Editor's Note: This post is presented in partnership with Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand in support of May's Indie Film Month.
With today's On Demand release of "Walk of Shame" -- which sees Elizabeth Banks trying to make it to the most important job interview of her career after a drunken one-night stand puts her in a very tough spot -- we've compiled a list of the best and worst movies to take place over the course of 24 hours. Raging from the raunchiest of comedies to the most haunting of thrillers, one thing these films all have in common is that they’ve each given us a day we won’t likely forget -- for better or worse.
The 10 Best
"Rashomon" dir. Akira Kurosawa (1950)
Revered international filmmaker Akira Kurosawa never fails to amaze audiences, no matter what part of the world they hail from. And you certainly don't need to master any particular language to understand the genius behind his groundbreaking film "Rashomon." The story begins after a murder trial gives little in the form of an actual answer and instead leaves everyone wondering what exactly happened to a murdered samurai. The rest of the day is spent as three men try to discover how the murder in question took place, relying on the testimonies of the only three people who know the truth. Using flashbacks to demonstrate each character's differing points of view, "Rashomon" remains one of the few bold movies to turn the conventional storytelling structure on its head for a more brilliantly baffling premise. The result is that you, as the viewer, are forced not only to follow along with the story, but to question your own judgment as Kurosawa takes you on a meditative journey through the perils of truth and honesty.
"American Graffiti" dir. George Lucas (1973)
Before "Star Wars" turned George Lucas into a blockbuster god -- and long before it turned him into a target for constant spoofing -- he made "American Graffiti," one of the original high school-themed comedies and arguably the greatest to date. Four friends celebrate the end of their high school life with one wild night before each one heads off in a different direction. The story may sound trite given the cheap carbon copies that eventually followed it, but what differentiates this classic gem is the fact that beyond the typical set of shenanigans you'd expect to see from a group of teens is its wrenching sense of nostalgia. And it makes no difference which decade you grew up in. The feeling you get from watching it far transcends the concept of generational gaps. In the end, "American Graffiti" will bring you across that silver screen into a world you can't help but long for, and, in one way or another, a world to which you've already once belonged.
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" dir. Jim Sharman (1975)
What can be said of the immeasurable impact that "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" has had throughout the years? For one thing, it's got the longest-running theatrical release of any movie in history, in which its famous midnight screenings are always met with a growing cult following who dress up in costumes inspired by the movie and recite every line of the film as they watch along. With the story revolving around a couple whose car breaks down in a bizarre area where they meet a transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania -- the single greatest name for a fictional town both in and out of film -- the possibilities of where the night will take its lead characters and the audience are positively endless, especially when it involves Dr. Frank N. Furter (played with apt campiness by Tim Curry). Add to that the Frankenstein homage and the wondrous musical numbers and you've got one of the most uniquely engaging movie experiences you could possibly hope for.
"Do the Right Thing" dir. Spike Lee (1989)
Say what you will about Spike Lee, but you can't deny the fact that the man has brought us a few good movies for which he should definitely be thanked. The most significant credit in his directing career was, as most people will attest, the Oscar-nominated "Do the Right Thing," which follows a young African-American pizza boy (played by Lee himself) and several other residents of a multi-cultural neighborhood on what is obviously the hottest day of the year. The premise is simple. The characters are intense. The build-up is carefully paced. And the ending is absolutely explosive. With racial slurs thrown around from beginning to end and a final showdown that provides no convenient answer, "Do the Right Thing" proves that Lee, who has never been known to veer away from controversy, clearly knows how to light the proper fuse.
"Reservoir Dogs" dir. Quentin Tarantino (1992)
The debut feature film of Quentin Tarantino has no doubt become as iconic as the director himself. Though somewhat upstaged by his sophomore effort two years later (a little gangster movie called "Pulp Fiction"), the power of "Reservoir Dogs" still resonates with movie lovers today. The film revolves around the heart-pounding aftermath of a bank robbery gone horribly wrong, the shock of which leads the gang of bank robbers to suspect that one of them is an undercover cop -- but which one? The story's most infamous scene involves a severed ear at the hands of a sociopath, which immediately drew attention to what can only be referred to as Tarantino's "style." The man brought his twisted humor and vibrancy to the forefront of this movie and showed the world what independent cinema could actually be like when the ambition is right. Dedicating the name of his production company A Band Apart to the great independent filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, Tarantino used the engrossing energy Godard flaunted in "Breathless" and added his own personal touch to make it truly one of a kind.