Under Appreciated Movies *Spoilers*

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnRice, Aug 18, 2002.

  1. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    With all the talk about “Over Rated” films and whether anything can be over rated, I wanted to start a conversation about what we each feel is under appreciated. I figured I would avoid the term “Under Rated.”
    So, here’s the deal. I would like to hear about some films others think just aren’t generally appreciated the way they maybe should be and, more importantly, why. Where I can, I’m going to post an image or two for mine. If you want to also, go ahead, but don’t hesitate to post if you can’t use images. I know everyone will talk about whatever movies they want, but I’m really asking for mainstream ones that folks just generally don’t seem to get.
    Flatliners
    [c][​IMG] [​IMG][/c]
    [c][​IMG][/c]
    The basic theme of Flatliners has been touched on in other movies. Some of them are probably regarded even lower (Event Horizon) and some are much more highly regarded (Solaris) but I don’t think any of them gets the point across as well as Flatliners does. Once you get past the seemingly absurd sets, the main point of Flatliners is that we can’t escape from our mistakes and regrets simply with the passage of time or by pretending they never happened. In fact, the characters are all in a sort of “Hell on Earth” as a result of their past actions, intentional or not. Looking at it from that perspective, the sets suddenly don’t seem absurd at all, since their Gothic theme is distinctly hellish.
    For me, the theme is quite powerful. Don’t try to turn your back on the unpleasant parts of life, and don’t for a minute think you “got away” with cruel or selfish behavior. Eventually, it all catches up with you.
    Pleasantville
    [c][​IMG] [​IMG][/c]
    On the surface, it might seem like Pleasantville is ridiculing traditional values or the fear of change. What it is really about to me, is accepting that things should not always be the way you think you want them to be. Too much structure, as in the case of the town, is stifling, but “freedom” taken to the extreme, as in Jennifer/Mary Sue (Reese Witherspoon) is just as stifling. Of course, it also taught us that self gratification can be a fire hazard.
    [c][​IMG][/c]
    Falling Down
    That’s right. Two Joel Schumacher movies. I can’t help thinking if Falling Down hadn’t been marketed as so much of a comedy, it might be thought better of. It is a comedy, a rather dark one, but what it really is about to me is how we so quickly dispose of others when they no longer fulfill our own, often selfish needs. The phrase, “Yeah, but what have you done for me lately” comes to mind. The final scene has some particularly powerful statements. “I’m the bad guy? How did that happen? I did everything they told me to.”
    The Man in the Moon
    [c][​IMG] [​IMG][/c]
    I know, I’ve talked about it before. I just have such a passion for this one. Anyone who might have missed it, can read about it here.
     
  2. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    First of all, there will be some spoilers below, but the title of the movie is generally mentioned in the first sentance, so skip the paragraphs about films you havent seen.

    I agree with Pleasantville. One of my favorite movies period. I think what I get out of it is much the same as you do, and it just brings out a lot of emotion for me. Also, Joan Allen is just freaking HOT. However, I'm not sure about the ending of this film too. First of all, what happens to Reese Witherspoons character. There is definately a time difference between the real world and Pleasantville. The mother in the real world appears to have only been gone a few hours while the kids were gone for days, but you would have to assume that the time Witherspoons character spends at college in Pleasantville would equate to at least a couple days if not weeks or months. Isnt the mother going to think she's missing or something? Plus, she will age 4 years if she spends the whole time at Pleasentville college, and when she comes back to the real world she will look 4 years older, but will still have just graduated from high school. Maybe these issues along with the Jeff Daniels vs. William H. Macy ending scene are some of the reasons this film is under-appreciated.

    On topic of under-appreciated (specifically in its genre), I will say Pitch Black. This movie is great sci-fi, with a twist ending. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending still, and I can say it didnt end how I wish it would have. I am excited to see the prequel the are making about how Riddick got to be the way he is, and I wonder if it will shed any more light on possible interpretations of the ending of PB (ie is Riddick at all reformed, or just happy to be alive?)

    My other choice (for now, I may add more later) would be What Dreams May Come. This movie seems very under-appreciated and under viewed too. Many people just plain havent seen it. I think this film may not be as deep as it would like to have you believe, but the transformation of Robin Williams character into a father to his own children throughout the film and especially after his death, as well as the suicide theme, are very strong. The redemption of the father is a common theme in films but this one handles it well I think. If course overall, the film is depressing enough to drive a man to drink, however it has its strong points.

    Comments, suggestions and help with interpretation of the films I mentioned are welcome.
     
  3. JohnGoggan

    JohnGoggan Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd have to say that Dark City is one of my favorites that is under-appreciated. It had some of that Matrix-like concept going on well before The Matrix did. I think Kiefer Sutherland does an awesome job in this flick as the doctor -- and the ending was just right for me.
    Good stuff all around.
    - John...
     
  4. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Oooh, I like Dark City too. Very good thematically and visually.
     
  5. Carlos Mendoza

    Carlos Mendoza Stunt Coordinator

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    Quigley Down Under
    Tom Selleck plays Matthew Quigley, a master rifelman who answers an ad from an Australian rancher named Marsten (Alan Rickman) who is looking for the best long distance marksman in the world.
    After Traveling all the way to Australia, Quigley hooks up with Crazy Cora (Laura San Giacomo), whose mental illness causes her to mistake him for her husband who put her on a boat to Australia after a family tragedy.
    When Quigley discovers the real reason Marsten needs the Marksman, he makes it known that he will have no part of it.
    What follows is a tale of Revenge, Survival, Love, Tragedy, Adventure, Humor, and Action. I tell you this movie has it all! And although it does have it all, it's not the kind of movie that can't make up its mind as to what it wants to be. All of these genres work perfectly together in the telling of this story.
    Add to all this a rousing, inspirational soundtrack from Basil Poledouris, and you've got the makings of a classic. It saddens me that so few people have discovered this movie. Everyone I have "forced" to watch it has been pleasantly surprised.
    Although set in Australia, Quigley Down Under is my favorite "Western" of all time.
    "God created all Men. They say Sam Colt made 'em equal" Matthew Quigley
     
  6. Brian Kissinger

    Brian Kissinger Screenwriter

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    Alright, John, you asked for it. I think one of the greatest and most under appreciated movies in town has to be Labyrinth. I love this movie. You can dismiss it early as a 'children's" film, but that would be a mistake. This movie may have been aimed at the younger crowd, but I loved every minute of it. I loved it when I was young, when I was a teenager, and probably even more now. The movie does have great sentimental value to me, but that is put aside for this discussion. Where to begin?
    Let's start with the great Mr. David Bowie. First off his performance is incredible. He conveys such emotion with just his facial expressions. And his songs range from silly and fun, to deep and haunting. He manages to pull off comedy and drama. And to this day, he is still the Goblin King to me.
    Then we have Jennifer Connelly. She is astounding in this film. She goes from the whining daughter to stranger in a strange land to hero all in convincing fashion. And the ballroom scene is haunting. She is great.
    Then we have the real stars of the picture, the puppets. Jim Henson was a great man. He had a specific vision, and it was special spectacle. His creations in this movie are no different. Granted, they may be closer to the silliness of the Muppets than to the dramatic and visual greatness of the Dark Crystal, but they serve their purpose wonderfully. Never at any time during this picture did I think they were puppets, and not characters. Granted, many are clique'd characters, but they are done properly.
    Then we have the quotable factor. To this day, there is no picture I find myself quoting more than Labyrinth. And they may be just ordinary phrases or sentences, but the delivery of them was pure brilliance.
    And last and most important (to me) is the ability to lose yourself in your childhood. This movie takes me back to a place and time when I still believed in monsters and goblins. When I wouldn't be surprised to have my stuffed animal come to life and save me from a dire situation. When friendship was more important than anything. Life has tried to beat the child out of me (most unsuccessfully if you ask my wife) and movies like this one keep the child in me fresh. While when the movie ends, work and bills and responsibilities take their stranglehold back over me, for those two hours I was free again. And to me, that is priceless.
     
  7. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Damn, this whole thread is like my "best-of-movies-that-none-of-my-friends-have-seen" list! [​IMG] Quigley spoiler quote paraphrased.
    Quigley after wasting Rickman's character: I said I never had much use for them, I never said I couldnt shoot one.
     
  8. Michael Hall

    Michael Hall Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm going to third "Pleasantville." Probably one of my favorite films of the last five years. I'm a big fan of the older television shows, so that's what drew me in initially, but there is so much going on in the film that it makes me go back and watch it every time I get a chance. I really need to buy the DVD. [​IMG]
    My own personal nomination is for "Go." I always thought that this was a vastly underrated film, with great acting and directing. Very funny film, particuarly the scenes with Simon and his crew in Vegas:
    "Color's a state of mind Marcus."
    "You know what? You're right. Thank you Rhythm Nation." [​IMG]
    Hands down, my favorite film of 1999. I only regret not getting to see it in the theater, as it only played for a week and by the time I got around to going, it was gone.
     
  9. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I'm glad I've seen all of these.
    Dark City is a definite favorite, but it also has a rabid cult following, so it isn't as "under appreciated" to me as some others.
    What Dreams May Come definitely is one for me. I don't know why it is ridiculed as much as it seems to be. Well, actually, I think I do. It is difficult, depressing and most of all, abstract, but in the end I think it is thought provoking, moving and visually stunning.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Some of the visual stuff is pretty interesting, as well.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    In have one other of Vincent Ward's movies, The Navigator which is also quite different and interesting. Unfortunately, I don't think it is available on DVD anymore.
     
  10. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    How Green Was My Valley - I hate when this film is snubbed by film snobs because it happens to be the film that won the best picture (and director and interior cinematogrphy) oscars instead of Citizen Kane. Because they're predisposed to dislike it, is it any surprise they work overtime to harp on, and over emphasize some of the film's flaws? They never take the time to look for the good in the film, only looking for reasons to hate or ridicule it. So when How Green Was My Valley adopts a more upbeat tone, they ridicule it for being saccarine, yet from another perspective that upbeat tone is a breather for the audience; this family goes through a heck of a lot of tragedies and manages to stay together, somewhat. The scene of Huw relearning how to walk also serves as a nice counterpoint to illustrate the compassion, empathy, humanity, and tolerance of the reverand; compared to vitriolic, hateful, and unforgiving church elders. There is so much in this film: a scathing inditement of church (and community) hypocrisy and intolerance, a truly beautiful unrequited love story, a tale of stepping up and shouldering responsibility (becoming an adult), and of a family shattered by the implaccable forces of history. Theres a lot to like in this film, but too many people never give it the time of day.
    Pollyanna - The key message of the film is
     
  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Adam,

    I've never seen Pollyanna, but it occurs to me that it has more than a little in common with Jane Eyre, which I think is one of the greatest novels of all time. Of course, it lacks the "sugary sweet" aspect.
     
  12. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

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    I definitely agree with Falling Down and Pleasantville. Another film I think is pretty underrated (and I know you'll love me for this John) is A River Runs Through It . It had beautiful scenery and (Oscar-winning)cinematography, a great score, also nominated for an Oscar, and one of the best movie endings I've seen.
    Another one I think is underrated is Being There . How Peter Sellers didn't win Best Actor for his portrayal of Chance the Gardener (or Chauncey Gardener) is beyond me.
    And speaking of Robin Williams, how about Life According To Garp ?
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Charles,

    I forgot to say, as far as Mary Sue going to college goes, Pleasantville has a certain fantasy aspect to it. The way I see it is that you really aren't meant to make sense of all the logistics of that. I mean, we're talking about a movie where the main characters are transported into an old TV show. I don't like to think about it from a "sequal" point of view. It takes liberties, but it is also a fully self contained story. When the lights come up, the story is over.
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    !!!
    [c][​IMG][/c]
    [c]At that moment I knew, surely and clearly, that I was witnessing perfection.
    My brother stood before us, not on a bank of the Big Blackfoot River
    but suspended above the earth, free from it’s laws, like a work of art.
    And I knew just as surely and just as clearly that life is not a work of art
    and that the moment could not last.
    [/c]
    [c][​IMG][/c]
    [c]Each one of us will at some time in our lives look upon a loved one
    who is in need and ask the same question. “We are willing to help, Lord,
    but what, if anything is needed?” For it is true we can seldom help those
    closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give,
    or more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. So it is those
    we live with and love and should know who elude us. But we can still love
    them. We can love completely, without complete understanding.
    [/c]
    [c][​IMG] [​IMG][/c]
    [c]Then in the arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and a hope that a fish will rise.[/c]
    One fine film.
     
  15. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    John,
    True, and I guess the story line doesnt give us enough information to really make some of the inferences that I did. Maybe regardless of how long you're in Pleasentville, you dont age and only 1 or 2 hours passes in the real world. We dont know. I guess in my mind I was reconciling it with similar stories, like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as far as time and "parallel universes" go.
     
  16. HenrikTull

    HenrikTull Second Unit

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    All this talk about Falling Down made me go head and buy it. Seen it so many times I can't even count it. Michael Douglas' performance is staggering and was definitely of Oscar caliber. Also a very powerful movie with great subject matter that hit home with me.[​IMG]
     
  17. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Good list of films.
     
  18. Steeve Bergeron

    Steeve Bergeron Cinematographer

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    I guess for me that would be Logan's Run. I've always liked this movie. Maybe it has to do with the fact that this is the first movie I remember seeing in a theater. You just gotta love the story here. Everyone living happily in a domed city sealed off from the outside world. The only problem is that you have to commit "suicide" at the age of 30. Oups! Of course, they don't call it like that, but we soon find out that it's basically that. I really like the chemistry between Logan (Michael York) and the magnificent Jessica (Jenny Agutter) when they begin their journey the outside world.
     
  19. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Lew,

    I don't know if you noticed, but it is Maclean, not MacLean. They even make a point of it in the film. You also may notice that a couple of my quotes are slightly different from the film. That is because I used them as they were in the story.

    My first reacition to you mentioning Ordinary People was that it isn't under appreciated, but it occurs to me that it definitely is not appreciated on this forum. Psychologically, it is surprisingly valid, which is what appeals to me most about it. Mary Tyler Moore was a brilliant bit of casting. Choosing her for the part just makes it all that more chilling. I would say she if far from not connecting to her son, she outright punishes him for being alive. She is a truly evil character.


    Steeve,
    have you read either of the Clarke books Logan's Run is based on?
     
  20. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    I'll second How Green Was My Valley as being under-appreciated. It's definitely one of John Ford's best films.
    My under-appreciated movie:
    One False Move
    A very good modern film noir starring Bill Paxton and directed by Carl Franklin, One False Move doesn't have any deep meaning - it's your conventional film noir with nasty villains and a flawed central character. Billy Bob Thornton co-wrote the screenplay with Tom Epperson and stars as Ray Malcolm, one of a pair of brutal drug dealers who commit a vicious mass murder as the movie opens. Ray and his accomplice, the icy cold Pluto (Michael Beach), go on the run with Fantasia (Cynda Williams), Ray's black girlfriend, who talks them into holing up in her and Ray's hometown of Star City, Arkansas. All the while, the trio is trailed by a pair of world-weary L.A. detectives (Earl Billings and Jim Metzler) who believe the three are heading to Star City to hide out with Ray's uncle. The real reason however, is that Fantasia wants to see her young son. Arriving in Star City ahead of the villains, the two detectives reluctantly join forces with the naive but enthusiastic sheriff of Star City, Dale "Hurricane" Dixon, played by Bill Paxton. After meeting Hurricane, they are alternately bemused and irritated by his eagerness to aid in the capture of such notorious criminals, though they also envy his insular small town world that is relatively free of such evil. But unknown to the detectives is that Dale has a secret - one that involves Fantasia, and one that will greatly complicate matters.
    Carl Franklin directs One False Move with a sure hand and Paxton is very good as are Billings and Metzler. Why this film isn't better known is beyond me. It may not be a classic, but it's at least a very good film and holds true to the tenets of film noir while adding a twist that probably would have been taboo back in the day. Check it out! [​IMG]
     

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