12 Films That Have You Running To Google For Answers

There are movies that you put on in the background while doing the last of the day's mindless work, and then there are these. Some movies require your full, undivided attention. In fact, some movies even require you to keep the Google tab open, as they involve concepts and references that go well beyond common knowledge.

If you're looking for a few flicks that will make you think, this is the list for you.

1. Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko Jake Gyllenhaal
Image Credit: Newmarket Films.

One moviegoer said that “The very first movie that sent me down a Google rabbit hole was Donnie Darko way back when it first came out.”

The 2001 film stars Jake Gyllenhaal.

2. Mother! (2017)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Darren Aronofsky's film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem is not without controversy.

The film is notorious for confusing and alienating audiences upon its release.

3. Primer (2004)

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

Primer sounds like this movie might trigger schizophrenia if you're not careful. One user recalled: “I lost a week of my life to this film because I couldn't think about anything else. Watched it a few times and read every article and diagram I could come across.”

4. The Man from Earth (2007)

The Man from Earth
Photo Credit: Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Science fiction writer Jerome Bixby's The Man from Earth blends the sci-fi and drama genres in a way that will immediately propel you towards the Google-sphere. A plot that involves Mesolithic cultures, the Old Stone Age, Sumeria, Buddha, and many other themes will place fans of alt-history in familiar territory. For most, though, The Man From Earth is best watched with a smartphone or laptop at arm's reach.

5. Mulholland Drive (2001)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Any time David Lynch is behind the directorial lens, you can rest assured that you're in for the cinematic equivalent of an acid trip. Like Twin Peaks and Blue VelvetMulholland Driver leaves the viewer guessing at every turn. The Hollywood backdrop is rife with symbolism that will be catnip for academic cinephiles.

No matter what your GPS reads, Mulholland Drive leads straight to Wikipedia.

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Stanley Kubrick is revered in Hollywood, and not only because each and every one of his films serves as a masterclass in captivating filmmaking. Several of Kubrick's movies also have real-world backstories that could be films in their own right. The lore surrounding 2001: A Space Odyssey and the filming of the moon landing is legendary fodder and is well worth a night's worth of Google searches.

7. Eraserhead (1977)

Eraserhead 1 AFI Center for Advanced Studies MSN
Image Credit: AFI Center for Advanced Studies.

Some directors live to see the moviegoer's brow furrowed for two-plus hours straight, and David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick top the list. With Lynch's Eraserhead, we encounter the rare film that revolves around a child's deformity. This is a movie you'll want to view when stone-cold sober, as it has all the makings of a bad trip.

You'll find yourself asking, “what the heck is this movie, and how did it come to be?”. The internet has answers.

8. Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet
Photo Credit: MGM.

Did I mention that David Lynch makes some of the most thought-provoking movies ever to grace the silver screen? Blue Velvet, a neo-noir mystery that casts Dennis Hopper as a sadistic antagonist and keeps you guessing throughout, will make you question the true nature of the world you encounter everyday.

Blue Velvet almost never came to be as a film, and its origin story alone is worth firing up DuckDuckGo.

9. Under the Silver Lake (2018)

Under the Silver Lake
Photo Credit: A24.

A24 has established itself as the premier indie film production company, but Under the Silver Lake went under the radar of most mainstream movie watchers. A reference-heavy visual stunner replete with themes and symbolism about Hollywood's seedy underbelly, this Andrew Garfield-led gem keeps the viewer embroiled in a bizarro-world modern mystery.

For a modern twist on the noir genre with a mind-bending dose of weirdness thrown in, check out Under the Silver Lake. 

10. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Eyes Wide Shut
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Anybody who has taken even a tangential interest in the occult has heard of Eyes Wide Shut. The movie prompts Google searching in its own right, with vivid but cryptic imagery, hush-hush elite parties, and unnerving rituals prompting many viewers to ask—does this stuff actually happen in real life? 

The rabbit hole only burrows deeper when you find out that Eyes Wide Shut was Stanley Kubrick's last film. Some claim that Kubrick revealed a bit too much about what goes on in elite power circles when the cameras are off, and that his demise could be a case of fatal oversharing. That's just fantasy, though…right? Right?!

11. The Shining (1980)

the shining jack Nicholson
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Heeeere's Johnny! It should be no surprise that Stanley Kubrick makes this list yet again with his classic horror film The Shining. As perhaps the most revered filmmaker of all-time (sorry, Scorsese), Kubrick had a rare ability to layer his films with imagery and easter eggs that can fill up a viewer's search history. From Shelly Duvall's horrific experienced filming the movie to Stephen King's source material, there is plenty of background research to conduct if you want the full story of this legendary film.

There is even a documentary, Room 237, dedicated exclusively to the imagery and deeper meaning that lies within many scenes in The Shining. 

12. The Menu (2022)

The Menu
Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Once you find out that the 20220 thriller-horror-dark comedy The Menu was based on several real-world restaurant experiences had by writers Will Tracey and Seth Reiss, you've opened a culinary wormhole that can consume no less than seven hours of your time.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Sam Mire is a freelance writer who has manned a variety of beats over nearly a decade in the literary biz. He has spent weeks in the Alaskan wildlands, immersed himself in the world of Florida's homeless population, covered live sporting events, and served as a linchpin for media outlets in the legal, tech, and entertainment spaces. Sam has been published in Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AP News, Fox News, and, most notably, Wealth of Geeks. In his free time, he enjoys boxing, woodwork, petting his dog, and reveling in good company.