100 Movies That Deserve More Love
March 28, 2004 9:08 AM   Subscribe

100 Movies That Deserve More Love "we've rolled up our sleeves to retrieve some unloved and under-appreciated gems from the dustbin of history...You'll find great movies that you were sure only you knew about, and you'll find movies that you've never heard of."
posted by kirkaracha (73 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Space Truckers (1996)

There are bound to be some who’ll roll their eyes at the inclusion of this tarnished gem on the list. But, frankly, screw you. Stuart “Reanimator” Gordon is something of a low-budget genius, and nowhere is this more evident than in Space Truckers, a self-consciously camp sci-fi comedy which, in truly circular Hollywood style, is a comedy take on Alien, which in turn was a serious take on Dark Star.

The Blob (1988)

Movies starring the less-famous siblings of big stars are always good for some overlooked fun, and this 80s remake of the Steve McQueen b-movie is a prime example

Move over The Sevneth Seal !
posted by y2karl at 9:21 AM on March 28, 2004

well, Seventh, to be sure...
posted by y2karl at 9:21 AM on March 28, 2004

I haven't heard of all of these, but the ones I have seen I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Okay. I now have something to do for the next 100 or so nights.

Thanks kirkaracha.
posted by ODiV at 9:52 AM on March 28, 2004

Gattaca yes, Contact also yes, Aliens 3 definitely no. I love Fincher, but no.
posted by Ryvar at 9:58 AM on March 28, 2004

Now that I look at the whole list there are a couple I don't really agree with. But the quality of the rest might convince me to give them a second look.

Contact, for example, I was unimpressed by. Then again I saw it on a plane while I was reading 2001. So that could've tainted my enjoyment of it a tad. That and I was really sick of metaphysics and God around that time so that didn't help.
posted by ODiV at 10:03 AM on March 28, 2004

Just because they're don't feature mime-wannabe's playing chess doesn't mean that… Ok, I can't defend things like The Blob. But some of the other movies on that list are really good, and most of them I'd missed; I'll definately be on the lookout for those, thanks kirkaracha.
posted by fvw at 10:09 AM on March 28, 2004

Ditto ODIV's 1st 'graf. And may I wholeheartedly endorse #27, Living in Oblivion, a clever & amusing film, so good I've bought my own copy.
posted by mojohand at 10:09 AM on March 28, 2004

It does appear that they put the losers to the front and, with a hundred, they can't all be total losers...

King Of New York, apart from the story, had its moments and The Prohecy looks interesting--a slicked-back Walken stalking children in the name of God as the Archangel Gabriel has appeal...
posted by y2karl at 10:25 AM on March 28, 2004

I think it's fair to say that any movie that sat on Blockbuster's New Arrivals shelves for six months does not deserve any more appreciation than it got. That would include almost this entire list. It's like crying over under-visited McDonalds restaurants.
posted by Voivod at 10:28 AM on March 28, 2004

well. it has my favourite film of all time - Hudsucker Proxy, so i'm giving it the thumbs up! Great link, some good possibles, which mean that my credit card is about to take another hit...
posted by triv at 10:45 AM on March 28, 2004

Equilibrium (number 12) is a terrible film. There isn't a single original idea in it.
posted by Orange Goblin at 11:00 AM on March 28, 2004

A lot of my favourite movies on there. A couple of notable omissions that would fit the category are ReAnimator and Parents; and I didn't know Gremlins 2 was underrated.

Contact, Universal Soldier and Candyman can all rot in the bargain bin, as far as I'm concerned, though.
posted by Blue Stone at 11:09 AM on March 28, 2004

Gotta love Bridget Fonda's transformation form Suzy Homemaker to Lady MacBeth in A Simple Plan. Bill Paxton still blows, though... well, except for his turn in Aliens. ("Game over, man! Game over!)
posted by psmealey at 11:13 AM on March 28, 2004

Equilibrium (number 12) is a terrible film. There isn't a single original idea in it.

Oh? What film did they steal the gun martial art from?
posted by kindall at 11:17 AM on March 28, 2004

Excellent list of films, heard of all of them and seen most of them (unlike, say, the Sight and Sound 100 or the AFI 100). I'm guessing whoever made the list must be a male in at least in their late twenties looking at the years most of these films were made (no pre-1980 films? nothing foreign?). You could probably call all these films "entertaining".

As mentioned, The Prophecy and King of New York are essential Walken films. And Living in Oblivion is one of the funniest comedies I've ever seen. And I was happy to see Drive in there, one of the most entertaining American martial arts film, with fight sequences that drag on and on like a Chinese film. Ronin's reputation seems to be growing because of it's amazing chase sequences.

I keep seeing the film Equilibrium being recommended everywhere, will probably check that out next.

I'd leave out The Peacemaker (utter crap) and Alien 3 (check out The Game instead for an interesting forgotten Fincher film).
posted by bobo123 at 11:19 AM on March 28, 2004

I've seen a bunch of these and most were really good.
"Indy and the Temple of Doom," however, does not belong on any underrated movie list. A/it was a huge hit and B/it was lousy.

My favorite no-one-has-ever-heard-of-it gem, Let It Ride, never makes it onto these lists, sadly.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:26 AM on March 28, 2004

I'll second The Game. I have a dangerously low tolerance for Michael Douglas. Okay, I have no tolerance for Michael Douglas, but I still enjoyed this flick. Besides, the movie gave us the immortal t-shirt: ""I was drugged and left for dead in Mexico and all I got was this stupid t-shirt."
posted by keswick at 11:31 AM on March 28, 2004

Equilibrium (number 12) is a terrible film. There isn't a single original idea in it.

Oh? What film did they steal the gun martial art from?

Every movie John Woo has ever made, for starters. They might not have called it gun-kata, but movies where people walk around shooting guns in ways that look cool but would be useless-or-worse are a dime a dozen. The core notion behind the movie was eye-rollingly awful.

I'll stick up for The Peacemaker. Decent action movie, people are generally smart-ish in it, they stay away from a really sappy we're-falling-in-luuuuurve through most of it, and it features a thermonuclear explosion as an incidental plot point in the introduction.

And it's amazing that Alien3 turned out as well as it did, given that the only thing that remained constant throughout filming was the first thing they decided on: the release date.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:41 AM on March 28, 2004

A Simple Plan? Blah. Devil's Backbone? Huh. Mister Frost? Snore. Nightwatch? Next. In the Mouth of Madness? *laughter* uh, no.

This can go on and on. A list is a list is a list and means nothing. Some people liked Contact. Some hated it. Some haven't seen it. I loved it, but the argument over whether or not it ever had its day in the sun would neither be heated nor interesting. I could come up with another hundred movies which i think are underrated and others would (if they even looked at the list) agree and disagree probably about half and half. The question is who is this Dan Whitehead and why should his opinion deserve more or less time than any one of you in this thread?

This list? Blah. Huh. Snore. Next. *laughter* Uh, no.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:45 AM on March 28, 2004

As far as Bill Paxton goes, watch Frailty which he directed as well as acted in.

I'll stand up for Equilibrium. Sure everything in it has been written/said/shot before, but you have to admit that Fahrenheit 451 would've been a hell of a lot cooler with gun katas.
posted by ODiV at 11:47 AM on March 28, 2004

Equilibrium is a late 50's sci-fi dystopia short story in movie form, with all the good and bad that entails. Keep that in mind and it's a lot of fun.

I think a lot of these movies are "yes, but" movies, where if you're prepared for the "but" they're really enjoyable. Equilibrium, 13 Days, Indy & the Temple of Doom, Gremlins 2, A Knight's Tale, Brotherhood of the Wolf - all of them are like that.

Undercover Brother should be on that list. Also, Near Dark.
posted by furiousthought at 12:00 PM on March 28, 2004

The list says a lot about my taste. A lot of the movies listed are ones that I thought were pretty good while my friends hated them. They aren't perfect movies, but I enjoyed them - ranging from Frequency to Nothing to Lose.
posted by tomplus2 at 12:01 PM on March 28, 2004

The Zero Effect. If you haven't seen it, go out right now and rent it.

That list is pretty solid. I've seen about 80% of them and many would end up on an all-time top 100 list for me.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:11 PM on March 28, 2004

There's some good shit in there, though clearly No Escape is a turd and anyone who thought The Peacemaker was anything but low quality gibberish is an idiot. Why is Bill' and Ted's 2 even in this list? There's some really good stuff on this list and Equilibrium is a good example of someone doing good stuff with a limited budget. Wanted: Dead or Alive though, that is really dredging the Rutger Hauer, 'what's wrong with straight to Video' files however.
posted by biffa at 12:18 PM on March 28, 2004

Eesh. I gotta disagree with most of that list. I've seen all but 8 of them and, in my opinion, there are some absolutely horrible films on this list and lots that are okay but hardly worth revisiting. Nothing to Lose, Atlantis, Long Kiss Goodbye, Peacemaker, City of Hope, Stir of Echoes, Jesus' Son, Tailor of Panama, Frequency, Night Falls on Manhattan, Equilibrium, Heaven Help Us, A Life Less Ordinary? These people are on crack. These titles have no or very few redeeming qualities. :)

Most of the ones that I think are worth watching... well, I wasn't aware they were underappreciated: Contact, Gattaca, Rounders, Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, One False Move, The Edge, Mosquito Coast, 25th Hour, Breakdown, The Iron Giant... and there are many that I hated but recieved tons of praise when they came out (Simple Plan or Gods and Monsters for instance).

Neat undertaking though.

Personally, I would have included Funny Games, Miracle Mile, Full Frontal, Two-Lane Blacktop, Love Liza, The Limey, Hombre, After Dark My Sweet, Your Friends and Neighbors, Waking the Dead, The Pledge, Dreamlife of Angels, Zigrail, Boiling Point (kitano), Deep Cover, Laws of Gravity, Near Dark, Enemy of the State, Roger Dodger, They Shoot Horses Don't They?, Eyes Wide Shut, Mother Night, Maelstrom, The Insider, Spanking the Monkey, French Connection II, And God Spoke, Two Girls and a Guy, Celebrity, and Moonlight Mile.
posted by dobbs at 12:24 PM on March 28, 2004

I keep seeing the film Equilibrium being recommended everywhere, will probably check that out next.

Please don't. Every day I try to help one person, and today, it's you.

...Did you like The Matrix? What about it did you like, the action, or the pseudophilosophy? The special effects or the acting? Take Matrix, remove the cool fights and special effects, keep the PHIL 101 ruminations and wooden delivery, and you've got Equilibrium.

Now, The Specials, which is also on CHUD's list, is definitely worth seeing.
posted by Hildago at 1:08 PM on March 28, 2004

This can go on and on. A list is a list is a list and means nothing... I could come up with another hundred movies which i think are underrated and others would (if they even looked at the list) agree and disagree probably about half and half. The question is who is this Dan Whitehead and why should his opinion deserve more or less time than any one of you in this thread?

I would argue that a list like this is useful, because it's not saying these movies are fantastic, just that they deserve a second look. Often, movies get overlooked at the box office for reasons other than how good they are. Many movies on this list didn't even get a wide release when they first came out. How are people supposed to know about them if somebody doesn't make a list?
posted by Hildago at 1:18 PM on March 28, 2004

"www.erika-tit-burst.com could not be found. Please check the name and try again."
posted by wobh at 1:38 PM on March 28, 2004

The 1988 version of The Blob is still my default answer when people ask if I ever thought there was a good remake movie. Glad to see it get a nod.
posted by dong_resin at 1:45 PM on March 28, 2004

Ditto on "Zero Effect." I've told maybe a dozen people about it, when discussing overlooked films.
posted by raysmj at 2:00 PM on March 28, 2004

That is the greatest list of 2-star movies ever compiled.
posted by graventy at 2:05 PM on March 28, 2004

How about The Beach? It got panned when it came out.....but I really liked it (I read the book before, so had expectations too).
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:24 PM on March 28, 2004

The list made me a little sad, because all of the movies were relatively recent. Cinema history dates back a century. Doesn't anyone watch films from before 1980 any more?

Here's my list of relatively unknown films. I tried to scatter all sorts of genres and time periods together.

The Thief of Bagdad (1940) – a technicolor fairy-tale fantasy that rivals "The Wizard of Oz"
10 Rillington Place (1971) – a creepy portrait of one of England's most notorious serial killers with a great performance by John Hurt
The Boston Strangler (1968) – a creep portraid of one of America's most notorious serial killers with a great performance by Tony Curtis. Ingenious use of split-screen photography.
Housekeeping (1987) – haunting, beautiful, offbeat story of an eccentric woman who excites a small town
Paperhouse (1988) director Bernard Rose is better know for "Candy Man," but I was disappointed by "Candyman," because I was hoping it would be more like "Paperhouse." This is the story of a little girl who draws a picture of a house, and then her picture comes to life. It's funny, moving and very scary.
Dead of Night (1945) – series of horror short-stories tied together with a clever frame story. One of the shorts was the inspiration for the Anthony Hopkins film, "Magic," but I think this version is much better. The star of the "Magic" section is Michael Redgrave, who transforms himself into two very different people in this film and "The Browning Version."
The Browning Version (1951) – a heartbreaking film about a lonely schoolteacher, played brilliantly by Michael Redgrave.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) – at times silly, at times clever, and at time scary, this unique horror film stars a silent Vincent Price, who is much more talkative in the comedy listed below, "Champaign for Ceasar."
You Can Count on Me (2001) – quirky small-town indie film, about the funny and tortured relationship between a brother and sister. With Mark Rufulo, Laura Linney and Mathew Broderic. The cast and script are excellent.
Monsieur Verdoux (1947) – Charlie Chaplin talkie in which he plays a serial killer.
Odd Man Out (1947) – James Mason on the run in this disturbing, romantic thriller.
King of Comedy (1983) – Robert DeNiro transforms himself into one of the most memorable Nerds in cinematic history. Jerry Lewis is actually good as the straight man. Martin Scorsese directed.
The Innocents (1961) – Truman Capote's great adaptation of Henry Jame's ghost story, "Turn of the Screw"
The Circus (1928) – one of Chaplin's best comedies
And The Ship Sails On (1983) – late Felinni film, set aboard an ocean liner full of fantastic characters (including a rhinoceros). This film has an unforgettable beginning.
The Magic Flute (1975) – Bergman's fun, cartoonish adaptation of Mozart's opera.
Bedazzled (1967) – Dudley Moore and Peter Cook in a Pythonish comedy.
Sebastian (1968) – silly but fun James Bondish movie that brings to life 60s London better than any Beatles film. Best opening credits ever!
Smashing Time (1967) – silly but fun Lynn Redgrave (Michael's daughter) movie that brings to life 60s London better than any Beatles films (good double-feature with "Sebastian")
Once Upon a Time in America (1984) – Sergio Leoni's epic about Jewish gangsters with DeNero and James Woods. Make SURE you see the director's cut. The shorter version is a travesty.
The First Men in the Moon (1964) – light-hearted, fun adaptation of H.G. Wells's novel.
Peeping Tom (1960) – this came out the same year as "Psycho," but it was directed by Michael Powel, who was known for children's fantasies, like "The Red Shoes," "A Matter of Life and Death," and "The Thief of Bagdad." People were so creeped-out by this film that it flopped. It is disturbing, but it's also haunting and thrilling. Powell is a mostly unknown great. See anything you can that he directed.
The Last Emperor (1987) – Bertolucci's masterpiece about the last emperor of china. Please see the (longer) directors cut.
Green For Danger (1946) – hugely fun murder mystery, starring the hilarious Alister Simm.
The Hospital (1970) – George C. Scott as an MD in Paddy Chayefsky's twisted version of "ER".
Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) – James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Mickey Rooney and just about every character actor from the 30s give their all to this fun adaptation of Shakespeare's play.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) – a romantic Jazz opera
One, Two, Three (1961) – Billy Wilder's breakneck-speed comedy starring a brilliant James Cagney
Ace in the Hole (a.k.a The Big Carnival) (1951) – Billy Wilder's cynical drama about the press exploiting a man stuck in a cave. Based on the true story of Floyd Collins. If you like this movie, buy the CD of the Musical "Floyd Collins," which is a totally different (but equally good) take on the same source material.
Ziegfield Follies (1946) – a psychedelic musical from before people know what psychedelic meant.
Babes in Arms (1939) – why people used to LIKE Mickey Rooney. Judy Garland is heartbreaking!
Barry Lyndon (1975) – Stanley Kubric's flop. This is my favorite Kubric film, and I'm a HUGE Kubric fan. It's like a beautiful oil painting come to life.
Duck You Sucker (a.k.a. A Fist Full of Dynamite) (1971) – the best of the Spaghetti Westerns with a terrific score by Ennio Morricone.
The Last of Shiela (1973) – a murder mystery co-written by Stephen Sondheim
Turtle Diary (1985) – Lovely Harold Pinter script. Lovely performances by Glenda Jackson and Ben Kingsley about two lonely people who decide to steal turtle form the zoo.
Life is Sweet (1990) – a loving, funny film by Mike Leigh (whose actors improvise their parts)
Picnic (1955) – emotional (too much for some) drama with William Holden and Kim Novak. Great, inevitable chemistry between them.
Bringing Up Baby (1938) – my favorite comedy ever. You can't do better than Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn at the height of their powers.
Lonliness of a Long Distance Runner (1962) – Cut above the normal teen angst movie, starring a very young Tom Cortenay
The Dresser (1983) – the best theatre movie ever, starring an aging Tom Cortenay and Albert Finney. If you want to see two movies that have nothing in common, watch this and "Breaking Away," which is about a bike race in Indiana. Both were directed by Peter Yates. Huh?
Lost Horizon (1937) – lovely Hollywood fairy tale
Showboat (1936) – see this if for nothing else besides the great Paul Robeson singing "Old Man River."
Dead Again (1991) Kenneth Branagh's clever murder mystery
Pirates of Penzance (1983) – Kevin Kline will convince you he's the most fun and talented actor ever
Ninotchka (1939) – witty romantic comedy, written (but not directed) by Billy Wilder/
Silk Stockings (1957) – musical remake of "Ninotchka," with Fred Astaire. Not as good as the original, but still fun.
The Comfort of Strangers (1990) – super creepy Harold Pinter script. Even creepier performance by Christopher Walken.
Metropolitan (1990) – Whit Stillman somehow crafter a modern-day F.Scott Fitzgerald story.
The Verdict (1982) – David Mamet & Paul Newman!!!
The Birthday Party (1968) Robert Shaw (the sea captain in "Jaws") in a totally different role. A surreal comedy by Harrold Pinter.
The Great Santini (1979) – Robert Duval's master performance
The Conversation (1974) – early Coppola film starring a young Gene Hackman (who at times seems older than the old Gene Hackman). A deep character study.
We're No Angels (1989) – fun, clever Mamet script. DeNiro and Sean Penn.
Everybody Wins (1990) – almost unknown original film script by Arthur Miller, with Nick Nolte and Deborah Winger.
La Jetee (1962) – basis for "Twelve Monkies," and perfectly done the first time. Why remake it?
September (1987) – Woody Allen serious film, so of course it flopped. But it's a very good modernization of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya," with a little of "The Seagul" thrown in.
Interiors (1978) – another serious Woody Allen film. This one is his masterpiece. It gets better with each viewing. Amazing cast: E.G. Marshall, Mary Beth Hurt, Maureen Stapleton, Geraldine Page, and Sam Waterson
Five Graves to Cairo (1943) – Fun Billy Wilder WWII yarn.
The Last Wave (1977) – Peter Weir ("Master and Commander") in "X-Files" territory.
Five Million Years to Earth (1967) – Is it my imagine imagination, or does this low-budget British film contain ideas from every other sci-fi film ever made?
Ramblin Rose (1991) – Laura Durn and Robert Duval act up a storm
Unbreakable (2000) -- M. Night Smyamalan's dark superhero story has a zillion times more depth than his more popular films.
Duel (1971) – Early Spielburg. Really suspenseful. "Jaws" in which the shark is a truck.
Sweet Smell of Success (1957) Burt Lancaster & Tony Curtis. Still a dangerously hip story.
Strangers on a Train (1951) – less-well-known Hitchcock adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel. Highsmith also wrote "The Talented Mr. Ripley."
Spider (2002) – My favorite David Cronenberg film. Quite different from his others. Not a sci-fi/horror film, though definitely horrific. It's a penetrating character study of a schizophrenic man. Great performance by Ralph Fienes.
Dead Ringers (1988) – Cronenberg film. Very disturbing. If it wasn't so creepy, Jeremy Irons surely would have won an oscar.
Videodrome (1983) – Cronenberg's mosy surreal film.
Five Thousand Fingers of Doctor T (1953) -- Live action Dr. Seuss fantasy.
Narrow Margin (1990) – Gene Hackman at his most fun.
The Servant (1963) Dirk Bogarde is a very different performance than "Sebastian". Harold Pinter script.
Repulsion (1965) – Roman Polansky's surreal horror film
Fanny and Alexander (The Director's Cut) (1982) This is Bergman's greatest and most accessable film. A rich fairy tale about two children and their evil stepfather. The director's cut is 312 minutes long.
Country Life (1994) The best ever adaptation of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya."
Impromptu (1991) romantic comedy about Frederic Chopan and George Sand
The Pirate (1948) musical in which Gene Kelly and Judy Garland have "Taming of the Shrew"-type chemestry
The Jungle Book (1967) Disney's most spirited cartoon. George Sanders is priceless as the voice of the tiger.
A Matter of Life and Death (a.k.a Stairway to Heaven) (1946) Michael Powell with David Niven and Kim Hunter – romantic, fantasy fairy-tale set during WWII
Life With Father (1947) William Powell – William Powell's best performance. And a very young Liz Taylor.
Rebecca (1940) Daphne Du Maurier – a departure for Hitchcock. You'll love it, but don't expect "Rear Window."
The Thin Man (1934) – Fun detective film
Greed (1924) Erich von Stroheim – one of the greatest silent films ever
Marty (1955) Paddy Chayefsky romance about an average Joe, starring Ernest Borgnine or (1953) Rod Steiger version, which I like a bit more (it was made for TV)
The Hustler (1961) – great pool film with Paul Neuman and Jackie Gleason
The Apartment (1960) – one of the best comedies ever, by Billy Wilder. Jack Lemon's best performance.
The Age of Innocence (1993) – Scorsese's complex adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel.
On the Town (1949) – musical with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
Stranger than Paradise (1983) Jim Jarmusch's weird comedy. Like a moving Diane Arbus photo.
Of Mice and Men (1992) Gary Sinise and John Malkovice. As you might guess, great acting.
Witness for the Prosecution (1957) – Billy Wilder, Charles Laughton, Marlene Dietrich & Agatha Christie contributed to this courtroom drama.
Double Indemnity (1944) – My favorite Billy Wilder film. A great Noir thriller, starring (don't let this scare you away!) Barbara Stanwyck and Fred McMurry
The Lady Eve (1941) Henry Fonda is the best straight man ever in this Preston Sturges comedy.
Champaign for Caesar (1950) Vincent Price comedy. Not a horror film. It will remind you of "Quiz Show."
Lady in the Lake (1947) – a Noir detective film, shot entirely from the p.o.v. of the main charater. The only time you see him is when he looks in a mirror.
Julius Caesar (1953) Marlon Brando, James Mason, John Gielgud.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972) – Rod Serling's disaster epic, with Shelly Winters and Gene Hackman
The Killing (1956) – almost unknown Kubrick film, in which a heist is revisited throught the eyes of many characters.
The Thin Blue Line (1988) Errol Morris documentary about a travesty of justice in Texas.
A Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) – Great WWII film. My favorite Alec Guinness performance.
The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936) – Hmm. Could this be where Ursula LeGuin got the idea for "The Lathe of Heaven"?
Topsy-Turvey (1999) -- Mike Leigh's improvised comedy about Gilbert and Sullivan
One False Move (1992) – Soulful crime drama with an unknown Billy Bob Thornton
Drugstore Cowboy (1989) – truthful movie about drug culture.
posted by grumblebee at 2:31 PM on March 28, 2004 [2 favorites]

There's just no way Ed Wood can be at #66. It defies all logic, intellect, and sense of humanity.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:41 PM on March 28, 2004

It's in "no particular order" Katemonkey.
posted by Blue Stone at 2:48 PM on March 28, 2004

A couple of my favourites in there - Top Secret, I loved that with a passion when it came out but could never understand why nobody had heard of it. Long Kiss Goodnight (Mmm, Geena Davis in top form), Last Boy Scout was fun in a slightly generic way. I second/third/whatever The Game as an excellent movie that never seemed to be very popular, but had me on the edge of my seat throughout.

Another movie that nobody seems to have heard of but is close to #1 on my favourites list is The Wall. Like this reviewer, the movie always has a profound effect on me no matter how many times I watch it. It does tend to leave people depressed and introspective, which is perhaps why many are not impressed by it.
posted by dg at 3:02 PM on March 28, 2004

To their credit, the authors do acknowledge at the top of the article that their list is all fairly recent movies:

Here's the gist: These are films we feel don't get enough love. They're films from our lifetime of experience, which is why you won't see deserving films from the pre-1970 era. That's an article for another time.

Of these movies, I've seen nine and liked all but two of them ("The Ref" and "25th Hour.") The former was just mediocre; and I remember liking the latter right after I saw it, but now I'm hard pressed to remember anything about it but the premise. Also, I'm puzzled as to why they're referring to "Contact" as "overlooked."

That said, I'll see grumblebee's "You Can Count On Me" and raise you "Last Night" (1997).
posted by Johnny Assay at 3:12 PM on March 28, 2004

For some reason A Midnight Clear freaked me out entirely. Maybe it's just the tone of the film, but to me it was more horror story than war story.
posted by alumshubby at 3:31 PM on March 28, 2004

Ick. Nightwatch.

I mean, what kind of schlock suspense movie goes so far as to >include a tub of amputated feet<, but stops short of actually letting the tub tip over.

Major missed cinematic events here, people.
posted by Caviar at 4:02 PM on March 28, 2004

Count me in as a big fan of "You can Count on Me". I've seen it a few times and it gets better with each viewing. It's a quiet film with a huge heart and the acting is first rate. Mark Ruffalo is genius.

I have to agree with Johnny Assay on the "25th Hour". A lot of critics seemed to like it but I just didn't get it.
posted by btwillig at 4:04 PM on March 28, 2004

Oooo Young Sherlock Holmes! There are a lot of movies on this list that I really liked and forgot about, and some I deeply question, namely Equilibrium, which might be my least favorite movie of all time ever. I hated it so very much, I was moved to come home and write a three-page review that no one would ever read so that in times like this, when people claim to actually like the movie, and I start to wonder if maybe it was me with the problem, I can review what I wrote and find that place in my heart that will always be filled with hate for that wretched stinker of a movie.

Anyway, this is a fun list. It makes me think of those late nights of my youth (and, um, my 20s and so far so good into my 30s) watching second run movies on those not-as-good-as-HBO discount movie channels.

Oh and I'm absolutely clapping with delight to see Deep Cover and Videodrome on the "overlooked movies I also recommend lists above". I was just thinking about Deep Cover a few days ago and wondering why that movie doesn't get the props it deserves.
posted by jennyb at 4:17 PM on March 28, 2004

Now I have to decide if the inclusion of The Money Pit and Nighthawks overshadows the blowjob they gave 25th Hour, which was insultingly heavy-handed, even for the none-to-subtle likes of Spike Lee.
posted by jennyb at 5:12 PM on March 28, 2004

The Tailor of Panama is a favorite. I love spy movies, and I loved watching Brosnan as such an unrepentent sleaze. I normally stay away from le Carre movies (I love his books) but ToP was fun.
posted by swerve at 6:39 PM on March 28, 2004

I usually try to steer clear of this, but I'd just like to make known (in reference to grumblebee's list) that Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train is an absolutely deplorable adaptation of the book. I can handle films that sort of take off from their source material and do something different, but that movie essentially took the premise ("two people meet on a train and exchange murders!") and then left absolutely everything worthwhile about it behind in order to pander to the mainstream. Sure, it has all Hitchcock's great use of shadows and camera angles, but the story itself is disappointing, as Highsmith herself agreed. To name just a couple things, he dumbed down the strong female character (Anne) into sobbing, frail creature incapable of opening the door without help, he eliminated any of the subtle undertones of failure from the character of Guy, and most of the homosexual undertones were eliminated (which is understandable, I suppose, given the timeframe and the fact that the homosexual characters always die in hitchcock movies anyway).
posted by The God Complex at 7:26 PM on March 28, 2004

"Top Secret" is worth is just because one of the nazis in it uses a rubber stamp that says: "Find Him and Kill Him".
posted by interrobang at 7:30 PM on March 28, 2004

Don't you have one of those? I thought they were standard issue in every office?
posted by dg at 8:07 PM on March 28, 2004

skallas, I love you.

I am one of the people who seriously almost got 'veritas - aequitas' tattooed on some part of her body, not to mention having the whole prayer bit at the end memorized. I kept expecting to see Boondock Saints on the list, and was disappointed. It's the one movie I've ever watched more than a handful of times. Just an incredible movie, from beginning to end. Willem Defoe was great.

Also, Equilibrium wasn't that bad, folks. C'mon. Christian Bale in all that white? If the gun-fu wasn't badass enough-- no, wait. The gun-fu was badass enough. A moment of retrospection, though, on Christian Bale in all that white.

There was also a 1996 version of Twelfth Night with Ben Kingsley that didn't strike me as being popular at the time, but I thought it was rather brilliant, and it didn't even need Kenneth Brannagh in it.
posted by precocious at 8:46 PM on March 28, 2004

all these movies ive seen are pretty good, few are great, and just about all of them i wouldnt call unknown, they're almost all hollywood movies!
posted by klik99 at 9:16 PM on March 28, 2004

I definitely agree with The Tailor of Panama, which, unlike any of the James Bond films, actually had Pierce Brosnan playing a politically incorrect spy (i.e., the James Bond of Fleming and Connery). (And on a similar note, another overlooked espionage flick is The Assignment from 1997. Great visuals, Donald Sutherland, and a really smart wrapup.)

And I'll add to the praise lauded to Zero Effect.
posted by ed at 10:29 PM on March 28, 2004

Also: the films of Joe Dante and the good Brian De Palma films (Femme Fatale, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Phantom of the Paradise, Carlito's Way) that aren't regularly mentioned.
posted by ed at 10:31 PM on March 28, 2004

Boondock Saints was completely awesome, right up until the end, when it got so bad it made me angry for screwing up what would have been a grand slam. When I give an example of heavy-handedness in film, it's more often than not the last 10 minutes of Boondock Saints.

I agree with everybody who has already said that The Tailor of Panama was the best Bond movie never made.

Best spy movie of the last few years is still The Bourne Identity, however, and that movie is also Matt Damon's only argument for deserving to be a movie star.

The Zero Effect left me completely unimpressed once the premise had been explained.
posted by Hildago at 10:44 PM on March 28, 2004

i'll chime in here with my agreement that Boondock Saints should have made the list, but i also feel the need to go on record defending Long Kiss Goodnight. Some of my favorite Sam Jackson one-liners were spawned in that flick.

i'll also stand up for Wanted Dead or Alive. Gene Simmons as an evil terrorist? i'll take some more of that, thank you.

And i am thrilled to see Drive on that list as well. i've known about this little gem since it first hit the shelves and have seen everything that Dacascos has done since, for better or worse. Anything that makes more people see Drive and thus creates more of a likelihood that they re-release the DVD is something that i support.
posted by quin at 11:01 PM on March 28, 2004

I'd also add:

After Hours: Scorsese does black comedy. Inventive visuals, hilarious set pieces, and downright strange in the best of ways.

Barry Lyndon: Perhaps the most beautiful of all of Kubrick's films. But look beneath the photography and you have a savage satire of wit, manners and class.

O Lucky Man: I don't think there's a single institution that isn't skewered in this grand updating of Candide, but no one in the States seems to love this film as much as I do.

Any Number Can Win: An extremely enchanting and very underrated French noir film. Everything from swinging lounge jazz to weird henchmen to a spellbinding finale. Plus, there's great transitions (a map dissolving into a locale) and plenty of cheese to go around.

Thieves' Highway: If you can find this, this is an incredible film by Jules Dassin (one of the Hollywood Ten and probably the most talented of the bunch): solid working class noir that is gripping as hell.

Il Grido: Overlooked Antonioni that's every bit as existential as his other films. Much like Fellini's Nights of Cabiria (which is also great), this is the missing link between neorealism and Antonioni's later style.

They Drive by Night: George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Humphrey Bogart, and Ida Lupino. What more needs to be said?

A Time to Love and a Time to Die: An overlooked Douglas Sirk film that depicts German WWII furlough with Hollywood actors. Truly fascinating to see how Sirk's deliberate flattening of the German pespective offers a different perspective.

Swept Away: Not the Madonna travesty, but the original Wurtmuller film. Daring commentary on male-female relations, and more courageous than almost anything put to film today.

Stolen Kisses: Often overlooked in favor of The 400 Blows, this film is one of the most heartfelt cinematic depictions of young love.

Bananas: Early overlooked Woody, and funny as hell.

Playtime: A stunning comedic observation of the modern world shot in 70mm, with extraordinary attention to detail. This was the film that financially ruined Jacques Tati.

Flesh + Blood: Paul Verhoeven's first English language film is often overlooked, but it's one of the most ugliest yet beautiful period pieces I've ever seen.
posted by ed at 11:20 PM on March 28, 2004 [1 favorite]

Hurm, on second look they also should have included Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead written by Tom Stoppard (the guy who brought us Shakespeare in Love) and starring Gary Oldman and Tim Roth, i can't believe more people haven't seen this great flick.

Also, Dead Man, a cool little black and white western starring Johnny Depp. Very dark and well done.
posted by quin at 11:28 PM on March 28, 2004

Best spy movie of the last few years is still The Bourne Identity, however, and that movie is also Matt Damon's only argument for deserving to be a movie star.

Ummm, no. It might be the only movie you liked him in, but there are certainly other arguments. Try again! (Talented Mr. Ripley ran circles around Bourne Identity, for one).
posted by The God Complex at 11:49 PM on March 28, 2004

That list was great! Gave me so many new movies to check out, and a bit of reminiscing about old faves. But the reason I post is because I have to ask, what is it with Boondock Saints? So many people on the net name that movie its surreal. I finally rented it and was surprised by what a lackluster film it was. Couldn't see what the fuss was about at all and I don't think I was being picky.
posted by Onanist at 2:31 AM on March 29, 2004

I think there's good reason for keeping the list to more recent films - it can be difficult to judge the popularity of older films and of the love they've had since they came out. Looking at grumblebee's list there are films that were hugely lauded (eg Marty - multiple Oscar winner) or that are very well known (eg Matter of Life and Death).
posted by biffa at 2:40 AM on March 29, 2004

Onanist: Couldn't see what the fuss was about at all...

Hmm, ok i'll bite. i'm not certain what kind of movies you like, but based upon your response, i think it's safe to say that we have similar tastes.

For me the things about Boondock Saints that worked were 1.) the writing, it's a solid script, that is both funny and provides elements of real drama. i realize that it is just a take on the Pulp Fiction, out-of-sync style of story telling, but i will watch Saints over and over again, and i've seen Pulp Fiction about three times, and while good, i'm done with it.

2.) the characters, and more specifically, the actors chosen for those rolls. i've been a fan of Dafoe for a while, but his turn as a gay forensic genius in Saints is by far my favorite performance that he has turned in.

3.) The direction. i thought the movie looked good. i realize that from the movies that i have endorsed above that my judgement may be suspect, and i accept that, but i really can't think of any instances in this film that i thought, 'shit that scene was awful. i could have filmed that better, and i don't know what the hell i'm doing.'

That may seem trite, but i say that a lot when watching features.

That being said, one of my closest friends, who (by and large) gets into the same kind of movies as me didn't like Saints at all. i have no idea why and neither does he, so maybe there is something that i am missing, because i have no doubt that his tastes are as good as mine, they are just... different.

My recommendation: have a drink, watch it again, if you still hate it, you are clearly in position of some faculty for identifying a lousy movie that i don't posses.

[hoping your future viewings are more palatable]
posted by quin at 3:01 AM on March 29, 2004

I think I've seen all but a half-dozen of those movies. From where I stand, I think a more accurate description would be a random selection of hollywood movies from the last few decades.

Some of those were truly awful.. Some were fantastic. Then again, I suppose it all depends on what you're looking for, non?

Some nice selections there grumblebee/quin. That sounds like a 70s cop show..
posted by Mossy at 4:16 AM on March 29, 2004

"Matter of Life and Death" is well-known? Are we talking about the same movie? It's almost impossible to find! I bet a fraction of a percent of people here have seen it.
posted by grumblebee at 5:17 AM on March 29, 2004

grumblebee: Amazon says:

Availability: This item will be released on May 25, 2004. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives.

I have it on pre-order - it's one of those movies that I simply have to see every few years.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 5:57 AM on March 29, 2004

I have seen some of the movies in the list and really enjoyed them. This gives me courage to try some other movies from the list. My Netflix que increased by some twenty flicks. Thanks kikaracha.
posted by adnanbwp at 10:10 AM on March 29, 2004

Gene Simmons as an evil terrorist? i'll take some more of that, thank you.

A single viewing of Runaway will dispel that silly notion for you.
posted by mkultra at 12:17 PM on March 29, 2004

grumblebee: Considering its a 1946 film I'd say its very well known, its a major director/writer combo with big name stars, is recognised as being ahead of its time and is on any basic film course considering the period. It's been one of my favourite films since I was a kid as it used to be a popular sunday afternoon film. My VHS copy was given out with copies of a national newspaper. Maybe its a UK thing.
posted by biffa at 3:12 PM on March 29, 2004

Sorry, I fogot the web was international. It probably IS well known in the UK. Here in the US, no one has ever heard of it. I know about it from my British dad.
posted by grumblebee at 3:47 PM on March 29, 2004

Well, I have to put in another good word for Boondock Saints, and I can't wait for the sequel - All Saints Day - which I believe is still in pre-production. As for underrated films which haven't been mentioned here, way at the top of my list would be Brazil. Though it recieved critical acclaim in its time, few people have even heard of it nowadays and it is absolutely incredible. It's one of those rare movies with such amazing levels of depth and detail that you're just as likely to notice something new on your 50th viewing as you are your second or third. Creative, dark, wildly funny, and just plain impressive.

A couple more off the top of my head in the "just plain underrated" category: Baseketball, A Bronx Tale, State and Main and Following. And, in the "critically acclaimed but widely unseen" category: Igby Goes Down, Better Luck Tomorrow, and most recently, The Cooler.
posted by rorycberger at 5:29 PM on March 29, 2004

Well, I have to put in another good word for Boondock Saints, and I can't wait for the sequel - All Saints Day - which I believe is still in pre-production. As for underrated films which haven't been mentioned here, way at the top of my list would be Brazil. Though it recieved critical acclaim in its time, few people have even heard of it nowadays and it is absolutely incredible. It's one of those rare movies with such amazing levels of depth and detail that you're just as likely to notice something new on your 50th viewing as you are your second or third. Creative, dark, wildly funny, and just plain impressive.

Definitely one of my favourite films. I have the Criterion Edition downstairs: expensive but well worth it.
posted by The God Complex at 7:11 PM on March 29, 2004

roryc: The first time I saw Brazil, I was stoned.

Coincidentally, that's also the first and only time I understood the movie. It's been all greek to me since.

That said, it's a gorgeous movie, great stream-of-consciousness stuff, reportedly the precursor to 12 Monkeys, much like people claim the Matrix expanded upon the premise of Serial Experiments Lain.

p.s. A Bronx Tale was awesome.

Did someone mention Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead?
posted by precocious at 7:56 PM on March 29, 2004

I thought Stargate could be on the list
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 10:48 PM on March 29, 2004

I'd just like to say that I've found Equilibrium to be an incredibly polarizing film. Fans of old 50's sci-fi love the movie, and find great depth in it. Fans of later sci-fi seem to think it's a woo/matrix ripoff, which I don't see at all. They both have guns, and people in black, I suppose.

In any case, give it a try. You might hate it, but you might come out of it with a film you really enjoy.
posted by Jairus at 12:40 AM on March 30, 2004

I didn't think it was a Matrix rip off, though there are stylistic similarities. What pissed me off was that they had just combined 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, and substituted "emotion" for "books".
posted by Orange Goblin at 1:18 AM on March 30, 2004

i'm kind of surprised there are so many movies that criterion released that are on this list -- wouldn't that mean they were getting a little more love than given credit for?
posted by pxe2000 at 8:17 AM on March 30, 2004

Try again! (Talented Mr. Ripley ran circles around Bourne Identity, for one).

Maybe you're right. I haven't gotten around to seeing Ripley -- believe it or not!

But I insist that The Bourne Identity was a great spy film, for what it was. If for nothing else, I have to support them for using computer graphics so much, without anyone noticing.

A lot of the background shots were done in CG because they couldn't afford to do real location filming, but you hardly ever catch it, do you? That's what CG is for, I think.

Plus Clive Owen.

Also, it's a crime how many people Stateside have never seen Withnail & I -- I have periodic screenings, and without fail it gains fans every time, from people who had never heard of it before.

I don't think Equilibrium would have gotten made unless it had been pitched to investors as a relative of The Matrix.
posted by Hildago at 9:59 AM on March 30, 2004

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