To coincide with our “Five movies to watch with a group,” post from the summer, it’s time for the foil. Here are movies that we think you’ll get a deeper understanding from if you kick out the guests and block out the rest of the world. While the group movies offer visceral thrills and outlandish humor, these movies use a sometimes understated, subtle way of telling the story that can’t be appreciated with a loud group of people.
There Will Be Blood- We both named Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic the best movie of the 2000s, but we’ve never watched it together. Something primal about Anderson’s direction and Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance (also topping our best male performances list) leaps off the screen and speaks right to you. If you’re in a crowded room, you won’t hear it as well.
Mulholland Dr.– This movie means something different to everybody who watches it. The best way to watch it is at night with absolutely no distractions. Let David Lynch’s surrealistic masterpiece enter and occupy your brain undisturbed, and you may learn a thing or two about yourself. Watching Mulholland Dr. with a group makes the twist at the end seem more like an inconvenience than a thought-provoking, maddening thing of beauty.
Taxi Driver- A movie about a man isolated among a throng of people… what better way to watch it than alone? Travis Bickle, immortally played by Robert DeNiro, wanders New York after leaving Vietnam. He’s insane, but not the loud kind. Watching this movie alone makes that “You talkin’ to me scene” all the more intense, because you’re the only one in the room with this mad man.
Lost in Translation– Make no mistake, this is a comedy; a comedy of looks more than words, of quiet moments more than flamboyant situations. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson are comedic gold and more, running amok on a journey of self-discovery in Tokyo both alone and together. Sofia Coppola has a keen eye on how to shoot the city, something comedy viewers rarely get to appreciate. There are dramatic elements to the film, but they are whispers as well. If nothing else, you’ll want to watch this alone so there’s no obnoxious person yelling “What did he say in her ear??” at the end.
Dancer in the Dark- Lars von Trier’s brutally sadistic musical (try finding another one of those) is such an emotionally demanding, exhausting experience that it’s likely to put a damper on any social gathering if you watch it with a group. Watching Bjork’s Selma endure the endless horrors of her American Nightmare and then escape into a world of music is something you need to experience alone, with a box of tissues handy.