Double features are a great way to watch movies. Seeing two films back-to-back makes for a different viewing experience than seeing them separately. It’s even better when the films are not an obvious pair, but share similar themes or some other connection.
In the best case, a double feature can cast each of its component movies in a fresh light, revealing something about them that otherwise wouldn’t have stood out. The trick is finding two movies that complement each other, without getting repetitive. Fortunately, Reddit has plenty of recommendations.
10 ‘Hail Caesar!’ (2016) & ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ (2019)
Hail Caesar! and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are two movies that take a nostalgic look at the golden era of Hollywood. Hail Caesar! is the Coen brothers‘ whimsical and satirical take on the Hollywood machine of the 1950s, starring Josh Brolin as a studio “fixer” tasked with keeping the stars in line during the filming of a big-budget Roman epic.
In contrast, Tarantino‘s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood features Leonardo DiCaprio as a fading actor and Brad Pitt as his stunt double. Set in 1969, the film follows their attempts to make a comeback in a rapidly changing Hollywood landscape. “There is plenty of irony and cleverness [in these movies], poking fun at certain Hollywood tropes, but honestly I just love how earnest both are,” says Redditor u/lonepairstudio.
9 ‘Misery’ (1990) & ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ (2016)
In Misery, Kathy Bates is Annie Wilkes, a mentally unstable fan who holds her favorite author (James Caan), captive in her home. On the other hand, 10 Cloverfield Lane centers on three survivors of an unknown catastrophe who are holed up in an underground bunker. As tensions rise and secrets are revealed, the audience is left wondering if the real danger lies outside or within the bunker
“They both show great filmmaking doesn’t need a billion sets or a lot of money, but just some good old fashioned directing and tension building,” says u/lonepairstudio. “Both have leads that are ACTUALLY resourceful and don’t behave like horror movie characters who are stupid. They try to outmaneuver and figure out practical information that can save themselves.”
8 ‘Being There’ (1979) & ‘Forrest Grump’ (1994)
Being There and Forrest Gump are two iconic films about a simple-minded protagonist who ends up taking a fascinating and successful journey through life. Hal Ashby‘s Being There stars Peter Sellers as Chance, a gardener who has spent his entire life isolated from the outside world. When he is thrust into high society, his simplistic observations and garden metaphors are taken as deep philosophical insights, leading to his rise to fame and influence.
In Forrest Gump, the main character (Tom Hanks) is a slow-witted but kind-hearted man who becomes embroiled in some of the most significant events in American history. Despite his intellectual limitations, Forrest’s perseverance and fortitude help him succeed in life and become a beloved figure.
7 ‘Lost in Translation’ (2003) & ‘Her’ (2013)
Lost in Translation and Her are two captivating movies that delve into the complexities of human relationships in the modern world, with Scarlett Johansson playing the love interest in both. Lost in Translation follows an aging actor (Bill Murray) who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Johansson’s character, a young woman who is also adrift in Tokyo, leading to a poignant exploration of loneliness and connection.
Directed by Spike Jonze, Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as a lonely writer who falls in love with an operating system voiced by Johansson. The film examines the nature of love, identity, and what it means to be human in a world where technology is increasingly intertwined with our daily lives.
6 ‘Memories of Murder’ (2003) & ‘Zodiac’ (2007)
Memories of Murder follows two detectives tasked with solving a string of murders in a rural South Korean town in the 1980s. Zodiac is about three men attempting to track down the notorious Zodiac killer in 1970s San Francisco. In both movies, the characters’ personal lives begin to unravel as they become consumed by the case.
“They’re basically the same movie but one was made in South Korea and one was made in America. There are a bunch of similarities not just between the two cases, but also between how Fincher and Bong crafted their films,” says u/jordanjwoodson.
5 ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976) & ‘Nightcrawler’ (2014)
Taxi Driver and Nightcrawler are two dark and captivating character studies of individuals descending into madness. The former stars Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle, a disillusioned Vietnam War veteran who becomes a taxi driver in New York City and spirals into paranoia and violence
Similarly, Nightcrawler revolves around Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a sociopathic freelance crime journalist who will stop at nothing to capture the most gruesome footage for his news stories. The film examines the dark underbelly of sensationalist media and the lengths to which individuals will go to achieve success.
4 ‘Seven Samurai’ (1954) & ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960)
Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai follows a group of samurai hired by a village to defend against bandits. It’s a masterpiece of storytelling and direction, with standout performances from Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura.
The Magnificent Seven is a Western adaptation of Kurosawa’s film, directed by John Sturges and starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson. In the American version, the heroes are seven gunslingers protecting a Mexican village. Both movies are renowned for their breathtaking action scenes, epic battles, and memorable characters and have inspired countless remakes, adaptations, and homages.
3 ‘Whiplash’ (2014) & ‘Black Swan’ (2010)
Whiplash stars Miles Teller as a young jazz drummer who becomes the protégé of a ruthless and abusive instructor (J.K. Simmons). As he strives to become the best, he is pushed to his physical and mental limits. Likewise, Black Swan focuses on a ballerina (Natalie Portman) who becomes consumed by her role in a production of Swan Lake. As the pressure gets to her, the film blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.
“Both films share a similar format of sacrificing everything in order to be the best in their respective discipline. Whiplash is about a drummer striving to be one of the greats, and Black Swan is about a ballerina trying to nail the darker aspect of the Swan Queen. The madness of both films differ slightly, but the tone is kept pretty similar,” says u/SxrenKierkegaard.
2 ‘La Haine’ (1995) & ‘Do the Right Thing’ (1989)
La Haine and Do the Right Thing are two powerful crime films that explore the complex social dynamics of urban communities. Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, La Haine is a French movie featuring Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, and Saïd Taghmaoui as three friends from the impoverished suburbs of Paris who navigate police brutality and discrimination in the aftermath of a riot.
Spike Lee‘s Do the Right Thing stars Lee himself, alongside Danny Aiello and John Turturro, in a provocative look at the simmering tensions between different racial groups on a hot summer day in Brooklyn. The film is a masterful exploration of the complexities of racism, with a resonant message about the importance of empathy, understanding, and human connection.
1 ‘Goodfellas’ (1990) & ‘The Irishman’ (2019)
According to u/ReadySethAction, Goodfellas and The Irishman are “the same-ish storyline with completely different tones.” Goodfellas tells the story of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), a young man who rises through the ranks of the Mafia with the help of his mentor, played by Robert De Niro. It’s an unforgettable portrait of life in the underworld, with standout performances from Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco, and Marty’s most infectious soundtrack.
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The Irishman focuses on Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a hitman who reflects on his life of crime and his involvement with labor leader Jimmy Hoffa(Al Pacino). The film is a sprawling epic that spans several decades, with groundbreaking visual effects that allow the aging actors to play their characters across a lifetime. Both movies are a testament to Scorsese’s skill as a storyteller and his ability to capture the essence of a particular era and subculture.