Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dart’s Next 20 Favorite Cult Films Of The Internet Age (1996-) 53-72

As I promised last time, this list will consist of more flicks that most people would consider cult or underground. There are two more posts to go before it’s all over. Here we go again:

Raising Victor Vargas (2002)This film became an instant hood classic after it was finally released on DVD. Being that there are a dearth of independent movies made where Latinos are the subject, it warranted a higher number of curiosity rentals both through the local video store and online venues like Netflix. The simple story of a Dominican teen growing up in New York with his family also jumpstarted the film careers of Victor Rasuk (Haven, Lords Of Dogtown & Feel The Noise), Judy Marte (On The Outs, X’s & O’s) and Melonie Diaz (Lords Of Dogtown, A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, Feel The Noise & Be Kind Rewind). A must see indie flick.

Belly (1998)If you didn’t think this film was going to be on this list then you are clearly out of your mind. Hype Williams’ first feature far exceeded most expectations both story wise and visually. It’s one of the movies that when it comes on cable and you turn to it you just keep the channel there until the movie ends.

Layer Cake (2004)Another modern classic UK crime drama starring Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney and Siena Miller. Director Matthew Vaughn has since directed “Stardust” and has signed on to direct the upcoming “Thor” movie. Welcome to the Hollywood layer cake, son.

Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai (1999)This Jim Jarmusch and RZA film collaboration starred Forest Whitaker as Ghost Dog, an assassin that follows the ancient Bushido code of conduct and is retained by a local low level mafioso. The score was done by the RZA and the Japan only disc and vinyl used to go for big money back in the days. RZA didn’t find out that his score and original music made for that film had been reproduced in several different releases without him ever being consulted or compensated in early 2007. Wu Tang lawyers ain’t nuthin’ to fuck wit!

Code 46 (2003)Samantha Morton is the queen of the under the radar cult film (Morvern Callar, In America, The Libertine, Enduring Love & Expired). This futuristic drama is no different. Film geeks swear by this film and worship at her feet (yeah, she's even pulled ahead of Jena Malone and Maggie Gllyenhall).

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)Guillermo Del Toro weaves a disturbing and violent tale set during the chaos of the Spanish Civil War about greed, revenge, betrayal and (of course) ghosts. Hollywood threw money at him and he’s made quite a few major studio films since this film and “Cronos” induced rubbernecking in North America.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)If you haven’t seen this yet then I don’t know what to tell you. I saw it back before it was put on every goddamn channel on cable. Great film, well written and well acted with mad quotable lines.

Closer (2004)This film adaptation of the Patrick Marber play kept all of the soul and feeling of the play intact (because Marber himself did the screenplay). It was great to hear such filthy language come out of Julia Roberts' mouth (kind of like when I first saw Meg Ryan in “Hurlyburly”). While the dialogue and story were great and everyone in the film had excellent performances, Natalie Portman still ended up stealing this movie.

The Ice Harvest (2005)A lawyer and his friend try to skip town with $2 million they just embezzled from a local mob boss. Before they can bounce with their ill gotten gains, all hell breaks loose and they have to find a way to get the girl, grab the money and run. John Cusack, Billy Bob Thorton and Connie Nielsen all star in this thriller.

25th Hour (2002)Spike Lee is my personal favorite filmmaker/director. I saw “She’s Gotta Have It” for the first time 20 years ago and it was the beginning of a Black filmmaker renaissance that was lead by Lee, Robert Townsend and Keenen Ivory Wayans. Spike Lee went against the grain and his detractors that claimed that he couldn’t make a great film without his normal core of players in it. Edward Norton, Barry Pepper, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson and Anna Paquin all starred in the excellent adaptation of David Benioff’s novel set in post 9/11 New York (Benioff also wrote this screenplay).

Knockaround Guys (2002)Vin Diesel, Barry Pepper and Seth Green all filmed this movie back in 1999 and it was never released so they all forgot about it. Once Vin Diesel became a big name and Barry Pepper got a buzz going the studio FINALLY took it off of the back burner and released it 3 years later. Nothing was funnier than seeing those guys at the press junket trying to remember any stories or anecdotes about how it was on the set or during filming. No one saw it in the movie theaters but quite a few discovered this joint through Netflix and Blockbuster.

Babel (2006)This was a no brainer, really. I remember seeing this and thinking to myself “Will someone please smash this deaf chick already?!” LOL. Great ensemble cast, great direction and a great score by the legendary Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Igby Goes Down (2002)After I saw the movie for the first time, I watched it again right afterwards. Another great script with an excellent ensemble cast. When character driven comedic dramas are perfectly executed it’s a thing of beauty. This flick also knocked one of my personal favorites “Roger Dodger” out of this Top 100 cult movies list. Damn you, Kieran Culkin!

Boiler Room (2000)Who hasn’t seen this? Every one of my friends owns this DVD thanks to either Columbia House or those old free DVD deals that came when you bought certain DVD players from Best Buy. I can quote this entire flick from beginning to end without eve thinking about. Nothing screams “cult” more than that statement. Great soundtrack and Ben Affleck has one of the most memorable cameos of the 00’s in this flick. I'm done!

Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (2002)George Clooney done did it again. He convinces a major studio to make a film about Chuck Barris’ memoirs (which most people ignored as bullshit) by attaching his friends to the project. What studio would say no to George Clooney when he can deliver Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon? The end result was yet another excellent film that ended up a cult favorite. Sam Rockwell is a beast.

Ned Kelly (2003)Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Griffiths and Naomi Watts all star in the story of Australia’s greatest folk hero. Ned Kelly is Robin Hood, Jesse James and Billy The Kid all rolled up into one to folks down under. Mick Jagger appeared as the legend back in a campy 1973 film but this one is based on a novel that more closely followed the actual events that transpired back in 1880.

Dogville (2003)I saw this movie and “Passion Of The Christ” back to back on the same night. Needless to say, after that mini filmfest I didn’t think that any human beings deserved to live and breathe on planet Earth anymore (no PETA). This is a long, unorthodox and sobering exercise in film. If you’re unfamiliar with Lars Von Trier's work then you’d understand that he pretty tries to break any rules of filmmaking he can during his narratives. This movie looks like a play and at times makes you think you’re watching a play...until shit that NEVER happens in plays begins to jump off and you're in shock for a good minute. This movie is most def not for everyone.

Dirty Pretty Things (2002)This film was Chiwetel Eijiofor’s (Four Brothers, Serenity, Slow Burn, Inside Man, Children Of Men, Talk To Me & American Gangster) star turn. He played a Nigerian immigrant living in London illegal as a hotel worker. He checks one the rooms in the hotel after a client leaves and discovers a human heart clogging the toilet in the bathroom...everything jumps off from there. Audrey Tatou (Amelie, The DaVinci Code) and Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, Aeon Flux & Martian Child) also star in this story of illegal immigrants being exploited by evil people.

The Virgin Suicides (1999)I was one of those film student types that knew Sophia Coppola as the little girl named Domino from “The Outsiders” and “Rumble Fish” (she played Diane Lane's little sister). We all considered her the weak link in “The Godfather Part III” and saw her popular short film “Lick The Star”. When “The Virgin Suicides” first came out, people wondered if Sophia Coppola could pull off successfully adapting Jeffrey Eugenides ‘ novel. The detractors were all soon proven wrong as the movie became a favorite among filmgoers and she won several awards for her first feature. This movie is beautiful and depressing at the same damn time. It cracks me up to think at how much Kirsten Dunst has fallen off since this film was made and she played Lux Lisbon.

American Beauty (1999)I was at the Boston premiere at this film...working at the movie theater. All of the middle management and ad execs from Dreamworks were milling about scrutinizing every possible detail, including the promo posters and the lighting in the theater. The bigwigs for Loews were grumbling to themselves, embarrassed that the Boston premiere of American Beauty would suck in comparison to the ones in California the previous week. Also, most people were watching the Patriots game (even though they thought Vinny and the Jets would blow them out) and weren’t even aware of the premiere.

Dreamworks suits were nervous about everything...that is until Kevin Spacey showed up and the media swarmed to him. He announced that Annette Benning wasn’t going to show up because she just discovered that she was pregnant and he began to praise Boston and the charming theater the premiere was being held in (it was shut down less than three years later).

During the screening, our managers told us that it was hilarious how offended and shocked the Dreamworks suits were by the movie that they were promoting! I couldn’t believe that they weren’t aware of the film’s content at all. After the screening, I was talking to some hot girl with dark hair who seemed kind of bored by the whole thing..she looked like she was about 21 and she was with some of the Dreamworks people that didn’t have sticks in their asses. Eventually, a younger woman came up to her and said “Thora, we have to go so we can catch our flight back.” She said, “Sorry, I gotta was nice talking to you. You were the most interesting person here” and she waved bye and bounced. I hadn’t seen the movie yet so I had NO IDEA that was Thora Birch. The last time I saw her in a movie she was blond and she looked like a kid.

I just shook my head and asked out loud “Does anyone know what happened with the Pats?” Some guy from DreamWorks said “The Patriots won 30-28...Testaverde got injured and pulled from the game. He might be out for a while, too.” I got shake hands with Kevin Spacey and kick it to Thora Birch. I saw the film at 1 AM with the managers after we shut down the theatre (I stayed late). Those were the good ‘ol days.

Tomorrow I do 73-92 of my Top 100 Cult Films Of The Internet Age. I’m a list writing bastard, ain’t I? Any questions regarding this list, just hit me up in the comments. I’ll be back at it again tomorrow. One.


alley al said...

dart, your range and tolerance for all types of movies is amazing. that's either really good, or it sucks to be you. lol

Anonymous said...

I really liked "Igby" when it came out but I fell asleep and missed the last 20 mins...that's another addition to my Netflix.

I wasn't really feeling "Ice Harvest" even though I liked the cast alot.

Any male over 20 who doesn't own "Boiler Room" should hang themself.

Dart--we should do a "Men on Film" [II] segment or something. I didn't realize how internet heavy my film tastes were until you unveiled this list. Overall, I've seen about 85% of these flicks and enjoyed them.

Anonymous said...


Clive Owen in "Closer" = the most gully performance by a badass who never used any violence

Also..."Confidence" with Dustin Hoffman was my shit!