1. Hands on a Hard Body (1998)
S.R. Bindler’s deadpan documentary chronicles an annual Texas endurance test that pits two dozen hopefuls against one another to see who can keep a hand on a brand-new pickup the longest. The winner gets the truck. It may sound tedious, but the delirious characters are so determined, it becomes a Lone Star gladiator match.
2. Truly Madly Deeply (1991)
Five years before winning an Oscar for The English Patient, Anthony Minghella made his name with this wonderfully whimsical three-hankie romance about a woman (Juliet Stevenson) who’s crushed when her boyfriend (Alan Rickman) dies. But then they manage to reconnect across the great beyond. Think of it as Ghost minus the sap.
3. Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982) How come Robert Altman duds like Popeye and Ready to Wear are on DVD, but this gut-punch drama about a group of women reminiscing about their pasts and trying to figure out where things went wrong isn’t? Sandy Dennis and Cher both soar. Keep an eye out for a young Kathy Bates.
4. Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)
Quite controversial when it was released, this Steve McQueen–Natalie Wood drama tackles the taboo topic of abortion. Wood is touchingly vulnerable as a pregnant New York salesgirl forced to make an excruciating choice when her jazz-musician boyfriend (McQueen) won’t take responsibility. A decade before Roe v. Wade, this was hard-hitting stuff. And it still is today.