As the nights get darker and the days get colder, going out becomes less and less appealing. Staying in with a nice cup of hot chocolate and some snacks watching a movie seems like a much better choice. With this in mind we’ve compiled a list of films for a quiet night in; whether you’re spending the evening chilling with your friends, your partner or simply having some you-time. Enjoy!
Ghostbusters – Annie Honeyball
Given that Halloween is fast approaching, as well as the fact that it’s been an astonishing 30 years since this comically ghoulish classic was first released, Ghostbusters is a must-see-again film for any cinephile this autumn. Written by Dan Aykroyd and the much missed Harold Ramis in 1984, this paranormal romp has since become an iconic franchise, known and beloved worldwide. This is in no doubt, due to the film’s fantastically excitable plot, it’s unforgettably catchy soundtrack and, of course, the cast.
Bill Murray stars as the dryly cynical and charismatic Peter Venkman, who along with the enthusiastically passionate Ray Stantz (Aykroyd) and Ramis’ deadpanned brainiac, Egon Spengler, come together to create the eponymous Ghostbusters – a quirky bunch of paranormal investigators who using their self-invented proton packs, capture all kinds of spooks and spectres, including the greedy but loveable ‘Slimer’, a tetchy library-dwelling ghost lady and of course, a giant Stay Puft marshmallow man. Also, in amongst all this ghostly madness, is Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett, who is haunted by a fridge-inhabiting demonic spirit, called Zuul, whilst simultaneously having to deal with the affections of not only a shamelessly smitten Venkman, but also her zany neighbour Louis (Rick Moranis).
Thanks to Murray’s inimitable semi-improvisational performance, as well as the equally amusing talents of the supporting cast, this film burst into the public sphere like no other comedy of its time. This film is fun and quirky and nerdy, whilst at the same time being universally likeable, no matter what your age or disposition. This is why it’s a classic. This is why it’s always on TV. This is why, when you’re twiddling your thumbs pondering what to watch this month, I, like a strangely persistent apparition myself, shall rise from the internet, and pose the question; ‘who you gonna call?’
American Beauty – Michael Houston
American Beauty is a drama film starring the likes of Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects, Horrible Bosses), Annette Bening (The Grifters) and Mena Suvari (American Pie, Loser).
The film focuses on Lester (Spacey), a man who is having a mid-life crisis, who becomes infatuated with his daughter’s teenage friend Angela (Suvari). Lester starts to lift himself out of his boring life and goes through a personality change – all inspired by meeting Angela. His dormant relationship with his wife Carolyn (Bening) continues to strain and he becomes obsessed with Angela. The story follows Lester’s rise and fall as he becomes a happier, but flawed character.
This film for me really gives those in a mid-life crisis a wake-up call. Without giving too much away about the film, Lester starts to stand up for himself and not let anyone push him around. He starts to do what makes him happy and his personality changes greatly from the start to the end of the film.
On top of that, the film’s cinematography is beautiful. The famous scene where Lester fantasised about Angela as rose petals fall onto her naked body, is spectacular. The costume shows just how much of a perfectionist Carolyn is and costume really shows how Lester turns from a grey and dull man to someone with a bit of colour. Also, when he has less responsibility in his life, he has a very casual dress sense.
Most of all, the thing that makes American Beauty so brilliant is the acting. Annette Bening plays Carolyn very well, but she is upstaged by the main character. Kevin Spacey injects so much laughter into American Beauty and develops his character so well without it being so sudden. During the film he can go from timid to outspoken so easily.
What I’m going to finish on is this: see this film. It’s a masterpiece and the ending is amazing.
Donnie Darko – Alicia Carpenter
28 days… 6 hours… 42 minutes… 12 seconds. That is when the world will end – if you don’t watch this film! Donnie Darko is a cinematic masterpiece. Released in 2002, Richard Kelly truly set the standards for his following films as this was his first appearance as director. With a fresh, innovative cast and vivid screenplay, Donnie Darko deserves to be celebrated.
I pledge to everyone who watches it that they will not only be extremely confused; they will watch it over and over again until they understand it. That’s the pure beauty of this film. New discoveries are guaranteed every time, yet the novelty never wears off. Donnie’s character anoints the movie with a luminescence. His mannerisms are shocking and embody an attractive air of rebellious freedom. Although the film takes various forms and causes one to ultimately question reality, at the heart of Donnie Darko lays an endearing love story. Yet, sadly the hero does not triumph. That point is open to interpretation though; without giving too much away, I believe he does overcome his own ‘fears’.
The intricate, cunning plot adds to the wonder we experience behind the screen. Vast symbols and motifs throughout fill a complicated yet enlightening void. Through proudly piecing them together, you realise whatever the film means to you and revel in your success. Different interpretations only improve the viewing experience.
The memorable monologues and one-liners are the epitome of script writing. Take this legendary line from Donnie himself:
‘I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.’
Whether frustrated by its ineffability or astonished from actually understand the film, Donnie Darko is definitely one to watch- however many times you want!
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Emily Booth
Cold and wet winter weather is inevitably accompanied by the ‘a box of tissues a day’ colds which unfortunately take ages to disappear and coughs that make you feel like you’ve swallowed a hedgehog making liquid meals your only option. To cheer yourself up though, you can always rely on a bit of Matthew Broderick (Ferris) skipping school one last time before graduation to explore the city with his girlfriend, Sloane (Mia Sara) and ‘uptight’ best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck).
Written and directed by John Hughes, who somehow seemed to have the outlook on life of a teenager paired with the experience and skills of an adult, could you really expect anything less than brilliant?- probably not. About an adolescent who pretends to be ill and succeeds in convincing his family, this is a must watch if you’re feeling a tad under the weather and will definitely rid you of that tiny bit of guilt you may have for having a few days off (it might even provide you with a few tips for getting the day off in the future) because who really wants to leave the house when its dark and cold outside? Hilarious antics, a relatable plot and an a highly acclaimed cast- Ferris Bueller’s day off has it all. If you’re into light- hearted comedy films or films some sort of meaning to them: this is for you.
500 Days of Summer – Jess Readett
“This is the story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.”
The reason I love this film? Them words. Too many times I have endured the ritual of ‘boy meets girl, girl is overlooked, forty minutes pass, girl gets boy’a and the realist within me finds it all rather boring. Here is a film ready to break and reshape the rules of Hollywood, offering us honesty, laughter and quite possibly the best soundtrack in rom-com history. (Black Lips, The Smiths, Regina Spektor and Mumm-ra; you name it, it’s on there).
500 Days Of Summer sees the unapologetic believer in true love, Tom, reminisce his 500 days with Summer Finn – the carefree and mysterious girl who’s bohemian heart rejects labelling anything and worships Ringo Starr . Completely lovelorn, he fits together a time jumping puzzle in some desperate attempt to fathom how a shared love for The Smiths, playful kisses in Ikea and fooling around in record shops could ever deteriorate to a break up. For once, a rom-com feels real and that’s why it makes for the perfect night in.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Sophie McEvoy
It being the month of all things Spooky, you’d think I’d pick a film to scare me senseless. But no, a film that I always seem to take out its case when the nights get shorter is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Directed by creative genius Michael Gondry, and starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine tells the story of Joel Barish and his estranged relationship with Clementine Kruczynski, who have each other erased from their memories.
I first found out about Gondry through my favourite band, Foo Fighters, as the music video to their song Everlong was also directed by Gondry. So, as always, I researched his filmography obsessively, and found that he did a handful of feature length films and found this gem. It is such a beautifully composed piece of art. The cinematography, the soundtrack, the colouring…everything. And of course, the Lynch-esce dream sequences might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they are definitely mine. And it also includes a fantastic and moving performance from none other than Jim Carrey, who you wouldn’t expect to be in this sort of role. But just his performances in The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, he fits the role perfectly.
10 Things I Hate About You – Beth Kirkbride
10 Things I Hate About You is an enchanting adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’ – so although you’re stuffing your face with popcorn whilst watching, you can actually claim that you’re educating yourself too!
The film follows the Stratford sisters, Bianca and Kat who couldn’t be more different if they tried. The popular and pretty Bianca reaaaaally wants to date Joey Donner who is like a total dreamboat … but she can’t because her father has a rule – she can only date IF her man-hating older sister Kat does, first. In the eyes of their father this is a foolproof plan; Kat likes angry girl music of the indie rock persuasion and feminist literature. She’s not going to be easy to tame, but little does he know that there’s a little bit of trickery going on.
Cameron is madly in love with Bianca and subsequently enlists Joey (who also has ‘plans’ for what he wants from Bianca) to pay the surly Patrick (Heath Ledger) to take Kat out so Bianca is fair game. Sounds complicated right? Yeah well that’s because it is; the game of love is tricky and our protagonists don’t always get it right. But this movie is full of hilariously witty dialogue, with sarcasm levels at 300%… and Heath Ledger serenading the viewer. So really, it’s a must watch!
Any you think we missed? Tweet us your thoughts @indie_pendent_