These movies are not exactly block busters, in fact many of them you may never have even heard of before, but as far as we’re concerned they are essential viewing for anyone looking to expand their theatrical education. Granted many of them are of a NSFW nature, but this is adult media and old school romantic thrillers are considered ‘cultured’ around here. So here are our [in no particular order] Top 10 old school movies to secure for those upcoming cold winter’s days on the couch and under the duvet.
James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal star in the super weird, but highly entertaining movie about a businessman and his mentally challenged secretary who discover that they have more in common than just a detailed work ethic. Underrated and over-looked, it’s a super treat if you haven’t see it as yet. In days gone by, James Spader was the go-to-guy if you were looking for a male lead with a sadomasochistic edge and in this movie he pulls out every demented weapon he’s got.
Featuring a very young Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, Jamon Jamon is a Spanish film with English subtitles. European cinema tends to be in love with tragedy on a Shakespearean level, which this picture demonstrates effectively.
An acclaimed novelist heads to France to a bit of peace and quiet to write her book. What ends up happening is far from what she was looking for. Erotic, strangely mesmerizing – it’s the best of British and French and the perceived awkwardness between them. It’s bordering on soft porn, but with a story – just like Scope magazine.
Four Rooms is a movie directed by four different people. It’s still one of our favourite films ever and stars a ridiculously stellar cast that includes Tim Roth, Madonna and Antonio Banderas. Can’t really understand why it never received the acclaim it deserves, but be that as it may – it should certainly be on your list.
Directed by Roman Polanski who cast his wife to play the main protagonist along with Hugh Grant and the lady that Jeremy Clarkson has a mad crush on, Bitter Moon is a classic 90’s thriller. It may seem a little dated now, but the rich character building and storytelling is timeless. Along with Top Gun and Bloodsport – there isn’t a movie we have seen as many times. It will have you switching your tobacco brand to Gitanes and wanting to find more Polanski filmography to add to your repertoire of sleaze.
Now don’t get this movie confused with the other box office hit that was released years after this one. The 1996 movie entitled Crash was a thriller with a focus rigidly on the psychological anomaly known as auto-eroticism (which is a condition where people get sexual pleasure from being in a motor accident). There is however no truth to the rumour that going on a strict Banting diet will in any way cure this terrible affliction.
Lost in translation
Probably the best known on the list, Lost in Translation manages to make the city of Tokyo a character in the film. It was radically different for its time and is directed in a way that makes it seem so ‘un-acted’. Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen and ‘what did she say to him at the end‘ all make this an incomplete work that is perfect by design.
True Romance was our favourite movie while studying at university. It combines 90’s grit with Pulp Fiction-like violence and a schmaltzy story into the perfect visual cocktail. The Sicilian Scene with Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken has to be one of Hollywood’s greatest ever.
Natural Born Killers
Written by Quinton Tarantino and directed by Oliver Stone, Natural Born Killers is by no means a relaxing movie to watch, but it captures a time and a mood which feels ruthless and creative, magical yet depraved. The entire thing presents itself like a Nine Inch Nails music video – and for that reason, it’s one to watch.
Match Point is really a girls movie, but while you are sitting there telling yourself that you ought to be enjoying Bolo Yeung slam another punch into Jean Claude van Damme’s ribcage – you remain riveted to the immoral love-triangle fare before you. At the end of the movie you’ll find yourself wanting to watch The Incredibles just to get the bad taste out of your eyes. It’s brilliant!
So there’s our Top 10 selection. Not the most popular movies ever made, but complex, adult and full of enough twists and turns to keep you entertained and enthralled.