I thought that I would spend some time listing a few good movies that
I've seen. You can check them out at the International Movie Database
and elsewhere to find out if you want to see them.
Most of these movies are either not very well known or, if they were
well known, are by now so old that they might get buried in history a
bit. They range from comedies to at least one movie that's as far from a
comedy as you can get, as well as one very sleezy one and one bona-fide
Gorky Park (1983)(Detective)
This being a detective fiction site, I thought that I ought to include
at least one detective movie. This one, based on the excellent novel by
Martin Smith, is a detective movie with a twist if you live outside of
Russia, inasmuch as the murder takes place in Moscow and is investigated
by a Russian cop (William Hurt). It is well-paced and has enough twists
and turns to keep just about anybody happy. It also ends with one of the
most beautiful scenes in movies that I know of — with Russian black
sables hopping through a field of unbroken white snow.
Bulletproof Heart (1994)(Crime/Thriller)
There was a whole slew of movies that started coming out in 90s that I
generally call Dirty Movies. The word "dirty" here has nothing to do
with sexually explicit content or nudity. It basically refers to movies
that seem to have been written purposely with no likeable characters,
people who you don't give a shit about — you just don't really care
what happens to them. These movies generally carried a certain intensity
as their one positive attribute, but without any depth.
On the surface, Bulletproof Heart is one of those movies. Except
for the fact that at least a few of the characters here, the main ones
of Anthony LaPaglia and Mimi Rogers, I found myself sympathizing with if
not exactly liking. This movie makes classic noir look like a sunny day
in the park, and the only comparison you can make is with certain
European art films. LaPaglia plays a hitman and Rogers his intended —
and accepting — victim. Both float through a world beyond depth
inasmuch as the tale is told at the border of Nihilism, where nothing
can be good or meaningful. It takes place within the 24 hour period
given by Aristotle for tragedy, and entirely at night and with very few
characters, which adds to its intensity. Not to everyone's taste,
perhaps; but I really can't think of any other movie quite like it that
has been made in the U.S. If you liked Pulp Fiction, you might like
This movie tells the tale of Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), a young
medical researcher who invents a formula to bring dead things back to
life. Which, as it turns out, tends to have its down side. Gee, go figure.
This campy movie is both sick and hilarious, usually at the same time.
It also kind of set a bar which has been imitated but never really equalled.
Coombs is great in the movie, a kind of psycho David Byrne who rolls through
the thing without flinching once. NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH!
Used Cars (1980)(Comedy)
If you've seen any of Kurt Russell's early comedies, such as Big
Trouble in Little China, then you pretty much know what to expect
here. Russell in this one plays a used car salesman. When the owner of
his car lot is killed by the owner's brother to take over the car lot,
Russell and a co-worker decide to bury their boss out back rather than
have the death discovered and lose their source of income. Things also
get a bit complicated when their boss's daughter shows up and her and
Russell develop a relationship. This is just a really stupid and
very funny movie. So if you like that kind of thing, you might check it
out. Incidentally, the director of Used Cars was Roger Zemeckis,
whose most recent offering is Beowulf. Kind of a change, huh?
Nobody Loves Me/Keiner Liebt Mich (1994)(Romantic Comedy)
Fanny Fink (Maria Schrader) works at an airport. She's has an obsession
with death and even attends a workshop on "How To Prepare For Death"
which includes making her own coffin. She doesn't have much of a
personal life. Eventually she runs into a quirky neighbor who lives at
her apartment complex, a gay guy who is likeable but who thinks that
aliens will come some day from space and take him back to their planet.
She also runs into (quite literally) the guy who will become her
next boyfriend. In spite of Fanny's obsession, this isn't a "dark"
comedy. It's just a really nice comedy that might have been made by
Fassbinder had he lived longer and had he decided to make a comedy.
So if you like Fassbinder, you'll probably like Nobody Loves Me.
(In German, with subtitles.)
Fear Eats the Soul/Angst esse Seele auf (Drama)
And, speaking of Fassbinder, here's one of his own. What Fassbinder does
in this movie with the themes of alienation and inclusion is just amazing
from the photographic aspect alone. The plot is one that goes beyond its
day to our own, dealing with the tendency of states to indulge in their own
type of exclusionary politics at the same time that foreign peoples are
exploited by those very societies. It is one of the greatest movies known
to me. And Fassbinder was a demi-god who walked among us for too short
a time. (In German, with subtitles.)
Soylent Green (1973)(Science Fiction/Detective)
I'm thowing in another detective movie — sort of — and include it
just for the sake of some young people who might not have seen it yet.
In a world of the future where overpopulation has elevated just about
every commodity to the status of luxury goods, Charlton Heston plays a
cop investigating the murder of a wealthy corporate officer of an outfit
called the Soylent Corporation. And where the investigation takes him
isn't a very pretty place.
One of my favorite movie lines is from this movie. Taking a cigarette
from a high-class call-girl, Heston takes a big drag off of it and says
"You know, if I had the money, I'd smoke two, three of these things a
day." Increasingly, I know what he's talking about.
Poison Ivy (1992)(Psycho-Slut Thriller)
I throw this one in just for the hell of it. This is Drew Barrymore in
one of her early bad-girl roles. In fact in this one she is a VERY bad
girl. If you are a Drew fan you should definitely catch it. It you aren't,
then forgeddaboudit, it's not worth watching. There is another early
Drew movie called Doppelganger, a horror flick, where she plays both a
good girl and a very bad girl in the form of the same person. It's a
pretty good horror movie, and has some great Drew scenes in it also.
I actually like that one better than Poison Ivy, but wasn't able
to find any movie stills from it.
Oh yeah. There are very few actresses around
that have thighs as nice as Drew.