The Top Six Richard Linklater Movies to See Before Where’d You Go Bernadette

boyhood movie shots
Boyhood. What an amazing feat of cinematic genius.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette opens this week.  While it’s not Richard Linklater’s first commercial film (Bad News Bears, School of Rock), it does appear to be wholly unlike anything else he’s ever done.

I’ve been following Linklater for a while and he’s one of my favorite filmmakers.  Below is a list of my favorite Linklater movies.  (Note: This is not The Essential Richard Linklater.  Because then I’d have to include Dazed and Confused.  Sorry, that one’s just overrated to me.)

 

 

Boyhood

Linklater pulled off one of the most amazing feats in cinema history with this one.  We get to watch a boy grow up over the course of the film.  And he’s played by the same actor at every age!  Linklater had the patience to shoot the scenes once a year or once every few years throughout Ellar Coltrane’s life.

The fact that he was able to do this with the same cast over a period of twelve years without the world finding out is amazing.  (And without anyone dying, quitting, etc.)  This movie was such a beautiful surprise when it came out and remains a gift to the world.

 

 

The Before Trilogy

In 1995, Linklater made one of the essential 90s romances, Before Sunrise.  It features Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy killing time together and falling in love, before having to part ways.  If that was all he’d ever made, it would stand alone as a beautiful, unique, romantic film.

Instead, he made a sequel nearly a decade later called Before Sunset where the two meet up again in Paris while Hawke is on a book tour.  They are each spoken for, but the spark is still there.  Again, if these two bookends were all there is to the story, it would be enough.

But then the artists reunited to make Before Midnight.  The final film in the trilogy deals with love and family at midlife, and all the complications that come with them.

 

Slacker

Slacker was Linklater’s debut film.  It’s a meandering piece where the camera follows an odd assortment of characters through a Texas town, moving from one interaction to the next, never returning to any of the storylines.  It probably sits somewhere at the intersection of Robert Altman and David Lynch.  One of the film’s most famous moments involves a woman being arrested as someone passes by, musing, “I know her.  She was in my ethics class.”

 

 

 

Waking Life

Waking Life is a documentary where the film cells were painted over/animated.  It features Wiley Wiggins trying to determine if he is awake or in a dream state as he encounters various talking heads.  It’s a visually beautiful film that is philosophical and haunting.

 

 

School of Rock

This is probably Linklater’s most accessible film.  A substitute teacher turns a classroom full of children into a rock band to try to win a local Battle of the Bands competition.  Jack Black gives one of his best performances without going over the top.  Writer Mike White who also cameos delivers a great story.  So great in fact, that Andrew Lloyd Weber turned it into a stage musical.  It works surprisingly well.  This is a great feel-good movie.

 

 

Everybody Wants Some

This movie is about the members of a college baseball team bonding together at the start of the school year in the 1980s.  It’s sort of an older cousin to Dazed and Confused. The main character, Jake (Blake Jenner), is figuring out who he wants to be.  This comedy was the first movie I watched after my grandfather’s death and I remember it lifting my spirits with its goofy charm.

 

 

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n’roll.  It’s also a long wait to go to the bathroom if you’re gonna white knuckle it until the end credits.

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Movie Review – Where’d You Go, Bernadette

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Here’s  list of my favorite films, all of which are somewhere in the  A range, or a high B. I didn’t actually include everything I’ve ever given an A to on RunPee, because they were often graded according to the target audience, and aren’t actually my personal faves.

Sometimes I want to upgrade a film too, over time. Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them gets better on every viewing, for example. I want to move in the database from a B something to like an A-, or at least an A. I was colored at the time, by my wanting it to be more like the other Harry Potter films. Which is why rewatch reviews really come into their own — you can have time to let a film settle, and see what emerges in time.

It’s worth discussing about how we at RunPee grade movies. Each one of us staffers in this family is different. Like I’ve said before, I often use a curve within a movie franchise. Almost anything the Marvel Cinematic Universe does deserves an A (IMO), compared to movies otherwise in its genre (or out of it). But…that’s adding my highly idiosyncratic enjoyment factor.

Here’s a long list of my A range, and most favorite films over time: 

  1. Alien and Aliens
  2. Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back
  3. Terminator (The first and the second)
  4. Jurassic Park (Only the first)
  5. Titanic
  6. Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc
  7. Back to the Future (The first)
  8. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  9. The Breakfast Club
  10. Jaws (the first)
  11. Overboard (The original)
  12. A Fish Called Wanda
  13. Avatar
  14. The Matrix (The first)
  15. Harry Potter (I can’t really pick one from the eight movies we see. Each has their own style and merits…and together is one long story. For myself, I’d give the A+ to The Prisoner of Azkaban,  The Goblet of Fire, and maybe The Half Blood Prince.)
  16. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  17. Passengers (This one is controversial.  I loved it, my mother loved it, and RunPee Dan loved it. But a lot of people aggressively dislike the movie, for reasons I shouldn’t describe here if you haven’t seen the film)
  18. Star Trek (The Wrath of Khan and the Voyage Home. First Contact is great, might not be an A)
  19. Logan (OMG is this sad. But wonderful, too)
  20. The MCU (Like the Harry Potter films, Marvel’s Avenger superheroes have an intricately webbed series of stories. To pick out the A+ films is hard. I might only put Infinity Wars in that caliber. Maybe Thor: Ragnarok. However, the regular A films abound: Guardians of the Galaxy — one of my personal favorites, Black Panther, Iron Man 1, Avengers: Assemble, Avengers: Civil War,  and Spiderman: Homecoming)
  21. Finding Nemo
  22. The Shawshank Redemption
  23. The Firm
  24. The Fugitive
  25. Top Gun
  26. The Lord of the Rings (The entire LOTR series. Not the Hobbit films, unfortunately)
  27. Die Hard (The first)
  28. Lethal Weapon (the first)
  29. Predator
  30. ET: The Extra Terrestrial
  31. Rain Man
  32. 2001, A Space Odyssey
  33. Blade Runner (The first)
  34. The Shining (The original)
  35. So I Married An Axe-Murderer
  36. Inception
  37. Mamma Mia (The first)
  38. When Harry Met Sally
  39. Contact
  40. Apollo 13
  41. The Princess Bride
  42. Moonstruck
  43. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  44. Pitch Black (The first)
  45. The Wizard of Oz
  46.  Monty Python and The Holy Grail
  47. Airplane! (The first)
  48.  Ghostbusters (The first)
  49. Groundhog Day
  50.  Live and Let Die (Bond movies are so subjective! This one is perfect, in my opinion. Yours will probably be different)
  51. Pulp Fiction
  52. Shaun of the Dead
  53. Zombieland
  54.  The Sixth Sense
  55. Wayne’s World
  56. Thelma and Louise
  57. The Bourne  Identity
  58. Steel Magnolias
  59. The Little Mermaid
  60.  The Hunt for Red October

….Aaaand, I’m continuing this list right now. You might have an idea of what movies I consistently like: there’s a lot of sci-fi here, (almost) no horror movies, and very few old classics. For example, I never saw Citizen Kane — which is touted to be the best movie in in the universe . I should educate myself. (I did enjoy African Queen, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, and Some Like It Hot. Is that a good start?)

I’m going to hang out with RunPee Sis next month, and she will introduce me to some horror classics, and hug me when I get scared. So maybe things like Psycho and Silence of the Lambs will join the list.

Anyway: I know I missed some important movies. Got some in mind? Comments can be added below!