Drama Films, N-S

** Nebraska
A slow burner, where a father is slowly losing it and his son resigns himself to nevertheless helping him out on what he knows to be a fool's errand to cash in a sweepstakes ticket. They stop at their old hometown on the way, where the locals remember them as fondly as not and old, not-quite-so-forgotten histories are revisited.
**+ Network
** Niagara Motel
Loads of bit parts set around Niagara Falls, both in a motel and a cafe adjacent to or part of it. The plot lines are decidedly blue collar if not just blue (as in porn film making), but this one's not entirely without redemption.
** Nightcrawler
A socially inadept but bright man finds his vocation in providing footage of horrific crime and accident scenes. Driven, sick, opportunistic... intriguing, in its way.
*+ 9 1/2 Weeks
**+ No Country For Old Men
*** Norma Rae
** North By Northwest - dir. Alfred Hitchcock
*** No Way Out
**+ The Object of My Affection
** Ocean's Eleven
**+ On The Waterfront
“I coulda been a contender!” says Marlon Brando’s loser, whose guilty feelings about his unknowing involvement in a mob hit propels this flick forward. The only question is whether he’ll rise to the occasion to stand his ground.
**** One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
*** Opening Night - dir. John Cassavettes
*** The Opposite of Sex
*** Ordinary People
**+ Out Of Africa
*** Pacific Heights
** Palindromes
**+ Paper Moon
**+ The Paperboy
Lots of good ideas and performances, but also a bit choppy at times. Some reporters try to get a convicted criminal out of jail, although not all is at it seems in the swamps of Florida.
*** Paris, Texas
** Party Girl
*** Passion Fish - dir. John Sayles
**+ Paths Of Glory
**+ Pay It Forward
**+ Penelope
** A Perfect Murder
*** Permanent Midnight
*+ Peter's Friends
**+ Philadelphia
**+ Pi
** Pieces of April
** Planet of the Apes
** Please Give
Generally reprehensible characters muddle through life and death in NYC. Charity, literal and figurative, is at the heart of this one.
*** Presumed Innocent
*+ Pretty Baby
** A Price Above Rubies
*** Primary Colors
**+ Prince of the City
** Promised Land
The fracking movie, I guess, but a competent one. Big Oil has come to small town America, and Matt Damon and his counterpart Frances McDormand are there to convince you to sign you land's rights away on the dotted line. The moral is there and true, even if the flick feels like a retread.
*** Proof
**+ Psycho
**** Pulp Fiction - dir. Quentin Tarantino
This is the masterpiece that vaulted QT over the top and immediately into legend, reviving the career of John Travolta while also launching a pile of quotes - beginning with "Bring out the gimp." Multiple story lines on the edge of what's legal and honorable mesh together in one elongated and genius stroke.
** Punch-Drunk Love
** The Purple Rose of Cairo - dir. Woody Allen
Mia Farrow literally escapes to the movies, or an actor in a movie escapes to join her in real life. Woody Allen's self-professed favorite, it's an insider movie-maker's flick to be sure.
**+ The Pursuit of Happyness
** Quest For Fire
**+ The Quiet American
** Quills
*** Rachel Getting Married - dir. Jonathan Demme
***+ Raging Bull - dir. Martin Scorcese
**+ Rain Man
**+ The Rapture
***+ Ray
** Ready To Wear
***+ Red
** Red Corner
*** Red Rock West
** The Red Violin
**+ Regarding Henry
**+ Requiem For A Dream
*** Reservoir Dogs - dir. Quentin Tarantino
**+ Rising Sun
** The River's Edge
** Robinhood: Prince of Thieves
** Robin Hood
Russell Crowe stars in this latest take on the famed Robin Hood, reinventing history as is convenient and adding drama where necessary. Not a horrible way to waste a couple of hours, but why?
** Ronin
*+ Rosemary's Baby
** Round Midnight
**+ Ruby In Paradise
*** Rumblefish
** Saturday Night Fever
*** Saving Private Ryan - dir. Steven Spielberg
**+ Say Anything...
** Scent of a Woman
** The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb
**+ Selma - dir. Ava DuVernay
A realistic look at the days and events leading up to the Civil Rights Marches in Selma, Alabama. Martin Luther King struggles with the place and means, if not precisely the message.
**+ Serenity - dir. Josh Whedon
** A Serious Man
Something of mid-life crisis movie with a Jewish tinge and a little more whining.
*** Serpico
**+ Seven
*** sex, lies, & videotape
** Shadows - dir. John Cassavettes
*** The Shawshank Redemption
** Shooter
**+ Sidewalks of New York
** Sideways
** Silver City - dir. John Sayles
**+ Simple Men
*** A Simple Plan
** Single White Female
*** Sixth Sense
**+ Slacker - dir. Richard Linklater
**+ Sleuth
** Sliding Doors
*** Sling Blade
**+ Smilla's Sense Of Snow
**+ Smoke Signals
**+ The Social Network
The rise of Facebook as the go-to social network - at least it's the one that followed Friendster and MySpace. Actually the story is that Mark Zuckerberg, FaceBook's "ultimate" founder, is a dick. Albeit a smart one. Watch greedy kids think they are the next coming.
**+ Solaris
*** A Soldier's Story
**+ Solitary Man
A man who has fallen off of the straight and narrow, played by Michael Douglas, looks for a way back through the mess to reclaim his life.
** Some Girl
** Something for Joey
* Songcatcher
** Spanglish
***+ The Spanish Prisoner
** Spanking the Monkey
*** The Spectacular Now
What starts out as seemingly yet another tale of modern-day teen angst and melodrama in high school, this one ultimately offers something more. A budding alcoholic meets not-your-typical girl-next-door as he gets over a breakup with his popular girlfriend.
**+ Spitfire Grill
*** Spotlight
A relatively true-to-story accounting of the scoop by The Boston Globe that began the great unraveling of the priest-pedophile scandal that rocked the Catholic Church worldwide. But Ground Zero was probably Boston, perhaps the most Catholic of U.S. cities - and also likely the most corrupt in its handling as a result, with few wanting to go up against such a powerful institution.
**+ The Squid and the Whale - dir. Noah Baumbach
***+ Stand By Me
* Stargate
*+ Star Maps
** Stardust
** Stardust Memories
**+ State & Main
**+ St. Elmo's Fire
**+ Still Alice
A woman (Julianne Moore) deals with early-onset Alzheimer's, both trying to cope with its current effects while trying to get her house in order for the inevitable.
***+ The Sting
** Storytelling
**+ The Straight Story
**+ Stranger Than Fiction
*** A Streetcar Named Desire
* Summer Lover
Oh-my-god bad. Acting right out of a high school drama class, but with lesbian love scenes straight from... the internet, maybe.
**+ Summer of Sam
**+ Sunshine State - dir. John Sayles
*+ Superstar
*+ Sweet Hearts
**+ The Sweet Hereafter
** Switchblade Sisters
**+ Syriana

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