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Thread: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

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    Default Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    Can you think of five movies that really require you flex your brain power? Or maybe movies that keep you thinking about them years after you've seen it. My top 5.

    The Third Man
    2001: A Space Odyssey (obvious choice of course)
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
    Vertigo
    Network.

    Notice that I left out movies that are set up to confuse you (Memento, Fight Club, Inception, Vanilla Sky, etc.)

    Something else I noticed a few minutes after I wrote this list. All these movies are essentially about deception. However, that does not make them like the other films I mentioned. There is a difference between deception and confusion. A good magician will use deception as his primary tool. A poor one will rely on confusion. "The Usual Suspects" also belongs in the first list, rather than the second one.
    Last edited by joyluckstripclub; 05-11-2014 at 09:10 AM.

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    Yeah, The Usual Suspects would top my list. That said, I've never seen any of the top five listed above.

    I usually choose movies based on pure entertainment value, so the rest of my list will likely not be 'scholarly' by any means. Second, I would probably list The Dark Knight. There's a little bit of history (Roman triumvirate) and a little bit of game theory (Joker's game with the people on the ships). If one wants to go political, there's also the question of Batman's use of surveillance in the film. I guess that's it for really using brain power.

    Movies that keep me thinking about them...two Tom Hanks films are up there: Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. Outside those; movies like Roots, Malcolm X, and Rosewood (for the balance between dramatization and historical accuracy) and movies like Bamboozled (which cause me to review the social condition and ask whether the issues present in the movie still exist).

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    No list of cerebral movies is complete without "The Man with Two Brains"

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    Are Inception and Fight Club that confusing? How is the conceipt of Fight Club and Usual Suspects different?

    And both those movies express interesting ideas. I still think about Fight Club more than any of the ones in your list. My 5 are probably too far out, but Waking Life, Enter the Void, Akira, Apocalypse Now, and Unforgiven. Unforgiven might be an odd one, but there are weirdly simple and deep philosophical ideas in that movie. For me.

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    Quote Originally Posted by joyluckstripclub View Post
    Can you think of five movies that really require you flex your brain power? ... Notice that I left out movies that are set up to confuse you (Memento, Fight Club, Inception, Vanilla Sky, etc.)
    I haven't seen all of those, however, you are right that "Unreliable Narrator" should be treated differently that a "cerebral" movie or book. I can appreciate both types. Sometimes I do like a story (Poe or Lovecraft) that uses a narrator who is insane, so you can't really trust what they are telling you. I like it both ways where the narrator knows he or she insane and when he or she doesn't know it.


    Cerebral:

    "2001: A Space Odyssey"
    "Vertigo"
    "A Clockwork Orange"
    "Pi"
    "Requiem for a Dream"
    "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai"
    "X-files" (OK a TV show, but Lestat told me TV is real, so :p )
    "Highlander" sequels (it make *all* of my brain power to link those movie sequels together, story-wise ).

    Unreliable narrator:

    "Cujo" (book only)
    "The Cask of Amontillado" (book only)
    "Falling Down"
    "The Usual Suspects"
    "The Shining"
    "Fight Club"

    Lately I have been getting into the "Tom Keen" character in the TV show "The Blacklist". I like the twists the writers have been giving Tom as of late. He kind of reminds me of the tortured immortal, who DGAF. He definitely has a CIA "special activities division" feel to the character now, so of like the badass spy who we don't really know.

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    “Moon”

    Lesser known 2009 film with a small budget but well done. If you liked 2001 Space Odyssey you will enjoy this film.

    Trailer:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twuScTcDP_Q

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    Quote Originally Posted by joyluckstripclub View Post
    Can you think of five movies that really require you flex your brain power? Or maybe movies that keep you thinking about them years after you've seen it. My top 5.

    The Third Man
    2001: A Space Odyssey (obvious choice of course)
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
    Vertigo
    Network.

    Notice that I left out movies that are set up to confuse you (Memento, Fight Club, Inception, Vanilla Sky, etc.)

    Something else I noticed a few minutes after I wrote this list. All these movies are essentially about deception. However, that does not make them like the other films I mentioned. There is a difference between deception and confusion. A good magician will use deception as his primary tool. A poor one will rely on confusion. "The Usual Suspects" also belongs in the first list, rather than the second one.
    I will list 8 thought of another one

    Ulysses (film and book) - If you like reading Cerebral novels I highly recommend reading all of James Joyce's novels
    Citizen Kane
    The Great Gatsby( film and book)
    Dr. Strangelove
    The Manchurian Candidate
    Doctor Zhivago( film and book)
    A Clockwork Orange( film and book)
    1984( film and book) - the thought police
    Last edited by November_Scorpio; 09-25-2016 at 06:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    Do not watch requiem for a dream unless you are prepared to be fucked up mentally for a week.
    Where Am I? The Beach

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    ^^That one doesn't actually disturb me very much. One that fucked me up for a week and I will never watch again is the Elephant Man. I will cry if I just think about it.

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    Quote Originally Posted by Genoveve View Post
    ^^That one doesn't actually disturb me very much. One that fucked me up for a week and I will never watch again is the Elephant Man. I will cry if I just think about it.
    What's really messed up is that actually happened.
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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    ^^^Exactly, although tbh what happens in Requiem happens all the time too. Btw I did not know that Requiem was a book first, I wouldn't mind reading it because I do like the movie and 9 times out of 10 books seem to be better than their movies.

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    Mindwalk and My Dinner with Andre are movies of long conversations, without sex or violence. I haven't seen film versions of Kafka's stories, but those would fit too. Solaris by Stanislaw Lem has been done a few times. I saw the second and third, so I'll pick the third, the 2002 version.

    A different type of cerebral movie is more social and subtle, with dialogue between friends, frenemies, etc., and layers of subtext. Guys would call that a chick flick.

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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies


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    Default Re: Top 5 Cerebal Movies

    The Doom Generation
    Nowhere
    Melancholia
    Nymphomaniac
    Solaris (only original Tarkovsky version, not the trashy American re-make)
    Stalker (1979)
    Come and See (often referred to as "Kill Hitler")
    Cargo 200

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