Get out and support your local video store this summer with some of these recommendations:

Funny Business:

Libeled Lady: You’ll have a grin plastered on your face for the entirety of this highly enjoyable screwball comedy. The all-star cast is led by the dynamic duo of Myrna Loy and William Powell, accompanied by Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow. Powell is a writer brought on by newspaperman Tracy to entrap heiress Loy into having an affair to avoid a libel suit.

Adventureland: You might have missed this small but charming dramedy from last year, about a college grad working at a theme park over a summer. It’s a rare film that gets the awkwardness and malaise of pre-adulthood so right while still being funny. It’s one of the best coming-of-age films in years. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star.

The Fortune Cookie: Best known for masterpieces like Some Like It Hot and Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder’s resume contains many hidden gems. This comedy once again re-teams Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon as a shyster lawyer who convinces a cameraman to sue the football star who collides with him on the sidelines. The onscreen chemistry is effortless.

Foreign Fare:

The Vanishing (1988): This Dutch thriller (later remade with Jeff Bridges) follows a man on an obsessive, self-consuming journey to find the girlfriend who suddenly went missing during a trip to Paris. It has one of the greatest endings in movies.

Timecrimes: Who doesn’t love a good time travel flick? This Spanish thriller follows a man who accidentally travels back in time one hour and manages to cause disaster then desperately tries to fix it.

Shoot the Piano Player: Sure, everybody sees The 400 Blows first (and rightfully so), but check out François Truffaut’s second effort in all of its New Wave-y glory. Truffaut was never again so playfully experimental as in this noir homage.


John Frankenheimer has never really achieved true auteur status, but this underappreciated and stylish director has a long list of great films. After the masterpiece The Manchurian Candidate, check out two of his other thrillers: the trippy existential mystery Seconds, starring Rock Hudson, and the ’70s terrorism-at-the-Super-Bowl flick Black Sunday.


The Adventures of Robin Hood: Forget Russell Crowe. Errol Flynn will forever be Robin Hood. Flynn embodies the legendary outlaw with light-footed, roguish charm. This Technicolor swashbuckler is pure cinematic enjoyment.

Complete your Flynnathon with The Sea Hawk, about an English pirate who takes up the cause of the crown against Spanish ships.

The Second Golden Age:

Charley Varrick: Finally available on DVD, this ’70s thriller by director Don Siegel stars Walter Matthau as a small-time bank robber who rips off the mob. Joe Don Baker is a gas as the hitman sent to hunt him down.

Scarecrow: Check out a young Al Pacino before all the yelling and self-parody, back when he gave understated, nuanced performances. He stars alongside Gene Hackman as a pair of mismatched tramps.

TV Addiction:

Supernatural: Yes, it’s on the CW and it has its cheesy moments, but give it a chance and you’ll find this guilty pleasure features some of the best horror writing around. The show follows a pair of brothers as they travel the country hunting other worldly evils. Hey, it’s good enough for an endorsement from Clive Barker.

The Wire: It’s been said before, but if you haven’t seen this HBO series yet, do so immediately. It’s the best thing ever on television and currently the subject of a course at Harvard.