No Country for Old Men
Both based on books by authors I read in high school. Blake Nelson wrote Girl, which takes place in Seattle and follows main character Andrea in her adventures as the groupie of an underground band. I must've read it about 20 times in high school, always wondering how he managed to get inside the head of a teenage girl without sounding contrived. In Paranoid Park he continues the theme of high school but with a sadder outlook. In a first time pairing, Gus Van Sant (GVS) and Christopher Doyle (most famous for his work with Wong Kar Wai) provide a minimal glimpse into the mind of high schooler who inadvertently commits a murder. With Elliot Smith providing most of the soundtrack, the entire mood of the movie was somber and alienating.
Coincidentally I happened to have No Country for Old Men at home this weekend as well. Cormac McCarthy's books carry a common theme - bleak, dark, post-apocalyptic and Western. However there is usually some dark humor throughout. The Coens did a fantastic job. Acting was excellent (even dumbass Woody Harrelson in a bit part) and the cinematography was - dare I say - breathtaking. DP Roger Deakins managed to make west Texas look beautiful, with its barren deserts and open skies.
I'm a big fan of both movies, though I might not necessarily recommend viewing them back-to-back as I did.