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20 movie rentals that never disappoint

When summer movies' bombast leaves EW pop culture columnist Stephen King exhausted, he returns to these perennials at the video store that simply never disappoint — “Die Hard,” “Titanic,” “The Blair Witch Project” and more.
/ Source: Entertainment Weekly

When summer movies' bombast leaves EW pop culture columnist Stephen King exhausted, he returns to these perennials at the video store that simply never disappoint — “Die Hard,” “Titanic,” “The Blair Witch Project” and more.

20. “White Heat” (1949)
Stars Jimmy Cagney as a trigger-happy hood who suffers from migraine headaches and a mom complex. Michael Mann's “Public Enemies” looks boring in comparison.

19. “Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid” (1948)William Powell hooks a mermaid while on vacation with his wife and keeps her in his bathtub. Funny and sweet.

18. “Point Blank” (1967)
A John Boorman chiller starring Lee Marvin as a walking wall of vengeance. As one sage viewer on IMDb points out, ''Nobody punches a crotch like Marvin!''

17. “Titanic” (1996)Go ahead, laugh. My heart will still go on.

16. “Saturday Night Fever” (1977)
Features John Travolta's mad cool dancing and hilarious '70s fashions. Plus, the high, peeping voices of the Bee Gees.

15. “Curse of the Demon” (1958)An older, calmer version of “Drag Me to Hell.” Small budget, seat-of-the-pants SFX…and still scary.

14. “1941” (1979)Steven Spielberg's film is a terrific screwball comedy filled with amazing visual sequences. Screen it for your kids and watch their jaws drop.

13. “Cujo” (1983)
Still scary, and a movie with real resonance. I remain pissed that Dee Wallace didn't get an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the mom who turns tigress when her son's life is threatened by a rabid dog.

12. “The Caine Mutiny” (1954)
Features Humphrey Bogart in his finest role, as the shifty-eyed, ball-bearing-rattling Captain Queeg.

11. “The Thing” (1982)
The original version of The Thing (1951) was moody and atmospheric, but I prefer John Carpenter's gaudy remake with Kurt Russell.

10. “Dr. Strangelove” (1964)
''Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!'' Need I say more?

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8. “Kiss of Death” (1947)My favorite film noir. Richard Widmark plays a hood who shoots people in the belly ''so they can roll around for a long time thinkin' it over.''

7. “Die Hard” (1988)
Has been often imitated but never duplicated. Willis good, Rickman better. Yippee-ki-yay, motherchucker.

6. “The Blues Brothers” (1980)Aykroyd and Belushi, still cool in shades. And the music kicks ass.

5. “The Blair Witch Project” (1999)
Now that all the hype has subsided, you can revisit this pocket masterpiece and marvel at how scary it really is. Impossible to say why it works, but it does.

4. “The Wild Bunch” (1969)
Quite simply the best Western ever made. Sam Peckinpah may have gotten more honesty and grit out of his Hollywood stars than any other director in history.

3. “Sling Blade” (1996)
Still tugs my heart after a dozen viewings. The portrayal of small-town American life is sweet, and Billy Bob Thornton's portrayal of Karl Childers is a thing of beauty.

2. “Wages of Fear” (1953)Desperate men with nothing to lose set out in a truck convoy through the South American jungle. Their cargo is rotting dynamite sweating nitro, stuff so unstable the least bump may set it off. The original is considered one of the greatest movies of the modern age....

1. “Sorcerer” (1977)...but I have a sneaking preference for “Sorcerer,” William Friedkin's remake. Roy Scheider had two great roles: Chief Brody in “Jaws” and Jackie Scanlon in “Sorcerer.” These films generate suspense through beautiful simplicity.