical drama, all Lynch.

20. Cube (1997)

R | 90 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

61 Metascore

Six complete strangers of widely varying personality characteristics are involuntarily placed in an endless maze containing deadly traps.

Director: Vincenzo Natali | Stars: Nicole de Boer, Maurice Dean Wint, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller

Votes: 180,555 | Gross: $0.50M

Smart and fun low budget sci-fi.

21. The Descent (2005)

R | 99 min | Adventure, Horror, Thriller

71 Metascore

A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

Director: Neil Marshall | Stars: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder

Votes: 174,247 | Gross: $26.02M

A fast paced and refreshing little horror film that's both fun and scary.

22. Waiting... (I) (2005)

R | 94 min | Comedy

30 Metascore

Young employees at Shenaniganz restaurant collectively stave off boredom and adulthood with their antics.

Director: Rob McKittrick | Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, John Francis Daley, Justin Long

Votes: 80,698 | Gross: $16.12M

Hilariously low budget comedy.

23. Hide and Creep (2004)

R | 85 min | Comedy, Horror

Residents of a small Southern town contend with bloodthirsty zombies, a mysterious flying saucer, and bad television reception.

Directors: Chuck Hartsell, Chance Shirley | Stars: Chuck Hartsell, Michael Shelton, Kyle Holman, Chris Garrison

Votes: 829

This movie has heart in spades. You can tell the ones involved all love and respect the zombie genre, even though they didn't have two dimes to rub together. Proves that it's not funding that makes a great movie.

24. Onibaba (1964)

Not Rated | 103 min | Drama, Horror

Two women kill samurai and sell their belongings for a living. While one of them is having an affair with their neighbor, the other woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre mask.

Director: Kaneto Shindô | Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satô, Jûkichi Uno

Votes: 12,491

I had no expectations for this film going in and was blown away. It's haunting, eerily erotic, and captivating to the end.

25. Mic Macs à Tire-Larigot (2009)

R | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

62 Metascore

A man and his friends come up with an intricate and original plan to destroy two big weapons manufacturers.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet | Stars: Dany Boon, André Dussollier, Nicolas Marié, Yolande Moreau

Votes: 26,612 | Gross: $1.26M

An incredibly fun foreign film with eccentric characters and a good story.

26. The Orphanage (2007)

R | 105 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

74 Metascore

A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

Director: J.A. Bayona | Stars: Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Mabel Rivera

Votes: 131,552 | Gross: $7.16M

A creepy and emotional horror film with one hell of an ending.

27. Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2014)

Not Rated | 98 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

54 Metascore

A talented mechanic prepares to battle his way through hordes of flesh-eating monsters after his sister is kidnapped on the eve of a zombie apocalypse.

Director: Kiah Roache-Turner | Stars: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill, Keith Agius

Votes: 13,827

Great Aussie take on the zombie apocalypse. Loads of fun.