Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Movies You Haven't Seen

Editor's Note: Every Tuesday, I will publish a completely arbitrary top ten list. I do this because it generally draws more traffic to a website by stimulating well-reasoned discussion on important topics affecting our everyday lives. All of these lists are based on at least one hour of research.

Before making bold statements about certain movies being "the best" or whether or not you have viewed them, I think it may be best to reveal my research methods. First of all, I scientifically brainstormed a list of twenty movies I really like that I've never heard anyone else talk about. I then stepped into my laboratory, where I did a quick-and-dirty IMDB search for how many users had reviewed the movies. To my surprise, people had actually watched these movies. Apparently, they just weren't talking to me about them. Those movies that had the most ratings were removed from the list to reduce the likelihood that you'd seen them. The remaining ten were arranged in ascending order based on how much I like them and their social significance. Now, I can show you the goddamn list.

10. Myra Breckinridge (1970)

 Based on a novel by Gore Vidal, Myra Breckinridge is about a dude named Myron who goes through a sex-change operation to become the title character (played by Raquel Welch). She then moves to Hollywood with the hopes of becoming a star (or at least getting half of her uncle's estate, which is rightfully hers through inheritance.) This movie is campy as all hell and smartly-written. Mae West's performance as saucy septuagenarian acting agent is marvelous, and you may recognize one of her clients as an unmustachioed Tom Selleck.

9. The Lifestyle (1999)
The Lifestyle is probably the most obscure movie on this list. It is a documentary about swingers in America. They visit swingers nights held at private residences, where everyone brings a dish to pass and makes sexual jokes about the phallic meats. They talk to people who had bad experiences with the lifestyle (hint: they were younger than everyone.) And, they go to a swingers convention. That being said, the movie is full of ugly old people having sex. One finds himself wondering what might have to go wrong in his life for him to end up with a room devoted solely to gang bangs, which are talked about in an eerily nonchalant way. I've viewed this movie three times...mostly because I wanted to see how others would react to it. It's always eyes glued to the screen with a disgusted look glued to the face.

8. Jubilee (1978)
The best adjective for Jubilee is "punk rock." It is a near-futuristic look at Britain in which nihilism, feral kids, and murder are commonplace. This is another campy film. It is full of bad acting and is fairly confusing at times. But, the music is pretty entertaining, and the imagery is striking. And, call me an activist, but I enjoy movies that try to get the viewer to recognize that we, as a human race, are on a highway to hell or a train to nowhere (maybe a monorail to North Korea?)

7. Parents (1989)
Growing up, my dad would grill up a metric shit-ton of meat each night, and I'd gobble it right up. Then, one night, they thought it would be a good idea to show their ten-year-old a movie about parents who made their kid eat human meat harvested from cadavers at the father's work. I continued to eat massive amounts of meat after watching the movie. Now that I have a ten-year-old, I purchased this movie and made him watch it. Kids are so trusting.

6. Shivers (aka "They Came From Within") (1975)
This was one of David Cronenberg's first full-length films. If you are not familiar with Cronenberg, you betta recognize. Shivers is about these parasites that take over this high-rise apartment building by turning everyone into sex fiends, who in turn transmit the disease via intercourse. So, one might see it as a metaphor for the spread of AIDS. I don't know. I do know that it is nice and cheesy, as all good horror movies should be.

5. Forbidden Zone (1982)
If you are easily offended, steer clear of this work of art. Forbidden Zone is racist, sexist, homophobic, and visually captivating. Directed by Richard Elfman (of Oingo Boingo fame) and starring a satanic Danny Elfman (also of Oingo Boingo and creator of every good movie soundtrack ever made), the film is about a girl who enters the sixth dimension through a portal in the family basement and the family's attempts to rescue her. If you are able to have a sense of humor in the face of the extremely offensive, then this is the film for you.

4. Schizopolis (1996)
As the name suggests, this movie is schizophrenic. It jumps around a lot. There are scenes repeated in unsubtitled Japanese and French. And, some of the scenes in English are hard to understand because they are in code or they're simply describing what one might say in a particular situation: "Overly dramatic statement regarding upcoming meal." The story is basically about a speechwriter for a Scientology-like self-help company, and the stress he encounters, including finding out his wife is cheating on him with his doppelganger, as he prepares a big speech. This movie is beautiful in many ways.

3. The Up Series (TV) (1964 to Present)
Okay, so this is not a movie. It is kind of a TV series, though there are seven years between each episode. Anyway, it all started in 1964 with Seven Up!, a documentary about a group of British seven-year-olds from very different backgrounds. Seven years later, director Michael Apted came out with 7 Plus Seven, detailing the same group of British children at age 14. Then, 21 followed seven years later and so on. Last year, Apted released 56 Up. You develop a relationship with these people as you see them mature before your eyes.

2. Stroszek (1977)
Stroszek is one of Werner Herzog's lesser known works, yet it is incredibly powerful for many reason. Bruno Stroszek is released from prison in Germany and befriends a prostitute and an old man. Together, they set off for Wisconsin to pursue the American dream. From there, it is just one tragic situation after another. The main character is played by Bruno S., whom you should read about. As with Herzog's other films, you are left not knowing what to think as Stroszek walks the line between dark comedy and depressing drama.

1. Hearts and Minds (1974)
Walter's buddies died face-down in the muck in Vietnam, so you could see this movie. Forget Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now Redux, and Braddock: Missing in Action III; this documentary is the best Vietnam movie ever made. Released while the US was on its way out of 'Nam, it gives an unflinching look at the war's impact on the families of the soldiers, the soldiers in combat, and those who were leading the war. After the film is over, it is clear to the viewer that the American people were sold a bill of goods. Kind of sounds like more recent wars, eh?

Think other movies deserve to be in this list? Comment below to show us how wrong you are.

1 comment:

  1. I've been trying to find Stroszek for ages and thought I was going to watch it recently, but I instead borrowed Woyzeck - the other Herzog film! Been meaning to find Forbidden Zone too cos I love Danny Elfman