Jerry MaguireIt’s incredible that this movie is already two decades old. Released in 1996, Jerry Maguire is the sort of movie that is equal parts entertainment and motivational. The eponymous character, played to perfection by Tom Cruise, loses a lucrative sports contract due to an unexpected display of ethics and must through in his lot with just one unpredictable player. Think of it as Chak De! India, but without the emotional melodrama.
Before SunriseIt’s the first instalment of a trilogy directed by Richard Linklater, and most critics agree that Before Sunrise is the best of the three. The lead characters, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, meet for just one night in Vienna and have the sort of sparkling conversation that you’ve always dreamt of having.
As Good As It GetsThis James L Brooks-directed movie has Jack Nicholson star as a racist, obsessive-compulsive novelist alongside Helen Hunt, who plays a single mother with a chronically ill son. Their performances are so good that they have received Oscars for their roles; and the movie itself ranks 140th on Empire Magazine’s 500 Best Movies of All Time.
The Pursuit Of HappinessTen years ago, Will Smith essayed what was probably the best role of his career as entrepreneur Chris Gardner, going from homeless salesman to one of Wall Street’s most famous names. Detailing Gardner’s year-long struggle with homelessness, the story is enhanced by a heart-warming performance from Smith’s real-life son Jaden. This is a must-watch movie which gives us all a lesson in staying positive under all circumstances.
Good Will HuntingGus Van Sant’s Good Will Hunting was written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Yes, you read that right. The story of Will Hunting, played by Matt Damon, his relationship and therapy sessions with his math professor, Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams), is a must watch for anyone who feels lost in life. The movie was so good that Affleck, Damon and the film scored Oscars; and The Hollywood Reporter ranked it at number 53 on its list of 100 Favourite Films in 2014.
ChefThis charming little film was one of 2014’s best surprises. A Jon Favreau special all the way – he wrote, directed, produced and acted in the movie – Chef tells the story of a down-and-out restaurant chef who finds his passion for cooking dimming and his relationship with his family going steadily south as well. In order to turn things around, he goes on a road trip – in a food truck – with his estranged son. Chef teaches us to stay connected to our roots despite whatever heights we may reach in life.
JunoThere are kitschy Hollywood movies about teenage pregnancies and then there’s the breath of fresh air that is Juno. Starring Ellen Page in the title role, the film holds your attention right from the funky opening sequence to its bittersweet end. This comedy shows the importance of a support system for girls dealing with teenage pregnancies and how a society should respond. Many critics have hailed Juno as one of the best movies on the subject.
Lost In TranslationThis is the type of slice-of-life story that you cheer for without even realising it. Directed by Sofia Coppola, this movie starring Bill Murray as an aging actor and Scarlett Johansson as a college graduate, is a study in subtlety. Supported by a stellar soundtrack by Brian Reitzell and the wondrous sights of Tokyo, this movie delves into questions on relationships, belonging and friendship in humorous fashion. As eminent film critic Roger Ebert noted, the film is “sweet and sad at the same time as it is sardonic and funny.”
The Darjeeling LimitedYes, we managed to squeeze in a movie with an Indian connection. Wes Anderson’s 2007 film, starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman, is the story of three brothers who haven’t seen each other since their father’s funeral a year ago. The movie is a tribute to Satyajit Ray and features beautiful cinematography, while also depicting themes of sibling rivalry, despair, helplessness and class struggle. A must-watch for Wes Anderson fans.
Begin AgainA relative newcomer, 2013’s Begin Again has one of the best soundtracks of any Hollywood movie in recent times. Starring Mark Ruffalo as a hard-on-his-luck music producer and Keira Knightley as his protégé, the film takes viewers on a musical journey without losing its soul. The chemistry between the lead actors and the ensemble cast, including Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine, only adds to the film’s vibe, while taking audiences on a tour of New York City.
Vicky Cristina BarcelonaYou can’t talk about slice-of-life movies and leave out the master of the genre, Woody Allen. Vicky Cristina Barcelona, arguably his most enjoyable film to date, stars such fabulous talents as Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson. Cruz’s Oscar-winning role is that of the neurotic wife to the philandering Bardem, who in turn is forced to choose between his love for Hall and Johansson. The movie is charged from the first to the last frame. A true Woody Allen classic, this.
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