Some Films with a Brain on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Image_The_Devil_s_Weed.jpgA few favorites, NOT a complete list. I’m sure that there are many more that are not occurring to me now. I have not included a lot of films that I would include in a film class because of their importance to the development of cinema. More like, what to expect come movie night at Bob’s.

After Hours. Slow and creepy start, but builds to something hilarious and wonderful, by Marin Scorsese, with Cheech and Chong and Rosanna Arquette

American Beauty. Possibly my favorite film ever

Angels in America. Being a gay Mormon is a real drag.

Baraka. Breathtaking tour of the natural world and of world religions

Being in the World. Wonderful film based on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger

Big Kahuna, The. Breathtakingly powerful film about sleazy salesmen and a naïve beginner being shown the ropes, powerful moral message. Kevin Spacey and Danny DaVito

Birdman. A wonderful film about artistic integrity in a shallow world filled with silly monkeys

Blind Side, The. Beautiful film telling the real-life story of a white Southern mom who takes in a homeless and traumatized African-American boy

Bully. True story of some teens in Florida who committed a ghastly murder. Intense, magnificent performances

Coherence. Excellent sci-fi about friends at a party who become trapped in a quantum superimposition

Day the Earth Stood Still, The. Original version

Dallas Buyers Club. Prejudice can’t survive actually getting to know people.

Dogville. Worth watching for the brilliant minimalist set, alone, and for a magnificent performance by Nicole Kidman. NB: A lot of this film is quite disturbing. Lots of triggers (and worse) for people who have been victims of sexual abuse. So, be cautious about whether this film is OK for you to see.

Ex Machina. An eccentric Silicon Valley genius plays god. Probably the best science fiction film ever made about artificial intelligence

Forbin Project, The. Classic sci-fi about AI that takes over the world

Glengarry Glenross. Everything that’s wrong with capitalism as a religion. LOL

Hard Candy. Brilliant, powerful film about a girl who turns the tables on a serial abuser

Her. Boy meets computer. Falls in love. Sensitive, beautiful film about artificial intelligence

I Am Not an Easy Man. What it’s like on the Other Side. Hilarious.

I Love Dick. Amazon series based on a real-life minimalist art colony in Marfa, Texas. Superb performance by Kevin Bacon

Ida. Nun left at convent during German occupation of Poland learns that her parents were Jewish, leaves to explore who she is

Immortal Beloved. Gary Oldman as Beethoven. True and mind-blowing story of Beethoven’s love life, breathtaking, heartbreaking, powerful

In Darkness. Powerful film about Jews hiding from Nazis in Lvov, Poland/Ukraine

Incredible Shrinking Man, The. Classic sci-fi with profound existential undercurrents

K-Pax. Profound film about a guy in a psychiatric ward who thinks[?] he is from another planet. Kevin Spacey

Lost and Delirious. Wonderful film about the fierceness of young love.

Man from Earth, The. Almost no one knows this amazing film. Not going to tell you what it’s about. Wonderful. Probably the best small budget film ever made

Milk. Good film about the hero who jump-started the modern gay rights movement in California

Mr. Nobody. Last mortal on Earth after people have achieved immortality. A film about the multiverse

Nightowls. Brilliant, beautiful film about a woman who wants to commit suicide and the guy who gets wrapped up in her mess

O Brother, Where Art Thou. The Odyssey. sort of. LOL.

Poison. Otherworldly albino boy in a small town. A film about ahimsa

Primer. Great film about two guys who have invented a time machine. NOT stupid as most time travel films are

Rocky Horror Picture Show. Brilliant performances, great music, extraordinarily funny

Rosemary’s Baby. Older film about a witchcraft cult and an expectant mom. Still brilliant today. A classic must-see

Roxanne. A lovely version, with Steve Martin, of the great Cyrano de Bergerac story

Sense8. By the Wachowskis. Series about people scattered around the globe who sense one another’s experiences. On Netflix. The ending sucks, and not in a good way. Skip it.

Siberian Education, A. Great film about rule by strongman, starring one of my candidates for the finest male actor alive today, John Malkovich (the other? Joaquin Phoenix)

Tracy Fragments, The. Elliot Page’s brilliant performance about a teenaged girl shattered. A must see, but huge trigger warnings on this one.

Traveling Salesman: P = NP. Extraordinary drama about mathematicians who have solved one of the most significant outstanding problems in the field, with horrific consequences for surveillance and domination by the state. Powerful and important and not well known.

Tree, The. Magnificent film about a woman coping with the death of her husband

Unbearable Lightness of Being, The. Wonderful adaptation of Milan Kundera’s brilliant novel. One knows, after the fact, what one should have done.

Waking Life. Amusing anime on the subject of lucid dreaming.

Winter’s Bone. Powerful performance by Jennifer Lawrence as a teenager hunting down her drug-dealer father in an attempt to save the family farm

XXY. Powerful film about an intersex teen; a must see

Y Tu Mama Tambien. Two teenaged boys on a road trip with an older woman

Others High on My List of Favorites: Heavenly Creatures, V for Vendetta, Soylent Green, They Live!, Pulp Fiction, Zeitgeist, Cloud Atlas, Kill Bill, The Red Violin, The Gods Must Be Crazy, Closer, Fearless, Fight Club, Chinatown, The Birds, The Dead Poets Society, Fail-Safe, The Godfather, The Lord of the Rings, Wizard of Oz, Contact, Goodfellas, Casino, Slaughterhouse-Five, The Planet of the Apes (original version), The Grapes of Wrath, Dr. Zhivago, Turner, Under the Skin, The Manchurian Candidate (original version), Cider House Rules, The Devil’s Advocate, Field of Dreams, Raising Arizona, Lost in Translation, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Repo Man, A Christmas Story, Wuthering Heights (British made for TV version), Arrival (based on short story by the brilliant Chinese-American writer Ted Chiang), Bonnie and Clyde, Brother John (Sidney Poitier)


About Bob Shepherd

interests: curriculum design, educational technology, learning, linguistics, hermeneutics, rhetoric, philosophy (Continental philosophy, Existentialism, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, ethics), classical and jazz guitar, poetry, the short story, archaeology and cultural anthropology, history of religion, prehistory, veganism, sustainability, Anglo-Saxon literature and language, systems for emergent quality control, heuristics for innovation
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