10. The Avengers (2012)
While it was by no means a cinematic masterpiece, “The Avengers” was everything it could and should have been. The actions scenes were fantastic and the story was actually pretty good. It’s no “Citizen Kane,” but it was an extremely good watch.
9. The Rainmaker (1997)
A young Matt Damon and Danny DeVito take on a nasty insurance company, hellbent on not paying out in this John Grisham adaptation. While the themes and the characters are fairly familiar, if you’re previously exposed to the author’s work, this is still a solid movie, with some great twists and turns.
8. The Ides of March (2011)
Political intrigue is abound in this throwback drama. In addition to the radiant Ryan Gosling, you get plenty of star-power here, with the likes of George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Paul Giamatti in major roles. This is a GOOD movie, that could’ve been great, as the pieces and performances just don’t quite lineup.
7. Carol (2015)
“Carol” is a highly-complex and sophisticated love story with a major twists. While not giving it away, this aforementioned twist guides a huge shift in tone. Performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are outstanding.
6. Antwone Fisher (2002)
Honestly, the plot is extremely similar to “Good Will Hunting.” With that out of the way, “Antwone Fisher” is still excellent and explores some different elements than the Matt Damon classic. Also, you get this guy named Denzel Washington…who’s fairly good at acting.
5. American Splendor (2003)
Paul Giamatti plays legendary comic book figure, Harvey Pekar, a renaissance man, who’s as much genius as he is neurotic. This one really blurs the line between fact and fiction, as Pekar starts to gain fame, which only complicates his life further.
4. Eight Men Out (1988)
The true story of the “Black Sox” boasts an incredible cast and a captivating look at one of the most infamous scandals in professional sports history. At its core, the film is as much tragedy as anything else, as one of the finest baseball teams ever constructed is systematically dismantled before our very eyes.
3. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
This one only gets better as the years go by. While this author’s of the opinion that the film is, ever so slightly, overrated, it’s still a remarkable watch. The acting performances are astounding across the board and the emotional climax is one of the most storied in film history.
2. Rain Man (1988)
Tom Cruise’s awesome performance has always been overshadowed by that of Dustin Hoffman in the title role. The fact of the matter is, that “Rain Man” wouldn’t nearly be the film it is without the incredible on-screen relationship between the two. The film is now a modern masterpiece and deserves all the adulation it gets.
- The Deer Hunter (1978)
When you think of “one hit wonder” directors, Michael Cimino’s name has to come up immediately. Cimino was the force behind the legendary Vietnam drama, “The Deer Hunter.” The film immediately made Cimino a star and led to the disastrous “Heaven’s Gate,” which really sunk his promising career. Not much was heard from the director afterwards.