I have a special place in my heart for the unnoticed under dog, and here, in my humble opinion, are the 10 best examples of under appreciated classics.
10. John Carter
It’s easy to see why John Carter failed initially. The marketing department really screwed the pooch in handling such amazing material, on top of Disney casting a semi-unknown for the lead of it’s $200 million dollar space epic. If anyone is truly to blame, I put it on those guys, not the artistic staff behind the film. The premise, taken from the much beloved Sci-Fi classic by William Burroughs, is that Civil War veteran John Carter is chased by some Native Americans into a cave where he loses consciousness and wakes up on an alien planet in the middle of all out war. John is able to jump higher and run faster because of the gravity, and he is used as a weapon of the rebels to stop total take over. There is also love, comedy, and tragedy all neatly wrapped in a bad ass movie. But alas, it made no money and now my hopes for it rest at the bottom on the murky, bankrupted sea.
9. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
How this film didn’t go onto make a crap load of sequels is really beyond me. I understand that the source material is very precious and has a huge fan base, however, I firmly think that it is a really funny film. All the cast is charming, the direction is perfect, and it’s an insane amount of fun. It’s a shame we might never ever see something like this again.
Alexander Payne is one of my favorite directors currently working in Hollywood. Election was a film I watched in class when I was a freshman in college. It’s a really great example of a dark comedy with characters so real that it’s almost embarrassing. The kiss-ass class president, the jock, the scumbag teacher, and pretty much any other archetype you want to list make an appearance here. It’s a ridiculously solid and strange blend of comedy and almost horror. If you haven’t seen this film, do yourself a favor and pick it up.
I actually had this on VHS when that was still a thing. Rounders tells the gritty underbelly side of the Texas Hold ‘Em scene as we follow Matt Damon’s Mike from nothing to something. This is a real treat of a film, and while it is slow and deliberate in pacing, it’s a very good character study. Check it out.
6. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang
Shane Black’s jet black comedy Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang is easily one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. It reinvented Robert Downey Jr. and in my opinion, is the main reason he landed Iron Man. It’s quick witted, absolutely hilarious, and tells a really great noir detective story. I really hope they get around to making another film like this, because it’s such a good property that shouldn’t go to waste. Also, Val Kilmer is shows off his comedy chops here and it’s really something you gotta see to believe.
5. Office Space
There was a time in the 1990’s when Mike Judge ruled the world. Beavis and Butthead was that show that your parents never let you watch, but you would always sneak away and risk getting caught. It was a fresh stab into the vein of comedy, and even as a 14 year old, I knew something was really different about it. So it comes as no surprise that Judge’s first foray into feature length live action cinema should be anything less than the top cult comedy ever made. Office Space isn’t just funny, it’s kind of mind blowing. It’s one of those films that takes a good 10 views before you finally really understand all the comedy happening in it. I recently watched it again, after not seeing it for about five years or so, and it not only stands the test of time, but it’s even funnier as a working adult. If you’re ever having a case of the Mondays, you should really take time to watch Office Space.
4. Glengarry Glen Ross
There’s this moment in Glengarry Glen Ross, after the big climax of the film, when Al Pacino’s Ricky Roma explodes into a tirade at the sheer stupidity of Kevin Spacey’s John Williamson that I actually started clapping. I was alone, in my apartment, clapping at a movie in my robe. That’s what this movie is. I can’t really give anything away, and I wouldn’t dare try to to justice by half assing the plot, but suffice to say that this film is incredible. First, let’s just look at the cast: Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Jack Lemmon, and Alec Baldwin. Those are your key players. It’s written with a sharp knife point by David Mamet (which his play of the same name won the Pulitzer for) and it has the atmosphere of every insane film noir from the 1940s only with way more cursing. This is an essential film to view.
3. They Live
I’ve already written up about how much I love this movie and you can see that article here. Just go watch it already.
2. Raising Arizona
The Coen brothers make some really good movies. In fact, if you had to pick a career of almost impeccable quality, you’d go with the Coens. Let’s just run the arsenal: Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Oh Brother Where Art Thou?, A Serious Man, The Big Lebowski, Barton Fink, True Grit, and Raising Arizona. I love all of those. Raising Arizona isn’t just a good film, it’s probably, with exception to Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, the funniest film ever made. I mean that. It’s explosively funny. It has these quirky characters in these crazy ass situations and while they might be despicable or awful, they are hilarious. Probably the best opening scene in a movie. Easily the best closing scene in a movie. It’s a glorious picture and it deserves way more credit than it ever has received.
1. The Iron Giant
My amazing wife was determined that I watch this film as she stated it would be one of my favorites. And, she was very right. The Iron Giant is a simple sci-fi story about a robot with a soul that crash lands on earth and is befriended by a wide eyed boy named Hogarth. Now while you might pass this up for being a “kid film”, well then you’d be missing out. It’s a sweet story of friendship and hope entwined with a statement on the cold war, mixed with science fiction elements of old. It’s a beautifully crafted film from beginning to end, and if you’re known to shed a few tears at the cinema, have an entire box of Kleenex handy. This is the movie I would make if I could make movies. This is the type of filmmaker I want to be. This is the reason movies were made.
So that’s my take on it, what’s yours?
Originally posted 2013-05-29 14:36:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter