Mystery List, Expanded and Revised and Now Updated

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 in Mystery/Suspense | 11 comments

Update:
I looked up availability which changed things some since if it’s not streaming, it’s too hard for everybody to get (no Jonathan Creek, which is a crime). See annotated list below.

Okay, here’s the latest version of the mystery list with your suggestions. THIS MUST BE CUT. Or we’re going to have another nine-month series. And it got longer because Lani and Alastair pointed out that we didn’t have Supernatural Mysteries on there, and I’m a sucker for Supernatural Mysteries. The numbers in parentheses are the maximum number of titles for that subgenre. The ones in the caps are the ones that are staying no matter what. Because I said so. Now eat your peas.

New Mystery List:

September: Classic Mystery Plots (6)
1934 THE THIN MAN (streaming on Amazon: DVD rental on Netflix)
1974 MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1993 THE FUGITIVE (streaming on free on Amazon Prime, rental on Netflix)
1997 JONATHAN CREEK (not available for streaming)
2010 SHERLOCK (streaming on Amazon and Netflix; rental on Netflix)

and two others:
1954 Rear Window (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1994 The Client (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
2006 Déjà Vu (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
Witness for the Prosecution (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
Presumed Innocent (streaming on Amazon Prime (free) and Netflix, rental on Netflix)
The Prestige (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
Gosford Park (streaming on Amazon and Netflix, rental on Netflix)
Inside Man (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
The Negotiator (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
Bunny Lake is Missing (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
Gone Baby Gone (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1950 DOA (streaming on Amazon)
Deathtrap (streaming on Amazon free)
The Last of Sheila (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
Twelve Angry Men (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
The General’s Daughter (streaming on Amazon but only to buy for $9.99, rental on Netflix)
Anatomy of a Murder (streaming on Amazon but only to buy for $9.99, rental on Netflix)
No Way Out (streaming on Amazon)
Klute (streaming on Amazon free, rental on Netflix)

October/November: Noir Mystery Plots (8)
1941 THE MALTESE FALCON (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1944 LAURA (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1946 THE BIG SLEEP (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1974 CHINATOWN (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1997 LA CONFIDENTIAL (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
2005 KISS KISS BANG BANG (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
2006 BRICK (streaming on Amazon and Netflix, rental on Netflix)
TV: VERONICA MARS (streaming on Amazon and Netflix, rental on Netflix)

Unless somebody argues passionately to replace one with one of these:
1947 Out of the Past (rental on Netflix)
1958 Vertigo (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1995 Devil in a Blue Dress (rental on Netflix)
1981 Body Heat (streaming Amazon Prime (free) and Netflix, rental on Netflix)

December/January: Romantic Mystery Plots (5)
1963 CHARADE (streaming Amazon Prime (free) and on Netflix, rental on Netflix)
1987 THE BIG EASY (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
And three others:
1976 Silver Streak (streaming on Amazon)
1978 Foul Play (rental on Netflix)
1955 To Catch a Thief (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1991 Dead Again (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
TV: Moonlighting ()
Compromising Positions ()

February: Comic Mystery Plots (5)
1985 CLUE (streaming on Amazon but you have to buy it for $7.49, rental on Netflix)
1988 WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? (rental on Netflix)
2007 HOT FUZZ (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
And three others:
1998 The Big Lebowski (streaming on Amazon and Netflix, rental on Netflix)
1964 A Shot in the Dark (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1985 Fletch (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
Psych (streaming on Amazon and Netflix, rental on Netflix)
Keen Eddie (rental on Netflix)
High Anxiety (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)

March: Supernatural Mystery Plots (4)
THE FRIGHTENERS (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
SLEEPY HOLLOW (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
TV: SUPERNATURAL (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
And one other
X-Files (streaming on Amazon and Netflix, rental on Netflix)
Ghost (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
What Lies Beneath (streaming on Amazon but only to buy for $9.99)

April: Non-Traditional Mystery Plots (5)
1945 And Then There Were None (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1950 Rashomen (streaming on Netflix, rental on Netflix)
1995 The Usual Suspects (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1996 Fargo (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
1996 Lone Star (rental on Netflix)
1998 Wild Things (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
2000 Memento (streaming on Amazon, rental on Netflix)
TV: Columbo (streaming on Netflix, rental on Netflix)
Lantana (rental on Netflix)

Please keep in mind that the movie has to be something that has a strong enough structure that we can learn to plot mysteries from it. The fact that it’s a good movie is not enough. We have a goal here, let’s keep our eyes on the prize.

Now fight it out amongst yourselves. The decisions of the judges (me, Lani, Alastair) are final. No salemen will call. DON’T NOMINATE ANY MORE MOVIES. Because the list is too long already. Unless they’re Supernatural Mysteries because we just sprang that one on you. Thank you.

11 Comments

  1. OK, my nominations (for the remaining slots):

    September: Classic Mysteries (6)
    Witness for the Prosecution
    The Fugitive
    Either DOA or Murder on the Orient Express (I think Witness for the Prosecution is better as far as Christie stories, but Orient Express is famous for a reason. DOA is worth examining for the premise alone, and it’s a great example of solving a mystery with a time limit).

    October/November: Noir Mysteries (7)
    The Big Sleep (Bogart/Bacall) – have to have Chandler when doing noir. I love Out of the Past, and it’s archetypal noir, but looking at your goal here, I don’t think it fits (more about doomed love and betrayal than solving a mystery). I haven’t seen Body Heat, but from what I understand, it’s more about the plotting and committing of a crime than solving it. If not The Big Sleep: I think Vertigo would work for what you want. Haven’t seen Chinatown or Devil in a Blue Dress, but they also look like they would work.

    December/January: Romantic Mysteries (7)
    Dead Again
    Moonlighting (with some reservation, I’ve seen great episodes and bad ones)
    To Catch a Thief
    Compromising Positions (haven’t seen it but it looks interesting)
    Foul Play (love it, but pretty sure the romance isn’t actually that strong)

    February: Comedy Mysteries (4)
    Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
    Fletch (fairly sure Chevy Chase will again suck a lot of the enjoyment out of it, at least for me, but I remember it well enough to say the plot is a strong mystery, so I think it’s worth it to risk his obnoxiousness)

    March: Supernatural Mysteries (4)
    Sleepy Hollow
    Supernatural
    The Uninvited (1944) if possible

    April: Non-Traditional Mysteries (5)
    And Then There Were None (only familiar w/ 1945 version)
    Haven’t seen any of the others, but I’d like to see Lone Star and The Usual Suspects

  2. I remember The Prestige was a pretty interesting movie. SOOOO happy to see Hot Fuzz in bold! Also, please please do Memento, because it’s such a clever, terrifying movie and I would love to hear your breakdown of it.

  3. Ok here is what I vote for:

    Classic mysteries: I would go for D.O.A. as Katie said the premise is really good. I would like to see the orginal (as I have never seen it) rather than the Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan one. I would also vote for Gosford Park great film and goes with the goal of finding out how mystery works (at least for me).

    Noir: Chinatown. The noir is sewn in that film and when I first saw it I had no idea about the connections in it.

    Comedy: The Big Lebowski I love the way it is off centre.

    And the non traditional: The Usual Suspects, the structure is well plotted and great twists and turns. I would also vote for Wild Things (has a lot that is a bit annoying, but overall the thing that I most learned from watching it is surprising the viewer and would suit your goal).

    I have never seen Rushamon so would love to see it for this.

  4. The list has been updated with streaming and rental availability. That took out some really good stories, so bleah, but we have to make sure that everybody can get the movie.

  5. In classics I would go for The Client. Then I’m overwhelmed by the choices.

    One question that comes to mind – for the TV ones will you do a specific episode, or a season arc?

    One suggestion – create a poll for the categories and we can vote.

    I’m so looking forward to this series.

  6. Okay – This is going to be a great series – I love mystery’s!

    Classic Mystery:
    Rear Window – even though I know what’s going to happen I still get tied up in knots – I want to know how they got that kind of tension.

    And I’m going to say Gosford Park for my next pick, with Presumed Innocent for a very, very close third.

    Romantic Mystery
    To Catch a Thief

    Comic
    Fletch
    (I’m so excited to see Hot Fuzz and Clue in bold – woo hoo!)
    High Anxiety – I’ve never seen this but it sounds good

    Non-traditional
    And Then There Were None – I’ve seen the ’45 and ’65 versions and have read the book – this story scares the crap out of me – I’m kind of a baby that way
    Columbo – I’ve seen a lot of these and they can be slow but I still like them
    Fargo – I remember thinking it was good but it was a long time ago

  7. I meant mysteries – duh

  8. Vote after the cuts:

    Classic: Still Witness for the Prosecution and DOA (1950)

    Romantic: Only 3 choices left, and I’m good with all of them, especially Dead Again.

    Comedy: Fletch, Psych and A Shot in the Dark (don’t think I’ve seen this all the way through, and Clouseau irritates me no end but but Peter Sellers is great, and those movies are obviously successful examples of comic mysteries)

    Supernatural: Ghost (although really I’d go for anything that isn’t What Lies Beneath; I remember hating that movie)

    Non-Traditional: Still And Then There Were None and The Usual Suspects.

  9. DON’T NOMINATE ANY MORE MOVIES. Because the list is too long already. Unless they’re Supernatural Mysteries because we just sprang that one on you.

    So, what about “The Others”? It’s supernatural and a mystery… just sayin’. ;P

  10. Since Sherlock is in ALL CAPS I think I can just stop and hit ‘submit’ LOL

    but I’ll help with the voting anyway:

    Classics:
    Gosford Park
    Twelve Angry Men

    Non-Traditional:
    And Then There Were None
    Rashomen
    The Usual Suspects
    Fargo

    The others I don’t know enough about to vote intelligently. I think these would give a good solid look at mysteries and offer a good look at structure. It is sad to leave beloved movies behind. Even sadder to leave eye candy behind:)

  11. For a supernatural mystery plot, you might consider Stir of Echoes, an underrated film starring Kevin Bacon as a man who starts seeing a girl’s ghost, The Dead Zone (the movie and/or the series) based on a Stephen King book (the series had more mystery than the film, which was more suspense), Kolchak the Night Stalker (oldie, but goodie) and The Gift, where Cate Blanchett stars as a psychic who’s asked to help find a girl who has disappeared.