By Popular Demand: Are There Any Films You Love Whose Unpopularity Or Relative Obscurity You Cannot Fathom?
I'm quite surprised by the overwhelming response to a post of mine that I thought rather quotidian. I seem to have struck a nerve.
When I asked, "Are There Any Highly Regarded Films Whose Popularity You Cannot Fathom?", I deliberately refrained from phrasing the question in the usual way, i.e., "Which films are the most overrated?" because I wanted to avoid hearing folks repeat something they read once in a film guide or in a movie critic's retrospective. I wanted to hear about the films that the rest of the world seems to love, but that the commenter just doesn't "get", that doesn't "grab" him, that bores him, that leaves him cold. As some have noted, this can reveal something interesting about the dissenter.
There have been requests to open a thread on the most underrated films. But, again, allow me to pose the question in a slightly different way: Which are some films that you have discovered and treasure, and yet have not found a large audience or great acclaim? We're less interested in hearing about how, contrary to the critics' opinions, you found Porky's 3 hysterical, and more interested in hearing about the real gems that got lost in the shuffle of the marketplace but that touched you deeply or entertained you immensely--and why.
For me, a good example is Local Hero. It is a comedy--with broad humor at times--and yet I consider its message profound and bittersweet. (Mild spoiler ahead.) The final scene, in which Peter Riegert's character MacIntyre returns to his apartment in Houston, removes beach shells from his pockets, and calls the (empty) telephone booth in Furness, Scotland, is heartbreaking to me. It never fails to elicit moisture in the ocular region.
I believe the reason is that, the first time I saw the movie (during its theatrical release), I was undergoing a wrenching time at the end of college and the cusp of employment. I was on a trajectory toward a job in the oil business, like MacIntyre's, and I was deeply ambivalent about it. And what college student doesn't dream of forgoing a "traditional" career and instead living in a picturesque seaside town as an innkeeper, or a fisherman, or a minister, or a marine biologist who may or may not be a mermaid?