Sunday, August 4, 2013

Triple Headers: Three movies which work well together

Triple Headers Part 2: Crime, Drama, and Fantasy

Do you ever feel in the mood for a movie marathon featuring a particular actor, director, theme, or genre? I plan to write a series covering various genres, and other themes, highlighting movies which would combine well for a triple header. This second entry covers Crime, Drama, and Fantasy.


This is a tough category to narrow down, because crime is such a popular genre. Also, a large proportion of movies have a crime element, even though the bulk of the story may fall into a different genre. I'm going to focus on movies in which crime is a major element.

Pulp Fiction
It's impossible to leave Pulp Fiction off the crime list. Although Tarantino is accused of borrowing from other movies, his efforts seem original to me because of the tone, and the dialogue. All of his movies are dark comedies, and a Tarantino triple header would be a fine way to spend an evening. I would put Pulp Fiction right at the top of Tarantino's filmography because I love every second of it. It's always in my top three of all time.

Wonderful performances by Buscemi, McDormand and Macy make Fargo easy to like. The humor works well, despite the dark story. It deserves to be in everyone's collection, and I view it at least a couple of times every year. 

The Departed
I'm sure many of you are baffled that I had the good taste to include a Scorsese movie, only to end up choosing the wrong one. Where is Goodfellas, Casino, or Taxi Driver? The casting has something to do with my choice, and the movie is loaded with strong performances.


This is the hardest category of all because drama is easily my favorite genre. The problem is, the list is enormous. As with crime, most dramas include elements from other genres. 

The Shawshank Redemption
Here's a film that receives plenty of criticism. It's not that many people actually hate it, but it's often thought to be overrated. I don't agree. I think it's one of the best films ever made and I never tire of seeing Freeman and Robbins in their best roles. It would be easy to include The Green Mile, but two prison dramas from the same director would be overkill.

American Beauty
After the serious and contemplative nature of Shawshank, the dark comedy of American Beauty lightens the mood. Spacey is always good, but this is my favorite performance from him.

Up in the Air
I must have watched this four or five times a year since it was released. Some of the interaction between Clooney, Farmiga, and Kendrick is worthy of Tarantino, although the tone is different. I love every scene, and the sense of calm present during the ending.


I've already included a Miyazaki triple header, so I won't include any of those titles. I'll also omit Lord of the Rings, because that is a triple header in its own right. For the same reasons, I haven't included anything from the Harry Potter franchise.

Yep, it's French. Trust me, it's worth getting over your hatred of subtitles for this one. Audrey Tautou is always good, and Jeunet's direction and sense of humor is delightful.

Midnight in Paris
A movie full of ideas. Owen Wilson is a good substitute in the Woody Allen role. Don't worry, this one is in English.

A weak script and a formulaic second half can't prevent me from putting Avatar on this list. The visuals make up for all of the obvious flaws. I actually felt as if I was on another world.

The next installment in this series will cover Foreign Film, Heists, and Horror.

What would be your choices in the categories I covered today?

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  1. Splendid picks all around, Steve! Many of my favorite films are here. Except for Avatar, ew. haha

    1. Thanks Fernando. It seems that a lot of people hate Avatar :)

  2. I like that balance of whimsy with the high-tech future, and large-scale battle, of Avatar in your "fantasy" selection.

    I seem to pair Shawshank with The Green Mile (possibly for the obvious reasons) but I think trying to watch back-to-back three-hour films can be a chore regardless of how good they are.

    1. I love Shawshank and The Green Mile too, but you're right, it would be hard to watch them in one sitting.