The movies in this list are not necessarily old, but they’re old enough that when I ask a teenager (or a millennial!) about them, all I get is a blank stare or a head-scratching.
With all the bombastic movie productions these days, I sometimes just want to take a break from all the CGI madness and revisit these Hollywood classics.
If you’re on the road to becoming a film geek and start your own AV club, have these movies on your list as your gateway to film nerdvana.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Violent, striking, and unapologetic- Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is a satire of our fondness to pop culture. It can be offensive to others as excessive violence is at the core of this very film. Nevertheless, the blood and gore proved to be essential in its aesthetic. It is, in fact, a work of art that exploits our violent passions and heavily mocks sophisticated Hollywood pageantry. If you’re in for that, then you better prepare your senses.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
What do you get when a class jock, a nerd, a rebel, a basket case, and a princess all gather one Saturday in an eight-hour detention class for their misdeeds? You get the Breakfast Club. Although different from each other, these five students clearly represent every high school stereotype. They have nothing in common but their plight and aversion to their principal who’s supervising the detention.
By the end, we’d come to realize that what seems to be a boring therapy session turned out to be a deep discovery of each other’s lives. Defenses were broken down, stories laid bare to be told, revealing the age-old adage of not judging a book by its cover.
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather will always have that hall-of-fame reputation. And why not? It only ranks third on American Film Institute’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. It’s simply a cinematic masterpiece by no other than Francis Ford Coppola. The movie chronicles the lives of a close-knit Italian family who happens to have crime as a business. The struggle for power arises when the aging head of the Corleone clan refuses to partake in the highly profitable narcotics trade. A younger, physically-abled successor must follow the steps of the older Don when an attempt is made on his life.
Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future is about a teenager who travels 30 years back because of a faulty invention of his eccentric scientist buddy Doc Brown. Traveling through time in a revamped DeLorean car, Marty must ensure that his parents meet and mate to secure his existence in the future and save Doc Brown’s life in the present time. For Marty, it’s an almost impossible race against time, but for the people who watched the film, it’s a pure joyride. What it lacks in sense, it makes up in humor. It has a clever plot, memorable characters, and watertight script, making it delightful to watch to a degree that no other present films of similar vein have achieved.
Ferries Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
This movie is another John Hughes 1980s classic. Ferris Bueller is the master of cutting classes and he always gets away with almost anything. He wakes up every day dreading school and waking up on a beautiful spring morning is no exception.
Just before he leaves high school, he goes to greater lengths, faces mighty odds, and effortlessly slips pass through his principal’s tight surveillance, just so he can take a day off. With its rambunctious humor and scripting, Ferris expertly guides the viewers through his perspective, delivering his opinions in monologues with all the temper of a high schooler.
Forrest Gump (1994)
What Forrest Gump lacks in brain power, he makes it up with his big heart. For someone from the red state of Alabama with an IQ of 75, forming a multimillion shrimp empire and being present in some of America’s greatest events, are feats no slow-witted bloke has ever accomplished. He’s a man with a simple soul and pure intentions, taking into heart his mother’s wisdom “Stupid is as stupid does.” Like the iconic line, the film is “like a box of chocolate. You’ll never know what you will get.”
Tom Hanks’ high caliber performance as Forrest made the film both fun and serious, entertaining and thought-provoking and it can make you laugh and cry without it being cheaply melodramatic.
Fight Club (1999)
If you’re expecting an action movie, you’d be disappointed to know that David Fincher’s Fight Club isn’t one. Rather, it’s a dark cerebral movie- bold, provocative, twisted, yet highly jocular- tapping into every emasculates macho fantasy through the perspective of Edward Norton’s neurotic character.
Norton, who’s a very unhappy man trapped in a dull corporate cog, meets Pitt’s uber-macho, no-nonsense soap salesman Tyler Durden. Tyler’s I-Don’t-Give-a- F*ck attitude pulled Norton like a magnet; the latter finding the former’s edginess a quality he lost touch with. Together they formed the Fight Club wherein they trade blows with low-esteemed men to fondle their inner male aggression. Their notorious cult becomes a nihilistic movement with a mission to spread Mayhem. It’s an essential 1999 Hollywood movie, but you can beg to disagree for all its disturbing and graphic depiction of violent anti-social behavior.
American Beauty (1999)
Lester’s life is coming apart and right off the bat, he tells us he’ll be dead in a year. But before he could indulge us with the details, we first meet him in the shower jerking off and letting us know it’s the high point of his day. We then come to realize the domestic issues he’s dealing with every day. But everything starts to change when he becomes smitten by his daughter’s best friend Angela. Thinking that wooing Angela at his age is absurd, he begins to pump iron and make some life changes to the exasperation of his emotionally-clenched wife Carolyn.
An acerbically funny, dark, and deeply disturbing tale of an aging man in suburban America, American Beauty takes us into the emotionally stagnant lives of its main characters. Kevin Spacey, who played Lester Burnham, gave a brilliant performance fit for a golden statue. This film isn’t for everyone though. It’s a highly sophisticated film that ventures off the grid and only those who are sophisticated enough to handle its caustic wit can appreciate.
I won’t ask if you agree with my list or not, but I would appreciate if you can write down some movie suggestions that’s suppose to belong to this list!