Pat Downey’s list of movies worth watching


Pat Downey, Film Critic

Now that award season is over, Hollywood is providing audiences with a stream of bad movies. Instead of paying money to see a bad film in theaters, here is a list of ten good movies you may not have seen.

“What We Do In The Shadows” (2014)

Written, directed and starring Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, this mockumentary takes a bite at vampire fiction. A documentary crew follows four vampire roommates in New Zealand leading up to an event called “The Unholy Masquerade.” The film is well made and acted, as well as incredibly hilarious. Making fun of everything from “Twilight” and “Dracula” to the experience of living with other people, this hilarious film is a must watch for anyone.

“Isle Of Dogs” (2018)

Wes Anderson’s eighth film is a beautiful stop motion experience. The film is about a future Japanese city where all dogs are exiled due to an outbreak of dog flu. One boy, Atari Kobayashi, travels to the isle of dogs to rescue his dog, Spots. The film has the stunning imagery, rich story and great jokes that we expect from Anderson. The film will have you laughing, crying and thinking about what you would do if your pet was exiled.

“The Descendants” (2011)

Starring George Clooney, the film tells the story of a man trying to figure out what to do with a family property while struggling to cope with his wife’s coma and the effects it has on his daughters. Set and shot in Hawaii, the film provides stunning visuals and a captivating story. Even though the film is a drama, it has several amusing and funny moments to keep the viewer interested. This is a good film to watch on rainy or snowy days to make you feel warm.

“The Death of Stalin” (2018)

Equally hilarious and horrifying, this film adapted from a French graphic novel based on a true story contains a star studded cast too large to list. In Soviet Russia, Joseph Stalin suffers a heart attack in his home. Over the next few days his cronies fight for power over the nation as they plan his funeral. Featuring historical figures from Russian history who have been forgotten, the film educates as well as entertains. If you are a history buff, check out this film.

“Papillon” (1973)

Starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, this is an outstanding film within prison movie genre. A convicted murderer and a forger form a friendship as they are sent to the penal colony of French Guiana. The two friends must overcome problems with other prisoners and sadistic guards as they attempt their escape. The film is a beautiful story about friendship and freedom.

“The Freshman” (1925)

If you have never seen a silent movie, this is a good first. Starring legendary silent film star Harold Lloyd, this film has established its place as a classic. The film is about a freshman in college who attempts to become “the most popular lad in school” by joining the football team. The film uses slapstick comedy well to drive the story and is still incredibly hilarious despite its age.

“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948)

A captivating western film starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston, the film delves into the madness caused by greed. Three Americans in Mexico travel to the Sierra Madre Mountains in search of gold, and begin to distrust one another over their shares of gold. The film is a classic and should be required viewing for any movie buff. If you can find the film, be sure to check it out.

“The Great Escape” (1963)

This epic war film is a classic that has been loved by many. The film follows American soldiers in a German POW camp during World War II. The prisoners must plan their escape from a camp known for its tight security and cruelty. Once again starring Steve McQueen, the film contains some of his iconic moments such as the baseball in solidarity confinement and motorcycle escape scenes. Once you watch this film, you won’t be able to stop seeing references to it in other films and in television.

“Top Secret!” (1984)

From the people who brought you “Airplane!” is this hilarious spoof of war films. An American rock star travels to East Germany to perform in a cultural festival and ends up uncovering an evil plot and joins the resistance. Featuring Val Kilmer in his film debut, the movie blends a good mix of parody, visual gags and ridiculous musical numbers. “Top Secret!” is a great introduction to parody films.

“Thank You For Smoking” (2006)

A satire that still holds relevance fourteen years later, this film is a wonderful and intelligent look at lobbying. Nick Naylor, big tobacco’s best lobbyist, must find a way to prevent a bill that would cause problems for cigarette companies. Hilarious and thought provoking, the film holds the messages of choice and freedom. Aaron Eckhart’s performance will have you rooting for his character to win despite the fact he is an awful person.