We are blessed to still have a vintage movie rental store in my city. It was never a chain store, but one that has stocked up on a deep inventory, a veritable library, of old movies and new ones. It also has movies that are hard to find online for viewing. But, the best part of the selection process is the in person browsing looking through mazes of aisles on organized genres of drama, comedy, action, horror, science fiction, foreign films, series, etc.
The older movies can be rented for five days, so I usually will pick up four of them at a time. Often, I will read the summary or select one based on the actors in the film. Not all of them are great, but usually they are worth the effort. I think over the years, we have only stopped watching one or two.
On the last two visits, five of the eight movies I picked are excellent, in our opinion even though their critical ratings of each vary. And, the other three were good, so they were worth the investment. Here is a quick summary of the five to which we give a thumbs up.
- Fathers and Daughters (2015) – starring Russel Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Paul, Kylie Rogers, Jane Fonda, Octavia Spencer, and Diane Kruger. Crowe is a Pulitzer Prize author who loses his wife in an auto accident because they were arguing and he lost focus on the driving. Seyfried is his daughter as an older woman coming to grips with her own life, after losing her mother when she was so young. The movie flips back and forth to just following her mother’s death and to her young adult life. Rogers charms us as the younger version of his daughter.
- Night Train to Lisbon (2013) – starring Jeremy Irons, Jack Huston, Charlotte Rampling, Melanie Laurent, Martina Gedeck, Lena Olin, and several others. Irons coaxes a woman off a bridge in Bern where she was about to jump. She follows him and when she eventually leaves, he finds her coat with two tickets to Lisbon and a book that fascinates him with its life lessons and story. He travels to Lisbon to meet the author after the book’s owner eludes his efforts to find her. The story involves him connecting many dots with people who knew the author as he is moved by the impactful story. For the viewer, we are allowed to see what happened in earlier events.
- Lebanon, PA (2010) – starring Josh Hopkins, Samantha Mathis, Rachel Kitson and others. This story involves an ad executive returning to Lebanon, PA to bury his divorced father and settle the affairs. He meets a cousin, a single father, and his two children who live across the street and watched over his father. The son is successful, but adrift not sure if he is doing what he wants to do in life. He becomes a mentor to the young teen girl who is his second cousin and befriends an unhappily married woman who taught with his father and remembers his kindness. The story is tinged with a sense of melancholy.
- Lovely, still (2008)- starring two favorite actors, Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn, along with Adam Scott and Elizabeth Banks. Landau is a man living alone who works at a retail store, but early on you pick up he is in early stages of dementia. He comes home to find Burstyn in his house, as he left his door open that morning and she was seeing if he was alright. They begin a romance that is both touching and worrisome as you keep waiting for a shoe to drop. It is a lovely film.
- Lies in Plain Sight (2010) – starring Martha Higareda, Chad Michael Murray, Yul Vazquez, Benito Martinez, Rosie Perez and others. The story is a of an obviously smart blind woman returning from MIT for the funeral of her best friend and cousin who committed suicide, a shock to her and her friend’s family. She is close to the family as her mother had passed and she would often stay with them as her father worked. She learns of many small lies as she tries to figure out what happened and remembers things her cousin told her, as there was no suicide note to explain it all. Eventually she suspects things that come to a head with her discoveries.
I hope you enjoy these. If you have seen them, let me know what you think. Also, what are some other films you recommend?