Link to first list: 10 movies you’ve never seen, but should
Some of these movies are sleepers; some are beloved ones that you may have forgotten. Here are 10 more movies you’ve never seen, but should:
- one all-time favorite movie
- two great rock music documentaries
- three miscellaneous gems
- four foreign films
Many characters’ lives overlap in a frenetic day in Los Angeles in this great movie full of great scenes. Some of my favorite scenes:
- the opening title sequence introduces all the main characters in a rapid-fire seven minutes set to Aimee Mann’s “One,” including everything from a pickup in a bar to a zoom into a cell to reveal a character’s cancer
- Coke-head Claudia meets a dorky, earnest cop when the music’s too loud
- a former Quiz Kid crushes on a bartender while Supertramp booms
- a frighteningly misogynistic Tom Cruise delivers a self-help seminar to lonely men
- and frogs, lots of frogs
The opening title sequence:
Also check out director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights — a movie about the porn industry with a heart of gold. How often do you hear that?
2. Festival Express
This movie tells an amazing story in the history of rock and roll. In 1970, a businessman put together a series of festivals in Canada and put the musicians on a train to hang out and play together. Janis Joplin, the Band, the Grateful Dead, and many others had a blast jamming together on the train. The music flowed day and night, and the warmth and joy shown by the musicians came through in the music, with excellent performances both on and off the train. My favorite moments:
- Joplin belts out a powerful performance of “Cry Baby” interspersed with her playful now-talking/now-singing storytelling of the “cats” who had taken off on her through the years.
- Rick Danko, Jerry Garcia, Joplin, and others sit in a circle on the train while Danko leads a call and response of “No More Cane.” It’s great to see these legendary musicians hanging out together and goofing around.
- The protesters’ demands to be let into the concerts for free are so outrageously ridiculous that they have the liberal, hippie musicians sticking up for the cops and the businessmen. In this era of corporate greed and the commercialization of everything, it’s mind boggling to consider how different things were not that long ago.
Joplin’s “Cry Baby”:
3. The Last Waltz
I have seen this documentary of the Band’s final concert performance several times, but every time I feel like I see something new. It features the Band playing alongside many honored guests, including Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Van Morrison, and Eric Clapton. It’s not just a concert; it’s a documentary that shows the various influences that made up the Band’s eclectic sound. It’s also more than that: it shows the ingredients of the musical stew that is rock and roll.
(Related post: Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble)
Like Facebook? Like meeting friends through social media? Try to avoid hearing too much about this movie before you see it, and the twists and turns will completely unsettle you.
5. After Hours
This funny, uncharacteristic Martin Scorsese movie stars Griffin Dunne as a New Yorker who goes out for a drink in Manhattan and spends the whole night trying to get back home. It’s very quirky and funny with great performances. “Surrender Dorothy!”
6. How to Get Ahead in Advertising
An advertising executive suffers from writer’s block while trying to write an ad for pimple cream; it’s bad enough when a giant boil forms on his shoulder, but when it starts talking to him, things get really strange.
The opening scene:
7. The Celebration
In this Danish film, a family gathers for a father’s birthday celebration; one son makes a disturbing, shocking toast that the rest of the family is determined to ignore. He’s sure persistent, though. This movie had me riveted.
8. The Nasty Girl
Do you ever feel like everyone around you is in on a secret that you don’t know? No? Maybe it’s just me. In The Nasty Girl, an innocent German schoolgirl sets out to write an essay on her beloved hometown’s brave resistance to the Nazis. As she digs deeper, though, she finds that the resistance is against her effort to uncover the truth. This movie begins in a documentary style that has moments of surrealism as the girl digs deeper into her town’s past, and she and her family are threatened.
IMDb: The Nasty Girl
This movie mixes extreme sweetness and tenderness with a dark edge. Think Amelie meets Eating Raoul. The visual inventiveness will delight you. Check out a saw being played as a musical instrument.
Cello and saw duet:
Got five hours to kill? I watched this movie many years ago at a college theater in one sitting–it’s five hours long. While I am not prepared to watch it again any time soon, certain scenes are still vivid in my memory: the whistling of villagers as they fight the fascists, the creepy old man in the barn, the two drunken men between the young woman who should never drink, Donald Sutherland and the cat–a deeply disturbing scene. This epic tale of a rich man and a poor man born on the same day in 1900 traces the history of Italy in the 20th century.
What movie should be added to this list? Did you like any of these? Let me know in the comments.