By popular demand, here is the official Mystery Grove Film Recommendations list. Watch all of these in order if you want to truly understand the world we live in today.
Miami Blues (1990) is a deep-fried thriller about a handsome psychopath who steals an detective's badge and goes on a robbery spree through the South Florida criminal underworld. One of the hidden gems of reactionary cinema.
The Duellists (1978) follows two rival French officers through the Napoleonic Wars. A minor insult sets off a decades-long series of duels between the men, neither willing to abandoned his honor.
Excalibur (1981) condenses several Arthurian legends into a single spectacular epic. One of the most hypnotic and visionary films of all time.
Barcelona (1994) is a wonderful comedy that follows two estranged cousins, one an insecure businessman and the other a brash naval officer, who reunite in Barcelona for a series of misadventures. Great reflection on family, romance, and getting older.
Nightfall (1956) tells the story of an artist framed and left for dead by bank robbers. With the help of his model girlfriend, he must elude both police and the criminals while hunting for a hidden fortune.
Andrei Rublev (1966) follows the Russian icon painter through decades of struggle, showing how a man who came from one of the bleakest times in human history could end up creating art that still inspires today. One of the best films on religion.
Sorcerer (1977) is a slick and mean-spirited thriller about four desperate men from across the world hired to drive highly unstable explosives to an oil well deep in the jungle.
TThe King (2019) is a modern retelling of the rise of Henry V. Very cool battle scenes and refreshing take on a familiar story.
Point Break (1991) is a sprawling action epic about an FBI agent who goes undercover to hunt down a gang of surfers funding their free-spirited lifestyle through bank robbery.
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) tells the story of two legendary outlaws in the last days of the Old West. The bodies stack up as one tries to buy his freedom with the other's life.
First Man (2018) is one of the most criminally underrated films of all time. This retelling of Neil Armstrong's journey to his historic moonwalk is an ode to American masculinity. Headline of the Harvard Crimson's review: "In ‘First Man,’ Triumph for White Male Dreams"
Legionnaire (1998) is a pulp action classic following a boxer who is forced to enlist in the legendary French Foreign Legion to escape the gangsters hunting him.
The Lady Eve (1941) an extremely funny romantic comedy about a beautiful card shark trying to seduce a bumbling millionaire. Cannot recommend this (and Preston Sturges's other films) enough. The pinnacle of banter and sight gags.
Russian Ark (2002) follows a ghost and his long-dead aristocrat companion through the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, bouncing through several hundred years of shared history and culture. Innovative and beautiful; shot in a single take.
Total Recall (1990) is a muscular sci-fi masterpiece about a construction worker who finds himself wrapped up in a bloody interstellar conspiracy after paying for memories of a dream vacation to Mars.
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) follows a small time New England crook as he scrambles to betray enough of his criminal associates to secure a reduced sentence. As gritty as a crime film can get.
Master and Commander is the king of naval combat movies. Tells the story of a British warship hunting and being hunted by a much more powerful French vessel at the height of the Napoleonic Wars. Infinitely rewatchable.
Брат (Brother) follows a recently-discharged Russian conscript as he moves to the big city in Yeltsin-era Russia to follow his hitman brother. Great gangster movie that's very relevant today.
Брат 2 (2000) picks up immediately where the first film left off, with the conscript and his brother embarking on a twisted adventure to the South Side of Chicago. All about finding your place in the world.
Maverick (1994) is a cocky western comedy starring Mel Gibson as a fast-talking and cowardly gambler trying to scrape together enough money to enter a once-in-a-lifetime poker tournament. Made by the Lethal Weapon crew.
Das Boot (1981) follows a German U-boat in the closing stages of WW2. Realistic (an actual U-boat "Ace" served as technical advisor) and moving film about brotherhood in times of extreme hardship. Watch the Director's Cut.
To Live and Die in L.A. (1984) is an ultra-stylish thriller about two Secret Service agents who go rogue to take down the counterfeiter who murdered their mentor. Pitch black. Probably has the best car chase of all time.
Sinister (2012) follows a desperate true-crime writer after he moves into a "murder house" with his family and discovers a cache of snuff films. Suburban living at its scariest.
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) is about a good-hearted dockworker unable to fight in WW2 due to chronic hayfever, but too ashamed to go home. He is befriended by a squad of recently-returned Marines, whose scheme to return him to his family without losing face quickly snowballs.
Proof of Life (2000) is an understated and realistic look at the Kidnapping & Ransom industry, following a specialist as he negotiates for the life of an American engineer taken hostage by South American guerillas. Masterful school thriller with excellent finale.
Inherent Vice (2017) is a beautiful and surreal detective comedy set in the last days of California's Hippie Era. My favorite movie of all time.
Under the Silver Lake (2019) is a pitch black conspiracy thriller set post-gentrification Los Angeles. Buried by the studio on release because of its message. Very relevant today.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) is perfect action-comedy about a New York Transit Police captain negotiating with professional criminals who have taken a subway car full of people hostage and demanded a $1 million ransom. Not a single wasted moment in the movie.
Unknown Soldier (2017) tells the largely-ignored story of the Continuation War, a massive conflict between Finland and the Soviet Union that lasted from 1941-1944. Probably the most realistic depiction of WW2 era combat ever filmed.
Miller's Crossing (1991) is a perfect gangster movie about a mob fixer who finds himself trapped in a web of conflicting loyalties and betrayals, forced to choose between death and losing what little innocence he has left. Great way to spend an evening.
Support Your Local Sherriff! (1969) is a classic western comedy about a smooth-talking drifter who charms his way to the top of a corrupt town. The ultra-fast deadpan jokes are a lost art, you'll pick up on something new to laugh at every time you watch.
Blackhat (2015) follows an elite cybercriminal released from prison to help investigators unravel an international financial terror network. Meditation on freedom and dignity in the digital age. Watch the director's cut, much better than the theatrical release.
Silence (2016) is a wonderful film about two Portuguese missionaries in the early 17th century who infiltrate Japan during the height of Christian persecution to search for their lost mentor, rumored to have renounced his faith under duress.
Ran (1985) is an inspired adaptation of King Leer by Akira Kurosawa, one of the greatest directors of all time, set in feudal Japan. The climactic battle sequence is unforgettable.
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) chronicles the life of the titular Japanese author through vivid adaptations of his works. Spectacular; a passion project from everyone involved.
The Killer (1989) is a titan of Hong Kong action movies, following a good-hearted hitman and the dogged detective hunting him. Extremely influential.
Bloodsport (1988) is an incredible film about a US Army Captain who goes AWOL to fight in a brutal underground full-contact tournament in Hong Kong. The best martial arts movie ever.
Overlord (1975) is a genuinely beautiful film that intersperses archival footage of the air campaign over Britain and France with the narrative of a British conscript, haunted by visions of his own death during the upcoming D-Day landings.
Kung Pow! Enter the Fist (2002) is a martial arts parody following "the Chosen One" as he attempts to escape an army of mysterious assassins. A truly timeless classic.
The Naked Gun (1988) is a flawless comedy following the intrepid detectives of Los Angeles' elite Police Squad as they stumble through their mission to prevent the assassination of the Queen of England. The sequels are great as well.
Night of the Running Man (1995) is a forgotten action gem about a Las Vegas cab driver who finds a small fortune in his backseat only to be forced to evade a suave hitman across thousands of miles. You will have fun watching this.
F/X (1986) is another lost pulp classic about an Australian special effects artist who finds himself embroiled in a complicated and dangerous conspiracy after being hired to fake a retiring mobster's death. Brian Dennehy is great as the cop trying to bring him in.
Internal Affairs (1990) follows an LAPD detective attempting to take down a extremely intelligent and psychopathic officer who created an empire of corruption to provide for his multiple wives possibly dozens of children.
Croupier (1998) follows a misanthropic writer who gets a job at a sleezy casino while his life and relationships slowly begin to spiral out of control. Great reflection on the nature of fate and chance. A genuine hidden gem: must-see.
The Salton Sea (2002) is an underrated crime thriller following a musician who immerses himself in Southern California's meth underworld in order to track down his wife's killers. Keeps you guessing until the end.
Prince of the City (1981) tells the story of a corrupt NYPD narcotics officer who, after turning informant to help remove a few bad actors in his unit, finds himself captive in a sprawling federal investigation that threatens everyone he said he'd never betray. Very realistic.
The Way of the Gun (2000) follows a pair of small-time crooks who find themselves out of their depth after kidnapping a mob boss's surrogate mother. Innovative (and vicious) action scenes. Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie would go on to helm the Mission Impossible franchise.
Hard Eight (1996) tells the story of an aging gambler who takes a young scam artist and his prostitute girlfriend under his wing. Satisfying slow burn.
Violent Cop (1989) is about a brutal Japanese detective who slowly loses his mask of sanity while investigating his former partner's murder.
Best Seller (1987) is a campy thriller that sees a straight-laced true crime writer stalked by an unstable hitman who wants him to write his life story, exposing very powerful people in the process.
Guilty as Sin (1993) is a forgotten classic staring Don Johnson as the ultimate womanizer, accused of murdering his much older wife. When a beautiful young attorney takes his case, she finds herself trapped in a high stakes psychological game. Extremely funny.
Absence of Malice (1981) is a great legal drama about a Miami liquor distributor whose life is thrown upside down after an unethical Assistant US Attorney leaks fake information to the press implicating him in a mob murder. Very relevant today.
Manhunt: Search for the Night Stalker is a made-for-tv police procedural that is far better than it has any right to be. Two straight-laced cops scramble to stop a psychotic home invading serial killer who paralyzed Los Angeles with fear for an entire year.