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Mostly-forgotten films

Cinematic Happenings Under Development has a list of 100 mostly-forgotten films that’s worth a scan. Reading through the list is fun: Saw that one … hated this one … should see that one again … missed that one. A select few good entries from the list:

  • In the Mouth of Madness: We rented an awful lot of movies during my summers in Walla Walla, and this was one of them. Has some truly creepy moments (an old crone riding a bicycle on a lonely road at night is a lot scarier than it sounds).
  • Equilibrium: The back-story of the film isn’t very original (In a dystopian future in which art and emotion are made illegal so as to preserve social order, a special breed of cop hunts down and terminates deviants with prejudice. The film seems heavily influenced by This Perfect Day as much as by Fahrenheit 451.), but the sterile city and its post-holocaust surroundings are imagined vividly. There’s some dorky computer graphics but also some snappy (and surprisingly violent) fight choreography. However, the ending is dumb. Stay for the final fight sequences, but quit when our hero enters the control room.
  • Nothining to Lose: Better let the CHUD guys talk about this one: “Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence as a comic duo either sounds like brilliance or the catalyst for Armageddon and thankfully Nothing to Lose hits closer to the former.”
  • Top Secret: What, this is one the list? Doesn’t everybody already know that it’s funny?
  • Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead: I have a friend who passionately hates Andy Garcia and everything he stands for. This is a movie that I liked, but was disliked intensely by others with whom I saw it. Now that someone on the web whom I have never met agrees with me, I am redeemed. Besides, Warren Zevon’s song of the same name is good, so that’s quality by association, right?
  • A Midnight Clear: This is a great movie about a group of young soldiers sent to establish a post in an abandoned house in the wintertime. Great performances and beautiful photography.
  • The Tailor of Panama: Another film staunchly disowned by everyone who saw it with me. And by “staunchly” I really do mean in the strongest terms possible. I think the words, “You never get to choose the movie again” were invoked. Several times. Still, I liked it right up until the ending, which sucked—I think there must have been more there that was removed in editing. The result is a choppy, abrupt ending that didn’t match with the preceding buildup.

The list isn’t all good, I think. The inclusion of Point Break (Swayze contamination), The Edge (just didn’t buy it), A Knight’s Tale (huh?), and Breakdown (Kurt Russel without Goldie Hawn?) raise some concern. Still, the guys at CHUD are enthusiastic, so check out the list, as there are some definite gems there, and some stuff I’d like to go and find.