Running on Empty (1988)
Superb human drama, although arguably not timeless, because the film is 1980s both in style and thematics. Sidney Lumet brings drive and intensity to his filmmaking, and the story by Naomi Foner has depth and heart. Still, Running on Empty is more than anything a showcase for River Phoenix' brilliant lead performance, arguably the best and fullest of his career. You can actually see how Martha Plimpton and Judd Hirsh (in particular) revel in his presence and in playing off of him. That now famous ending is among the warmest and most fulfilling of the 80s. Phoenix was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his work.