Saturday, May 28, 2011

Literary Movies and Other Movies Meant for an Adult Audience

Let me begin by saying that this is not a Netflix commercial.

But have you noticed how wonderful Netflix is if you are into "small movies," the type of movies whose main characters are not into fart and barf jokes (and all the other repulsive and simpleton film jokes that pass as humor these days)?  You know...movies made by adults for an adult audience over the age of 29.

I offer as a perfect example a movie that I watched beginning at 5:30 this morning when my eyes suddenly popped open and refused to close again even if it is Saturday.  Based on what I've been watching on Netflix for the past few months, the service suggested that I would enjoy a movie called Starting Out in the Evening, starring Frank Langella, Lauren Ambrose and Lili Taylor.

Now, Netflix is not always correct in its assumptions of what I will enjoy, but it nailed it this time.  This is the official movie description, as copied from Netflix:
Starting Out in the Evening
2007 PG-13 110 minutes
With aims to revive the faded career of aging author Leonard Schiller (Frank Langella), enterprising graduate student Heather Wolfe (Lauren Ambrose) makes his novels the topic of her master's thesis and raises his hopes for a literary comeback. All the while, Leonard's middle-aged daughter (Lili Taylor) remains dubious -- both of Heather's motivations and her own prospects for long-term happiness.

Cast:Frank Langella, Lauren Ambrose, Lili Taylor, Joel West, Jessica Hecht, Adrian Lester, Sean T. Krishnan Director:Andrew Wagner Genres:Independent, Indie Dramas, Dramas Based on Contemporary Literature, Dramas Based on the Book This movie is:Emotional, Heartfelt, Sentimental, Understated
Can you believe it? A literary movie...who knew they still made these things?  So tell me, guys, what else have I been missing?  Frankly, I have been so fed up with Hollywood for at least the past 15 years that I have paid very little attention to what's coming out of that hotbed of sensationalism and immaturity.  But (and I promise that this is not meant as a free commercial), I have seen some really great foreign films, art house films, and other "small" movies since I signed up to Netflix a few months ago.  Any suggestions?


  1. I love Netflix. I like to watch documentaries and British television shows. I just finished watching all of the Doc Martin series and loved it.

    A good documentary that I recently watched was A Man Named Pearl. I've also watched a great many foreign films that were very good.

    I'll look for Starting Out in the Evening and add it to my que. :)

  2. Oh, wow, Sam. Where to begin? Have you seen a film titled Black Book? It came out in '06, WW II genre, which I just happen to be drawn to.

    The Lives of Others? Excellent. Oh, and a lovely, quiet little movie called The Visitor. Beautiful, poignant...I'm sure you'll get tons of recommendations. Enjoy.

  3. You are so right about Netflix. I'm going to add this movie to my queue right now!

  4. We love Netflix so much that we got rid of cable TV last summer and only use Netflix. There is enough streaming now there is always something interesting when we get the urge to plop down on the couch and watch something.

    I addition to "The Lives of Others" and "The Visitor", both of which I heartily agree, I would add "An Education". I also liked "Bright Star", which is about the poet Keats. A little sappy and overdone in parts, but overall quite good.

  5. This looks good. I really like Lili Taylor.

  6. Thanks for the recommendation, Sam. We really enjoyed The Fall, which was on live streaming on Netflix. It's more about immagination and story telling than literature per se. It's set at the dawn of filmmaking, about a young girl and a film actor both convalescing in a hospital. I found it really imaginative and touching.

  7. We have just discovered that you can get free movies from if you have a prime membership. There are a lot of older movies on the list.

    Have you watched "Downton Abbey?" It's a BBC series, so far with only 7 or 8 episodes. Excellent story about pre-WWI life in Britain and the major social changes going on.

    You've seen "Tender Mercies," of course.

  8. I just bawled my way through "Possession" yesterday, which is a fantastic movie about two Victorian poets falling in love, and the two literary scholars who discover the secret a century later. It is based on the equally wonderful book by A.S. Byatt. Aaron Eckhart makes the role of a literary graduate student HOT HOT HOT.

  9. Wow...thanks everyone for the great recommendations. I apparently don't know what I've been missing. It appears that a lot of these films are of the "indie" variety and that is always appealing to be in film...and music and books. So, thanks again.