We live in the era of remakes, or more importantly, the era of bad remakes. What is it that makes us look back at the greatest stories and decide to shatter their memory? Isn't it better to just watch the originals and introduce new generations to them? Well, that doesn't bring in more money to huge companies, right? It's not that I'm a conservative revolted at these new versions. My problem is that, in my opinion, they're not good. Whenever one of these directors is asked why he wanted to work on a particular production, the common answer is "to honor the original with a new perspective for modern audiences." Honor they say, but wouldn't they do a greater honor by not ruining them? There are many ways to pay homage to great films without readapting them. One is through references. In that sense, I think we can all agree that the master of intertextuality is, without a doubt, Quentin Tarantino.
Throughout the years we've seen several videos and lists of all the references his movies have presented. It's amazing how he places the essence of those films without ripping them off. But how does he manage to do so? Basically, it all goes back to his love of the silver screen. It's well known that he didn't have any formal education in cinema and the only thing he needed was his insatiable thirst for movies. He is probably one of the few people in the world with such an encyclopedic knowledge about international film. Seriously, it's not my fanaticism talking, watch any of his interviews. My point is that the only way to become a film expert is by watching a lot of them. But more importantly, not being pretentious and being open for anything. Yes, I know, that includes those terrible remakes. Well, perhaps a bit of pretentiousness won't harm anyone.
Here are 20 movies from all genres and moments of film history that can be a great alternative to the poor choices Hollywood's been presenting. All of them were groundbreaking at the time and some have become true classics. Go get some drinks and snacks and watch these amazing movies.
Pulp Fiction (1994) - Dir. Quentin Tarantino
Of course, we were going to start with Tarantino's masterpiece. With its nonlinear narrative, use of music, and incredible dialogues, this movie became an instant classic.
Brazil (1985) - Dir. Terry Gilliam
Gilliam presents a sort of alternative future with hints of the past, where bureaucracy rules the world. With some comical and sometimes quite scary images, we see how making one single mistake in this government machinery can be catastrophic.
Django (1966) - Dir. Sergio Corbucci
Sergio Corbucci became one of the most important Spaghetti Western directors with this movie that satirized all the elements of the Hollywood Western and, with them, the dominating attitudes of the United States towards the world.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Dir. Stanley Kubrick
It has the word "innovative" all over it. Kubrick really changed the paradigms of science fiction and cinema in general.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006) - Dir. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
It may look like a simple comedy but actually, it explores many deep issues in a study about family, identity, beauty standards, and existence itself.
Life of Brian (1979) - Dir. Terry Jones
Monty Python really got in trouble with this film that tells the story of Brian, a man who was born the same night as Jesus. Moreover, with satirical and comical tints, they portray the life of a man overshadowed by the most important figure of all times.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) - Dir. Jim Sharman
You must be living under a rock if you haven't seen this glory of musicals. With a sassy transvestite doctor and catchy tunes, the movie pays homage (and parodies) some of the most iconic science fiction and horror films.
Metropolis (1927) - Dir. Fritz Lang
Like Space Odyssey, Metropolis is one of the most important pillars in film history.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) - Dir. Russ Meyer
This has all the amazing elements of the sixties' exploitation films: Go-go dancers, car racing, extreme violence, and female empowerment, what's not to like!
Foxy Brown (1974) - Dir. Jack Hill
Again, a classic of exploitation films, starring Pam Grier. This movie mixes all the elements of the criminal genre with the proud essence of blaxploitation.
Vertigo (1958) - Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
Well, there has to be something by Hitchcock in this type of lists. I mean, he's the master of suspense!
Carnage (2011) - Dir. Roman Polanski
Two married couples discuss a fight between their kids, enclosed in the living room of one of their houses. Nothing good can come from this.
The 400 Blows (1959) - Dir. François Truffaut
Considered one of the best movies of all times, it shows the story of a neglected child and his path into a dark life.
La Chinoise (1967) - Dir. Jean-Luc Godard
A group of young French university students wants to start a revolutionary movement based on the Maoist ideologies.
Seven Samurai (1954) - Dir. Akira Kurosawa
This is the original movie from which many have made adaptations. Does The Magnificent Seven or A Bug's Life ring a bell?
Solaris (1972) - Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky
As one of the most important Russian movies, and of course, of science fiction in general, Tarkovsky managed to portray how human relationships work without any filter.
The Forgotten (1950) - Dir. Luis Buñuel
As one of the most important films of the Mexican Golden Age of Cinema, The Forgotten portrays the crude reality of a group of kids in a slum in Mexico City. This movie shattered all the folkloric and picturesque representations of poverty that the films of that era portrayed.
Battleship Potemkin (1925) - Dir. Sergei Eisenstein
Telling the story of the mutiny and strike of the workers at a battleship before the Russian Revolution, this movie was once awarded as the best film of all times.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) - Dir. Robert Wiene
A classic of German silent expressionist films, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari tells the story of a hypnotist who manipulates a sleepwalker into killing people.
Get Out (2017) - Dir. Jordan Peele
Finally, we had to include this movie that through the formula of the suspense movie manages to make a social critique so relevant nowadays.
If you can't get enough of movies check these list to see if you've already seen them all: Don't Call Yourself A Film Buff Until You've Watched These 100 Films. We also recommend these 7 cannibal films to know the most twisted fancies of humanity.