The Rundown (2003)
Back before Dwayne Johnson took his WWE moniker, The Rock, out of his name for the big screen he starred in, The Rundown, alongside funnyman Sean William Scott and Rosario Dawson. The Rock is a bounty hunter searching for Scott in the jungle, who is searching for a lost artifact, El Gato. There’s something for everyone in this movie: romance, comedy, action (lots of it), small men swinging on vines to beat up the Rock…on and Christopher Walken is the villain. Maybe they should’ve spent some more time searching for an audience that El Gato, but this is a movie action comedy junkies need to watch starting yesterday.
Imagine if the Aliens movies met the Dead Space video games…well you don’t have to because someone already did! If you’re snot familiar with either of those, shame on you, but queue up the Sci-fi horror pic, Pandorum. David Quaid and Ben Foster wake up as the only two survivors on their spaceship. Except they’re not alone, who knew right?! This movie is a nail biter all the way up until the end. There’s something wrong because the crew that’s dead won’t stay dead and one of the survivors aren’t what they appear to be. Just watch it, unless you’re chicken…or hate awesome movies.
Inside Man (2006)
How does a movie by Spike Lee get this overlooked?! I guess it happens to the best of us, but if the director alone can’t pull you in maybe the fact that Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster & Willem Dafoe spearhead the cast will change your mind. It’s a not-so-classic who done it caper involving a bank robbery where everything you think you know is only half right. It’s incredibly well written with intriguing characters and twists and turns so frequent you’ll wonder what roller coaster you just boarded. This is seriously one of the better heist movies out there with so few people knowing what it is, you should go change that, right now!
Alpha Dog (2006)
Alpha Dog is the true Story of Jesse James Hollywood. Who’s that you ask? Well, he’s only the youngest person to ever be on the FBI’s most wanted list. Emile Hirsch, Anton Yelchin (RIP) and the one and only Justin Timberlake star in this emotional journey and the stunning Olivia Wild and Bruce Willis show up a handful of time as well. Hirsch (Hollywood) Kidnaps Ben Fosters kid brother played by Yelchin, over some silly vendetta. Timberlake ends up befriending the boy, but ultimately has no power over his fate. Every single actor knocks this one out of the park and the story is full throttle when it comes to intensity. Think a more gritty version of Pay It forward and you’ll be close. Also keep a box of tissues handy, you’re going to need them.
Planet Terror/Death Proof/Machete
This right here is a twofer. The legendary writer/director duo that is Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez team up to pay homage to back to back horror exploitation movie styles of the 60’s and 70’s. Tarantino made the classic survivor girl piece, Planet Terror where Kurt Russell runs down a group of girls in his old stunt car and Rodriguez gives us the zombie pic, Planet Terror. The absolute coolest part of the movie is the one legged girl who attaches various weapons to her stump Evil Dead style and goes to town on some undead ass! The movies released as one in theaters, but are both available separately now. Extra tidbit, these movies also showed previews for ‘coming attractions’ which were never actually supposed to be full movies, but just a fun aspect of the film style. However audiences were so excited for Machete, after the preview Mr. Rodriguez had no choice, but to actually make the film! Go watch that movie too…Looks like we are counting Grindhouse as three movies you need to watch!
The Terminal (2004)
Tom Hanks is the king of story movies like Castaway & Forrest Gump and The Terminal is no different. Victor Navorski (Hanks) is traveling from his home country of Krakozhia and during his flight his country is over taken by an invading country and he becomes trapped in JFK airport because his passport is no longer valid. The movie chronicles his time and the people he meets there whilst waiting to legally be allowed into New York. This is up there as one of my personal Tom Hanks movies and I’ve yet to see someone not love it just as much. It’s an odd concept, but it is heartwarming and beautifully succinct.