Empire Records (1995)
This movie opened to terrible reviews, but has since become a cult classic, so if you haven't seen it, consider this is your wake-up call. Centering around one epic day at a record store (#RexManningDay), each character brings something different to the table and storyline—including incredible catch phrases those who are cool still recite in everyday conversation. (At least, that's what I tell myself.) (My name isn't f*cking Warren.)
All I Wanna Do (1998)
This movie somehow flew under everyone's radar. Bring up this movie and you'll generally get stares and "huh?" and confusion. But listen, it's the best. Set in the '60s at an all-girls boarding school, Odette (Gaby Hoffman) is a bitter new student who forms friendships with three other ladies, including Verena (Kristen Dunst). After the school announces it's going co-ed, friendships are tested as they fight to save a school from the invasion of penises, while also helping each other achieve each other's goals—including losing one's virginity. (Ironic, I know.) Bonus: See Vincent Kartheiser in all his teen glory, you know, before becoming Pete Campbell in Mad Men.
That Thing You Do (1996)
Written, directed, and starring Tom Hanks, this fantastic, fantastic, fantastic film (yes, I had to say it three times) follows a band as they are propelled to stardom in the '60s. Honestly, not really sure how this didn't gain any momentum until much after it debuted, considering all the amazing reviews (93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and the fact that the character Lenny was written and exists and has the funniest lines, ("Oh, I'm not here with these fellas. I've got a pig in competition over at the livestock pavilion, and I am going to win that blue ribbon!"), but whatever. Watch it. Buy it. Love it.
Better Off Dead… (1985)
Quotable lines abound ("I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS", "Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky", etc.) in this dark comedy about a teen (John Cusack) who has everything going against him—parents who don't care, a girlfriend (ahem, ex) who dumps him, and a little brother who is way cooler than he is. Before he can make the ultimate self-sacrifice (I TOLD YOU IT WAS DARK) he keeps getting distracted by a scary 30-year-old sounding paper boy and a skiing contest against the school bully. You know, the usual.
Another John Cusack film, this one is a weird and new (other adjectives welcome) take on Hitler and his relationship with a Munich art dealer. No, I'm for real. John Cusack plays Max Rothman, a Jewish art dealer, and Noah Taylor plays a young Adolf Hitler. Spielberg was in fact approached about the movie, but passed—saying that while the film was well written, he felt uncomfortable with possibly insulting the memory of Holocaust survivors. Watch and be the judge.
In a World (2013)
Written and starring Lake Bell, this true sleeper is one of those films you can watch over and over and never get sick of. The story stars Lake Bell as a vocal coach who competes against her own legendary voice actor father—as well as the current biggest voice actor in the game—to get a huge gig voicing the trailer for a big budget movie. Huge comedy hitters including Rob Corddry, Demetri Martin, Tig Notaro, Fred Melamed, Ken Marino, and Nick Offerman round out the cast, while a cameo by Eva Longoria is just the best. You'll adore it—we'd bet on it.
The sun is dying, and earth will too, as a result. After a team of astronauts are sent to revive the sun and fail, a new team is sent seven years later as humankind's last hope. As one YouTube commenter states, "a movie that is equal to Interstellar and Gravity and still few people have heard of it." This changes now.
Near Dark (1987)
A horror film centering on a farmer's son who ends up traveling with a group of vampires (heh) after a the woman he's trying to seduce turns him in, the film was directed and written by Kathryn Bigelow (yes, the first and only female director to win an Oscar), the film is an 80s thriller take on a modern-day Western.
Big Fan (2009)
This moving and poignant film is one you have to see. Featuring Patton Oswalt as a superfan who gets brutally beaten when he approaches his favorite player to say hello (ugh, my heart), the story hinges on the idea of being so supportive of someone who did something so terrible to you. Emotional, heart-wrenching, and a sleeper—it's just hard to watch and even harder to look away.
If you haven't seen this film yet, I'm not really sure what you're waiting for. The story is about a chef who wants to cook, well, good food—and thus, opens a food truck. Everything about this flick is funny, heart-warming, and all things good. And the fact that it stars Bobby Cannavale, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Amy Sedaris—you get the gist—is just marinade on the carne asada. (That's a Chef joke.)
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