THE DAILY ARCH Favorite Movies Worth a Second Look. Or, Movies I Could Watch Anytime...The Daily Arch Top 21 Enjoyable Movies (note: not the best movies of all time)

Stephen Arch                sparch@comcast.net                 www.sparch@facebook.com

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Today, as I get ready to go see the highly acclaimed "South Paw," I went to my Netflix account and pulled some "older" movies that I can watch anytime.  If you are just looking to stay in an evening and watch a movie that is entertaining and extremely thought provoking, and at times, just plain funny.  Here's a list of the RECENT movies I've watched from on Netflix - some of them I have had to order, some are on the Netflix site.  In no particular order.

  The Daily Arch Fun and Entertaining Movies

The Daily Arch Fun and Entertaining Movies

1.  Very Bad Things (1998)

A prostitute is killed during a bachelor party and the attendees turn on each other as the wedding approaches.   Comedy, Crime, Thriller.  Ensemble cast starring Jeremey Piven, Christian Slater, Leland Orser, Cameron Diaz, John Favreau, Rob Brownstein, and a huge collective cast of other stars.  Funny, serious, mysterious all in one. If you liked The Hangover - think of Very Bad Things in those terms only the goofs commit an accidental murder.  The results are both scary and entertaining. 

2.  The Mission (1986) 

18th century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American Indian tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal. The plight of a Jesuit priests played by Jeremy Irons who is in South America to convert and baptize aborigines to Catholicism as Portugal comes to enslave these people with the blessings of the Roman Catholic Pope. Robert Di Niro plays a Conquistador who is punished and exiles himself from his life for murdering his brother. Unbelievable story line, cinematography, and sound track.  Inspirational, sad, emotional.  Starring Robert Di Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McNally, Aidan Quinn, Cheri Lunghi.

3.  The Machinist (2004)  

An industrial worker who hasn't slept nor eaten in a year begins to doubt his own sanity.  His coworkers know what that something is wrong, but viewers and actors are not privy to the incident until the very end of the movie. Drama, Thriller.  Dramatic portrayal - definitely a mystery.  Starring Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh,  Aitana Sánchez-Gijón,  John Sharian, Michael Ironside,  Lawrence Gilliard Jr.  A great "what's going on.." type of movie.

4.  11:14 (2003) 

The events leading up to an 11:14 PM car crash, from five very different perspectives.  At exactly 11:14, a very strange, ironic, and funny sequence of events occur - play out until the very end.  Comedy, Crime, Drama.  Great ensemble cast starring Patrick Swayze, Henry Thomas, Blake Heron, Barbara Hershey, Clark Gregg,  Hilary Swank, Shawn Hatosy, Stark Sands, Colin Hanks,  Ben Foster.  Viewers find themselves trying to guess what the movie is really about and wraps up at the very end. Can't miss a minute of this movie.

5.  EraserHead  (1977)

Director David Lynch's first mainstream film,  Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child. Probably one of the strangest movies you will ever encounter.  Very difficult to obtain.  Many companies have pulled it off their viewing list.  Warning:  extremely graphic and violent in a psychological way.  Will take you months to figure this one out - kind of like a movie "ear worm."  Viewers have to understand David Lynch to understand this one.  Starring Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Jeanne Bates, Judith Roberts.  Viewer beware of this one. When watching a Lynch inspired movie, always think about "dream sequences" and what dreams mean.

6.  Blue Velvet (1986)

Another classic David Lynch directed film.  Crime, Drama, Mystery.  The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child. Again, viewers have to understand this is David Lynch, so expect the weird and strange.  Great ensemble cast starring Isabella Rossellini,  Kyle MacLachlan (of course) Jeffrey Beaumont,  Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell.  Won't figure this out until the end, also.  

7.  Mulholland Drive (2001)

Another David Lynch directed film.  After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality. Drama, Mystery, Thriller. Another "ear worm" type of movie - try to figure this one out long after the credits have rolled.  Starring Naomi Watts, Jeanne Bates, Laura Harring, Robert Foster, Brent Briscoe.  Don't forget about the dreams Lynch develops.  In this movie, particularly, it may all be a dream.

8.  The Jacket (2005)

A Gulf war veteran is wrongly sent to a mental institution for insane criminals, where he becomes the object of a Doctor's experiments, and his life is completely affected by them. Drama, Horror, Mystery.  Great mystery.  Difficult to "figure" this one out.  What really is happening in the story - is it real? Is it a dream? Is it a fantasy?  Don't know.  Viewers have to figure this one out.  Great intensity.  Starring Adrian Brody, Keira Knightly, Daniel Craig, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly Lynch, Brad Renfro.  

9.  Blindness (2008)

A city is ravaged by an epidemic of instant "white blindness". Those first afflicted are quarantined by the authorities in an abandoned mental hospital where the newly created "society of the blind" quickly breaks down. Criminals and the physically powerful prey upon the weak, hoarding the meager food rations and committing horrific acts. There is, however, one eyewitness to the nightmare. A woman whose sight is unaffected by the plague follows her afflicted husband to quarantine. There, keeping her sight a secret, she guides seven strangers who have become, in essence, a family. She leads them out of quarantine and onto the ravaged streets of the city, which has seen all vestiges of civilization crumble.    Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi. Starring Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Sandra Oh, Danny Glover fill out this extremely large cast of blind prisoners.  

10.  Calvary (2014) 

See ARCHIVED BLOG for review of this classic.  Grown man who was molested as a child decides to kill an "innocent" priests.  As he confesses to the priest in the confessional: "What good would it do to kill a bad person.  It's better sense and makes more of a statement to kill an innocent one."  Brandon Gleason stars in this mystery "who is going to do it" story of a town full of people who have their own personal grudges against the Catholic church, yet harbor no ill will toward Fr. James.  Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, and Aiden Gillen star in this thriller.  Definitely worth watching.

11.  Fire Walk with Me (1992)

Horror, Mystery, Thriller.  Another Lynch directed classic which tells the story of the final week of homecoming queen and town favorite Laura Palmer, whose lifeless body was found washed ashore on a dark lake one morning.  Lynch attempts to explore the dark side of humanity and the brutality that lives in all of us.  A young FBI agent disappears while investigating a murder miles from Twin Peaks that may be related to the future murder of Laura Palmer; the last week of the life of Laura Palmer is chronicled.  Another talented ensemble cast staring Kyle McLachlan, Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, David Bowie, Kris Issak, Peggy Lipton, and many more.  Great thriller.  Has all the strangeness that is present in every one of Lynch's works.  Again, be ready to scratch your head again after watching this one. But remember, Lynch's movies are all about dreams.

12.  Gangs of New York (2002)

In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer. It's the beginning of the Civil War, Lincoln has been elected president, the draft is taking place, and all hell is breaking out in Five Points in New York City - the "Americans" (those who are second and third generation) are pitted against the Blacks, the Irish, the Italians.  Mayor Boss Tweed is running for reelection and his attempts at playing both sides of the fence with the "Americans" led by Bill "The Butcher" Cutting and the Irish, led by Amsterdam Vallon.  United States military must come and recapture New York to restore sanity to the city, especially in Five Points.  Martin Scorsese directs this huge cast starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, John C. Riley, Liam Neeson, Brenden Gleeson, Henry Thomas and many more. Crime, Drama, History.

13.  Wild at Heart (1990)

Another Lynch thriller that makes the list.  Lovers Lula and Sailor are separated after he is jailed for killing a man who attacked him with a knife; the assailant, Bobby Ray Lemon, was hired by Lula's mother, Marietta Fortune. Upon Sailor's release, Lula picks him up at the prison where she hands him his snakeskin jacket. They go to a hotel where she reserved a room, make love and go to see the speed metal band Powermad. At the club, Sailor gets into a fight with a man who flirts with Lula, and then leads the band in a rendition of Elvis Presley's "Love Me". Later, back in the room, after making love again, Sailor and Lula finally decide to run away to California, breaking Sailor's parole. Marietta arranges for private detective Johnnie Farragut – her on-off boyfriend – to find them and bring them back. Unbeknownst to Farragut, however, Marietta also hires gangster Marcellus Santos to track them, and kill Sailor. Santos's minions capture and kill Farragut, sending Marietta into a guilt-fueled psychosis. Stars Nicholas Cage, Willam DaFoe, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Crispin Glover, J. E. Freeman, and Jack Nance.  Comedy, Crime, Thriller.    

Other movies worth your viewing include the following

14.  THE MISFITS (1961) 

Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, and Eli Wallach.

15.  Natural Born Killers (1994)

Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Rodney Dangerfield, Tom Sizemore, Robert Downey, Jr.

16.  Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Nicholas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands, Richard Lewis, Steven Webber, Kim Adams, Julian Sands, Emily Procter.

17.  Accidental Tourist (1998)

William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Geena Davis, Ed Begley, Jr., Bill Pullman, Bradley Mott.

18.  The Tenant (1976)

Directed by Roman Polanski.   Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, Jo Van Fleet.

19.  Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Christopher Walken, Helena Mattsson, Linda Bright Clay, Harry Dean Stanton.

20.  The Departed (2006)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Corrigan.

21.  The Ninth Gate (1999)

Directed by Roman Polanski. Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin,  Emmanuelle Seigner,  Barbara Jefford, Jack Taylor, José López Rodero, James Russo.