Watching just one film is for amateurs. Anybody can do that. If you're a proper film fan - and have quite a lot of time to kill - then a double-bill is what you should be going for. That's twice as much film.
Try one of these ten double-bills available on Netflix to while away an evening. Or make a weekend of it and watch them all.
Escape From Alcatraz and The Rock
In Escape From Alcatraz, a 1979 film based on true events, Clint Eastwood plays Frank Morris, the only prisoner to successfully break out of Alcatraz (in real life Morris was never heard of after he left the prison and was presumed to have drowned - which is a less than inspiring ending). In The Rock, one of the more enjoyable of Michael Bay's big, silly, noisy movies, and based on no true events, Sean Connery plays John Mason, the only prisoner to successfully break out of Alcatraz. He is asked to break back in, with the aid of cop Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) in order to stop a criminal lunatic.
Mean Streets and Reservoir Dogs
Watch the breakthrough films of two of cinema's most creative minds. Martin Scorsese had already made Who's That Knocking At My Door and Boxcar Bertha before he released Mean Streets, but his 1973 film about small-time New York criminals was the film that announced him as one of the greatest talents in film-making. Over forty years later and he's showing no signs of slowing down or losing his edge. Quentin Tarantino may not have as long a CV but from the moment Michael Madsen started dancing around with a razor in Reservoir Dogs the world knew that someone special had arrived. Compare and contrast two movie-obsessed wunderkinds.
Filth and Bad Lieutenant
How about a few hours of cops being absolutely terrible? In Filth James McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson, a Scottish policeman who has no passion for his job but plenty for alcohol, drugs and ruining the lives of every person he considers a rival, which is essentially everyone. Jon S. Baird's film skirts the line between hilarious and horrifying as Bruce's mind unravels. Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant is a similar premise but with viewed in a much bleaker way. Harvey Keitel is a drug-ravaged cop who falls apart gradually and spectacularly while investigating a very gruesome case.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Cool World
Two films with the same idea – what if the cartoon world were a real place? - but very different approaches. In the Disney classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Toon Town is a place of giddy joy that is rocked by murder, which is then investigated by grumpy PI Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins). It is about the triumph of happiness over misery. In Cool World, the titular cartoon land is a place of crime and violence and sex and darkness. It's a gloomy spin on what can happen in a place without rules. The latter is very much not for kids.
Clueless and Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Two different views of high school life, one a classic from the 90s, the other from the 80s. In Clueless, Alicia Silverstone is the spoiled rich girl who rules her school, arranging romances for friends from across the social clique divides but forgetting to find someone for herself. In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Matthew Broderick is the problem student who would rather do anything than sit in class, so takes his best friend and his girlfriend on the ultimate 'sick' day.
Misery and The Shawshank Redemption
See the two different sides of Stephen King. On the one hand there's Misery, which shows his dark, wicked side. Kathy Bates plays a woman who saves an author (James Caan) from a car crash and brings him home to nurse him back to health. Unfortunately for the author this woman turns out to be his most obsessive fan, to the point that she tortures him and keeps him captive until he writes his next book just the way she wants it. The Shawshank Redemption is the uplifting, softer side of King. Surely there is nobody left who doesn't know the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) who is wrongly accused of murder and suffers through years of jail until he finds freedom, with the help of his good friend Red (Morgan Freeman).
Scream and Halloween H20
When Scream came along it changed the horror genre overnight. Suddenly traditional horrors, in which nobody had ever seen a horror movie or knew what to expect when a masked killer arrived in town, seemed outdated. Self-awareness, and self-reference, was now key. A couple of years later one of the franchises at which Scream had poked affectionate fun took it on at its own game. Halloween H20 brings back the presumed dead Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) for a new battle with her evil brother, full of in-jokes and references to other horror series. Your move, Scream.
War of the Worlds (1953) and War of the Worlds (2005)
Two different takes on H.G. Wells’ alien invasion story, with very different budgets and technology. In the 1953 version by Byron Haskin, a scientist (Gene Berry) spots a strange object landing in a lake, which turns out to be the start of an alien attack. There are special effects that were terribly advanced for their time, but look quite quaint now. In Steven Spielberg's version, some five decades later, the hero is now an ordinary man (Tom Cruise), because Spielberg likes an ordinary man, and the effects are now dazzling. It's an interesting illustration of how two stories that are effectively the same can be completely different depending on who's telling them.
Turner and Hooch and Frankenweenie
One is about a man who doesn't want a dog but gets a dog and learns to love him. The other is about a boy who loves a dog but loses him...and then digs him up. Two very different portraits of man's close relationship with his best friend.
Annie Hall and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The first, arguably Woody Allen's finest movie, is perhaps the best romantic comedy ever made. It's a chronicle of an entire relationship, from those early flirtatious days when you're far too worried about saying the right thing (witness the brilliant subtitled chat-up scene), to the comfort of contented romance, to the horrible break-up and trying to recapture something you know is gone. The latter sets itself the same task but comes at it from very weird angles. Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman examine a great romance via a man (Jim Carrey) paying a doctor to help him forget the love of his life (Kate Winslet), but in trying to forget everything he remembers all the moments that made him love her in the first place.