1. An American Crime (2007)
According to the film, which is based on a true story that made headlines across the country in 1965, one of the most horrifying crimes against a single victim has been committed. Traveling carnival workers Sylvia and Jennie Fae Likens have to spend an extended period of time with Gertrude Baniszewski and her six children in Indianapolis. As a result of her desperate financial situation, Gertrude enters this arrangement without considering the impact it will have on her already precarious mental state. The next three months are going to be both exciting and terrifying.
2. Monster (2003)
This is the true story of Aileen Wuernos, a serial killer who lured men to their deaths with sexually explicit lures before being executed in 2002. She was a prostitute in 1989 when she met and began a relationship with a young woman named Selby. They became friends. Desperate to make things right in her life, she sets out to find a job, but with her limited education and social skills, she fails miserably. After robbing a few customers, she has an encounter with a vicious customer whom she kills in self-defense. She starts working as a hooker, hitching rides along the local interstate highway. After that, she proceeds to murder clients in order to steal their money and automobiles. Even though she claims self-defense after being arrested, she ends up being found guilty.
3. August: Osage County (2013)
There is cancer in Violet Weston, played by Meryl Streep (qv). Violet also has a tendency to take pills and drink alcohol. Because she’s a difficult person to get along with, her husband has had enough of her antics. With her three daughters (the middle Ivy, the youngest Karen (with her new fiance) and the oldest Barbara (with her separated husband and their teenaged daughter) Violet’s family gathers, including Mattie’s younger sister (with her husband and son in tow). Due to a tragic event in the family, tensions are high, and secrets are revealed. There is no way around it: the Weston women must examine their lives and themselves. Osage County, Oklahoma, in August, is a scorching place.
4. Precious (2009)
Harlem, New York, in 1987. Claireece Jones, 16, is an obese, illiterate black teen who goes by the middle name Precious. Both of her children were fathered by her biological father, who has repeatedly raped her since they were children and whom she does not see. She is now pregnant with her second child.
Because she has Down syndrome, Mongo, her infant daughter, is named for her paternal grandmother, Precious’ grandmother. Precious is raised by her mother Mary, who is a physical and emotional abuser. Precious is a victim. Mary spends her days smoking, watching television, and fraudulently collecting welfare benefits (because she never looks for work). She believes that education is useless for Precious, and would prefer that she collect welfare benefits as well just to help the family out financially. Precious fantasizes about being in glitzy situations as a way of escaping her mundane reality.
Precious’ principal sends her to an alternative school because of her pregnancy. Precious gains confidence in her ability to have a future by learning to read and write after talking to the school’s understanding teacher, Miss Blu Rain. But despite the heart-wrenching news from her mother, Precious begins to have hope that her abusive mother, who had been Precious’ only real support up to this point, can be broken free.
5. North Country (2005)
1989. Josey Aimes returns to her hometown in northern Minnesota with her two children, Sammy and Karen, after leaving her alcoholic husband Wayne. A chance encounter with her old friend Glory Dodge, a driver and union rep at Pearson Taconite and Steel’s mine, leads Josey to resign her job and join the mine’s workforce, which is predominately male.
So she does it to be independent for the first time, something she would not have been able to do if she continued to wash hair in a beauty salon as her day job. Her father, Hank Aimes, who is also a miner, disapproves of her work because he, along with the other male employees, believes she is stealing a man’s job. Since she had Sammy while she was still in high school, Hank has believed that all of Josey’s problems are her fault.
Hank has a negative opinion of Josey because she has consistently stated that she does not know Sammy’s biological father. Bobby Sharp, Sammy’s presumed biological father, is a coworker of Josey’s. When it comes to gender roles, Josey’s evangelical mother Alice Aimes is staunchly supportive of her husband’s views. Josey and the other female miners are subjected to emotional, physical, and sexual harassment on a daily basis by their male coworkers.
Every apparent advancement in the problem Josey discovers is only a measure to lull the women into a false sense of security or to make the fall even more difficult.
6. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Based on real-life occurrences. Brandon Teena has quickly become the talk of his small Nebraska town since his arrival. As he hangs out with the guys drinking and cursing on the beach and bumper-surfing, the young women are won over by his tenderness and thoughtfulness. Being a guy and dating the local beauty Lana is great for Brandon, but there’s one thing he’s forgotten to mention. In other words, Brandon Teena is actually a woman named Teena Brandon who was born in another town for GTA and other misdemeanors. Brandon’s world is turned upside down when his closest friends make this shocking discovery.
7. The Place Beyond The Pines (2012)
After emerging from a traveling carnival globe of death, a mysterious stunt rider named Luke (Ryan Gosling) races through the back streets of Schenectady, New York in search of a former lover named Romina (Eva Mendes), who recently gave birth to the stunt rider’s son in secret. After Luke marries and has a child, he quits the carnival and uses his superior riding skills to commit a string of bank robberies.
Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), a cocky police officer who wants to quickly rise through the ranks in a corrupt police department, puts Luke in jeopardy, raising the stakes. As two high school boys grapple with the legacy they’ve inherited, history plays out in a sweeping drama that spans fifteen years. The only place of safety is beyond the pines.
8. Ken Park (2002)
Ken Park focuses on a group of troubled teens and their dysfunctional families. Shawn appears to be the most traditional of the group members. He is filled with psychotic rage, and his brutish father regularly harasses Claude while his pregnant mother coddles him rather uncomfortably. Peaches takes care of her religiously devout father, but she aspires to be free of his oppression. They all say they’re close, but it’s hard to tell.
They do, however, only see one another on rare occasions and appear to know very little about one another’s personal or family lives. As a result of suburban ennui, the inherent melodrama of teens, and the disturbing nature of their homes, this bizarre dichotomy highlights their alienation.
9. Boyz N The Hood (1991)
As a story about three friends growing up “in the ‘hood,” John Singleton depicts inner-city social problems. To each other, Doughboy and Ricky Baker are polar opposites who approach life from very different perspectives. “Ricky” is the “All-American” football player who wants to get into the University of Southern California and finds salvation through sports, while “Dough” falls victim to violence, alcoholism, and crime in his neighborhood but retains a strong sense of pride and moral code. Between the two of them is Tre, who is fortunate to have ‘Furious’ Styles as a father who teaches him to have the strength of character to do what is right and to always take responsibility.
10. Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)
Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), a legendary French gangster of the 1960s and 1970s who became known as French Public Enemy No. 1 and The Man of a Thousand Faces, is profiled in Killer Instinct, the first of a two-part film series. The notorious French anti-gang unit that killed Mesrine in 1979 was known for its bravado and outrageously daring prison escapes.
Mesrine had committed numerous robberies, kidnappings, and murders over the course of his criminal career, which had taken him across continents. His notoriety endures despite his death taking place more than three decades ago. Mesrine had a Bonnie and Clyde in the form of the stunning but reckless Jeanne Schneider (CA(C)cile de France). Mesrine concocted a tale that straddled the romantic and the cruel, flamboyance and tragedy, in his own mind.
11. Dreamgirls (2006)
Early 1960s in Detroit. When Curtis Taylor, Jr., a car salesman, enters the music industry, he has high expectations. The Dreamettes, a group of young women he signs, land a gig opening for R&B singer James “Thunder” Davis. When he’s still young, he starts his own record label and does business on the black market. Effie White is demoted and Deena Jones, the softer-voiced looker on stage, takes her place when Early goes down in smoke. Curtis turns the Dreamettes into the Dreams after Early’s demise. Soon after that, he dismisses Effie and consigns her to a life of abject poverty while elevating Deena and the Dreams to star status. How long will Curtis be able to stay there, and will Effie ever get what she deserves?
12. Erin Brockovich (2000)
An unemployed single mother named ‘Erin Brockovich-Ellis’ (qv) is desperate to land a job, but she’s having no luck. Her legal woes even include a failed lawsuit against a doctor who treated her after a car accident. So, she browbeats her lawyer into offering a job as a form of compensation for her loss. No one takes her seriously, but when she starts looking into a suspicious real estate case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, that all changes quickly.
According to what she learns, the company is secretly trying to buy land that has been contaminated by the deadly toxin known as hexavalent chromium, which it is illegally and carelessly disposing of while also poisoning the local residents. The further Erin goes into the investigation, the more likely it becomes that her law firm will be involved in one of the most significant class action lawsuits in American history against a multibillion-dollar corporation.
13. I’m Not There (2007)
We have seen Bob Dylan in many different forms over the years. He has been an actor and a folk singer in addition to being a troubadour and a writer like Rimbaud. Listen to Bob Dylan’s music while you watch the escapades, solos, interviews, and marital woes of the characters. Recreate in black and white the look of 1960s documentaries. Put the artist in a position where he or she must decide whether to become someone else.
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s son, Jack, discovers Jesus, while handsome Robbie falls in love with Claire before abandoning her. Woody, a foster kid who ran away, sings as he hobos across the country; Billy, who wakes up in a valley next to a six-lane highway; and Rimbaud. Jude, who gets booed when he goes electric at Newport, is on the outs with the media, the pundits, and the crowd. He’s not going to be given a classification.