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Best Movies You’ve Never Seen4 min read

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Joe Carter at First Things has another nice movie list, 100 Most Overrated/Underrated Films.  Here’s my list of great movies that most people have missed:
  • A Life Less Ordinary (1997) – ALLO is a stylish and strange romantic comedy with stellar performances from everyone, including Ewan McGregor, Cameron Diaz, Delroy Lindo, and Holly Hunter as the tobacco-chewing, tough-chick angel.
  • Brainstorm (1983) –  Brainstorm, starring Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood (her last movie), and Louise Fletcher (remember Kai Winn from DS9?), has both a fantastic screenplay and acting.  Fletcher’s heart-attack scene is amazing and powerfully done, and this movie is just plain cool. Interesting to see special effects before they were developed.
  • The Cell (2000) – The Cell is visually stunning, and Vincent D’Onofrio’s villainous serial killer is masterful.
  • The Commitments (1991) – what happens when a bunch of white Irish kids from Dublin start a soul band? Awesome music, that’s what. That guy who plays the lead singer? He was 16 when that movie was filmed. Unbelievable.
  • Double Take (1998)- a light but intelligent and funny identity-switch comedy with Orlando Jones and Eddie Griffin – with some great music to boot.
  • ExistenZ (1999)- This low budget David Cronenburg film asks the question, “What happens when you can’t tell the game world from the real world?”  It’s got a little too many gratuitous squishy noises and grossness, but nice job by Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and great cameo by Willem Defoe.

  • The Final Cut (2004) – This sci-fi thriller starting Robin Williams takes place in a setting where memory implants make it possible to record entire lives. Williams plays a professional who specializes in editing the memories of unsavory people into uncritical memorials that are played at funerals.
  • Final Fantasy (2001) – most of you geeks have already seen this movie, but I missed it in the theaters because I thought it was just a video game movie like Mortal Combat.  Boy was I wrong!  Even though this film was made “back in” 2001, it has some of the most impressive computer-animated humans ever seen on screen.  Beautiful animation and good space adventure story.
  • Ghost World (2001) – This adaptation of a graphic novel about two girls whose friendship diverges is interesting to me because of the secondary character of Seymour, played by Steve Bucheme, a recluse who shares his love of jazz records with one of the girls. Neat.
  • Leap of Faith (1992) – Steve Martin plays this serious role as a fake healing evangelist who travels the country. Awesome gospel music throughout (Mahalia Jackson! and others directed by Edwin Hawkins). Also starring Liam Niesen and Debra Winger.
  • Max (2002) – this Nazi-era drama is a very unique treatment of Hitler.  It stars John Cusack as a German Jewish art dealer who has a young artist named Adolph who is trying to get his paintings noticed in Cusack’s gallery.  His failure in art makes him decide to use “politics as his art.”  Some Jewish organizations did not like this movie because it “humanized” Hitler, and it does, not by excusing his decisions, but giving us a somewhat fictional but fascinating and different look at Hitler.
  • Monsoon Wedding (2001) – Forget My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Monsoon is a funny and poignant masterpiece of the wedding genre.
  • The Nativity Story (2006) – the way this film humanizes Joseph and Mary and their trials is nicely done.
  • One True Thing (1998) – William Hurt, Meryl Streep, and Renee Zellweger star in this drama of a dying mother, a college-age daughter coming home to care for her, and a philandering husband. The scene in which the daughter confronts her mother because she does nothing about her husband’s obvious dalliances is amazing.
  • The Station Agent (2003) – this quirky comedy drama about three unusual people who form a friendship is as charming as it is unusual. Worth a look.
  • The Tao of Steve (2000) – this philosophic, low-budget romantic comedy is smart and funny. What happens when a cynic falls in love?
  • That Thing You Do (1996) – Tom Hanks wrote, directed, and starred in this awesome film about a late 60’s band who had one hit. If you love music, you’ll love this. Trust me.