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10 Movies You Must See

Updated on February 1, 2014
Nicholson plays Frank Costello in The Departed
Nicholson plays Frank Costello in The Departed | Source

The Departed

Irish mafia, deep under cover ops, and a mafia mole inside the state police, interested yet? Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin, need I say more? Damon and DiCaprio are opposing informants, one in the police, one in the mob and they are investigating each other and themselves. Mix in a common love interest and Jack Nicholson as the Irish mob boss and this is a movie that can't go wrong. The all-star cast is directed by legendary director Martin Scorsese in this twisted crime thriller that took home four Oscars. Great one liners, plot twists and dramatic interactions that leave more than one corpse, make this one the ten movies you must see.

Fargo

Crime stories don't get much quirkier than this Oscar winning film. Fargo is a story about a botched planned kidnapping that quickly turned into murders and cover ups. The story follows police officer Marge Gunderson as she investigates deaths that have occurred in connection with the kidnapping. Gunderson, 7 months pregnant, unravels a chain of events leading to the resolution of this criminal bungle. Fargo was nominated for seven academy awards and won two for best original screenplay and best actress for Frances McDormand's portrayal of Gunderson. The film was written, produced, and directed by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen. Though the opening subtitle of the movie states that it is a true story, the plot is completely fictional though the Coen brothers have stated that events were based off of true cases that happened independently of each other unlike the plot of the movie. The dialect and personalities of the characters, along with the incredible twisted story make Fargo one of the ten movies you must see.

Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat Pray Love
Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat Pray Love | Source

Into the Wild

Into the Wild is the true story of Christopher McCandless and his journey through America and into Alaska on a quest to free himself from society. Author John Krakauer wrote his biographic tale in 1996 about his journeys in the early 1990s. McCandless, played by Emile Hirsch, completely destroys every trace of his former life and sets out on an adventure that will lead him to Alaska. Dubbing himself "Alexander Supertramp" he makes several stops along the way meeting a vast array of open minded people. McCandless ends up in Alaska after a couple years of wandering, free to live off the land and experience nature at its rawest. Only after being truly alone in the wilderness does McCandless realize that true happiness can only be found when shared with others, but by the time of this epiphany it is too late as McCandless becomes trapped in Alaska's unforgiving terrain. His story is about living each day to its fullest and striving to be something different in a world of conformity. Mccandless documented much of his journey and thus Krakauer was able to bring it to life in his book which was adapted to this heart stirring film. Scattering a range of emotions, Into the Wild is definitely one of the ten movies you must see.

Emile Hirsch has the role of a lifetime in Into the Wild as the late Chris McCandless
Emile Hirsch has the role of a lifetime in Into the Wild as the late Chris McCandless | Source

Eat Pray Love

On a similar notion as Into the Wild, Eat Pray Love is another movie from a book about the journey to self discovery. Fictional character Elizabeth Gilbert played by Julia Roberts is recently divorced and ready to get away from the expectations of a forced marriage and an unfulfilled career. Her journey is divided into three parts, you guessed it, eating, praying, and loving. It begins in Italy where she meets up with a fellow traveler and dines on all of the fine cuisine and wine possible discovering the pleasures associated with such nourishment. Gilbert then heads to India where she must find spiritual nourishment through deep meditation, prayer, and silence. The last step of her journey is in Indonesia where she finds the true love that eluded her in her past life. True human connection cannot be matched and is a separate need above all else. Don't be thrown off by critics or labels on this movie, the story is good and original. Should you allow yourself to be swept up by the story you will find yourself questioning your own life, ready to drop everything and run off to experience the world. Julia Roberts is at her best, and the supporting cast makes this introspective film one of the ten movies you must see.

Fargo Trailer

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City of God

City of God is a Brazilian foreign film bringing to life late 1960s Brazilian organized crime in the suburbs of Rio De Janeiro. After a violent takeover of a portion of the city's drug trade, a war is brewing between two rivals. A young photographer is coming of age meanwhile, and through his acquaintances he gains access to photograph one of the gangs which gives him the material he needs to finally get a newspaper photographer job, meaning escape from the ghetto. The film provides an inside look at the horrors of third world poverty being capitalized on by the city's gangs. The city's children are caught up in the gang violence as well and are called runts who perpetuate the city's next generation of violence as the cycle will eventually repeat itself once the current regime is dead from the constant violence and drug wars. Nominated for four academy awards, City of God has gained plenty of notoriety in the U.S since its Brazilian debut in 2002. The film is in Portuguese but even if subtitles aren't your thing, the authenticity of this film makes it worth watching as one of the ten movies you must see.

Jennifer Lawrence attending the Academy Awards nominated for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook
Jennifer Lawrence attending the Academy Awards nominated for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook | Source

Gone Baby Gone

Gone Baby Gone starring Casey Affleck and Morgan Freeman will leave you questioning your own moral compass long after the movie is over. A little girl has disappeared and the police have no leads, so now the family has brought in private investigators who end up finding much more than a little girl. Twists, turns, and moral dilemmas beset this well written plot directed by Ben Affleck. In typical Affleck style the dialogue and personality of inner city Boston comes to life. Co-stars Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, and Ed Harris add to this star packed mystery thriller that will leave you shaking your head with a myriad of questions. This one is best watched a second time just to catch all of the clues to put together the mystery. A true question of morality comes with this movie, is a child better off with their biological parent even if they are a horrible parent? The law says one thing, common sense another, the moral of this movie will definitely leave you conflicted even if you can answer this question. This movie is an excellent mystery crime drama and with the added morality clause this absolutely is a movie you must see.


Hounsou was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting actor role in Blood Diamond
Hounsou was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting actor role in Blood Diamond | Source

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings is not your typical romantic comedy. Raunchy humor and a comedic look at mental illness make this film an absolute hit. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have an onscreen dynamic few actors share. Their characters have both endured life changing circumstances to their love lives and dealing with a little crazy of their own and in each other they must find a new way in life. Robert DeNiro's role as die hard Eagles fan degenerate gambler and as father to a mentally ill son is excellent. The film received eight academy award nominations including four in the acting category. Jennifer Lawrence completely recasts herself from previous hit The Hunger Games, and makes a name for herself as true great actress. Bradley Cooper does much of the same as he makes a name for himself outside of The Hangover series. This movie is great on so many levels, funny, interesting, and heart warming. Chris Tucker adds a comedic element with a great performance as a fellow patient from the mental hospital. Candid dialogue, situational humor and fantastic acting make this movie one of the ten movies you must see.

Silver Linings Playbook Trailer

Seven Pounds

Maybe Will Smith's best acting job of his career is Seven Pounds. The film did not receive great reviews but the story is magnificent as well as is Smith's performance. An eye for an eye has never been portrayed in a more unique scenario as Smith poses as his brother an IRS agent, to research candidates for the gifts of his life he wishes to give after taking the lives of seven others in a horrific car crash. Ultimately giving the ultimate gift to a romantic interest played by Rosario Dawson, flashbacks put together the story and we are left to follow along as the story unravels into ending you will never see coming. This feel good drama casts Smith in a new role like never seen before and he actually does some real acting rather than the nonstop action flicks he is known for. Perhaps more a tale of redemption than love, Seven Pounds strikes a chord with audiences of all types. There may be religious exceptions to this film of sacrifice, but the moral is solid and the plot interesting. Seven Pounds is one of the films you must see because the story is so unique, and it brings you into a story of forgiveness and redemption, two things we should never get enough of.

Spanglish Trailer

Spanglish

Adam Sandler in a semi-serious role? I know it's a scary proposition, but trust me this one is worth the watch. Tea Leoni is at her best in her role as supporting actress. This is a story of a Mexican immigrants life in America keeping her heritage while wanting her daughter to experience the best parts of American culture. Taken in as a maid for a wealthy American family, Flor Moreno played by Paz Vega, struggles to learn English and fight against the family's overtures to "Americanize" her daughter. Leoni's character Deborah plays the American mother who is obsessed with fitness and being the perfect mother. She oversteps her bounds as she tries to give Flor's daughter the same advantages her own child has without consulting Flor. Meanwhile Sandler's character John is an award winning chef who is very down to earth and while he loves his wife he understands why Flor is upset. John and Flor become closer as they are learning from each other the differences and similarities they share in parenting. Meanwhile Deborah cheats on John leading to Flor and John spending a night together they will never forget even without sexual advances. The story is being told by Flor's daughter Cristina as an essay to get into Princeton. Her experience with John and Deborah changed her life but holding true to her mother's values and culture made her the person she is and is now applying to Princeton. This blend of cultural humor and struggle makes Spanglish one of the movies you must see.

Blood Diamond

Leonardo DiCaprio makes his second appearance on this list in the exciting political war thriller Blood Diamond. The controversy over African conflict diamonds reaches its climax when decision between fortune and humanity collides. Djimon Hounsou plays Solomon Vandy an African fisherman forced into diamond mine labor, while his son has been kidnapped by rebel forces during the Sierra Leone civil war. Vandy finds and then buries out of fear, one of the largest diamond ever found. He escapes the refugee camp and with the help of DiCaprio, who plays Danny Archer a former military man turned diamond smuggler, has to return to get the stone and free his son. Archer comes face to face with torment caused by the diamond trade and eventually makes the ultimate sacrifice to help Vandy get his freedom with the stone and his family. Vivid and raw footage of African conflict combined with Archer's romantic involvement with an American journalist give this film a much needed duality for all audiences. Blood Diamond sheds a light on the drastic political situation taking place in Africa over blood diamonds or conflict diamonds. The film was nominated for two academy awards for best actor, DiCaprio, and best supporting actor, Hounsou. A great original story and a stirring message make Blood Diamond one of the ten movies you must see.

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    • Bk42author profile image

      Brenda Thornlow 3 years ago from New York

      Spanglish was a pleasant surprise for me since I was never a fan of Adam Sandler's humor. He does a great job in that role!

    • Thief12 profile image

      Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Some good/great films here. Fargo is excellent, Gone Baby Gone and The Departed are pretty good, City of God is chillingly brutal... I'm not a huge fan of Blood Diamond, but it wasn't a bad film.

      I haven't seen the others, but I'll keep my eyes open.

      Voted Up, Interesting, Useful.