WEIRD
January 18, 2017 6:45 AM   Subscribe

What is weird? 366 Weird Movies (not yet complete but has over 200 entries) is a substantial tribute to celluloid oddities and unconventionals, loaded with interesting essays and outside links. Some good, some bad, and some very bad. Here's just a few: Buckaroo Banzai, Robot Monster, Rubber, Rocky Horror, Zardoz, 2001, Skidoo, 5000 Fingers of Dr. T, Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, Evil Dead II, Glen or Glenda, Manos, Pan's Labyrinth, Time Bandits, Pink Flamingos, Uncle Boonmee, and good lord Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny.
posted by JHarris (67 comments total) 88 users marked this as a favorite
 
I love how the whole discussion on Buckaroo Banzai hinges on the watermelon. I mean, of course it does, but can't we talk about that later?
posted by Mchelly at 6:50 AM on January 18, 2017 [14 favorites]


My favourite kind of movie! Include Rat Pfink a Boo Boo and Girly to the list...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 6:53 AM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


I heard (maybe here? if so, sorry to repost) that theatres had to put up signs informing the public that Pan's Labyrinth wasn't a children's movie.
posted by thelonius at 6:53 AM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh god you're right Alexandra Kitty, it's amazing Rat Pfink a Boo Boo isn't on there yet.
posted by JHarris at 6:59 AM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


i have seen so many of these, and only about half of them at Bad Movie Night.

(my friend Jack is responsible for the other half. if Jack recommends a movie, or (god forbid) offers to show it to you, it's either very, very good, or "oh my god what the fuck did i just watch", or both.)

also, seeing Altman's 3 Women at the top of the list reminds me that Sissy Spacek's inclusion in the cast is one of the bellwethers of weird moviedom
posted by murphy slaw at 7:13 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yay buckaroo banzai!
I hope The Adventures of Faustus Bidgood finds its way onto the list.
posted by chapps at 7:17 AM on January 18, 2017


heh, and most of Peter Greenaway's ouvre is on there, natch.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:22 AM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


For all you Buckaroo fans: Yoyodyne Propulsion has a Facebook page. They don't post very often but it always brightens my day when they do.
posted by workerant at 7:22 AM on January 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


5000 Fingers of Dr. T: the only live action Dr Seuss movie written by the man himself. Fantastic film.
posted by scalefree at 7:28 AM on January 18, 2017 [6 favorites]


I'm devastated that John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon's "Dark Star" didn't make the list.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 7:28 AM on January 18, 2017 [9 favorites]


My own submission: I caught "Blind Rage" on TV by total chance a couple of years back. The plot: A guy gets together five strangers to rob a bank in the Philippines. The hook? They're all blind! It's hysterically nonsensical, and top billed Fred Williamson only pops up in the last ten minutes.

I think the filmmakers must have been inspired by "The Doberman Gang", but decided that trained dogs robbing a bank was too grounded in reality.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:29 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Worth it for the Buckaroo Banzai review alone. Thanks!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:39 AM on January 18, 2017


Thanks for the post! I went through and counted — I've seen 24 of them, most of which I liked, and many others are on my "want to see" list. I'm enjoying the detailed analysis of these.

From the essay on The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, which I liked very much, but haven't given much thought to recently:
He begins the movie by smearing dog feces on a quivering naked man who owes him money, then urinating on him.... He holds court at his swanky table, eating the best food, belching, belittling his henchmen, groping his Wife at the table, pouring soup on a customer… and he’s just getting warmed up. He struggles with the names of the French dishes, but when the Wife corrects his pronunciation of “poisson” (he says “poison”), he strikes her in the face with the menu. He’s the dangerous kind of stupid, the sort that can’t see it’s own stupidity and glowers with hatred when it’s pointed out to him. The Thief is bourgeois in the original sense of the word. He’s nouveau riche, one who aspires to the airs of an aristocrat but lacks refinement and taste, using his money to try to buy class. But he inevitably reverts to his criminal habits.
It didn't occur to me until I read this, but this reminds me of someone... someone who's been in the news quite a bit recently....
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:01 AM on January 18, 2017 [10 favorites]


> Buckaroo has just performed neurosurgery and penetrated solid matter by accessing the Eighth Dimension. He caps off the evening by headlining at a nightclub, soloing on electric guitar, trumpet and piano. He stops in the middle of a rollicking blues number, having psychically sensed that someone in the audience isn’t having a good time.

This is the exact moment my very annoyed girlfriend-at-the-time suggested we stop watching and do something else ("Is this whole movie just this guy getting cooler and cooler?").
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:07 AM on January 18, 2017 [6 favorites]


The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover is, to date, the only picture I've ever walked out on and actually asked for my money back. (Yep, they gave it to me.)
posted by holborne at 8:12 AM on January 18, 2017


We screened Dr. T for a preroll at MST Club recently! I may have to put some of these movies into rotation too.
posted by JHarris at 8:44 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also, I can vouch for Dark Star too.
posted by JHarris at 8:51 AM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


I thought 2001 was out of place on the list, until I remembered how it ends.
posted by sfenders at 9:04 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


These used to be cult movies, do we still do cult movies in this day and age?
posted by Artw at 9:07 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


...do we still do cult movies in this day and age?

Last one I can think of is Office Space.
posted by thelonius at 9:32 AM on January 18, 2017


These used to be cult movies, do we still do cult movies in this day and age?

Before he left for the ill-fated The Dissolve, Scott Tobias had a project on the AV Club called The New Cult Canon. He explained the project thus:
In the 20 years since [Danny] Peary’s last Cult Movies book was published, I’ve often pined for him to resurface and write another one, because we need him now more than ever. In the post-Tarantino age, we’ve seen not just a flowering of cult movies, but of cult filmmakers who consciously play to audiences that thirst for a certain offbeat sensibility. With apologies to Peary, the idea behind The New Cult Canon is to take a fresh look at the new generation of cult movies that have sprung up in the last two decades.
He covered over 150 movies in the 5-odd years that the project ran.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:48 AM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Only seen 31 of these but so many of them are among my favourite films. I'm just not entirely sure what qualifies some of them as weird..
posted by kariebookish at 9:50 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Woo lil'doggie, gotta get the dvd:

Many deleted scenes are included, most notably one where Jamie Lee Curtis plays Buckaroo’s mom in a flashback. There’s a 22-minute featurette called “Buckaroo Banzai Declassified”
posted by sammyo at 10:00 AM on January 18, 2017


I like the scene with Buckaroo's mom, but really the film needed Pecos and Big Norse. Get more women in the mix.
posted by rewil at 10:03 AM on January 18, 2017


I didn't see Waking Life, The Man who Fell From Grace With the Sea, The Point... But quite a fun list. Got me reminiscing about my more youthful and libertine movie watching past.
posted by cross_impact at 10:04 AM on January 18, 2017


Are there any directors that have more movies on the list than Guy Maddin? The great majority of his feature films are on the list, which is perhaps as it should be: There are also a few more of his movies discussed on the site that are not on the official "list".
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:32 AM on January 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


Skidoo is an epic exercise in psychedelic terribleness; a mashup of old show business and the new counterculture. I saw it in a theater with Otto Preminger's son introducing it. It was an embarrassment to his dad, but the Jackie Gleason acid sequence and Carol Channing singing the theme song are something to behold. Plus the music is by Harry Nillson, who is a singing trash can at one point.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 11:11 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Seems to me that the blog uses the term "weird" more generously then I do (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? Really?) but still lots of goodness on that list.

Speaking of Guy Maddin, a little disappointed that the films of his contemporary John Paizs are not on the list. If you like Maddin, Paizs is worth checking out.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:13 AM on January 18, 2017


I'm happy to be reminded that Little Otik exists.
posted by giraffe at 11:20 AM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


For me, a truly weird is a movie not necessarily arty and successfully so, but semi-failed attempts at something unique so it comes out just like a total off-the-wall mess. Those are the ones nearest to my heart because I love those underdogs. I guess I don't think of Guy Maddin or Peter Greenaway movies as exactly weird, even though they are. They succeeded at what they set out to do, whereas "God Told Me To" is just a mish-mash of odd themes that barely holds together.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 11:23 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, about 10 of them are genuinely deranged.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:25 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


At one point Guy Maddin talked about wanting to do a relatively straightforward hockey movie. That movie exists in my list of films that should exist along with the Jodorowski Dune.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:27 AM on January 18, 2017


366 Weird films? (Checks to see if "Tetsuo: The Iron Man" is listed, which it is). Yep, this site passes the weird film test.
posted by bawanaal at 11:29 AM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


about 10 of them are genuinely deranged
As God intended.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 11:30 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


At one point Guy Maddin talked about wanting to do a relatively straightforward hockey movie. That movie exists in my list of films that should exist along with the Jodorowski Dune.

Now I kind of want to see Guy Maddin's Dune.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:44 AM on January 18, 2017


This list won't pass my test until The President's Analyst is included. (It has been suggested already) Very weird in a solidly '60s way. James Coburn, who usually plays a superspy, as a neurotic Freudian analyst. Who's the superspy? Black comedian Godfrey Cambridge (with a monologue during an analysis session about the "n-word" that's worth the price of admission). FBI vs CIA rivalry gone mad (with a required overdubbing of the agency names), and a sympathetic Soviet spy. White House secret passages leading all over D.C. A young William Daniels as a left-wing gun nut. A hippie commune led by rock icon Barry McGuire (with required musical interlude). The ultimate Big Bad turns out to be... The Phone Company, with evil tech that would be contemporary today and a spokes-robot played by a pre-sitcom Pat Harrington. And the greatest single line ever spoken on the screen: "I'm NOT paranoid! You ARE all spies!" I rest my case.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:45 AM on January 18, 2017 [8 favorites]


Maddin talked about...

An acquaintance of mine, who has worked with Maddin, once told me that Guy once considered doing a biopic about the behind the scenes shenanigans of Gilligan's Island.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:00 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Guy once considered doing a biopic about the behind the scenes shenanigans of Gilligan's Island.

My head just exploded with desire.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:02 PM on January 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


Gotta send a shout out for Saturn 3, with Kirk Douglas (!), Farrah Fawcett, and a very young Harvey Keitel. A complete hot mess of a movie.

Bonus points: Screenplay by Martin Amis.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 12:03 PM on January 18, 2017 [7 favorites]


Is it just me or do most of these seem like pretty mainstream movies? It's probably me.
posted by octothorpe at 12:08 PM on January 18, 2017


No love for either What Dreams May Come or The FP? Oh, well. At least Big Man Japan is enqueued.
posted by hanov3r at 12:11 PM on January 18, 2017


In re: The President's Analyst (tangent):

That musical interlude cited above contained music written by McGuire for the rights to which could not be cleared when the film went to TV and VHS. It was replaced by some more generic 60's-ish filler that sadly sorta sucked if you'd seen/heard the original. Fortunately, rights were sorted by the time the film went to DVD.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 12:13 PM on January 18, 2017


It’s fruitless to obsess about the watermelon

okay, I'm in.
posted by furtive_jackanapes at 12:20 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Is there something...well, weird...about the font of the post title?
posted by Chrysostom at 12:31 PM on January 18, 2017


I kind of like that the list encompasses many different flavors of "weird" and does not limit itself to a single narrow definition.

Is it just me or do most of these seem like pretty mainstream movies?

If by "mainstream" you mean "movies that the general public is likely to have heard of," then yes, there are quite a few "mainstream" movies on the list. But I don't think "mainstream" (in that sense) and "weird" are mutually exclusive. It's "366 Weird Movies," not "366 Weird and Obscure Movies."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:50 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


1998 pre-production work was done on a Buckaroo television series for the Fox network, but the show was never picked up.

God, I'd love to see that - that saga remains ongoing, with no apparent end in sight.

BB was one of the 1st movies I saw by myself in the theater as a kid, and I remained obsessed by it for a long time. I wish I still had my copies of the World Watch One newsletter that Fox cranked out for a few years in the mid-80s.*

* For anyone interested, these also document a number of other preposterous, never-happened W.D. Richter projects.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:58 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Where is Street Trash?
posted by SisterHavana at 1:17 PM on January 18, 2017


Yeah, when I saw "2001: A Space Odyssey" a few months ago I got righteously ticked off because I thought it was a scifi kind of film about the relations between humans and our technology, and then it just ends with fucking nonsense like not even nonsense that means anything just a complete lack of meaning

I watched "Tommy" (which should also be on this list) while smoking weed, getting slowly higher and higher as the movie went on, which I think is the best way to watch this sort of movie

but if I had watched "2001" like that I would have just completely blacked out the ending. It would have blended in with the normal sensory confetti of being high and not registered on my memory. There's just nothing the fuck there.

and why the fuck are there aliens in that movie. it's completely unnecessary. fuck that i'm still mad
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 1:33 PM on January 18, 2017


also I'm honestly not sure Pan's Labyrinth is that weird.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 1:36 PM on January 18, 2017


personally, i think the magic of Buckaroo Banzai is that it is a paper-thin slice of an entire world that is only alluded to during its running time. i feel like any attempt to flesh out the negative space around the movie could only make it worse.
posted by murphy slaw at 2:11 PM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


For a different perspective, Buckaroo Banzaii falls not only the Bechdel Test, but also the Sexy Lamp test. It's a film designed to appeal amongst exclusively to white male geeks who are comfortsble with women being treated like prizes.
posted by happyroach at 2:35 PM on January 18, 2017 [6 favorites]


that is also true. you could cut every scene with ellen barkin completely and it wouldn't change anything (except possibly improve the pacing?)
posted by murphy slaw at 2:48 PM on January 18, 2017


Where is Street Trash?

Here.

I've had a list of "Creative and Unusual" films up on IMDb since 2012 when 366 had very few movies (link in profile). Over time they've added most of my list, along with lots of "weird" B movies.

I've always liked the sensibility of my list better. Mine, like theirs, prominently includes what I consider the best (and underrated) artists in cinema (Maddin, Svankmajer, Greenaway). We also tend to add the same new movies (e.g. The Lobster; Swiss Army Man). However they like art movies because they are "weird", while I like unusual things if they are art. Nearly all truly creative things are "weird", but not all weird things are creative. The difference means they systematically put visionaries like Lynch or Jodorowsky on equal footing with Troma and other forms of failure.

It's great that they're promoting most of my favorite directors and a lot of what I like, but the fundamental differences are disappointing too.
posted by dgaicun at 4:05 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


They will reach their self-imposed 366 limit soon, and yet creative movies will be released in perpetuity. I predict they will then begin to exchange out the B movies for the innovations, making our lists even more similar over time.
posted by dgaicun at 4:06 PM on January 18, 2017


If you cut out all of Ellen Barkin's scenes, who would hide the overthruster?

Such silly questions. The movie is abso-fucking-lutely perfect AS IS.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:35 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


yes, Funky Forest is in there.
boo, no El Milagro de P. Tinto.
posted by scruss at 4:36 PM on January 18, 2017


I can't view the list at work, but who considers Buckaroo Banzai weird? Other than my wife, I mean. But really?
posted by lhauser at 4:44 PM on January 18, 2017


Is there a shortened list of everything they've covered?

(Edit: I answered my own question. Carry on.)
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:53 PM on January 18, 2017


Oh, well. At least Big Man Japan is enqueued.

But is Executive Koala?
posted by tully_monster at 4:53 PM on January 18, 2017


Is there something...well, weird...about the font of the post title?

Yes. The characters are the wide Roman characters often used in Japanese to represent English and other languages. They exist in the Unicode code space. I did the title by looking them up one at a time and copy-pasting to give the title that extra touch of, well, weird. But there are sites that will do the conversion for you. Here's one. Here is another. And one more.

The danger with these is that the browser used might not support the characters and they'll show up as boxes, but that's become less likely recently. (Six years ago [really?] I did a post about stuff like this.)
posted by JHarris at 9:22 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Thanks so much for this! This list brings back memories of my time before real responsibilities (i.e. kids) when I could watch as many movies as I wanted (I now have neither the time nor the energy). I counted 52 that I've seen, and came to check that there were some Jan Svankmejer films. "Conspirators of Pleasure" is my go to recommendation when someone's looking for something different.
posted by indecision at 1:55 AM on January 19, 2017


They left out Survive Style 5, a movie I learned of from The FanFare Strange Club.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:57 AM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


The difference means they systematically put visionaries like Lynch or Jodorowsky on equal footing with Troma and other forms of failure.

That's an interesting take dgaicum. I have a slightly alternative view - like you I like "unusual things if they are art" but I also like unusual things that are inadvertently art. That rare beast that transcends an ignoble and (often) exploitative birth and stumbles into greatness. I think of it like the l'art brut of cinema - something very raw, unpracticed, unintentional but has an internally consistent artistic vision. An inadvertent success. To be clear I'm not talking about something that is trying hard to be intentionally "weird" like Tromeo & Juliet - overly self-aware or overt attempts at being "cult" kills it for me. To me that is failure of the form. So yes while I'm glad the list highlights some excellent directors I'm a little underwhelmed by the easiness of some films on the list and what I'd consider a cavalier attitude towards the term "weird" (Sita Sings the Blues, while a good film, is hardly a "weird" one).
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:07 AM on January 19, 2017


This list does not include Wax:Discovery of Television Among the Bees nor the Cremaster Cycle.

I call shenanigans.
posted by ananci at 12:15 PM on January 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


One of the comments on the site about "Death Bed" mentions Patton Oswalt, who does a very funny bit about the movie.
posted by anothermug at 7:06 PM on January 19, 2017


Wax or Discovery of Television Among the Bees is definitely on the high end of the weird scale. It has the feel of a prize winning NYU student film. Lots of experimentation with unusual techniques mixed together, a narrative that's not entirely linear. It's very different from everything else both before & after, I'll give it that. I don't think I actually enjoyed it but I'm not disappointed I saw it either.
posted by scalefree at 7:40 PM on January 19, 2017


Yes. The characters are the wide Roman characters often used in Japanese to represent English and other languages.

Ah, super interesting. I was wondering how you managed it without the use of the font tag.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:56 PM on January 19, 2017


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