This list will be more straight forward than the last few as I’ve saved most of the curveball picks for the last remaining entries. Remember, these picks are strictly a matter of opinion as these are movies that speak to me so if you don’t understand how or why some of these movies ended up in this list or why I tagged some major studio films as “cult movies” just ask me in the comments section (apparently it’s important to my Technorati Authority ranking...who knew?). Another thing is that these films aren’t listed in any specific order so don’t think that this list is posted in order of my own personal preference. Here are nos. 33-52 on my list of 100:
Bomb The System (2002)
Adam Bhala Lough’s first full length feature film featured a score by El-P as well as a great cast including Gano Grills, Bonz Malone, Mark Webber, Jaclyn DeSantis and Jade Yorker. This story about garf writers Blest and Buk 50 has become an underground classic since it came out on DVD in 2005.
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Sure it was a major studio release, but it severely underperformed at the box office in North America. While it was a hit overseas, it gained a wider audience once it was released to video and later DVD. I guess people weren’t ready to see a movie in which the mob was struggling just to come up with a decent score and no sexy shootout scenes with flashing lights. Just an excellent character based drama.
The Machinist (2004)
Brad Anderson’s dark masterpiece has become a cult favorite among film enthusiasts the world over. This thriller takes you on a rollercoaster and you don’t know what’s real from what’s fake until the very end.
Requiem For A Dream (2000)
Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of the classic Hubert Selby Jr. novel sent a ripple through the film world when it was first released. The perils of drug addiction and what happens when it takes over your life and spirals out of control are made all the more clear by this sometimes hard to watch film. The director’s cut was even more powerful then the original. No one ever wondered if Marlon Wayans could actually act after this movie came out.
Night Watch (2004)
This film helped to get Timur Bekmambetov the gig directing the film adaptation of the graphic novel “Wanted”. It was a largely ignored film on DVD for close to 2 years before the sequel was released on DVD a few weeks ago. When you can’t make it to the game, you make the game come to you.
This film is know more because it was one of Tupac Shakur’s final films rather than it just being an excellent film. Tupac, Tim Roth and Thandie Newton are gave great performances is this often overlooked gem directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall.
Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” quickly became the the 00’s version of 1995’s cult classic “Kids” and helped to establish the budding film careers of Nikki Reed (The Lords Of Dogtown, American Gun) and Evan Rachel Wood (Pretty Persuasion, The Upside Of Anger, Running With Scissors & Across The Universe).
Yet another film that just barely broke even in North America that was a huge hit overseas. Since this film is an adaptation (a loose one) of the iconic “Hellblazer” comic book series that cements it’s place as a cult film.
After seeing Joe Carnahan’s “Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane” I was curious to see what he could come up with if he had a major studio behind him and a real production budget. “Narc” didn’t disappoint at all. Too bad few people went to see it when it was originally released.
A History Of Violence (2006)
Yeah, I know. I liked the graphic novel and I liked the movie, too. Next!
Paid In Full (2002)
Charles Stone III’s semi biopic about the trio of legendary Harlem drug dealers AZ, Rich Porter and Alpo still gets burn in DVD players in hoods all across America. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it. Next to “The Woodsman” this is the best film that Damon Dash has ever produced or been associated with.
The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
The “House Of 1000 Corpses” was a disappointment to me considering that when I use to have those film discussions with Rob Zombie back when I worked at Tower Records in 1998-99 I thought there would be more to it. Rob more than made up for it by creating “The Devil’s Rejects”. This movie has afforded Rob at least another two more studio films after “Halloween”.
Fargo (1996)Back in 1998, I remember spending hours building a display for the special edition VHS tape release of this movie back in 1998. It came with a damn snow globe! If you would have told me then that the Coen Brothers would become a mainstream success in the future I would’ve thought that you were on crack rock (they had just made “The Big Lebowski” by then and no one thought they’d be anything but underground).
21 Grams (2003)Somehow Alejandro González Iñárritu managed to get another film on this list (Amores Perros). This is yet another character driven piece that interweaves different story elements and somehow makes them converge when you thought they were all unrelated at first. He also made another movie that made my list as well. Guess which one?
Tears Of The Sun (2003)Antoine Fuqua’s slept on tale about a Special Ops team sent to Nigeria to extract an American doctor (Monica Belluci) who instead decides to save an entire camp of infirmed and displaced refugees and bring them to asylum at the border while being chased by Nigerian soldiers. Criminally slept on film.
Buffalo ‘66 (1998)Vincent Gallo, who many of us remember as “Prince Vince” from Grafitti Rock, not only wrote the screenplay for this film and directed but he scored it as well. I remember the first time I saw the original trailer and thought to myself “that’s what I want to do someday”. Watching this movie among others while I was working at a video store back in the days made me realize that I wanted to be a writer. As for the film, Billy Brown is fresh out of jail and he wants to kill Scott Norwood, the man who missed the game winning field goal in the Super Bowl that put him in debt and ultimately landed him in jail in the first place.
Garden State (2004)I know some of you are going to clown me for this but fuck y’all. I liked this flick a lot. It was well written, well acted, well directed and the soundtrack helped to sell the movie even more. It's hard to do any better with an independent film.
Run Lola Run (1998)Run Lola Run was experimental as hell, only in Europe would a director think of using so many goddamn transitions, quick cuts and filmimg the same sequences over and over again with a few changes here and there each time it was shot. Lola has only twenty minutes to come up with $100,000 before her boyfriend, who owes a shitload of cash ends up getting merked. This film is responsible for introducing the world to Franka Potente (Blow, The Bourne Identity). Classic flick.
Kidulthood (2006)Kids got it hard in London, too. Remember when they tried to ban “Juice” there back in the days? That was just the tip of the iceberg.
Children Of Men (2006)This movie didn’t even break even monetarily until after the DVD was out for a while. This film was so powerful and well made that sometimes you forgot you were even watching a damn movie.If you read enough medical journals you'll see that male potency has dropped off in the last 20 years. Scared yet?
Next time, I’ll hit y’all up with more unfamiliar flicks or ones you wouldn’t expect. Any questions just hit me up in the comments.