With only a few weekends to go before we bid adieu to 2017, this is as good a time as any to relax and unwind with some blissful binge watching (after you’ve tried these top gourmet restaurants in Mumbai). Hit pause on Game of Thrones and all your other favourite TV shows, because we’re recommending you watch some all-time great movies instead. For film buffs, many of these titles will be familiar, but they’re exactly the sort of movies you can watch again and again. For first-time watchers, you are guaranteed a weekend of wonder!
Whether you’re single or a gang of cinephiles, here’s a list of appropriate, amazing titles for your next moviethon. Go on, load up on plenty of popcorn and press play!
You’ve been hitched for years, been-there-done-that, and frankly a little grating on each other’s nerves. Instead of spending Saturday afternoon disagreeing with each other, snuggle together on the couch and watch Kate and Leo bring alive an epic romance on the high seas in Titanic. Yes, we’re aware it ends in tragedy, but when the young couple spread their arms wide on the bow of the ship and Celine Dion’s voice in My Heart Will Go On soars over them, it will be quite impossible to resist recreating the moment yourselves, right then and there. Trust us, there’s a reason that this film remains the world’s second-highest grosser of all time! From Bollywood’s romantic legends, pick Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak for its fresh as a daisy lead couple, Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla, whose combined innocence was channelled in an aristocratic Rajput, yet au natural setting by debutant director Mansoor Khan, with a terrific music score to boot. Just to veer from the tragedy angle, there’s nothing better to laugh, cry and sigh over than the precursor of How I Met Your Mother, i.e Nora Ephron’s 1989 Billy Crystal-Meg Ryan starrer When Harry Met Sally. A how-to guide for relationships, it’ll have you both smiling at Harry’s declaration: “When you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
Amp it up: If you’re looking at an on-steroids version of another epic tragedy and are game for a wild ride, may we suggest the 1996 smash hit Romeo + Juliet, starring a 21-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio and 17-year-old Claire Danes. Baz Luhrmann crafted an arresting, violent and contemporary version of this Shakespearean love story, filling it up with Italian mafia, designer guns, customised cars and crazy music. Watch it to rustle up some action of your own.
FOR ALL THE SINGLE LADIES
Ditch the pity party and get your groove on with Queen; like sadi Dilli di kudi, Rani. After being ditched by her shallow and misogynistic fiancé (Rajkummar Rao; superb even if he’s playing a douche) the titular queen sets off on her honeymoon alone in Europe, snapping up friends from Paris to Amsterdam with non-judgmental ease. Vikas Bahl’s delightful coming-of-age comic caper with Kangana Ranaut delivering a smashing performance retains tremendous repeat value, even a few years down the line. Next, Paul Feig’s 2011 sleeper hit Bridesmaids is wickedly funny and stars the delightfully goofy and sarcastic Kristen Wiig who hits rock bottom, love-hates girlfriends and a keeps pushing away the amorous advances of a sweet and yummy Irishman (Chris O’Dowd), because… you know how it rolls. For a dose of reality, the 2006 classic The Break-Up starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn subverts the love-conquers-all formula of the traditional rom-com to arrive at a more level-headed conclusion.
Amp it up: Despite being a tad cheesy and slightly OTT, Pyaar Ka Punchnama nails it as that very rare male perspective on manipulative relationships. The highlight of this youthful cult caper is that climatic 12-minute monologue (or as some call it, ‘epic rant’) delivered flawlessly by lead actor Kartik Aaryan over six days, five sleepless nights and 7-8 takes.
FOR ACTION/ADVENTURE FANS
Duck under the storm of mindless car chases, karate chops or desi dishoom dishoom, and head straight for the modish mother lode — The Matrix trilogy. The science fiction franchise created by the Wachowskis, about heroes who fight a desperate war against machine overlords that have enslaved humanity in a virtual reality system, is as appealing for its philosophical inferences and pop culture references, as it is for its sophisticated action scenes. The first film released in 1999 and won four Academy Awards, with the sequel The Matrix Reloaded becoming the then highest-grossing R-rated film in history. Next, for some good old desi pow-wow, nothing gets bigger than the spectacular VFX and war scenes in Bahubali. Should you like your classics with a dash of horror, Ridley Scott’s genre-bending Alien (1979) remains top of the charts! Keep the mood breezy with a crowd pleaser, Pixar’s The Incredibles; a glossy delight with socio-political subtext and memorable toons. Round up a crazy night at the movies with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight: a pulsating mix of crosscut narratives, long-form action sequences and the late Heath Ledger in top form as the haunting Joker.
Amp it up: In the remarkable competitive action-adventure genre, Kill Bill manages to stand out thanks to Quentin Tarantino’s audacity, crafting a fearless blitzkrieg of grindhouse, martial arts and spaghetti westerns with a taciturn Uma Thurman in the lead as the avenging bride from hell.
Get your squad together to bond over Gurinder Chadha’s 2002 romantic comedy-drama Bend It Like Beckham, about two gutsy footballers — Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) and Jules Paxton (Keira Knightley) — who overcome patriarchy and boy troubles to kick ass on the field. Stay on trend with another Ridley Scott cult classic Thelma & Louise, in which besties Susan Sarandan and Geena Davis become outlaws and break all societal shackles, before sailing off into the annals of great cinema — but not before encountering the quickest and steamiest one-night-stand on screen (with a certain young blonde actor by the name of Brad Pitt). Taking the popular buddy cop theme on its paws is the 1989 caper Turner & Hooch, featuring Tom Hanks and a French Mastiff. End a night of high-fives and guffaws with the blockbuster Men in Black, where a charming Will Smith teams up with grouchy-pants Tommy Lee Jones to rid Planet Earth of aliens.
Amp it up: We don’t know what it is about best friends and outlaws-in-arms that gets us every single time, but who’s complaining! Right at the top of the buddy films list is the 1969 Oscar-winner Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, with Robert Redford and Paul Newman in a dusty town in Bolivia, surrounded by red canyons and parched plains. With its iconic background music score and compelling story, this is the sort of cinematic feat that makes friendship look fabulous!
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