And no, the Red Balloon doesn’t count. Neither does Trainspotting.
Of course, I’m talking about movies with–gasp!–subtitles. I know, I know, “I wanna watch a movie, not read!” I had the same fear when I was younger. If you’ve moved on past such absurd notions in your life, congratulations. If not, let me ask you this: if you’re watching the scene in The Goonies where Mouth is speaking Spanish to Rosalita, do you hit fast forward? Go for a snack? Throw the remote at the TV in frustration? No, you don’t. So if you can look past the subtitles to enjoy that scene, trust me, you can enjoy these movies.
Again, this is all simply my opinion, but if you wanna check rottentomatoes, go ahead. They back me up.
Run Lola Run (Germany, 1998) — Suspense — 1 hour, 20 minutes.
imdb Summary: A young woman in Germany has twenty minutes to find and bring 100,000 Deutschmarks to her boyfriend before he robs a supermarket.
Why you should see it: This was the first awesome foreign movie I ever saw, and the same probably goes for a lot of people within my generation (x/y). In fact, there’s a very good chance you’ve seen this. If not, you’re probably wondering how one can stretch a 20 minute plot into 80 minutes of film. Well, if you watch it you’ll find out–and because it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen, your mind will probably be blown. This movie pays close attention to the little things that go unnoticed, but can have a huge impact on our lives. Not to mention the iconic soundtrack will be stamped on your memory forever.
Oldboy (Korea, 2003) — Revenge, Cult — 2 hours.
imdb Summary: After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.
Why you should see it: It’s certainly one of the more original revenge movies you’ll ever see, and it includes bags full of twists, turns, and other fucked up shit you’ve never seen before. Spielberg has been rumored to direct an American remake of it starring Will Smith, and that’s guaranteed to come nowhere near the awesomeness of the original. I don’t want to spoil anything, so let’s just say things happen in Oldboy that wholesome Will Smith will go nowhere near, and the movie will suffer because of it.
Inside (France, 2007) — Horror — 1 hour, 23 minutes.
imdb Summary: Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.
Why you should see it: Because horror movies bore the shit out of me, yet this one I’m head over heels in love with. To put it plainly: this movie is SERIOUSLY FUCKED UP. If it made me squirm in my seat, it will very likely do at least the same for you. What the imdb summary doesn’t tell you is that the strange woman who wants this unborn baby plans to get it by cutting it out of the other woman with a pair of scissors. I fucking love this movie.
JCVD (Belgium, 2008) — Comedy/Drama — 1 hour, 37 minutes.
my Summary: The washed up Jean Claude Van Damme, playing himself, returns home to Brussels and becomes the prime suspect in a bank robbery.
Why you should see it: You don’t have to be a Jean Claude Van Damme fan to appreciate the self deprecating comedic elements of this movie or the heart-felt monologue near its climax–but if you are a Van Damme fan, or have ever been one, it would be hard for you not to think this movie is awesome.
The Dinner Game (France, 1998) — Comedy — 1 hour, 20 minutes.
imdb Summary: Each week, Pierre and his friends organize what is called as “un diner de cons” (“dinner of idiots”). Everyone brings the dumbest guy he could find as a guest. Pierre thinks his champ -Francois Pignon- will steal the show.
Why you should see it: BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING FUNNY AS SHIT. That should be enough. Jaques Villeret (the idiot) is particularly phenomenal. I’m actually quite excited for the supposed American remake starring Paul Rudd and Steve Carell–perfect actors for this movie.
The Tunnel (Germany, 2001) — Suspense – 2 hours, 47 minutes.
my Summary: In 1961 Germany, a group of people in West Berlin dig a tunnel under the newly erected Berlin Wall to rescue friends and relatives in Communist East Berlin.
Why you should see it: Because if you’re a member of my generation, all you really remember of the Berlin Wall was that it fell when you were a kid. You don’t quite realize how fucking crazy the whole thing was when it was originally built. This movie is basically a “Best-of real life Berlin Wall escape attempts” jammed into 150 minutes. You will shake your head at what people went through not that long ago. The dramatization of the Peter Fechter incident is particularly gripping.
Life is Beautiful (Italy, 1997) — Comedy/Tragedy — 1 hour, 56 minutes.
imdb Summary: A Jewish man has a wonderful romance with the help of his humor, but must use that same quality to protect his son in a Nazi death camp.
Why you should see it: Besides all the deserved award nods/wins, this is a must-see because its a Holocaust movie that doesn’t turn its back on the horrors of concentration camps and still makes you laugh–and after all the laughter it’s still so fucking depressing that I can only watch it every few years. This movie is truly remarkable.
Europa, Europa (Germany, 1990) — Suspense — 1 hour, 52 minutes.
imdb Summary: A boy in Nazi Germany, trying to conceal that he is Jewish, joins the Hitler Youth.
Why you should see it: Because it’s probably the craziest true story you’ll ever encounter. It’s nuts to call a Jewish kid in Nazi Germany lucky, but shit man… if you ever want to be in the wrong place at the right time, follow this guy. It also includes one of my favorite movie scenes–and a great example of a Catch 22–where boatloads of Jews are passing eachother on a river in Poland, one side fleeing an invading Germany, the other side fleeing an invading Soviet Union.
That’s enough to add to a Netflix queue for now, I think. As for the highly acclaimed Soviet “Come and See” I mentioned a few weeks back, it was good. If you need another reason to call the Nazis sick evil fucks, then it’s for you.
I’m welcome to any suggestions! Leave any you may have in the comments section!