Movies You Should Watch Because I Said So : Best of the Best, Lesser Known Gems, and Bizarre Underrated Gold (Part 1)

The long title says it all. This is basically going to be an ever expanding list of films you need to see whether they won an Oscar or have been seen by only five people. Everything included. Just straight recommendations based off what I find to be interesting and watchable. Let’s start.

 

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Easy Rider (1969)

The road movie that started all road movies. Started the American New Wave of film making and is also just fun to watch. The campfire scene with Jack Nicholson is one of my favorites.

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Harold and Maude (1971)

Seriously just one of  the best movies ever made. Harold seeks attention by staging suicide and generally being obsessed with death. Maude loves life so much that every day is an adventure. Wacky and fucking hilarious with a damn fine soundtrack.

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Absolute classic film starring one of the best actors of all time and a villain that truly makes your blood boil. So many great scenes. I can’t believe Brad Dourif didn’t become a gigantic star after this.

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Almost Famous (1996) Available on Netflix

Essential hangout movie. You could literally put this on at any point and the movie and I’d sit an watch it. It’s the first thing I think of when I hear Tiny Dancer by Elton John. Also, Kate Hudson.

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Battleship Potemkin (1925)

One of the most famous silent films of all time. The Odessa stairs sequence is historical. Pretty bloody and action filled given the year it was made. Also relatively short compared to some of the epics being made during the 20’s.

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Come and See (1985)

Absolutely haunting film about Russia’s role in WWII. The main kid actor here goes through an ordeal that would have landed filmmakers today in jail. You can literally see his face become hollow and empty as the film goes on. Beats the shit out of you and never lets up. Crazy film.

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Midnight Cowboy (1969)

One of the best acting displays of all time from Dustin Hoffman. Film has heart even though it’s technically a rated X film. Hey, also won best picture too. I’M WALKIN’ HERE.

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Rushmore (1998)

You’ll probably see nearly every Wes Anderson film on this list. Schwartzman is perfectly cast as Fischer and Bill Murray hams it up the only way he knows how. I also think the scottish kid is one of the most underrated supporting characters in Wes Anderson films. Nobody talks about him.

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Blood Simple (1985) Available on Amazon Watch Instantly

Early Coen brothers film that has SUCH A KICKASS ENDING. Great underseen noir film.

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Deliverance (1972) Available on Netflix

Jokes aside, this is a great film. Everybody will remember it for the “squeal like a pig” scene but it’s really a great example of primal instinct and the will to survive. Jon Voight is a badass.

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Memento (2000)

I think people forget how visionary Christopher Nolan was/is. The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar had serious flaws but his earlier work really proved how unique his mind really is. This film is a work of intricately sculpted art.

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Night of the Hunter (1955)

I’ve talked about this film extensively. It’s one of my favorite films of all time and to me, the most well filmed black and white ever. Charles Laughton could have given us magic but was cut down by inept critics. Now all we have is this masterpiece. What a loss to filmmaking.

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Straw Dogs (1971)

You’re going to notice a theme. I really love Dustin Hoffman. Like, a lot. This film is one that doesn’t get seen often by modern audiences due to its, well, horrific nature. Not for the faint of heart. This film really accelerated the home invasion films of the 80s.

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Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

John Carpenter gem that takes a back seat to The Thing (For good reason albeit) but is still fucking badass and entertaining. Spawned a shit remake but the original has so much more going for it.

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Cache (2005)

My favorite Michael Haneke film and therefore one of my favorite films of all time. The minimalist approach that has made Haneke famous is in full force here as we get long lingering shots that only pump up the mystery and dread of what is already a creepy as plot. Unsettling.

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Das Boot

Makes you seriously wonder how they were able to film such intense and faced paced scenes while filming in such tight spaces. Epic game of cat and mouse that looks great on the directors cut blue ray that came out a few years ago. They don’t make submarine movies often, but when they do they always pale in comparison to this.

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Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

Ahhh that glorious time right before Iron Man where Robert Downey Jr. was still kind of not a big deal. To me, this may be the best buddy cop movie of all time. Perfect chemistry between RDJ and Val Kilmer. I always wished for a sequel but in a way we kind of got that with The Nice Guys coming out this year. That’s another film that needs to be seen by the way.

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Play Misty For Me (1971)

Vastly underrated Clint Eastwood film about a crazy bitch who really really digs listening to Clint play late night sex songs on the radio. It’s actually the first film that Eastwood directed and it shows a bit what the film is very tense and full of WOAH THIS BITCH PSYCHO moments.

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Wild At Heart (1990)

Probably the most underseen and underrated David Lynch film. I had a ball with this. It has crazy violence, Nicolas Cage acting like a nutcase like always, and Willem Dafoe being super creepy which is something because Willem Dafoe is already super creepy.

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Death Race 2000 (1975)

This movie is goddamn ridiculous. For those of you wondering, and I’m sure you are, yes, that is a picnic layed out with a fake baby packed with dynamite with a speeding race car heading towards it because running over pedestrians during this crazy race gets you more points. Those burgers look great by the way. David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone are in this and the cars are just so 70s. Seriously a camp classic.

 

PART TWO COMING SOON

 

 

 

 

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Film Review : Anomalisa (2015)

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IMDB Score – 7.3

Rotten Tomato Score – 92%

Metacritic Score – 88%

Directed By – Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson

Starring – David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tom Noonan

A man crippled by the mundanity of his life experiences something out of the ordinary.

Well, now I’m depressed.

I’ve always been perplexed and intrigued by the work of Charlie Kaufman. I always thought he was able to get down to the reality of what makes us human and what drives our emotions. I didn’t understand Synecdoche, New York but actually purchased a DVD of it in order to dive into it more. I have yet to do that. I’ve seen Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind once each and while I found each of them incredibly daring and inventive, there has always been something holding me back from repeat viewings. Anomalisa will most likely join that group as I honestly don’t feel a need to see it again even though I took a lot away from it. It’s a polarizing film but ultimately a very important one.

I’ve struggled with depression and issues with apathy my whole life so the aspect of the film where every looks exactly alike and sounds exactly the same hit a chord. The use of Tom Noonan’s voice for every single character besides the main two was a brilliant move from the get go but adding the fantastic Tom Noonan to play that part was just wonderful to me. He was able to really sell each and every person as a mundane boring entity who almost attack Michael Stone with the challenge of remaining engaged and interested. Have we not all felt like that at one point or another? How many conversations do we have where we completely forget afterwards because of how routine and robotic they are? I felt the mans pain. I also think that part of the reason he was so out of touch with life is because of how selfish he was. This is something I can relate to and is the main culprit for making me feel a bit shitty after the viewing. Michael is battling himself so much that every person he comes in contact with is at the mercy of his own emotions. It’s something I’ve done for years as I try to figure out my purpose and role in life. It’s not fair to others to constantly have to hold the hand of somebody who has no idea what they want out of life. I thought the film hit that theme perfectly, honestly, and without holding anything back. It may be a reason why I feel shitty but it’s also a great takeaway from a film. I like feeling something tangible after seeing a film.

The film is also extremely intimate. We’re witnessing some very real and very personal experiences in this film. It doesn’t surprise me that the most intense and intimate moments in this film are when either one of the characters, and also both at the same time, are literally stripping away the walls we keep up to protect ourselves. The film uses the bare body a lot to kind of show how fragile and private some people are. The sex scene in the film was almost too realistic to watch. I felt like I really didn’t have a place to be there with these two characters, which is kind of funny considering they were animated. It really was a job well done by both directors to portray such a moment like that in the style in which they did.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending, which was almost as bleak as the entire film, but it’s something that left a lasting impression. Do some people have a special ability to attach themselves to other people and never lose interest or love, or do people have exciting and wild first encounters that die out emotionally and we’re left with routine and robotic relationships? It kind of reminds me of a quote from the Fincher film Zodiac. Robert Graysmith’s obsession had gone down an unstoppable path and his wife has had enough. She says it was basically “a first date that never ended”. That quote stuck with me. I think some people struggle with maintaining the passion and exciting feelings they have when they first meet somebody who stimulates them. Those feelings fade and they’re constantly trying to either recapture them or find meaning in something else. My issues are a bit different than that but I feel it’s the main theme of Anomalisa and I couldn’t help but relate to them.

I’m still depressed though. A bleak film sometimes leaves bleak aftershocks. Yet it’s definitely a window into some of the less talked about but very real emotions that a large number of people deal with. I loved the honesty and intimacy  of the film and I hope that Charlie Kaufman doesn’t take eight more years to give us another film.

4.5/5

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I’m Back

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After much travelling and adventuring, I am back. I’m working at the bookstore and trying to find a better paying job. There will be down time. So, I’ve decided to come back to you all. Posts will follow. I’m actually thinking of doing a very large multi-part segment feature numerous movie recommendations as I am quite broke and won’t be getting to the cinema much.

So look out for that. Thanks.

WARNING! Do NOT watch the Southpaw trailer.

The trailer for Southpaw recently came out. Do NOT watch it. Antoine Fuqua’s new film about a boxer played by the incredible Jake Gyllenhaal features one of the worst trailers I have ever seen. Want to know everything that happens in the film? Well then go ahead, watch the movie. They literally paint the entire three acts in the nearly three minute long trailer.

WHAT THE FUCK? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS STUDIOS?

This serves as a warning. I know you people. I know you love film as much as I do and like to go into a film blank as to actually experience the film. This trailer is fucking insulting. I feel myself going into a giant tirade about this, and honestly, fuck that. I’m not letting this shit get the best of me.

Don’t watch the trailer. Just don’t. If you have any interest in seeing the film, skip it.

I’m done with trailers.

The Netflix List : Overlooked Films and Hidden Gems (TV Included)

I’m going to assume that about 95% of the people who read film articles online have some sort of streaming service in their homes. I’d say the most common service would be Netflix. How could it not? I think standard streaming service is what, eight bucks a month? That’s still one of the best things you can buy. I plan to cut my cable bill in half in two weeks by getting rid of cable TV. Why? It’s not needed anymore. If I want to watch a certain show I can always just stream it on my own but most services like Hulu or Amazon have day after television streaming. There’s just no need for cable anymore. With that luxury however comes one burning question.

What the fuck am I going to watch?

With thousands of titles at your fingertips, the frustrating dilemma of having too many options comes up. It happens to me all the time. I have like 400 titles in my queue and some nights I can’t pick one out of the bunch. I’ve also run into the problem where some streaming services don’t give you access to every single title. They give you genres and about 50 titles to choose from and that’s it. This list is designed to help make you aware of some of the hidden films and television shows that you otherwise can’t find browsing your Netflix app.

Sound of Noise

Fun little film from Sweden about anarchists who terrorize their city with music. Unique film that while being a bit surreal, manages to keep the gimmick fresh with new “movements”.

It’s Such a Beautiful Day

Remember that cartoon that you showed your friends ten years ago? It was a Don Hertzfeld cartoon where stick figures did bizarre things? “My spoon is too big!” Yeah, he’s back with a new film and it’s much of the same. Strangely funny and completely Hertzfeld.

The Fall (TV Series)

This one may not be so hidden now that Jamie Dornan became everybody’s favorite woman abuser. I hated the last ten minutes of the second season but the whole series intrigued me because we know from day one who the killer of these women are. The POV switch from our killer to our detective was well done and features some nice direction.Plus, Scully is in it. YAY SCULLY!

Whitewash

Cool little film about a man who kills a guy driving his snow plow drunk and just decides “Whelp, I guess I’m living in the woods now”. Quiet and funny. Also boasts one of the best final lines ever.

We Are What We Are

I’ve been championing this film since I saw it two years ago. It’s about a strict religious father raising his two daughters in a town that has had multiple missing people over the years. It’s one of my favorite horror films and it doesn’t utilize barely any jump scares. That’s how you know it’s good. The performances are amazing. The ending is amazing. The direction is amazing. I love it.

Top of the Lake (TV Series)

Excellent police drama with Elizabeth Moss from Mad Men and Peter Mullan from British stuff that is awesome. Lots of small town secrets and lots of beautiful shots constructed by Jane Campion. I usually never here anybody talking about this.

Gimmie The Loot

I love this film. Nothing really happens. It’s just the day in the life of two friends in New York City. The two actors are fantastic although they are pretty much unknown. Great for a day in bed while it’s raining. I love hangout movies.

Gasland

Yeah, that’s a guy lighting his water on fire. This documentary attacks fracking companies who drill for natural gas, poisoning the ground and water supply of nearly a quart of the country in the process. A bit bias, but still eye opening.

Let The Fire Burn

One of the most compelling documentaries I’ve ever seen. Tells the story of the standoff between the Philadelphia police department and the MOVE movement, a group of African American people who basically live off the grid, but in the middle of Philly. It’s something that I’ve never even heard about until I saw the film. I don’t think the authorities wanted this story to be told.

Code Unknown

Little know Michael Haneke film that weaves three stories together. Like all Haneke films, it is bleak, slow, and completely unapologetic. The scene with Julliete Binoche on the subway is tense.

The Hunter

Great thriller involving the always amazing Willem Dafoe. The film boasts some serious landscape photography and some brutally realistic scenes. Hell, I’ll watch just about anything with Willem Dafoe and this one features him in nearly every scene.

Poetry

Honestly one of the most heartbreaking films I’ve ever seen. Jeong-hie Yun gives a once in a decade performance as an elderly woman on the verge of Alzheimer’s who unwillingly gets involved in a situation with her grandson, a situation that involves a crime. I was speechless after seeing it.

Exam

I love films set in one location. This one is tense and mysterious and is set all in one room. The subjects are there for a job interview and must take a test in order to show what skills they have. Here is the premise…

“There is one question before you, and one answer is required. If you try to communicate with myself or the guard, you will be disqualified. If you spoil your paper, intentionally or accidentally, you will be disqualified. If you choose to leave this room for any reason, you will be disqualified. Any questions?”

It’s neat.

Kill List

Easily one of my favorite thriller/horror films of the last ten years. It’s a brutal, brutal film. The violence only gets crazier and crazier and it culminates with one of the scariest and jaw dropping endings I’ve ever seen. Come here little bunny, it’s going to get cold. I’m taking your coat off your back..

Swimming With Sharks

Classic Kevin Spacey being a dick. I think the guys who made Horrible Bosses saw this movie and wanted the exact same character. Great film that doesn’t get enough recognition about a guy who has had enough of his douche boss.

Better Off Ted (TV Series)

Vastly overlooked series that got cancelled after two seasons. Fans of Arrested Development and Scrubs should like this one. Portia DeRossie basically plays Lindsey Bluth in this so you really can’t go wrong.

Super

Remember that little superhero movie last summer called Guardians of the Galaxy? The guy that directed it, James Gunn, also directed this little movie that came out the same year as Kick-Ass and is a thousand times better. It takes the makeshift superhero motif and really fucks with it.

Get Low

You can’t go wrong with Robert Duvall and Bill Murray. I love this movie. Tells the story of a backwoods loner who plans his own funeral and also plans to attend it, alive.

Below

I like submarine movies. I like ghost movies. This is a submarine ghost movie. Darren Aronofsky actually helped write this thing and it shows. Some of the story is actually very unsettling and we get to see Bruce Greenwood be awesome. Definitely not going to be liked by everybody but I think it’s fun.

Trollhunter

Easily the best found footage film I’ve seen. Don’t read anything about this. Just watch it. It sounds stupid, I know. Trust me, it’s not. TRRROOOOOOOOOOLLLLL!!!!