What are the best overlooked movies?

Britain’s The Guardian (possibly that nation’s best newspaper) loves, loves, loves lists. (As does EW, of course, and we know a good list when we see one.) The Guardian runs approximately eight every Sunday, and this one — as usual — is interesting, arcane, and ripe for discussion. Headlined, "50 Lost Movie Classics," it’s probably better to refer to it as "50 Mostly Hard-to-Find Cult Films" (if only for the fact that they included Save the Last Dance, which no one in their right mind could ever refer to as obscure or a Lost Movie Classic).

I was forced to watch the first one on the list, Salt of the Earth, in film class and was pleasantly surprised, though it is at times predictably heavy-handed. My favorite on this list, appropriate given the recent passing of its director, is Robert Altman’s 3 Women. I’m pretty sure I saw this in a small arthouse here in New York, but the movie is so odd and hazy (in a good, Altmanesque way) that I’m still not sure I didn’t dream it instead. Shelley Duvall has never been more simultaneously annoying and sad, and Sissy Spacek is as brilliantly frail as ever. What about y’all? Seen many of the movies on this list? Which ones would you have added?


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  • Silas Bent

    These are all the type of movies that come on at 3 a.m., and I have seen about a quarter and it was always at that reticent time.
    And yes, I love lists, too.

  • Jakeem

    I’m pleased that the Guardian’s list includes “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” but it gives no love to writer Bob Gale, who created the movie with Robert Zemeckis. The movie failed at the box office, mostly because of studio indifference. But Zemeckis and Gale went on to do “Back to the Future,” which is one of the greatest screenplays of all time.

  • Lora

    Lost Classics? Really? I’ve only seen 3. I am lame.

  • ummm

    I totally remember seeing “3 Women” now.
    I was just channel surfing back like 3-4 years ago, and I decide to watch this movie.
    It was 3 WOMEN!!!
    I turned it off though because it just confused me and was a tad bit on the strange side…….

  • Paul U.

    I have a couple:
    Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion…is it a “dumb blonde” joke or a satire of “dumb blonde” jokes? Either way, it never fails me to crack me up. Jeaneane Garafalo’s pitch-black humor is a wonderful contrast to the candy-coated world of Romy and Michelle.
    And a perfect example of a movie headed right for “Lost Movie Classic” is Running With Scissors. Don’t believe me? Wait for it to come out on DVD, when people tend to rediscover things without such a cynical eye. It is far from perfect, but it didn’t get a fair shake.

  • Christopher

    “Playing By Heart”. Seems like everyone I show it to falls in love with it. I defy you not to fall in love with Angelina Jolie’s Joan.
    “Time After Time”. David Warner rocks. Malcolm McDowell also rocks. San Francisco rocks. Mary Steenburgen rocks.
    “The Razor’s Edge”. People weren’t ready to take Bill Murray seriously, and it pointed out the anger in his humor in a way people didn’t want to know. I haven’t seen it in over 25 years, but lines from it are still with me.
    “Ragtime”. Why does Brad Dourif have a long career? One, he’s a talented actor who doesn’t try to make you believe the impossible– he simply lives in the likely. Two, check out the way Younger Brother explains to Coalhouse Walker’s men why even gentle, quiet, unassuming men can be scary as hell when they’ve lost all concern for their life.
    “Salem’s Lot”. When I was twelve, I wasn’t scared of Jason Vorhees or Leatherface. But this made-for-TV movie had me on the edge of my seat– particularly Mark (Lance Kerwin) Petrie’s showdown with his dead friend Danny.

  • tinawina

    “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” was a GREAT movie. This list has my respect just for the inclusion of that one alone. Ditto “Less Than Zero” and “Round Midnight”.

  • paige

    Peter Jackson’s muppets-on-acid masterpiece Meet the Feebles… in fact, Peter Jackson’s first 3 films are all overlooked now that he’s gone to spielberg status. which is great for him, he deserves it, but people need to see how he started…

  • melissa

    Skimming this list reminded me of how I feel when I look at best-of-(whatever year) music lists from hip people: I have only seen four of them, and it makes me feel like there are just too many movies in the world to keep track of the “good” ones. I was thrilled, though, to find “Millions” on the list, which is the first film I thought of after the question, “Which ones would you have added?” I’m drawing a blank mostly, but I would say “The New World” is better than the (lack of) attention it received, and though “Serenity” is popular among its built-in fans, it has the chops to have been much bigger. I’m sure there are others, if I can think past 2005…

  • Ep Sato

    I wouldn’t have put “Beautiful Girls” anywhere near a list that talks about good movies. That flick was craptacular.
    I don’t have a top 50 list, but here are three goodies that IMHO, need to be seen by more people:
    1) The Tao of Steve- This is Donal Logue at his best. This movie helps us understand why beautiful women are frequently seen with schmucky guys and helps explain why Donal Logue is even famous in the first place. Very charming and funny, this is THE movie for single guys to see. Ladies, this is THE movie to recommend to that guy who likes you but who you’d rather “just be friends” with.
    2) Evil Dead 1&2: No longer scary, but spine tingling fun.
    3) Bubba Ho Tep: Ossie Davis is JFK and Bruce Campbell plays Elvis. This one’s campy and fantastic on all fronts.

  • Josh

    “Tape.” A great adaptation (from stage) and excellent example of how dramatic conversation all in one location can be.
    I love that they included “Robin Hood”, the Disney fox one. It might not be considered at the level of “Pinocchio” but it’s a lot more fun to watch :)

  • Marnie

    where is “A Life Less Ordinary” on this list? hardly anyone says they’ve seen it!

  • Stephanie Travitsky

    Some of them I have heard of. I will go with the original “Insomnia” with Stellan Skarsgaard. The Norwegian version was more put together, and there were a lot of things that could not have been done in the American version simply because of our morals. Plus, the cop gets away at the end, in the U.S. version he dies with the villian.

  • bburlew

    I gotta go with ‘Long Kiss Goodnight’-best over looked action movie ever! Now I’m gonna have to watch it tonight because I’m thinking about it.
    And ‘The Ref’-wicked good fun. Judy Davis has never been funnier.

  • andrew

    I really like One fine Day, Somethings gotta give, hidden (Cache), Requiem for a dream, and i agree with whoever said Romy and michelle as well as Playing by heart.

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