Underrated and Amazeballs
For a few months, some friends and I have had plans to go away for this weekend. I’d been working really hard lately, and I was looking forward to the break away and spending time with pals. We were supposed to leave today (Friday).
So on Thursday night, my best friend/roommate Eric ordered buffalo wings. He ate them, then he went to bed. I was in my office working, so my dog Elroy seized the opportunity to devour 8 remainders of buffalo wings, bones and all.
If you’re unfamiliar with dogs and chicken bones, they don’t go together. Chicken bones have a propensity to splinter, and when they do, that can lead to obstructions, vomiting, internal bleeding, and even death.
|Elroy, the doggie garbage disposal|
I took Elroy to the vet’s, and they told me that he seems okay (and he does), but that I should keep an eye on him for the next day or two, just in case. Because there’s a good chance that nothing will happen, but there’s also a chance that as he’s trying to digest the bones, they’ll tear and he’ll throw up and need surgery.
So instead of going away with this weekend and dropping Elroy off at his kennel, I am staying home with him. He will probably be fine, but on the off chance that’s he not, I need to be here.
Initially, I was quite bummed about not being able to go. So then I tried to think of fun things that I could do when I’m home by myself. (These things include working on a new book and re-reading Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series, which I still plan on doing).
But since I’m home alone (Eric went on the trip with our friends), I thought I should do something that I don’t also do when he’s home (like work or read). In fact, whenever Eric goes away for any amount of time, I always do the same thing: Movie Marathon.
He doesn’t prevent me from watching anything, so I don’t know why I suddenly get excited and think, “I can finally watch those movies!” every time he’s gone, but I do.
The theme for this weekend’s movie marathon is: Underrated and Amazeballs. These are movies that I think are totally fantastic, and while they may have a cult following, they aren’t as readily appreciated by the mainstream. And now, in case you wanted to join in on the greatest movie marathon of all time, here’s my list:
Seven Psychopaths -I just watched this movie for the first time about a week ago, and I already can’t wait to see it again. I absolutely loved it. Full disclosure: Sam Rockwell is my favorite actor. I think everything he does is amazing, and he steals every scene. However, I actually think that Christopher Walken is the true light in this movie. Almost every one of his lines are of the best I’ve heard in a long time. His scenes with Colin Farrell and Sam Rockwell in the desert are phenomenal, and I’m actually quite peeved that Walken wasn’t nominated for anything for this role. It’s fantabulous. You should be warned that their is excessive violence and language (not quite Tarantino, but in a similar vein).
Detention – I read the description for this and thought it sounded absolutely terrible. But I was bored, so I watched it anyway. It’s one of those movies that I feel like many people won’t like, but for me, it’s near perfection. It hits all the right notes of things I love. It’s funny. It’s fresh. It’s self-referential and full of pop culture. And it has a few twists that I didn’t see coming, which is always nice. It also has that guy in it that everybody cares about now because he’s in The Hunger Games. But I’ve liked him since Firehouse Dog, so that’s that. If you like The Breakfast Club and Back to the Future and Scream, you might like this film. But I refuse to make guarantees on that.
Donnie Darko – Okay, so this probably isn’t that underrated. It has quite the cult following. But I still remember the first time I saw it. I was getting ready to hang out with my boyfriend and it just came on, and as soon as the countdown and Frank showed up, I was hooked. This was in the days before DVR, so I stayed to finish watching it, and I ended up late to meet my boyfriend, and we got in a huge fight. But it was totally worth it. Because 9 years later, I still love Donnie Darko, but I ditched the boyfriend a long time ago. Also – this movie has the greatest soundtrack ever. Tears For Fears, the Church, Echo & the Bunnymen, INXS, not to mention that fantastic cover of “Mad World” by Gary Jules. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it. It doesn’t always make sense (in fact, it rarely does), but it’s soooo…. I don’t know… captivating that it doesn’t matter. Bonus: Patrick Swayze playing a character very against type, and I always love Swayze.
Drive – Probably not underrated either, since critics everywhere raved about this. With good reason. But it wasn’t exactly a blockbuster, either. When I saw the previews, I thought it was going to be like Drive Angry, and I was super confused about why Serious Actor Ryan Gosling would do something like this. But then I saw it. And all the parts of it should be terrible. On paper, everything sounds like it should be terrible – from the score, to the jacket, to the plot, to the casting of Albert Brooks – but somehow it’s put together in such a way that it all works like better than anything I’ve seen in a long time. It takes a cliched premise that could’ve turned into another Jason Stathem fare and turns it into something amazing. It transcends genres and defies explanation. Note: Lots of graphic violence in this one. But after Donnie Darko, this film has the second greatest score of all time. Double Bonus: It’s based on a book that I will read soon because I just remembered that it existed.
Mystery Men – The most underrated comedy of all time. I also think this is the funniest movie I’ve ever seen. (Even funnier than The Holy Grail. Yeah. It’s that funny). It has a tremendous cast of underrated actors – Hank Azaria, William H. Macy, Paul Reubens, Janeane Garofalo, Eddie Izzard, Geoffery Rush, Doug Jones, and Tom Waits (who was also in Seven Psychopaths, and he was great in that as well). It’s so very, very, very funny. I love the sets, the costumes, and the super heroes. Honorable Mention: After Mystery Men, I think Galaxy Quest is the most overlooked comedy. It’s so hilarious, and it once again stars the incomparable Sam Rockwell. Another great underrated Sam Rockwell movie: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which is HILARIOUS AND AWESOME, and yet somehow not nearly as awesome as the book. Read the books by Douglas Adams, then watch the movie. (Mos Def is just the best in that movie).
Moon – So I wasn’t kidding when I said that I like Sam Rockwell. It’s just everything he does is amazing, and he picks roles that are so diversified and they just happen to almost always be in really fantastic films. (Remember Cowbowys & Aliens? The guy has great taste). Moon takes what could be a simple and cliched sci-fi premise of a man alone in space, and when it started out, I had great fears and predictions about where the film would head, and it didn’t go anywhere near them. It flipped my expectations on their head and made something that was intelligent, moving, and entertaining. Kevin Spacey is also great as GERTY. Bonus: The film is written and directed by Duncan Jones, aka Zowie Bowie, David’s Bowie‘s son. And if you haven’t went out and got the single “Where Are We Now?” off of David Bowie‘s upcoming new album The Next Day, then you should do yourself a favor and rush out and get it immediately.
|Disco Bloodbath in the middle|
Party Monster – Based on the book Disco Bloodbath by James St. James, which is somehow even funnier and more delightful than the movie, I fell in love with Party Monster the instant I heard about it. Not only does it star my second favorite member of my favorite acting family, Macauly Culkin, after a long absence from film, but the movie is funny, so quick, so dark, and just so damn entertaining, I love it. I love everything about it. It’s based on a true story about club kids James St. James (played by Seth Green) and his friendship with the narcissistic yet somehow charismatic Michael Alig (played by Culkin) who eventually commits murder. Despite the humor of the overall film, it does treat the murder with respect to the vicitim, which I do appreciate. Fun facts: I used to have a ferret named Skrink after this movie. Note: I just looked online for Disco Bloodbath the bookand its apparently listed as Party Monster, but my copy still says Disco Bloodbath so whatevs.
Rules of Attraction – Thanks to the success of Vampire Diaries and Ian Somerhalder, this film is getting to be less underrated. It’s based on the book by Bret Easton Ellis (and it’s a very faithful adaptation), but it’s bloodless compared to American Psycho. It’s actually bloodless compared to most of the movies on this list. I apparently like dark humor and gore. This, along with Drive, are probably the least funny films on the list. But I remember being in the theater, seeing a preview of this, and thinking, “I WILL LOVE THIS SO HARD!” And I did. Bonus: It stars Shannyn Sossamon, who I wanted to be for awhile. Also, another amazing soundtrack, including the Cure and Erasure, plus an incredibly haunting scene using “Without You” by Harry Nilsson.
Heathers – The ultimate cult classic. I love John Hughes, like almost more than anything, but after his string of feel-good teen-angst films, Heathers is kind of the anti-John Hughes. Mean Girls and Jennifer’s Body exist because of this movie. Teen culture as it exists today is because of this movie. It’s funny, smart, and so, so damned clever it’s unbelievable. Winona Ryder is amazing. If you haven’t seen Heathers, you should seriously run out and see it right now. Like right now.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – At this point in my life, the only movies I’ve seen more than Kiss Kiss Bang Bang are Silence of the Lambs and Labyrinth. It has the quickest and funniest dialogue of any movie I’ve ever seen. The chemistry and timing between Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer is AMAZING. I do love Shane Black (who wrote this, along with many of the action films from the early 90s, like Lethal Weapon, The Last Boyscout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Last Action Hero, and now the upcoming Iron Man 3), but this is by far his best work. Bonus: This is also one of my mom’s favorite movies. She giggles like crazy during in it, and it’s awesome.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – Not enough people saw this movie. I don’t know why. It’s funny, it’s cool, and the way it integrates video games and pop culture and stylized itself is truly original. Bonus: It stars my favorite Culkin, Kieran, as well as a string of other actors I enjoy, like Chris Evans, Allison Pill, Brandon Routh, Brie Larson, Jason Schartzman, Mae Whitman, Aubrey Plaza, and Johnny Simmons. Double Bonus: The video game for it is hilarious and awesome.
12 Monkeys – Maybe not underrated but probably a little forgotten. I love this movie. It is the only movie I’ve ever seen where the rules of time travel make complete and total sense to me. If time travel were possible, that’s how it’d work. Plus it’s Terry Gilliam. Another Bruce Willis film that could’ve made an honorable mention: Fifth Element. Fun and frenetic. Plus, Leeloo Dallas Multipass.
Warrior – Critically acclaimed but not seen by enough people. I talk a lot about my love for Tom Hardy but it’s in this movie that I think he proves he’s truly worth all the adulation. His performance was Oscar-worthy, and I don’t know why Nick Nolte playing Nick Nolte was nominated and not Tom Hardy. C’est la vie.
The Prestige – What I’m about to say won’t make sense but here it is: The Prestige is my favorite Christopher Nolan movie. But, you might say, “Isn’t The Dark Knight your favorite movie ever? How does this make sense?” Yes, I love The Dark Knight as a movie, as a masterpiece, as the wonderful amazing cinematic experience it is. However, where I think Christopher Nolan’s true brilliance shines in the layered, nuanced, and thoughtful way it does it is The Prestige. I think it’s a far superior film to Inception – although not as visually stunning – and I hope that in the future, Nolan returns more to his roots of artful storytelling. Bonus: It stars my beloved Michael Caine, as well as my other beloved David Bowie as Nikola Tesla, namesake of my cat “Nikki” Nikola “Fris.” If you don’t know who Tesla is, check out Oatmeal’s incredible breakdown of him: here.
And that’s my list. On a side note, I spent an insane amount of time linking up this blog to all kinds of fun stuff. Some of it’s obvious, but others are little Easter eggs of awesomeness. (Especially the second Nick Nolte).