Twitter user Cuchillo Lope just dropped an inadvertent bomb on the social media platform, asking users for the kinds of movies that, when recommended, feel like green flags for your relationship with the recommender (as opposed to, well, red ones):
Hey Film Twitter, I got a question.
We all know red flag movies, Fight Club, The Joker, etc, that we all can spot on sight, but is there any green flag movies?
Movies that you hear someone say that makes you instantly trust or like a person?
— ????Cuchillo Lope???? (@HosteenCholo) August 22, 2021
There was plenty of thoughtful discussion about the extent to which you can really judge someone based on their taste in movies, and whether or not notions of red or green flags feed into the oversimplification of film narratives and force us to make assumptions about people’s tastes without understanding the reason people like what they like. (There are also an awful lot of absolutely FURIOUS Fight Club fans who insist that there’s no such thing as a red flag… unless you don’t like Fight Club. I came here to defend the movie, honestly, but now I’m rethinking my whole scene.)
And then there were the people who took the question at face value, offering up movies that give them warm fuzzies and make them feel good about others who like them. Here are the green flag movies Twitter came up with.Do you have any to add?
While it could have been a treacly mess, director/co-writer Chris Noonan, producer/co-writer George Miller (Mad Max), and company brought an unexpected depth to the story of the pig who wants nothing more than to herd sheep (the book on which it’s based, The Sheep-Pig, ain’t bad either). It’s charming and inspiring all-ages movie with brains and lots of heart. Absolutely a green flag. (Same goes for Babe: Pig in the City, which is probably even better.) Recommended here.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
One of Spike Lee’s earliest films is also one of his very best, and that’s saying quite a bit. It’s funny, warm, human, and tragic at various points, and it’s hard to imagine anyone who likes this movie having entirely bad taste, or being an entirely bad person. Recommended here.
The Mummy (1999)
Brendan Fraser has been much in the news lately, for all the right reasons. He seems to be, by all accounts, a lovely person whose impressive career dipped for reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with his talent. And as action blockbusters about undead killers go, The Mummy is about as chipper and fun as you’re gonna get. It’s delightfully unserious. It’s endlessly re-watchable. And it has Brendan Fraser. Recommended here.
The Princess Bride (1987)
A nostalgic favourite, sure, but also a joyous and accomplished bit of filmmaking. I’m not sure if this is a green flag, or if it’s just that pretty much everyone likes this movie (and we’re definitely in red flag territory if you don’t). Recommended here.
My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
This one’s filling in for many, many Twitter users who listed a bunch of different Miyazaki films, or just responded with something like “anything Studio Ghibli.” Love of Miyazaki suggests at least a bit of culture, a bit of taste, and an open heart, so I can see why his films repeatedly made the list. Recommended here.
Attack the Block (2011)
It’s a terrific blend of comedy, action, horror, and social commentary. It’s also the movie that gave us both John Boyega and Jodie Whittaker. It’s too much madness for just one text. Recommended here.
Speed Racer (2008)
This one one of the single most popular responses, this live-action manga/anime adaptation from the Wachowskis. Given that the film took a critical drubbing and flopped at the box office during its initial release, the green flag here is, perhaps, an indication of one’s ability to look beyond all that and appreciate the misunderstood film on its own vivid, candy-coloured terms. Recommended here.
Shrek 2 (2004)
A bit of love for Shrek out there, but a bit more love for Shrek 2. Which is fair… it’s at least as good, if not a bit better. It’s also evidence that someone is willing to go for a slightly deeper cut rather than recommending the most obvious choice. Recommended here.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)
There weren’t a ton of anime recommendations (this was one of the few that wasn’t from Studio Ghibli), though perhaps that’s just not the kind of thing that comes to mind when we talk about “film twitter.” This one definitely has its proponents, though I suspect that it wouldn’t quite make the cut were the question about anime green flags, specifically. Mayne it just is a green flag that you have good taste in video games. Recommended here.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
That’s two for director George Miller, who has somehow been involved in both all-time great family films (the Babe franchise) and all-time great thrillers (Mad Max, etc.). In a filmgoing world that’s positively lousy with action movies, Fury Road felt like something entirely new: never letting the action get in the way of the story nor the story get in the way of the action. Ultra-violence for the discriminating film fan. Recommended here.
Shin Godzilla (2016)
Some love for Godzilla movies on the list, which seems totally fair. Even fans of the very worst of the man-in-suit kaiju movies probably have a sense of fun. There are shades to these movies, though: the 1954 original is a dark commentary on post-war Japanese society, while Destroy All Monsters is a full-on kanji slugfest. This most recent Japanese Godzilla (directed by Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno) has elements of both, and is one of the series’ best. Recommended here.
Pacific Rim (2013)
Synthesizing the best spirit of Kaiju cinema with Hollywood production values and the offbeat but flawlessly on-target sensibilities of Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim is a ton of fun, and cares enough about its characters to generate real stakes. Good choice, Twitter. Recommended here.
Why didn’t Cher do more movies? She’s perfect in this perfect movie, a movie full of great performances. Recommended here.
How could you hate something this charming? Recommended here.
The Straight Story
I think that this description pretty well nails it:
You’re looking for a film that lives in the sweet spot of being actually good, but that isn’t popular, pretentious, or ostentatiously dark enough to be beloved by dipshits. You’re looking, in short, for David Lynch’s THE STRAIGHT STORY. https://t.co/ehLNP2O77I
— Mac Rogers (@macwrites) August 23, 2021
Also, it’s the only David Lynch film on Disney+, which puts it in a pretty weird spot, culturally.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Ah, yes… there’s the David Lynch we all know and love. Or that, at least, some of us know and love. While The Straight Story might appeal to a much broader audience, people who love the initially maligned and misunderstood Fire Walk with Me (a subset of even Twin Peaks fans) will at least have something to talk about. Recommended here.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
It’s a cult classic comedy that’s beloved by fans, but it’s definitely one that not everyone’s seen. A love of WHAS might suggest that the person has good taste in comedy and lacks pretension. Recommended here.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Whatever your feelings on one’s ability to judge taste via a single film: If you’re tired of Singing’ in the Rain, you’re tired of life. Recommended here.
The Greatest Showman (2017)
The Greatest Showman bc that means you 1.) like musicals, 2.) know how to have fun and not take everything seriously and 3.) are probably gay https://t.co/q4wAPK3XZM
— Zach (@SpookyMemeBoy) August 23, 2021
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
It’s Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn being uncharacteristically but flawless goofy. What’s not to love? Recommended here.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1939)
Thousands and thousands of December TV showings have dulled its impact somewhat, but it’s a far deeper and darker movie than it’s often remembered to be. Nostalgia might drive people back to it, but there are reasons why it has persevered for so long (reasons other than the dodgy copyright status that lead to it becoming a TV staple…). Recommended here.
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Fantasy? Sci-fi? Martial Arts Action? Comedy? Good luck trying to pin Big Trouble down to a precise genre — which is precisely the point. It’s John Carpenter’s weirdest, and definitely speaks to its fans’ offbeat sensibilities. Recommended here.
Time Bandits (1981)
Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail (which he co-directed with Terry Jones) came up, but not as often as his escapist fantasy, Time Bandits. Perhaps it’s the case that a deeper cut, such as this, can tell you more about someone’s taste than can the popular choice. Recommended here.
We’re talking, specifically, about the 1997 Brandy/Whitney Houston/Bernadette Peters version.The green flag here is that someone has identified the best version of Cinderella. Recommended here.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Baz Luhrmann’s over-the-top Leo DiCaprio/Claire Danes/John Leguizamo update of the classic romance didn’t get a ton of love from Twitter users, but it deserves a spot here. Definite green flag. Recommended here.
8 1/2 (1963)
Some general love for the wildly influential Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, so consider 8 1/2, perhaps his best known work, as a placeholder for a number of films that might fit here. Recommended here.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
In the admittedly limited (at least on the screen) genre of buddy-nautical-adventure, they don’t come much better than this. Before recommending Master and Commander to anyone, be prepared to be asked if you’ve read the books. Recommended here.
It’s a tremendously fun movie, and I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to like it! Anyone who publicly loves this movie doesn’t care that you don’t, and that’s a big ol’ green flag right there. Recommended here.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Another one that’s almost universally beloved, such that it would be, perhaps, more interesting to find out why someone hates it rather than finding out why someone else likes it. Recommended here.