“A critically and commercially successful movie” is what arguably every producer, director and actor wants to be a part of. But only a small set of these movies can be considered among them. Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” comes to my mind as I say this. When it released, it was a box office flop, but now it is considered as a classic and is a staple for Christmas all across the globe. Perhaps Capra’s best movie (his personal favourite though) is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.
But so often, we have seen movies have failed to win over critics or audiences and sometimes both. So today, we from The Hollywood Tribune family look at some of these brilliant movies you’ve probably never heard of:
6. Boogie Nights (1997)
Directed by Auteur Paul Thomas Anderson who is considered amongst the best directors that are working right now. I could have selected “Magnolia”, “Punch-Drunk Love” or “The Master”, but I went ahead with “Boogie Nights” instead.
The story set in Los Angeles focuses on a young nightclub dishwasher Eddie (played by Mark Wahlberg), who becomes a star, as the large, colourful cast of characters live through an important turning point in the adult film industry. This movie is based on mockumentary that Anderson had written while he was in school and called it “The Dirk Diggler Story”.
If you’ve seen any other movie made by him or considering on what to watch right now go ahead, watch this movie it’ll be worth your time. Boogie Nights is the perfect spot for our list of 6 Brilliant Movies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.
5. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
A documentary movie directed, edited, written and also produced by Kurt Kuenne who tells us a story about his close friend Andrew Bagby, who was murdered as he ended his relationship with Shirley Jane Turner. Shortly after her arrest as a possible suspect, she announces that she is pregnant with Andrew’s baby boy, and names him Zachary. Kurt’s goal was to simply collect memories and tributes from people who were close to Bagby, resulting in a cinematic scrapbook for the son who never knew him.
Initially made just to show his friends, family but with events unfolding, he decided to release it for the audience. All I’m saying is that this film plays out like an excellent crime thriller and it’s sure to stay with the viewer long after it’s over. I’m not saying a thing more; it’s there for you to enjoy thoroughly and Dear Zachary very “dearly” took over the 5th spot on our list of 6 Brilliant Movies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.
4. Being John Malkovich (1999)
If you’ve not seen this movie then you must be living under a rock. Directed by Spike Jonze (also writer-director of “Her”) and written brilliantly by Charlie Kaufman (also the writer of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and writer-director of “Synecdoche”, New York). Being John Malkovich funny, smart and it has one of the most elegant scripts you will ever come across. This is a rare film where the last thirty minutes is as surprising as the first and in ways that you’re not expecting.
There’s just so much that can be said/written about this movie, but that will surely not enhance your experience. It’s a wild ride through a surreal world, and I’m sure you will come back and thank us later for the list of Movies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.
3. Sideways (2004)
Set as a comedy-drama-road film directed by Alexander Payne, which follows two men in their forties, Miles Raymond (played by Paul Giamatti) is a depressed teacher who is also an unsuccessful writer and Jack Cole (played by Thomas Haden Church) is an actor who is past his prime, as they take a week-long road trip to Santa Barbara wine country to celebrate the latter’s upcoming wedding. Within the first fifteen minutes, you’ll get to see how different these two friends are and maybe their friendship endures because they add up to a complete person.
What happens in the movie will be slowly revealed to you as you watch it, but I’ll point out a scene where Giamatti and Madsen are involved, and the former has some of the more gentle and heartbreaking dialogue you will hear for a while. Overall, Sideways turns out to be an intelligent, charming, funny, mature comedy and surprisingly moving as a result of it. Do watch!
2. Rushmore (1998)
Wes Anderson’s second major release as a director is a coming-of-age comedy-drama film featuring Jason Schwartzman in his film debut playing an eccentric teenager named Max Fisher with Bill Murray as Herman Blume playing his rich industrialist friend. They also share a common love interest for Rosemary Cross (played by Olivia Williams) who is an elementary school teacher.
The film is co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson. The soundtrack is worth listening to, which features tracks from The Kinks, The Who, John Lennon and Mark Mothersbaugh. It is a story of Max Fisher, a kid too bright although a lousy student who wants to keep Latin on “Rushmore’s” curriculum but whose grades are bad. Though in his free time he edits the school magazine, runs the fencing club, beekeeping club, karate club, the French club and the Max Fisher plays.
Rushmore’s style of cinematography is what Wes Anderson gets associated with the most. Long before auteur Wes Anderson made “The Grand Budapest Hotel” arguably his best work till date, he made a quaint little movie that deserves a watch.
1. The Tree of Life (2011)
It’s a tough movie to write about, at least for me. So, this movie “chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man’s childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas, interspersed with imagery of the origins of the known universe and the inception of Earth.”
Directed by Terrence Malick and has a cast which includes the likes of Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain and Tye Sheridan. Since its release, it has gone on to win the Palme d’Or and has been recognised as one of the best films made in the 21st Century. Roger Ebert calls it, “the only other film I’ve seen with the boldness of vision is Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.”
I simply do not have enough words to express how brilliant a movie this is. A must watch if you want to delve into an experimental masterpiece by Malick. This concludes our list of 6 Brilliant Movies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.
Stay tuned to The Hollywood Tribune for latest updates on more lists like these and more news from Hollywood and Beyond.