Top 5: Hastings Video

The best films to rent now.

Hastings Video is an anomaly: an independent video store that actually thrives. The reason? Its staff loves film and really, really knows cinema. So, what are its recommendations for the five best movies to rent that you may have missed? “Everybody had a lot of great ideas,” says employee Meg Beach-Hacking. “We’re some of the biggest cinephiles you’d ever want to meet. The hardest thing was narrowing the list down to just five.”

1. Drama: Cradle Will Rock (1999)
This film is directed by Tim Robbins and features a large ensemble cast, including John and Joan Cusack, Bill Murray, Hank Azaria, and Susan Sarandon. “The premise is FDR’s Federal Theater Project started with the New Deal, and how the Project reacted to the threat of communism,” says Beach-Hacking. “People who are seriously interested in drawing parallels between history and the present would really enjoy this film.”

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2. Comedy: Running with Scissors (2006)
If you haven’t read the bestselling book by Augusten Burroughs, know that it claims to be an autobiography of Burroughs, who had to deal with a crazy mother, an alcoholic father, and an even more insane psychiatrist. “It’s a deliciously quirky coming-of-age story, in a very indie-movie type of way,” says Beach-Hacking. “It’s a movie that I personally like to suggest for parents with older teenagers, because they can tell their kids, ‘Look, if you think your life is bad, just look at this kid’s.’”


3. Family: Secondhand Lions (2003)
This movie, starring Robert Duvall and Michael Caine, as brothers, and Haley Joel Osment, their great-nephew, “mixes adventure in the Sahara and Middle East with a love story. It’s great for families.”


4. Mystery/Thriller/Horror: Spider (2002)
This film, directed by David Cronenberg and starring Ralph Fiennes and Gabriel Byrne, “deals with a number of issues, especially parental abuse and how it affects the mental state and behavior of the grown-up child,” says Beach-Hacking. “It’s an intricate, dark movie.”

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5. Foreign: The Lives Of Others (Das Leben der Anderen; 2006; German, with subtitles).
“This beautifully filmed erotic drama takes place in East Berlin during the Cold War. Like many good foreign films, lots of thought went into the cinematography and the costuming.”



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