Im a fan of Marshall amps, they sound less fizzy than Line6 stuff and seem to sound better with pedals...As for distortion if the amp doesnt cut it on its own then a Metal Zone is a good pedal to have. I always use it as a backup if im going to a jam and there's a possibility i'll be playing through a shit amp. It works really well as a boost pedal too. The RAT is also a good pedal, it sounds a bit thicker but has less gain (think Entombed).
roland micro cubes are great starter amps and also just great practice amps. that would be my reccomendation.
if your on a budget then id deffinatly say the Line 6 Spider 3 on account of all the effects being build in. it will save you from having to buy a bunch of pedals.
Roland: Cube 30, MicroCube
Line 6: Spider II or III 30W 1X12
Vox: AD30VT, AD30VT-XL
Peavey: ValveKing 1X12 50W
Boss: SD-1, GE-7, OD-3, CE-5, NS-2, TU-2, DD-3
Digitech: Expression Factory, Distortion Factory, Chorus Factory
Dunlop Wahs are pretty nice
Morley Wahs are nice as well
A Ibanez TS9 is pricy but awsome
Personally a awsome small rig, with good quality would be this:
Guitar > TU-2 > NS-2 > Origional Crybaby > SD-1 > Amp Pre > (FX Loop: CE-5 > GE-7 > DD-3) > Amp Power Amp - The amp being the Peavey Valve King
I was sugesting a killer, but good cheap rig there, altho a guitar and amp is the simplest way to go i aggree.
I also heartily reccomend the Roland Cubes. Not only are the amp models and effects sick, but the acoustic sim is also sick!
Amps: Randall or Line 6 seem to be the best bang for the buck.
Effects with the randall: CE-5, ZW OD and Bad Horsie Wah should be good for a start. after that check some things out and see what you think sounds good with that. the ranall shouldnt need any extra distortion, thats why i didnt suggest it.
Effects with the Line6: i dont think you'll need any to start off.