4. ‘sex, lies and videotape’ (1989)
The filmmaker's debut also kicked off the independent film boom in the United States and changed the course of cinema as we know it, forever. It also cast such a tall shadow that the director would whittle away, in relative obscurity, for the next ten years, honing his craft while blowing his cache. But re-watching "sex, lies and videotape" (Criterion just put out a terrific new Blu-ray release), it's all worth it. The movie is creepy and probing and surreal, investigating relationship dynamics and sexuality in ways that might seem tame today but were, at the time, positively taboo shattering. The whole thing is put together with such love and care and precision, as an artifact it's untouchable. But as a living, breathing piece of filmmaking that changed the entire game, it stands even taller. It's ultimate gift was that it was the movie that gave the world Steven Soderbergh. We are forever in its debt.