According to a recent huffingtonpost.com article Netflix is losing about 2,000 movies in May. But, it’s not quantity that should concern us, but quality. We all know the search for quality can be a difficult endeavor and sometimes we just give up and watch movies like Monster Lust 2042 (not a real movie) to numb our brains until we fall asleep. Like many who work for a living, finding that extra time to unwind and watch is a delight that does not come often. Let’s not waste it.
Netflix has a plethora of movies (despite it’s recent losses). Some like Monster Lust 2042, others like The Penitent Man. By now you probably have glanced over my list of recommendations and you may have already judged these movies as pretentious snore fests (e.g. Lost in Translation), but you will be pleasantly surprised. They are not your average run-of-the-mill guy falls in love with former tomboy turned supermodel, or deliver a package and save the world kind of movies, in fact it’s hard to say what drives these movies, or what the point of these movies is at all.
There are no car explosions, bad guy guns that always miss or frontal nudity. I’m really selling these movies, right? But, what makes these movies, I have selected so great, is that in anyone of them I would love to partake in the dialogue. These movies embody hypotheticals you and your buds talk about when the booze are pouring. Well, I should say when the booze start pouring, it can get messy after a bit. Intriguing is the content of the dialogue.
1. The Penitent Man
A movie about a therapist and his time traveling patient. A unique patient not only in the sense that he time travels (duh!), but a future-inventor of a time viewing device that has been mass produced for consumers of the future. With the ability to view all of history, mystery is now absent replaced with complete knowledge. What are the ramifications? How will omniscient humans behave? These are just some of the questions you will be presented with (along with the occasional time paradox). The answers (or really possibilities) may disturb you, or at the very least have you wondering. I left the movie feeling like Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men after Jack Nicholson screamed “You can’t handle the truth!” Maybe Colonel Jessup was right after all.
2. The Man from Earth
You probably have had a professor or two who you thought was at least a thousand years old (I apologize to any of my professors right now, I am not referring to you). Well, if you took a class with Professor John Oldman (the main protagonist) you’d be close, but he is really 14,000 years old. The guy is as old as pre-historic mold, but he is probably using some of that wonder mold because, he doesn’t look a day over 40. The movie is a conversation with his colleagues about his experiences, trials and tribulations over the years. This movie is like the squeeze of lime after drinking a shot of The Penitent Man (or vice versa).
A killer scantron wreaks havoc on unsuspecting students! Not really, not even close to what this movie is about. But, the Exam is “one last hurdle” separating eight “type A” individuals from their goal working for a super secretive corporation. One room, one question, and “one answer is required.” 80 minutes, start! Flip, the exam over and what the expletive. I will leave it at that.
4. Unknown (not the Liam Neeson movie)
Alright, after you’ve sat through listening to Professor John Oldman from The Man from Earth, had your session with The Penitent Man and finally took your Exam it’s time to unwind. What better than to grab a few drinks. A few too many drinks later you end up in a warehouse along with some strangers, you forgot how you got there and who you are. Actually, no one knows who they are. It’s not the booze that induced the amnesia of these star-studded cast of characters (Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Bridget Moynahan, Joe Pantoliano, Barry Pepper) and that’s not even the interesting question, it’s who these people are and how they figure it out. Tabula rasa (for a bit), now let’s see what happens.
In an era where big budget special effect extravaganzas reign supreme it’s nice to watch a movie that will wow you with substantive material that ignites questions and wonder. Although, all these movies are heavy ended on the talking, it’s a conversation I think most people would like to listen to just out of curiosity. I hope you will enjoy these movies as much as I have.