Movie Recommendations?

I’m updating my Netflix queue and have decided I need to watch more movies. Suggestions?

47 comments for “Movie Recommendations?

  1. mk
    February 11, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I’m on a quest to watch Oscar winners, starting with waaaaaaay back. Netflix has several “award winners” sections, which is an easy way to start.

    In terms of recommendations–I’ve been on a bit of a documentary kick lately. I recommend Gay Sex in the Seventies (pretty much what it sounds like), Girlhood (follows two girls in and out of the juvenile justice system in Baltimore), This Film Is Not Yet Rated (the MPAA), and Soldiers in the Army of God (extreme anti-abortion activists).

  2. leah
    February 11, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Well I highly doubt it’s available on netflix yet, but Slumdog Millionaire was awesome.

  3. February 11, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Just saw Saving Face, very nice gen/rom/com

  4. E.M. Russell
    February 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    In Bruges was pretty good, a funny film noir. Plus it answers that question everyone has: Whatever happened to Colin Ferrel?

  5. NinaG
    February 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Not available on DVD yet, but awesome anyways. ‘Medicine for Melancholy’

  6. norbizness
    February 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Anything from the Criterion Collection; I just went to the local alternata-video store to get the 2-disc sets for Douglas Sirk’s Magnificent Obsession (John Waters’ favorite film, I think) and Lars von Trier’s pre-Dogme 96 masterpiece Europa.

    I also liked the Bhutanese (!) film Travelers and Magicians; information here.

  7. February 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    hum. Keep in mind that these are not going to be free of problems but a quick list of ones I’ve enjoyed recently…

    Velvet Goldmine
    A Scanner Darkly
    The Constant Gardener
    Fido <– awesomesauce.
    The Darwin Awards
    Wrist Cutters, A Love Story <– again, awesomesauce.

    all of them except for wrist cutters are avalible on the instant watch in netflix, wrist cutters you’ll have to wait two whole days to see on disk.

  8. cbrachyrhynchos
    February 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I mentioned this over at Shakesville, but Desk Set is well worth watching if you are in a classic Hepburn-Tracy mode. It’s not only got lots of geek librarian/compsci love (with only a hint of what would later become overused cliches) but it’s a movie that never insults or downplays the intelligence of the female protagonists.

    Multiple people have recommended to me Let the Right One In, an adolescent vampire story.

  9. Sarah
    February 11, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I second WristCutters. That was great. Also great – Lars and the Real Girl… yes, I know, it sounds like a feminist would hate it, but it’s a terrific movie.

  10. mk
    February 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Oooh, second Lars and the Real Girl! Such a success I watched it twice–once with my mother and once with Sig Fig. Which is saying something in itself.

  11. cbrachyrhynchos
    February 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Which, if you get Let the Right One In, you might as well get the Russian antidote to Harry Potter, Nightwatch as well. And trust me, watch that one with the subtitles that bleed, dribble, and SHOUT rather than dubbed.

  12. February 11, 2009 at 3:24 pm


    I just did a posting on some new DVDs. Here it is:
    Frozen River, The Secret Life of Bees and Girls Rock

  13. Kathy
    February 11, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I also recomend Lars and the Real Girl, and Reign Over Me with Don Chedle and Adam Sandler – it’s a serious one with Sandler’s character being the one remaining family member after the 9/11 attacks and what his life has been like since. Also, Hard Candy with Ellen Page .. awesome indie movie.

  14. Eliza
    February 11, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Do you like vampires? “Let the Right One In” was fabulous, and different from the rest.

  15. ipens
    February 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    black sheep. the one from new zealand, not the one with chris farley.

  16. February 11, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Go waaay back…Pre-Code Hollywood films had amazing female characters, always strong women. Anything with Barbara Stanwyck (so badass), Jean Harlow, Katherine Hepburn, or Bette Davis. You’ll be surprised at how much Hollywood has turned back the clock in terms of female roles in film.

  17. February 11, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Oh, I forget Mae West…you must see her films!

    If you haven’t seen “Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!” yet, please do. THAT is actually John Waters’ favorite film.

  18. Meg
    February 11, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Kinky Boots
    Ong Bak: The Warrior
    House of Flying Daggers
    Kingdom Hospital (short-lived freaky tv show by stephen king)
    The Queen (I think that’s the title, the Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth one.)
    Michael Collins
    Iron Monkey

  19. ElleDee
    February 11, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    The Orphanage (El Orfanato). Scary movies aren’t for everyone, but I was very taken with this one. It has one of those nice ambiguous endings where everyone has a opinion about what they think really happened in the movie, but can never know for sure. Also it was terrifying. There are only a few big shocks, but as soon as the first one hits and you know what the movie is capable of you spend the rest of the movie dreading where the plot is going, only in a good way.

  20. cbrachyrhynchos
    February 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Just to clarify, The Kingdom was adapted by Stephen King from the Danish miniseries Riget by Lars von Tier.

  21. MikeF
    February 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I’ll second The Orphanage, it’s a deeply unsettling (in a good way) film. Meg suggests Kingdom Hospital which was good, but I think The Kingdom (Riget), the Danish miniseries that inspired Kingdom Hospital was much better. A few other good ones I’ve seen recently:

    Pan’s Labyrinth
    The Wind the Shakes the Barley
    Withnail & I
    Children of Men
    The Prestige

  22. Bitter Scribe
    February 11, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    These aren’t on DVD yet, but they will be soon:

    Slumdog Millionaire
    The Wrestler
    Waltz with Bashir

  23. HeadSandn!&@aInCharge
    February 11, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Some of the documentaries in the Instant Watching are fantastic, and almost all never run more than 90 minutes: Promises, Word Wars, King of Kong, My Kid Could Paint That, Who the &@&@&! is Jackson Pollock, and Man on Wire were all excellent diversions. The Band’s Visit is great although exponentially more enjoyable if you know Egypt/ians well.

    On the Request and Receive front:
    Rabbit-proof Fence and Turtles Can Fly are pure heartbreak (anything Ghobadi is good), Late Marriage is great, You Can Count on Me and Boogie Nights I liked as well.

    p.s. Did anyone else think Waltz with Bashir was mad overrated?

  24. J Hertzberg
    February 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    See anything directed by John Sayles. He has a strong progressive sensibility and an interest in telling stories about communities, how people across a community are affected by social change. Sayles has been making “independent” films since the early 1980s, long before Tarantino et al made “independent” become mainstream. He has had a very distinctive career. He makes a good income co-writing screenplays and directing music videos for Hollywood, then invests that income in making his own independent films that he writes, produces and directs. Class, race and gender issues always figure strongly in Sayles’s films. In recent years he has been making a series of films focused on particular American locales and their social and economic issues: Northeastern urban decay (“City of Hope”), the disappearing Alaskan frontier (“Limbo”), Louisiana class & race issues (“Passion Fish”), Texas immigration & racial issues (“Lone Star”), and how real estate development affects traditional communities in Florida (“Sunshine State”). Early in his career in the early 80s Sayles made some very low budget pieces that were very ahead of their time, a sci-fi allegorical film about racism in New York “The Brother From Another Planet,” and a lesbian coming-out tale “Lianna.” I also recommend the amazing “Matewan,” about a 1920s coal miner strike, and “Men With Guns” (in Spanish and indigenous languages) about civil war in Central America. “Silver City” is a hilarious parody of GW Bush that came out in 2004.

  25. Miniminx
    February 11, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    The Visitor was wonderful. I too enjoyed Let the Right One In.

  26. Nadia
    February 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Did anyone else think Waltz with Bashir was mad overrated

    I haven’t seen it yet but I’ve heard people express this sentiment.

    I agree on Ghobadi’s stuff, but I prefer “Marooned in Iraq” over “Turtles Can Fly” by far.

  27. Kristin
    February 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm


  28. February 11, 2009 at 6:45 pm


  29. Lynn
    February 11, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Just watched “Swades” this weekend, though it came out in 2004.

    The Girl distinguishes herself to The Boy by chewing people out over not respecting books, then tells him he’ll have to quit/move to her village if he’s serious. They both also fight to get the local girls (as well as several other marginalized children) able to attend school past elementary level.

  30. February 11, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I second This Film Is Not Yet Rated and Night Watch (though the latter isn’t without problems). TFINYR was a massive eyeopener to me, and I thought I knew a lot about the American film industry.

  31. Lisa G.
    February 11, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I second ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and third ‘The Orphanage’! Guillermo del Toro is wonderful at writing/producing films with very strong, realistic female characters. :) If you can ever get ahold of a transcript of an interview with him about his views of female/male dichotomies as presented in his films, it’s pretty fascinating.

    Other good films:

    The Fall (mostly just very pretty)
    Lain (a short and very good anime series, if you have the patience.)
    Millenium Actress

    I just saw “Repo: A Genetic Opera” and have very mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it’s gory/bloody/gothy eye/ear candy that is fun to watch. The overall message is good (questioning ownership of body parts, criticizing corporate interests being placed above human wellbeing–a very relevant point considering our current healthcare situation), and the presentation is very good as well.
    On the other hand, in a film about bodily autonomy versus big corporations/government, no mention of female bodily autonomy is mentioned. Rather, women tend to be exploited/shamed (for trying to meet standard beauty norms via surgery), and stripped of all agency. I’d really like to read your take on it.

  32. Jha
    February 11, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Get out and see Coraline! I checked, it passed the Bechdel Test. It’s not out on DVD, but it’s made for a 3-D experience.

    Seconding Mirrormask.

  33. Esme
    February 11, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I use my friend’s husband’s site ( to pick all my rentals. Currently, it’s recommending for me that I watch A Hard Day’s Night, Run Lola Run, Strictly Ballroom, Ed Wood, the House of Yes, and Volver.

  34. February 11, 2009 at 10:47 pm
  35. fraisechamps
    February 11, 2009 at 11:09 pm


  36. jane
    February 11, 2009 at 11:34 pm
  37. Rhianna
    February 12, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Deepa Mehta’s Fire. It’s a love story between two women. It also deals with the harshness of rigidly defined gender roles and shows women taking control of their own agency.

  38. February 12, 2009 at 2:32 am

    For my sex-positive documentary film series, I have done nothing but research sex-positive documentaries. I’m not sure how many of them are available on Netflix, but I’m always adding more to my “documentary” Delicious tag: [ ]

  39. Lynn
    February 12, 2009 at 6:37 am

    Second Mirrormask and the Fall.

    The Fall in a lot of ways is shaped like a gorgeous fairytale, but at every point that would have annoyed me the little girl being told the story objected and changed it. Also think the idea of having him narrate a western, and having her visualize it with her more expanded knowledge of the world was very cool.

    Lisa G: you liked Paprika? I’m a fan of Satoshi Kon in general, but I was really disappointed by it. The torture scene aside, I felt like the name was false advertising. Paprika herself was a cool character/concept, but was given a backseat to the male leads throughout.

  40. February 12, 2009 at 11:06 am

    “Yesterday” by Darrel Roodt, first internationally distributed Zulu-language film. I watched it for an HIV/AIDS class, and it’s wonderful.

  41. February 12, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    If it’s available get Generation Kill — a 7 hour HBO mini-series about Marines in Iraq… easily the best, most revealing programme about the war you’ll ever see.

    A couple of good docos: Man On Wire — about the French wire walker who walked between the Twin Towers, awesome. And Patti Smith: Dream of Life (not such a great film, but her presence and power are mind-blowing).

  42. February 12, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I recently watched U People on Logo. It was enlightening and thought-provoking. It’s not available on Netflix, as far as I know. But you can watch the whole thing on LogoOnline.

  43. Jeff
    February 12, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    I second, third, 100,000 Saving Face. Wonderful, loving film that refuses to condemn anyone, even the old patriarch (even when he’s obviously, terribly wrong). A great story of love, culture and family.

    I can’t recommend it enough.

  44. Tar
    February 12, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Frozen River–good indy by female director

  45. Tiffany
    February 12, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Mansoon Wedding
    Beauty and the Beast (1946)
    Peeping Tom
    The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
    Butterfield 8
    Umrao Jaan (1981)
    The complete Lone Wolf and Cub series (5 movies)
    Samoan Wedding
    The Philadelphia Story
    Dark Habits
    La Ronde
    Salaam Namaste
    Scenes from a Marriage
    Children of Heaven
    Tongan Ninja

  46. Phenobarbarella
    February 15, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    The Believer.

    It’s sorta like a non-sucky “American History X,” only with the gloves off.

  47. ander
    February 16, 2009 at 1:42 am

    I second Towelhead… it’s such a nuanced movie about a young girl coming of age and her different experiences with sex, exploring intersections of race and gender, and deals with the sexuality of a young person in a way that probably makes some uncomfortable… almost every male who reviewed the movie seems to have rated it poorly, but all the feminists and women i know thought it was amazingly real and poignant. Such a good movie and spoke to my experiences for sure.

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