Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Hey, Peeps, I have been thinking about this classification for a couple of days now and want you all to wade in on the subject. What is a "thinking" movie. "Doubt" no doubt qualifies. Maybe it is at the head of the list because it was written that way on purpose. The challenge is: what are your top 5 "thinking" movies. The problem is: What is a "thinking" movie? Does a movie with an unexpected ending that makes you think qualifies? Like "Primal Fear"? Edward Norton was so good and the surprise at the end so shocking that it might be. Another Norton movie, "Score" had some thinking in it and a surprise ending. "Matchstick Men", was like that. "The Prestige" was so complicated that I had to watch it at least three times to figure out how it all worked and so it could go on my list. So here's my list with a little explanation. "Doubt", I suggest we keep off the list as it is in a class by itself. Pops list (no particular order):

1. 2001: A Space odyssey: Here is a movie I still don't have any idea what it is about, but the music is impressive. It must be a "thinking" movie, because it is so weird.

2. Speaks for itself. He is such a smart, numbers, and formula guy, yet physoctic and strange. The imaginary people he talks to and all that.

3. Spanglish: Such a good movie and it really made me think about relationships. Mother daughter, father daughter. Paz and her daughter and the sacrifices she makes for her daughter. The sexual attraction between Adam Sandler and Paz and their strength in not giving into the physical attraction. Very good stuff.

4. Cinderella Man: A man striving to save his family. Working hard and all that. The scene where he goes to the mens club and begs for $42 dollars or so to pay his electric bill. Thats one of the all time gripping scenes in film. His fighting powers come back and goes on to be successful. Trying to get day jobs at the dock with a broken hand to feed his family.

5. American History X: Rough movie, but fascinating. Redemption, repentance, violence and brotherly love and all sorts of feelings in the movie.

6. Million Dollar Baby: An extra I put in because of the social topic. As well as how good a movie it is. When is euthanasia okay? What would you do in his shoes in that situation. Something to think about. That is why this is a "thinking" movie.

I could have gone back in time to oldies like, "The Oxbow Incident", "12 Angry Men" and "Inherit the Wind", but decided to keep it modern for you guys. Well, have fun and give this topic some thought. pops

Emily's picks
Hmm, good post dad. What I consider a thinking movie is one that after seeing it, I have trouble sleeping because I can't stop thinking about it. Perhaps that means it is more of a "stays with you movie". I believe the two concepts are well related, so I decided to make two little sub categories and list my thinking movies under each.

Thinking thinking movies:

1. Reservoir Dogs. You can't help but sit and think about this movie during and long after You Put the Lime In the Coconut plays.

Darn. No trailer.

2. School Ties. It never failed, every time Cat and I watched this movie, we would have a three hour discussion about it. So many things to think about during this movie: Antisemitism of course, Loyalty to friends and roommates, the pressures of succeeding in those Ivy League prep schools, all good stuff.

Ultra weird, well here is a link so you can watch it.
3. Dead Man Walking. I think about this movie a lot. I don't want to get too political here, but I have always had a problem with the death penalty. I see it's advantages, but my soul has a big problem with it to where I can't support it. Sean Penn is brilliant as the death row inmate, and I love the way Susan Sarandon talks to him when she visits him (she is a nun if you haven't seen it). It definitely gives you a different perspective, even when the inmate admits to his atrocious acts and is a jerk. He's still human and scared.

Stay with you movies

1. Fargo. What started with something that seemed like an easy, good idea goes incredibly bad. A popular plot for the Coen Brothers, they all stay with me a little and make me think, but none more then Fargo.

2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Nicholson's character (Marty? that doesn't sound quite right) anyway, he thinks going to this nuthouse will be an easy way to spend his prison sentence. He breates life into the people he touches and we find out that was very unwelcome to some people (Nurse Ratched). Again, sort of Coen Brotherish. Brilliant book have you guys read that? It is written in the perspective of "the Chief" to make it even more interesting.

3. Seven. Stays with you because of the despair that it lays over you on humanity and what it could be capable of.

4. The Deer Hunter. Almost any war movie could be classified here. This one even more so with the added Russian roulette stuff. Very powerful. The last few scenes stay burned in your brain a long time.

5. The Green Mile. Prison movies must stay with me too........... This movie made me think about it for so long simply for the evil prison guard. He is one of the most inately evil characters I have ever seen. He's just awful (I chuckle a little seeing him as a hippy on Lost), but think about his role in The Green Mile every time.

6. Awakenings. What a story, makes you think. Makes you sad.


Emily said...

Thought I'd one up dad and post trailers. Sorry there are two for Cuckoo's Nest.

Emily said...

Ditto dad on American History X. Also, I forgot to tell you guys that I watched A Beautiful Mind about a month ago. It was pretty good, I enjoyed it. After two Russell Crowe movies, I think I can safely say that he as a person isn't ruining his movies for me, I am able to overlook my absolute distaste for him as a person.
Good to know.

Pops said...

Well done, Emily, well done. Doing the trailers was a smart idea. Fargo, I should have thought of it. you reminded me of "Deliverance" I would put those two on my revised top 5 list along with "Seven" Most Shirley thinking movies. "Saving Private Ryan" and "Shindlers List" belong also.

Pops said...

Maybe make it a top 25 list.

Pops said...

I was going to do a "Under the Radar" posting about "School Ties" I found it in the 5 buck bin at
Smiths the other day. I rememberd how well I liked it years ago and was going to recommend it to you all.
"Scent of a Woman" another thinking movie.

Sue said...

I like this posting! American History X would definitely go on my list. Reservoir Dogs and Fargo too.

I'm pretty much with Em's school of thought on what a thinking movie is. It's not a movie that is spoonfed to you and full of action and crazy antics to keep your attention. It's a movie that you have to pay attention to things like the dialogue and symbolism. They are my favorite kind of movies. I do like the spoonfed ones too. I think the Die Hard movies are great, but they don't really make you think when they are over. Except how cool it was when that car went of the jump and hit the helicopter in the air.

Here are the first 5 "thinking" movies that came to my mind. I'm not going to take the time to do the trailers like Em did, that was cool Em.

5- 12 Monkeys--Bruce Willis plays a convict in the future, like 40 years from now. A virus hit the earth in the late 90's and wiped out all but 1% of the population. Willis volunteers to be sent back in time to try and gather information on the virus before it attacks, but he is sent too early back in time and is sent to a mental institution. And the story just gets better. Brad Pitt is in the institution with him, and he is fantastic in this movie! This movie made me realize that Pitt is not just a pretty face, he is a good actor.

4- Punch Drunk Love-- Adam Sandler plays a small business owner who has 7 sisters who pretty much made his life hell. He ends up with some social problems, and he has some anger issues. But he meets a woman and they like eachother and it's just a great story. There are some really great scenes in this movie. My favorite is when he is in Hawaii trying to talk to the woman on a pay phone and a parade is going by. Not your typical Sandler film.

3- The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-- Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet play a couple who break up. He finds out that she went through a procedure where she had every memory of him erased from her mind. He decides to do the same. But as he watches the memories of her disappear, he realizes he is still in love with her and he trys to keep the memories. It doesn't work and the memories of her are erased. Then they meet on a train. That's all I'm going to say. I highly recommend this movie if you haven't seen it. It is brilliant. And it was written by my favorite screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman. I love his movies! They all make you think. He also wrote Being John Malkovich and Adaptation.

2--Una Pura Formalita (A Pure Formality)--This movie stars Roman Polanski and Gerard Depardieu. Depardieu plays a writer who hasn't written for a while and has become a recluse. He is found one night running in the rain and has lost his memory. There has been a murder in the area and they bring Depardieu into the police station. Roman Polanski plays the police inspector. Almost the entire movie is just the two of them in Polanski's office. If you like crime/mystery type movies, this is a really good one. They have an english version, A Pure Formality, where the English is dubbed in. But I recommend the French version with the subtitles. You can pay attention to the subtitles because there isn't a lot of action so your eyes aren't wondering all over the screen.

1-- Memento- This movie was directed by Christopher Nolan, so you know it's a good one. It's about a man who wakes up and the last memory he has is of his wife being murdered. He has lost the ability to keep short term memories because he tried to stop the murder and gets hit in the head. He is determined to find his wife's killer, and goes looking for clues. Because he has no short term memory he writes all the clues on his body and takes polaroid pictures of clues because every time he wakes up his memory is gone. The story goes backward and forward and keeps you on the edge of your seat! It's not one of those where the audience has it figured out and the characters don't. The audience is kept in the dark as well. It's awesome! I have it on VHS, I need to get it on DVD.

There are so many other good thinking movies! While writing this I thought of Jacob's Ladder, Agnes of God, Raising Cain. So many!

B said...

Em, little sidenote on the death penalty. I used to be against it, but now I am not so sure. Lee's (former?) wife was brutally murdered at the Honor Farm, the low security prison outside of Riverton. I was still living at home when they had her murder trial, and saw him every day during it. The jury was in deliberation for 3 days, but he was facing the death penalty, and there was a hung jury. Ten of the jurors found him guilty beyond a doubt, but two of them would not budge because they were so against the death penalty. They had to go to a second trial in Jackson, and now he is in a high security prison, with the option in 10 years to be somewhere like the Honor Farm. I didn't go to the trials, but I saw what it did to the family, and I know that he was guilty. I don't like the idea of killing people, I know that there are people killed that were innocent, but at the same time I don't like that this guy is still alive, and now has the option to be in the same situation as he was in when he killed Tami.

Anyways, Gruesome Thoughts with B.

Pops said...

Sue, nice stuff you wrote. I have only seen 12 monkeys and Momento of your 5 listed. I need to see 12 monkeys again. I agree with you about Brad pitt. Meet Joe Black was a thinking movie for me and Pitt was good in it as was A. Hopkins always. Shawshank Redemption is another movie I thought of today. I think of it often.

B, Thanks for your personal insight on capital punishment. "Gruesome Thoughts with B" hahaha, never a mean or gruesome word I have ever heard from you....maybe a #$&%@** or so from a potty comment of mine, you darling thing!!!

Haley said...

The only movies I have seen out of all the ones listed is A Beautiful Mind and The Green Mile. I saw The Green Mile on tv and it was a really good movie. Oh I saw Million Dollar Baby but didn't like it too much, I think I need to watch it again. Ooh, my v.w. is vultri, like volturi, getting excited for New Moon!

Haley said...

Oh and I have seen spanglish too.

Emily said...

Ok, I guess I need to get into it. I am not exactly "against" the death penalty. I understand it's value. I have heard some prisoner's say that they will kill again if they are let out. I also understand how much it costs to keep a prisoner locked up for life.
It simply fills me with a great deal of distaste and makes me sick. I don't like hearing that the families want to be in the front row to watch and yell out, "I hope you burn", it is just ugly. Yet I wonder how I would feel if someone brutally murdered Scout or something (ug sorry for even saying that). I just don't like seeing situations where people are so hooked on revenge and ugliness it just spreads and poisons people. Forgiveness and letting go and putting these things in God's hands is a much better way to go. There is also the percentage of people that are killed that are actually innocent. That really sucks. I don't know how I would react on a jury in a murder trial. I may opt for it if it was between that and having them go free soon if indeed I was positive they were guilty.
I am not dead set against it, but I refuse to support it. Does that make sense?

Emily said...

I loved Punch Drunk Love and Momento almost made my list, but it was getting long.

B said...

Totally awesome response to the death penalty. I agree with everything you said. Also, we got Swing Kids from Netflix today, I'm so excited!!!

My top 5:
Saving Private Ryan. How would you react? What would you do in a war? How much are you willing to give up for your country? One of my favorite movies of all time. I actually cried.

Schindlers List
Man, I don't know why, but I am fascinated with WWII. This movie is heart wrenching. At the end, when he's looking at his worldly possessions and realizing he could have purchased human lives with them... and then nobody has anywhere to go. AIIIIGGGH!!

Some foreign film about Hitler. It was all in German with English subtitles, and it was a portrayal of the his last few days, with him and the people around him. Man, it is crazy to see into the mind of really smart, really evil people. They thing what they're doing is right! I'm fascinated by that.

No Country for Old Men. Matt and I have had many conversations about this one.

Besides serial killers and WWII, I really love stories about incredible friendship. Spanglish is one of those, but the one that I admired the most was The Visitor. I love the scene before in his bedroom before she leaves. That is pure friendship, nothing wierd about it.

Sue said...

I'm glad you guys got over your death penalty stuff! Dad put his foot down when it comes to politics on this blog and I agree with him. Especially when it comes to things like the death penalty. That is a never ending argument.

Anyway, I like your picks B. Saving Private Ryan is a great movie! (Faraday is in it for you Losties!) And Schindler's List is just amazing. I'm with you on the WWII stuff. Whenever a Band of Brothers is on cable, Cam and I always watch it.

When Cam and I were in New Orleans for our honeymoon, one of our favorite days was the day we spent at the D-Day Museum. Scott suggested we check it out, and we are so glad we did! That was such a cool museum, we spent about 4 hours going through it. It was amazing! The part that got me the most was the area where family's donated the last letters and stuff of soldiers. There is a whole part of the museum that is all personal letters and stuff from soldiers killed in the war. Cam and I were both crying going through that part.

That night we stayed in our hotel room and watched the local news. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter went to the museum like 2 hours after we left! I could have met Jimmy Carter! I sent him a valentine when I was in 2nd grade.

Amy said...

I remember the "peanut" valentine you sent President Carter. I just thought about it not long ago.

Sue said...

It had a peanut on it and it said "I'm nuts about you" hahahahah!

Neaners said...

These were all awesome movies. The trailers were a great idea. I loved A Beautiful Mind.
A few others I thought of.

City of Angels- Would you give up everything for a chance to be human and to be loved? Majorily romantic but tragic anyway.

Ghost- What a love story! Unchained Melody and Clay will never be the same:) To be able to go back and talk to those you left behind suddenly would be amazing! And settle your differences. Closure is so important.As you can see I like the supernatural scene. I know Sue does too because we watch some of the same TV shows. Psychics etc are interesting.

Big Chill- Makes us appreciate our friends and that it is never too late to reconnect but that we should stay in touch more before tragedy happens.

Shallow Hal- I was offended by this movie but then looked beyond it. Jack Black "sees" this morbidly obese woman as a supermodel and can't understand his friends reactions to him dating a huge woman. At the end the burn ward seen is so touching. So many men don't see beyond physical beauty. Sad but true!

PAY IT FORWARD: What a wonderful concept. Every little thing we do we don't realize how it will affect people. Random acts of Kindness can make such a difference in people's life. Again a tragic incident turned so many people around and made us THINK.

Pops said...

Random comments from the pops: Most WWII movies could make the list. Midway, In Harms Way, Tora,Tora,Tora are some of the best of the olders ones. Ghost belongs and City of Angles. Peter Sellers in Being There, is another.
No Country for Old Men is exactly the kind of picture that makes the list. Awed by the movie and the acting and thought of nothing else for days after seeing it. Pulp Fiction also.

Pops said...

Where is Rarrnee! I want to see his list of movies. Probabally movies like Lords of Dogtown, Zdogs of Hollywood hills, How to skate a rusting swimming pool with a puddle at the bottom. Come on, Matt, lay some movies on us!

Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue said...

I never saw City of Angels. That movie is based on one of the best foreign films I've ever seen called Wings of Desire. It's a German film directed by Wim Wenders, a director I like a lot. He directed Paris, Texas which is a great movie. He also does a lot of documentaries. He directed Buena Vista Social Club. Anyway, Wings of Desire is a great film. Peter Falk is in it, and he plays himself! It is beautifully filmed, and it is a movie I think of often. If you liked City of Angels, I recommend seeing the original.

That trashed comment was me. I posted the comment without ever naming the movie!

Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue said...

That trashed comment was me too! My comment posted twice. Sheesh!

Pops said...

You'r losing it, Sue. Take a deep breath, calm down and chill. You got a new job to go to monday and you need to be in shape. Think good thoughts about habernera peppers.

Pops said...

I got "12 Monkeys" at the libary last night and watched it tonight. What the bip? I don't get it. I liked it, but time travel messess up my poor head. The ending I don't get. Bruce Willis get shot at the airport. Who is the 12 year old boy? The virus gets spread by the David Morris character? It is a thinking movie allWright. Help me out Sue.

Pops said...

by the way, I got Punch Drunk Love coming by Netflix. I have never seen that one.

Dan W said...

Lorri and I just saw School Ties last night. Really excellent. Thanks for the recommendation, Emily! Reservoir Dogs, another of your recommendations, is the next one in my Netflix queue.

In some ways it was pretty formulaic in terms of the boys' (and the girlfriend's) varied responses to the situations it portrays, but, as you say, the issues themselves are indeed worth a lot of thinking and reflection. Good acting, too. Fun to see some guys in it who later had decently careers.

Does anyone know if this is where Damon and Affleck met? This makes me think, too, that this role is what led Damon to get the part in Talented Mr. Ripley a few years later.

Dan W said...

my w.v. for that last post was interesting: uncensme (uncensor me, baby!)

Emily said...

Glad you liked it, it was one of our (mine and Cath's) favorite high school movies- that and Encino Man (Brendan Frasier anyone? Haven't liked much of his since). Perhaps formulaic, but I think it's aimed at teenagers and so gets kind of a pass. It is fun to see all the actors that are familiar to you now. I'm not sure about Affleck and Damon (Affleck barely has any lines if I remember correctly) I kind of had the impression that they were childhood friends, but that is a good question. What is it about boy's schools that makes for good movies? School Ties, Dead Poet's Society, Scent of a Woman.....

By the way, good advice your wv had, better take off your censorship hat for Reservoir Dogs! Tarantino you know-- bring on the gratuitous swearing and violence! Also, that Steeler's Wheel song will never be the same for you.
Great lines in that movie. "This is the world's tiniest violin playing..." Good stuff.

Pops said...

Glad you liked "School ties", dan. Emily, you forgot "Major Pain" in your boy's school movies list....hahahaha Dead Poet's Society goes on my 25 list of thinking movies. I always watch it or parts of it when I find it on cable listings. Always hate the sucicide scene and the dad finding the body but good film making.