Stand by Me (Netflix)
Brilliantly adapting Stephen King's novella The Body, writers Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon and Director Rob Reiner crafted one of the greatest coming-of-age movies of all time. When word comes of a dead body deep in the woods, four 12-year-old friends, Gordie (Wil Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman), and Vern (Jerry O'Connell), hit the trail to find it. Of course, it's less about the body than about the journey, with its exciting (the train), bittersweet (the disapproving dads), beautiful (the deer), scary (Chopper), and funny (the pie-eating contest) events, as well as the memorable discussions (Pez). It's a snapshot of boys just about to leave childhood behind but still uncertain as to just what adulthood entails.
Kiefer Sutherland plays a sadistic older bully, John Cusack appears in a flashback, and Richard Dreyfuss narrates (and appears as the grown-up Gordie). A soundtrack album of 1950s pop hits was released, and the title song by Ben E. King became a top-10 hit. The screenplay earned an Oscar nomination.
The Warriors (Amazon Prime & Netflix)
Hugely under-appreciated, Walter Hill is one of the greatest directors of "B"-level action movies today, frequently telling stories about characters in unfamiliar territory. The Warriors (1979) is arguably his masterpiece. All of the gangs in New York City assemble for a big meeting, led by "war chief" Cyrus, but he's shot and killed by the nasty Luther (David Patrick Kelly). The Warriors, the gang from Coney Island, gets the blame. So with every other gang in the City, plus the cops, out to get them, our Warriors (played by James Remar, Michael Beck, and others) must make it back to their home turf alive.
Hill makes amazing use of the city's grime and graffiti, and the various gangs have different, strange themes, such as wearing baseball uniforms, roller skates, or face make-up. Meanwhile, a radio DJ regularly charts the Warriors' progress and plays records for them--Joe Walsh's "In the City" is a memorable track--and some of the movie's lines are still quite quotable. The movie was not well-received on its initial release and was even blamed for certain incidents of violence. Netflix offers the original theatrical cut, as opposed to Hill's much-hated 2005 director's cut.
The End of Summer (Hulu)
Many consider Yasujiro Ozu to be the greatest of all Japanese filmmakers, Akira Kurosawa and Kenji Mizoguchi notwithstanding. Ozu's style remained steadfastly consistent throughout his 35-year career, taking his time before switching from silent to sound (in 1936), and from black-and-white to color (in 1958). He favored straight-ahead, medium shots, often from a medium height (sitting position). He told stories about families and the complex relationships between generations, establishing a contemplative rhythm, and often pausing for shots of clotheslines or trains, just to show that life was happening.
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