Some movies are pretty much universally known. Not everybody actually likes these movies, but the very names of the movies are so familiar that, chances are, you've heard of them. I'm talking big names, like Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, Cinderella, Titanic, Frozen. With these big sorts of movies, you don't really need personal reviews--whether you're interested or not, you're sure to hear at least something about the film.
Many more films, however, have made a much quieter splash - and chances are much larger that unless someone tells you about the film, you'll never come across it organically.
Today, I'm going to give you my top 10 movie recommendations for films that you're less likely to have heard of. (And if you've actually watched all 10, then I will give you a prize, because you are just as much of an oddball film fan as I am!)
1. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
Angel and I were introduced to this film by the friend of a friend back during my freshman year of college. We've since bought the DVD and have showed it to many people, hoping that they'll appreciate the incredible quote-able-ness of the movie. It'll always be a very special film to me.
2. The Lost Skeleton Returns Again
You guessed it--there's a sequel! Just as quotable, though I don't find the Cantaloupe People to be an endearing as the original characters.
Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Cantaloupe People. Now you know you have to watch it.
3. Secondhand Lions
This film actually has some better-known actors in it, so you might have heard of it. A young boy who visits two eccentric elderly relatives who tell all sorts of stories and have all sorts of adventures, including buying a secondhand lion so that they can go lion hunting in their cornfield. I think those two old guys are some of the best family one could ever ask for.
4. They Call Me Trinity and Trinity is Still My Name
Early 1970s spaghetti westerns about a good-for-nothin' guy named Trinity who has very distinctive blue eyes. My favorite scene has always been the infamous card-shuffling/poker-playing scene in the sequel.
5. Bride and Prejudice
A Bollywood meets Hollywood meets Jane Austen mash-up. This came out around the same time we first moved to Southeast Asia and in some weird ways the odd cultural clashes were so reminiscent of our own experiences (except the whole falling in love thing) that we really appreciated how it represented East-meets-West in such a crazy and colorful way.
6. Arsenic and Old Lace
A hilarious and dark comedy about murder and evil brothers and insanity that runs in family (runs? it practically gallops!).
7. Paper Moon
A story about a con man who sells Bibles and the little girl who may or may not be his daughter, but is along for the ride.
8. Rescue from Gilligan's Island
This is one hard movie to find! I kept an eye out for it for years until I stumbled across a DVD copy of it at a thrift store. It was so good to see all of my favorite Gilligan's Island buddies again (minus Ginger, since they got a totally different actress to portray her). The film is very much the same style as the original TV show...which is a good thing for a super-fan of Gilligan's Island.
9. I Not Stupid and I Not Stupid Too
Singaporean satirical comedies, mostly focusing around education and family life. Both funny and heartwrenching--and really provide a good glimpse of the culture that they were filmed in.
10. Bridge to Terabithia
Probably one of the better-known movies on this list. A very sad story--I read the book years before the movie came out, so the sad ending wasn't a surprise, but that doesn't make it any less sad. I love it because of the beautiful story it tells of love and imagination...and because the midwest farm country setting--complete with greenhouses and kids who run wild in the woods...reminds me very much of my own childhood.
11. Shaolin Soccer
A college professor devoted an entire class period to showing us this film--the class was about the history of sports in Asia and he decided we needed a break from the serious stuff. This is your typical underdog sports movie with martial arts mixed in and it's weird in so many unexpected ways--one of the things Angel and I love about watching Chinese films is that you really don't know what will happen next. Really. Something about movies made in a different culture--they tend to be way more surprising than movies from your own culture!
What's your favorite little-known movie?