We grow attached to TV characters. It just happens. Especially when they’re on a show we love—even when we hate them, it’s damn hard to say goodbye. So we’re letting ourselves indulge in a little “what if” therapy with our top characters we’d bring back from the dead.
Quick, name your favorite French horror movie! If you had to think that one over, you aren’t alone. But the country that brought us Jean-Paul Sartre and existentialism has another kind of horror besides the usual tales of creaky old houses and axe-wielding maniacs. Here’s a list of ten great French movies that disturb and shock, but not always with a straightforward a menace.
Semi-nude or semi-clothed–are you an optimist or a pessimist? Whatever your view, these 10 movies have mastered the art of the almost-but-not-quite tease.
Article: Top 10 Inspiring Transgender Movies
We’ve pulled together a screening list of the best transgender-themed flicks out there. In order to make our list, the movies in question had to feature a sympathetic portrayal of a transgendered character in a leading role–hence Psycho and Silence of the Lambs did not make the cut. No, the following movies are all thoughtful, moving depictions of people struggling through life–people who are human first, transgendered second.
Iron Man’s The Mandarin. Shutter Island’s Dr. Cawley. Sexy Beast’s Don Logan. Ben Kingsley is just so good when he’s being bad. And look how many types of bad he can do! See our list below for best of Sir Ben’s baddies.
Telekinesis is arguably the most desirable of all superpowers—moving objects without lifting a finger would be both thrilling and a killer party trick. In movies, we’ve seen telekinetic characters get all kinds of creative with their skills, but we’ve also seen them experience some serious downsides. As one super-human learned the hard way, with great power comes great responsibility. Check out our list below for our top instances of telekinesis in the movies!
Even in a show so eminently quotable as Law & Order, Jerry Orbach’s character Dectective Lennie Briscoe stands out—fans waited for his endless string of hilariously cringe-worthy one-liners week after week, and they were never disappointed. Get ready to laugh out loud, we’ve uncovered a new batch of quotes from Detective Briscoe.
The doctor-gone-mad plot is one of cinema’s most disturbing—after all, you’re never more than vulnerable than when sitting in the exam chair. Equipped with needles, scalpels and anesthesia, these demented physicians and scientists make for some of Hollywood’s most terrifying villains. Cue the full-body cringes.
Article: Top Ten Secretly Feminist Films
It used to be that no filmmakers would advertise that their movie had feminist ambitions; even now, some directors sidestep the issue. Despite this unfortunate trend, the movies below are wildly entertaining proof of what happens when empowering agendas shine through (even in subtle and complex ways).
These films take the timeless hostage scenario to a whole new level of twisted—where cannibals play mind games with cops, psychotic killers take the form of fan girls and snipers, bombs are on buses and vampire strippers are a thing. Our list of demented hostage films isn’t for the faint of heart.
1. Funny Games
When two deranged young men take a family hostage in their home, they’re forced to engage in a slew of savage games in order to stay alive. Naomi Watts’ and Michael Pitt’s grueling performances—loving, brave mother and perverse, psycho killer, respectively—and a thrilling, fourth-wall breaking scene make the movie well worth enduring the horrors.
2. Silence of the Lambs
FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodi Foster) is drawn into a game of wits with one villain behind bars (the Hannibal Lector), while pursuing another serial killer, “Buffalo Bill,” on the loose. When Bill takes a new victim hostage, Starling’s race against the clock begins. She must get the information she needs from the cryptic psychopath Hannibal (cue the mind games) to apprehend Bill before he murders his prey.
More often than not, the most memorable movies we see are rooted in heavy, hard-to-watch subject matter. This can certainly be said of the gritty films on this list—all wartime pics set in Africa, all dealing with the real-life conflicts that have ravaged the beautiful continent over the last century.
Never underestimate a Tarantino woman—in his impressive body of work, the director’s strong and charismatic female characters reign supreme. Here are ten of our favorite gunsligers.
For many, prom is the pinnacle of their high school career. There’s the romance, the decorations, the excuse to get fancy and, most importantly, the drama. In honor of this unrivaled event, we’ve compiled a list of the best proms on film.
It’s not like high school isn’t strange enough as it is. Add a little supernatural seasoning and you get TV shows and movies where high school gets downright spooky-weird, which makes for great angst-filled horror stories.
1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter (2001-2011)
“Oh well, what’s life without a few dragons?”
It should come as no surprise that a school dedicated to the education of young witches and wizards would be filled with magical goings-on, including a whomping willow tree on the grounds (never mind an entire forbidden forest). But things got extra-strange when the Boy Who Lived enrolled. Basilisk in the basement? Check. Boggarts in the classroom? Oh yes. Centaurs, Dementors and ghosts? Of course. Even the climactic standoff, where numerous witches and wizards on both sides perished, is dubbed the Battle of Hogwarts.
Ditching school. Cutting class. Playing hooky. If you’re gonna do it, make sure you have a darned good reason and a damned good excuse. In honor of the announcement for season 2 of DREAM SCHOOL, here are some favorites.
1. We were forced to do drugs – 21 Jump Street
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as Schmidt and Jenko
The key to being a good narc—which these two bozos are not—is actually attending class. But when duty calls, the fellas skip out to meet their drug connection in the yearbook office, sample the goods and hustle to the bathroom to “help” each other try to puke. Maybe cutting class isn’t such a good idea.
If love were easy, romantic films wouldn’t exist. In the movies, the quest for love is like trying to swim across a wide, piranha-filled river while arrows are shot at you from all sides. And in the end, whether we win love or lose love, we learn from it. These ten films preach the gospel of perseverance, no matter what the treasure chest of romance ultimately holds.
1.Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen, 1986)
Thanksgiving parties bookend two years of romance, adultery, betrayal, alcoholism, religious mania and hypochondria among a group of erratic New Yorkers. Lesson learned: Love is better when you accept that it is very unpredictable. Also, New Yorkers can be quite neurotic.
Masterful at portraying unusual characters, Australian actor Geoffrey Rush has been an artist, a revolutionary, a tailor and a pirate (among others); he’s been Russian, Israeli, French and British (among others). To top it off, many of these characters are based on real people, making it that much trickier to get them just so. Vote…
Here we are with the most “killer” shows ever: killer as defined by body-count, that is. Zombies, murderers, gangsters, vampires, cannibals, drug dealers — they’re all in here. Vote for your top pick in the poll below.
1. The Sopranos
“Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on…”
It’s impossible not to put The Sopranos at the top of this list. The ultimate “killer” show followed the ups and downs of Tony Soprano for six amazing seasons. And even when the show ended… it never really ended. After all the hits and murders, we wound up with Tony and his family sitting in a quiet diner — and then… the screen went to black. Was Tony killed? What happened? Theories abound, but what creator David Chase did with the final episode was allow us to resolve the story in our minds — imagine our own ending for Tony, or our own continuance. The concept of The Sopranos changed TV forever, and the Journey song playing at the diner gives us all a clue: after all, the story never ends. It just goes on and on and on.
2. Six Feet Under
“You only get one life. …And once it’s over, it’s over. Dreamless sleep forever and ever. So why not be happy while you’re here. Really. Why not?”
It’s hard to get more “killer-ish” than Six Feet Under; the show that began every episode with a death, and a caption reminiscent of a tombstone’s epitaph. Following the lives of the Fisher family as they attempted to manage a funeral home, each episode focused on the death of a stranger whose body came to the funeral home. The show’s message: everything everywhere eventually ends. But this is not a reason for sadness, it’s a reason to enjoy life while we have it.
With Mother’s Day on the horizon, we bring you MILFs Part 3: Ten more “Moms In Legendary Films.” This time around, we’re touting moms who hustle and fight for their children ’til the end. Be sure to vote for your favorite MILF in the poll below.
1. Mrs. Gump, Forrest Gump
Sally Field’s Mrs. Gump sets the gold standard for parenting against the odds. She’s a bold champion who cares less about shielding her special needs child from the world, and more about imparting ethics so he can always find his way. To wit: “Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get.” The way she sees it, there’s no reason that her son, on the slower side and crippled during his youth, can’t have just as rich of a life as any other child. Clearly her mothering was a success what with Forrest’s college scholarship, his Medal of Honor, his two trips to the White House and his thriving shrimping business.
2. Queenie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Benjamin Button’s curious tale matches Forrest’s in sheer scope–his extraordinary life takes him around the world and back again. He too needs a strong-willed, big-hearted mother and he gets one in nursing home worker Queenie (Taraji P. Henson) after his biological mother’s death in childbirth. It’s Queenie who finds the baby, brings him home, and sees through his strange physical maladies to the heart within.
Looking back on that decade of excess and contradictions, it’s clear that our art was just as twisted as we were, tapping into the darkest kind of humor behind all that neon. Don’t believe us? Be sure to catch these darkly comedic ’80s films on SundanceTV.
1. Brazil (1985)
Terry Gilliam’s fanciful futuristic comedy takes a wild dive into a land of bureaucracy, terrorism and, in an indelible image, extreme plastic surgery. It’s a fever-dream kind of dystopia that is simultaneously hilarious and horrifying, making Brazil a true dark comedy classic.
Article: Daniel Day-Lewis as President, Ed Harris as an Astronaut… American History as Envisioned by Hollywood
AMC’s TURN has re-sparked an interest in the American Revolutionary War. Who knew George Washington had a team of spies?
But if you’re a history buff who needs more than a single TV show or historic period to stay happy, you’d do well to consult this list of great historical movies.
1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Yes, the storyline revolves around the rescue of the last surviving son of a grieving mother. Even so, Steven Spielberg’s real accomplishment is in the first half-hour of the film: perhaps the most powerful and accurate reenactment of the D-Day invasion and subsequent battle ever. It’s a crucial chapter in America’s twentieth-century identity, and Spielberg (who won a Best Director Oscar) does little to glorify the tragedies.
Do the ’90s seem less memorable that the ’80s (so rad) or the ’70s (so groovy) to you? Take a moment and reconsider the decade which features some of the most offbeat characters in movie history. Suddenly, the ’90s seem a bit more memorable, right?
1. The Dude (Jeff Bridges), The Big Lebowski (1998)
It’s hard to imagine a more iconic, more offbeat character from the ’90s—or any era—than Jeff Lebowski, a perpetually bath-robed bastion of chillness in search of justice for his peed-on rug (because, hey, “it really tied the room together”). A fan of weed and White Russians, he made bowling an art form and inspired a subculture of devoted fans who still attend annual Lebowski Fests.
2. Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter), The Piano (1993)
The mute woman at the center of Jane Campion’s extraordinary story is one of the most unconventional heroines in film history: a young mother (Hunter won a Best Actress Oscar) who, despite being shipped off to the wilds of New Zealand for an arranged marriage, manages to fall in love (not with her husband) through a shared passion for music and ultimately receives a most unexpected salvation.
Corruption and politics go hand in hand. But in the movies, matters get even more extreme with senators who mind-control and presidents who unleash diseases on the populace. Clearly, House of Cards‘ Frank Underwood would fit right in with the top ten deviant politicians ever to hit the big screen. Find out more about Underwood on THE WRITERS’ ROOM: “House of Cards,” Fri., May 2 at 9PM/8c. Until then, consider his back-stabbing cohorts.
1. Adam Sutler (John Hurt), V for Vendetta
By releasing a plague intended to wipe out “social deviants,” Sutler secures power for his oppressive political party and establishes a fascist regime.
2. Bob Alexander (Frank Langella), Dave
It’s not enough that Chief of Staff Alexander replaces the comatose prez with a lookalike. He also frames the dupe for an S&L scandal he orchestrated.
Wes Anderson has been making feature films since the ’90s (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore) so needless to say his influences date further back than that. It’s a testament to this auteur’s considerable talent that although he’s supremely nostalgic, he’s by no means derivative. He doesn’t rob his predecessors. He nods to them. So to begin… (Cue the Futura title card bearing the words Chapter 1:)
Article: Top 10 Supernatural TV Shows
In honor of this Friday’s episode of THE WRITERS’ ROOM: “The Walking Dead, Smallville & other comics,” here’s a list of the best English-speaking supernatural shows of the last 25 years. (Otherwise, THE RETURNED would be in the top slot, naturally.) From zombies to monster hunters, it’s all here. Check out the list below, if you dare.