When I posted the Quick Read about ‘give it a go films’ (by the way, if anyone can come up with a better name for them than that, I’m all ears), I expected a few great recommendations.
As always, you wonderful people haven’t let me down, so here are the films you suggested to get people to dip their toes into genres they might not otherwise bother with.
Alien (1979) – in space, no-one will judge you for enjoying a film you’ve previously avoided, and this is a great entry point into science fiction.
Aliens (1986) – more xenomorph sci-fi but this one also crosses over into the action/adventure/war category too.
Arrival (2016) – lots of love for this one, which might be labelled as science fiction, but is also a fascinating human drama too, and wrong-footed pretty much everyone who recommended it (in a really good way).
The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938) – Errol Flynn, sword fights, archery and derring-do? It’s rightly considered a classic, and while the look and performances might have dated, it’s still an incredible and undeniably influential watch.
The Flame And The Arrow (1950) – I don’t know this film myself, but at first glance it appears to be Robin Hood in Italy directed by Jacques Tourneur who made Cat People, and that sounds amazing.
The Mask Of Zorro (1998) – Martin Campbell directed two of the best 007 films, so he knows his action. Throw in Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta Jones, swords, explosions and rapier-sharp wit, and you’ve got an amazing introduction to the genre for those who like their films a bit more recent.
21/22 Jump Street (2012/2014) – yes, they’re silly, but there’s also a fair chunk of heart in this self-aware franchise, and there are plenty of nods to other films and shows which could be an incentive to explore further.
Super Troopers (2001) – a very goofy gag-fest from comedy troupe Broken Lizard could be written off as a 21st Century Police Academy, but again, there’s enough meat just underneath the silliness to warrant giving it a go.
Caddyshack (1980) – now there’s certainly a lot about this that hasn’t aged particularly well, but seeing Bill Murray and Chevy Chase at their early, funny best while a bunch of teens have daft coming-of-age adventures around them showcases the sort of film that ‘inspired’ a million knock-offs.
Alien (1979) – it’s a haunted house movie in space, but is filled with enough great characters and ideas to ensure it’s not exclusively for horror fans.
Let The Right One In (2008) – “beautifully shot, wonderful storytelling and scenes of horror that aren’t exploiting the genre”.
Cross Of Iron (1977) – not a horror film per se, but a gruelling film which shows the horrors of the Second World War through an unflinching and clinical lens.
The Death Of Stalin (2017) – also not a horror film, but between the very funny script and performances, some utterly terrifying incidents and events made all the more horrific for being based on reality.
Man On Fire (2004) – Tony Scott and Denzel Washington tearing shit up in Mexico is a hundred times better than any of your Takens.
Thirteen Days (2000) – even for someone who knows nothing about the Cuban Missile Crisis, this is a thrilling piece of work as the events unfold in the White House through the eyes of Kevin Costner’s advisor to the Kennedy administration.
The Contender (2000) – anyone who watched Hillary Clinton take a kicking from the media and her opponents in the last few years and thought ‘that’s a bit much’, should really check out this Rod Lurie film, in which Joan Allen’s Vice Presidential candidate is put through the wringer just because she’s a woman.
All The President’s Men (1976) – Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman act their socks off in a film which builds amazing tension out of library research, door knocks and good, old-fashioned reporter work, as their Woodward and Bernstein break open the Watergate scandal.
Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) – a black comedy about a superficial beauty pageant in middle America which turns lethal? How could you not be curious to see how that pans out?
What did we miss?
Some great suggestions there, and quite a few out of left field too – I definitely felt as uncomfortable watching The Death Of Stalin as I have while watching horror movies, so that was a particularly interesting shout.
If you can think of any genres or films that haven’t been mentioned here, by all means let me know and I’ll update the list accordingly!