What Are Your Favorite Obscure Movies?

 

At the bottom of a webpage, between the “Actresses Who Age Badly” and “Bizarre Creatures of the Sea,” was a clickable list I couldn’t resist — “9 Great Movies You’ve Never Seen”. It turns out I had seen two of the movies, both of which I liked; the original Das Boot (with subtitles), and Fearless.  The ones I hadn’t seen were:

  • Amazon Women on the Moon
  • Swimming With Sharks
  • The Wild Blue Yonder
  • May
  • Secretary
  • Hard Eight
  • Bob Le Flambeur

Have you seen these films? If so, opinions please! What other lost gems should I be watching?

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  1. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    I recently exposed my kids to a couple Harold Lloyd movies. (“Safety Last” and “The Freshman.”) My kids are not put off by the idea of old, black and white movies, but this was their first exposure to silent movies.

    They LOVED them.

    • #31
  2. 6foot2inhighheels Member
    6foot2inhighheels
    @6foot2inhighheels

    My mother suggested Lars and the Real Girl, otherwise I probably never would have seen it, and you’re right, it is very sweet.  It’s also a sensitive portrayal of what a caring community really means.

    • #32
  3. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    I really need to see that.

    • #33
  4. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    A few more that are extremely schlocky, but it you like good bad movies, these should be on your list:

    • #34
  5. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Whenever something goes wrong, my wife and I have a habit of saying “Could be worse: could be in [expletive] Bruges!”

    • #35
  6. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Tom Meyer:
    I’ll put votes in for two wildly different and under-appreciated movies:
    In Bruges, which is about two Irish hitmen who — after a botched job — are sent to hide out in an beautiful medieval Belgian city. The older, wiser of them (Brendan Gleesen) takes the opportunity to enjoy himself, while the younger, stupider one (Colin Farrell) becomes instantly bored bored of out his skull and promptly gets the two of them into more trouble. Very funny (if you like dark humor) with a surprisingly deep take on sin and redemption.
    Persuasion was the best Jane Austen movie of the 1990s and almost nobody saw it. The adaption is nearly perfect and Amanda Root’s performance as Anne is simply something to behold. Unusually for an Austen movie, the male performances are equally strong, especially Ciarán Hinds as Wentworth and Corin Redgrave as Sir Walter.

     Not to pick on you Tom, but a claim to “dark humor” is usually a red flag for me indicating “awful”. As far as I can tell, it’s usually a justification for divergent reactions to quality. Very Bad Things is my go-to example. I was told up and down that it was dark humor, and I must not like dark humor if I didn’t like that movie. I disagree: accidentally killing a hooker (on a hook!) and covering it up and all that could be portrayed humorously and as humorful on its own terms – Very Bad Things just failed to do so (badly failed). Otherwise, good movies just claim to be funny or good full stop, without the qualifier. I’ll give In Bruges a shot based on your recommendation. Or maybe I shouldn’t; that way I can maintain my respect for you even if it turns out to be a terrible movie. ;-)

    • #36
  7. 6foot2inhighheels Member
    6foot2inhighheels
    @6foot2inhighheels

    There is great pleasure in watching movies like Buckeroo and Big Trouble about once a year with the kids, as we anticipate our favorite scenes that get a lot funnier each time.  I can’t think of Kurt Russell and lipstick without cracking up.

    • #37
  8. user_105642 Member
    user_105642
    @DavidFoster

    “O” is a retelling of “Othello,” set in an American high school and with the title character as a basketball star rather than a general. Very good, sadly neglected.

    “Little Man, What Now?” is a 1934 American movie based on Hans Fallada’s superb book about a young couple in the late-Weimar era in Germany.  Pretty well-done, but a Hollywood happy ending replaced the much darker ending of the book. Movie review.

    “Dark Blue World”…Czech fighter pilots in Britain during WWII. Review.

    • #38
  9. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Sisyphus: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Peter Weller in the part he was born for and a supporting cast that moved on to great things, especially Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, and Clancy Brown. This was dumped in theaters in its day with no publicity to speak of, but thanks to word of mouth it managed to make a little bit of money in first release. The promised sequel went up in smoke as these guys started breaking big. There is a deluxe extended version that includes edited opening scenes with Jamie Lee Curtis as Buckeroo’s mother. Make lots of popcorn and laugh at the analog modem scene. If that goes well, then you might also like Big Trouble in Little China, rumored to have been script doctored by the writer on Buckeroo. Kurt Russell is a scream as the clueless American whose heart is always in the right place. It seems that Chinese wizards are plotting to restore some potent ancestral deities to our plane, and Jack isn’t buying that line of hokum for a minute.

    In that vein I’d include Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. This too is probably more of a movie to be enjoyed with the kids than admired as great art.

    • #39
  10. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Manos: The Hands of Fate is a movie you have to see once.  You probably won’t want to see it more than that.  It’s not as obscure if you grew up watching Mystery Science Theater 3000.

    The Warriors is one I try to watch once a year.  The only word to describe it is craptacular.  It’s one of those movies where every time you see it on TV, you stop and watch the rest of it.

    • #40
  11. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    @Ed G.

    If you are at unsure about In Bruges, don’t watch it.  It was recommended to me, I watched it and I would not recommend it.

    • #41
  12. Stu In Tokyo Inactive
    Stu In Tokyo
    @StuInTokyo

    Local Hero

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh0ja-BTpbk

     (hyper link function is not working) Great movie

    • #42
  13. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Ed G.: Very Bad Things is my go-to example. I was told up and down that it was dark humor, and I must not like dark humor if I didn’t like that movie. I disagree: accidentally killing a hooker (on a hook!) and covering it up and all that could be portrayed humorously and as humorful on its own terms – Very Bad Things just failed to do so (badly failed).

    For the record, I thought Very Bad Things was disgusting, morally and otherwise.  In Bruges contains a great deal of murder, violence, and bad behavior but I think it’s ultimately redemptive.

    • #43
  14. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    Moon Zero Two (1969) and The Green Slime  (1968)

    And we have to mention Eraserhead (1977)

    • #44
  15. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Clavius:
    Moon Zero Two (1969) and The Green Slime (1968)
    And we have to mention Eraserhead (1977)

     The Green Slime! That was one of those movies I saw one glorious Saturday after the Saturday morning cartoons were over. Haven’t seen it in years, but it is perennially on my Christmas list. I’m not even sure if I’d like it anymore, but the nostalgia alone would be worth it.

    • #45
  16. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Tom Meyer:

    Ed G.: Very Bad Things is my go-to example. I was told up and down that it was dark humor, and I must not like dark humor if I didn’t like that movie. I disagree: accidentally killing a hooker (on a hook!) and covering it up and all that could be portrayed humorously and as humorful on its own terms – Very Bad Things just failed to do so (badly failed).

    For the record, I thought Very Bad Things was disgusting, morally and otherwise. ….

     Well that squares your account with me then.

    • #46
  17. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Me too. I used to love those Thanksgiving Day marathons. They still have the Stooges, and I wish they’d do more.

    Is it just that those old movies have so physically deteriorated that the film just can’t be rescued, leaving the actual movie to be unwatchable?  I can understand the resistance to colorizing them, but I’d like to see them preserved.

    • #47
  18. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    The thing that bugged me about Bruges is that the makers really seemed to have it in for Americans.  Americans were either extremely fat or ready to sue over cigarette smoke.  There was also the racist American dwarf.

    • #48
  19. Bucks County Tommy Inactive
    Bucks County Tommy
    @BucksCountyTommy

    If one likes Das Boat as much as I did, then Der Untergang (The Downfall) about the last days of Hilter is a must.

    • #49
  20. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    I say “meh” to Eraserhead.

    If you want a good David Lynch movie, you go for either The Elephant Man or The Straight Story.

    If you’re really adventurous, you can try Lynch’s short-lived foray television sitcom, On The Air.

    • #50
  21. SParker Member
    SParker
    @SParker

    Cool to see Bob le flambeur (Bob the Gambler) on the list.  It’s part of a whole mother-load of majorly enjoyable French gangster movies, many directed by J-P. Melville.  With Rififi (directed by Jules Dassin, a black-listed American) and Touchez pas au grisbi (Hands of the Loot, which has become Don’t Touch My Junk in my sad, sick mind–directed by Jacques Becker, and starring the magnificent Jean Gabin) you start to dig down.  And have a real long way to go.  Like them or not,  you get to say stuff like “One prefers pre-Nouvelle Vague (new wave) French cinema, of course.”  Just be sure to mention Rene Clair, and you’re set poser-cineaste-wise–although who’ll be impressed is anybody’s guess (along with how you do diacritics in R2.0). The hot tips there are the very fine comedies A nous la liberte (Freedom for Us)–and where are my accents grave and acute?– and Le million.

    • #51
  22. user_1016010 Inactive
    user_1016010
    @FireEverything

    “Don’t say nest, don’t say egg”…Lost in America is a must see.

    • #52
  23. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    And, it features a young Peter Capaldi, one of my favourite British actors (and the next Doctor Who).

    (Dear Ricochet 2.0, if yer gonna get rid of nesting comments, then you also gotta get rid of the “reply” button.)

    • #53
  24. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    BastiatJunior:
    The thing that bugged me about Bruges is that the makers really seemed to have it in for Americans. Americans were either extremely fat or ready to sue over cigarette smoke. There was also the racist American dwarf.

     That I concede.

    • #54
  25. Anna M. Inactive
    Anna M.
    @AnnaM

    Great post – lots of good suggestions that will keep me in Friday-night movies for the next month or so!  Some weird and obscure films that I’ve enjoyed:

    C’était un Rendezvous / 1976; Claude Lelouch – a nine-minute film (yes, nine minutes) that consists almost entirely of onboard footage from a Ferrari 275 GTB barreling through the streets of Paris at top speed on an early weekend morning; no special effects, and filmed entirely without police permission or cooperation (could never be done today!)

    The Fourth Protocol / 1987; Pierce Brosnan and Michael Caine – excellent adaptation of a Forsyth Cold War spy novel

    Drop Zone / 1994; Wesley Snipes, Gary Busey, and Yancy Butler – Federal marshal Snipes teams up with south Florida redneck skydivers (really!) to hunt for his brother’s killers; one of the rare Hollywood movies where rednecks are the Good Guys

    The Canterville Ghost / 1996; Neve Campbell and Patrick Stewart – based on an Oscar Wilde short story about an American family that moves into an English manor house complete with Elizabethan ghost; charming, sweet, and a good family-oriented message about love and forgiveness

    • #55
  26. user_437098 Inactive
    user_437098
    @Wick

    _170

    The Way, Way Back was the perfect summer movie from last Summer `13, yet remains obscure. It opens and closes with a painfully awkward teen in the late, lamented way-way-back of a 1970 Buick Estate Station Wagon.
    In between he spends a life-changing summer at the beach house of his Mom’s jerk boyfriend, played to loathsome perfection by a never better Steve Carell. Fortunately he gets taken under the wing of Sam Rockwell’s carefree water park manager, allowing the boy to break the bad man’s spell by learning from a good man. This avuncular triangle is composed of staggeringly strong performances from two proven moviestars and a terrific new one in Liam James. Carell, Rockwell & James — three outstanding actors.
    Along the way he meets super cute girls, more than his fair share of out-of-control adults and assorted summer vacation characters young and old. The girls are perfect bitches, except one who is way, way cool.

    More in my review>> Wick on The Way, Way Back

    • #56
  27. MikeHs Inactive
    MikeHs
    @MikeHs

    OK, mine are two foreign films: 1. The 1946 English movie, “A Matter of Life and Death” with David Niven, Kim Hunter and Roger Livesey.  A lovely humanistic (and I mean that in a good sense) movie in technicolor and B&W. 2. 1989 French movie “Life and Nothing But” (subtitled) with a great performance by great French actor Philippe Noiret.  Basically, this about how two people deal with the outcome of a long and devastating war.  It’s an anti-war movie, for sure, but given the immediate circumstances of the long trench warfare in France, understandable.

    • #57
  28. Anna M. Inactive
    Anna M.
    @AnnaM

    Oh, and one more in honor of the Mackinac Island Meet Up this summer:

    Ice Bridge: Mackinac Island’s Hidden Season / 2008 – feature-length documentary about life on Mackinac Island during the off-season; shows the islanders commuting by snowmobile and bicycle across the Straits of Mackinac when the Straits ice over, also the spring and fall transitions on the island; gorgeous photography by a husband-and-wife team who specialize in nature documentaries; good family viewing

    Be grateful that the Meet Up is in June and not January…

    • #58
  29. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Anna M.:
    The Fourth Protocol / 1987; Pierce Brosnan and Michael Caine – excellent adaptation of a Forsyth Cold War spy novel

     This is my all-time favourite spy movie.

    • #59
  30. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Not sure what counts as “obscure” but I’ll bring up Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, which is on my quite short “will watch repeatedly” list.

    • #60
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