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28.8.11

Top 10 Most Overlooked Films of All Time

Since it's the beginning of the Long Holiday here in the archipelago, we've retreated to the LFS World Headquarters, deep in the jungles of Borneo.  In order to survive the wilds, we are swilling bathtub gin, burning Mother Jungle, slathering our delicate skin with mud to fight dengue fever, and soaking in the savory smell of bar-b-qued monkey meat and fried bananas.

Same ole same ole.

Being the egotistical numbnut that we are, we decided it would be fun to share our movie selection for the Holiday.  Funny how names like Connery, Crichton and Perlman show up repeatedly on this list.  If you're an aspiring movie mogul, you might want to avoid these names.

Since Obama is doing golf and reading fiction on the Vineyard, we're gong one better by watching some of our all-time favorites and playing tonsil hockey with our four wives.  Of course, we can only occupy one of them at a time, because someone has to pedal the generator to keep the TeeVee and internet going.  So warm up the NetFlix and settle in for some prime flickery (I made that up, so don't forget where you got it).

10. The Driver (1978) - Walter Hill wrote and helmed this gem, starring Bruce Dern at his sneering best as a flee-bitten detective trying to catch Ryan O'Neal, who's a getaway driver.  It becomes a battle of wits as the two try to out-maneuver each other in a tense cross/double-cross story.  Good acting, good story and great late night fare.  One of our perennial favorites.

9, The Prestige (2006) - This is Nolan brothers product and it shows.  Great story that takes us places we never see.  It's entertaining, suspenseful and really well acted.  It teams Christian Bale and Michael Caine of Barman fame, with Hugh Jackman of mutant fame.  David Bowie takes a spin as Nikola Tesla in a very interesting role.  This one's got more twists than Nadia Kominska and was virtually invisible when it was released.  Many real gems are...

8. Quest for Fire (1981) - This one got a little attention back when, mostly because Rae Dawn Chong is stark, shivering naked throughout the whole movie.  It features our vote for most overlooked actor, Ron Perlman, in the first role I can remember seeing him in.  There's no dialogue that's intelligible, which is why so many folks overlook it, but it's a damn fine movie and very well done.  It's a French film by Jean-Jacques Annaud, which is another reason it's so overlooked, but even the Frogs score one every now and then (can you say La Femme Nikita).  We love this flick when our inner caveman needs a little boost.

7. Suspicion (1941) - This is probably Alfred Hitchcock's best overlooked film, and with Cary Grant and Joan Fountaine as his cattle, it's hard to go wrong.  Cary's at his dashing best as a ne'er-do-well rogue with a gambling problem.  He woos Joan into marrying him, but she soon finds out his true inner-self.  She starts down the road to wild paranoia, and we have no idea what is coming.  By the end of the flick, she's convinced even the way he blinks means he's going to kill her for her money.  Heck, just the scene with Cary bringing a glass of milk up the stairs makes your skin crawl (there's a flashlight in the glass to make it glow).  The scene driving up a mountain road is classic, as well.  This film stands the test of time with good story and oodles of suspense.


6. A Fish Called Wanda (1988) - Charles Crichton conducts an all-star symphony of comic capers in this true gem of a flick.  This is probably Kevin Kline's most memorable role (love the boot sniffing) and John Cleese nails the stuffy, middle-aged barrister.  Michael Palin's hapless assassin will keep you gasping for breath.  This is actually one of those films we have watched twice back-to-back, it's that good.

5. The Swimmer (1968) - Almost no one remembers this flick.  It's got Burt Lancaster (we should all look this good at 52) rippling and flexing his way through a series of swimming pools as he decides to swim across suburban Southern California on his way home.  Behind the scenes, it was a mess, with a couple of directors (including Sydney Pollock) warming the God Seat.  On-screen, it's John Cheever's great short story brought to life, perfectly capturing the angst of the WWII generation, as they faced aging and the eternal question, "Is this all there is?"  Burt's character is revealed through a series of vignettes in a truly unique plot device.  This is one of those 'thinker' movies, and well worth the Friday night in front of the Toob.  And as our generation gets older, it's good to see those in front of us had the same thoughts and fears.  Waaaay overlooked!

4. Looker (1981) - Michael (Jurassic Park) Crichton spins another 'evil media' flick in the vein of Network and Videodrome, with some heavy-weight talent...Albert Finney and James Cobern.  Finney is a surgeon who gets tangled up in a mystery after his supermodel patients start kicking the bucket.  What he discovers is pretty much what we all take for granted in TeeVeeLand today, so it will make you think twice about what you're watching, and how you're being manipulated.  See if you don't spot seeds for things like the memory eraser in Men in Black  Great flick!

3. The Name of the Rose (1986) - There's a good reason why this is one of our favorites.  Jean-Jacques Annaud weasels his way on the list a second time by making what we consider one of the great flicks that no one remembers.  He brought Ron Perlman with him to create one of the strangest characters we've ever seen.  And that's saying a lot, especially when it comes to a flick full of strange characters, with Sean Connery and Christian Slater playing Holmes and Watson Do the Middle Ages, in monk's robes.  It really is a great mystery story with lots of history sprinkled liberally around the set.  It's also got a really hot 'love scene' with the 15-year-old Slater in his big debut.  It's also were we discovered his habit of leaving his mouth open for two hours...check it out in any Slater flick.  F. Murray Abraham (Texas boy)  plays a real-life Inquisitor named Bernardo Gui, who will make your skin crawl.  You'll watch this more than once.

2. Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) - Claude Rains.  Vivien Leigh.  Bernard Shaw.  Nuff said.  Shaw even wrote the screenplay for this.  One of our favorites.  We've even played the character Britannus on stage.  The grandfatherly Julius Caesar falls for the lively and juvenile Cleopatra.  Features Shaw's wry pokes at society and his signature comedic play on manners with battling Titans.  I never see this flick on a list anywhere, so this is true overlooked material.  Especially considering the sheer tonnage of screen talent running though this one.  High quality.

1. Time Bandits (1981) - One of the most overlooked directors teams with one of the most overlooked film producers to create on of the finest overlooked films of all time.  Terry Gilliam not only fills the God Seat, he redesigns it.  This flick literally has it all.  A group of dwarves steals the Supreme Bering's Map of Everything and go on a trans-dimensional crime spree.  They pick up a kid along the way and the story is through his eyes.  Its a fantasy set in reality that appeals to any generation who watches it.  David Warner's Evil Genius is sheer talent, as is Ralph Richardson's Supreme Being.  George Harrison (Beatles) produced this shining cinematic jewel.  The masterful creativity that Gilliam brings to his products makes his filmography one of the most overlooked work of all time.  His films are like Truth, they are eternal, and his stories tell more reality than reality TeeVee, without showing reality at all.  If you are faced with an empty day (Gawd willing n da crick don't raz), then order up a Gilliam film festival.  It'll leave you gob-smacked.
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So, there you are.  It took us as long to write this list as it will take to watch it.  We did it all for you, dear reader.  Oh, and how could we forget our runner-up overlooked flick: Amadeus.  Just watch it.  Preferably as a double-feature with The Name of the Rose.  Two great F. Murray Abraham performances.

We're off to entertain the wives now.  We have our legal bag limit of four, so it keeps us hopping over here on the Far Side.  We'll keep bringing you top-notch content like this, as long as we can keep the LFS satellite tasked.

Selamat Lebaran!

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