Friday, 7 December 2012

Buried Treasure: Criminally Underrated Films Part 2

What are the most underrated, under-viewed, unappreciated films of all time?

Part 2

The Misfits  (1961) 

Dir. John Huston

Starring: Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach

Synopsis: The final chapter in the careers of legends Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Montgomery Clift (all three would die soon after) could not have been more apt. Indeed, John Huston's revisionist Western set in Reno, Nevada turns the glamorous former image of all three on it's head. The film sees the three veterans playing disturbed, estranged wash-ups in a film about friendship and loss of place in society.

The story of an ex-stripper (Monroe) who befriends two washed-up rodeo clowns for a weekend of drinking, dancing, comradely, and equestrianism is one of Hollywood's best musings on mercy and fitting in. 

Unmissable for: the performances and how handily it turns the western on its head.

White Lightning (1973)

Dir. Joseph Sargent

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty

Synopsis: When bad-ass moonshine-runner Gator McKluskey's (Reynolds) brother is murdered by corrupt police sheriff Connors (Beatty) , he busts out of jail to go get some payback....and run a little moonshine while he's at it!

The definitive good ol' boy movie is all guns, babes, soundtrack, and car-chases. No wonder Tarantino used the score for Inglorious Basterds (2009)!

Unmissable for: The soundtrack, the style, and the leading man.

The Limey (1999)

Dir. Steven Soderberg

Starring: Terrence Stamp, Peter Fonda, Luis Guzman,

Synopsis: For our second trip to the darkly comic world of the vigilante genre, here's Soderberg's 1999 LA style odyssey. Terrenmce Stamp plays a british convict named Wilson who travels to the alien world of LA to confront a corrupt record producer about the mysterious death of his daughter. The hypnotic structure probes into Wilson's dark psyche without letting the film brood too mordantly. There are one liners a plenty, an ace soundtrack, and enough memorable sequences to match that of most director's entire filmographies.Furious stuff, indeed!

Unmissable for: Essentially for everyrthing in it; Stamp and the soundtrack in particular.

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

Dir: T.Sean Durkin

Starring: Elizebeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, Hugh Dancy, John Hawkes

Synopsis: An indie film that shone among many great indie films in 2012; if you have yet to see this great film you are truly missing out. Elizebeth Olsen (far more talented an actress than her twin older sisters) plays Marcy, a young girl who has run away from a dangerous cult that had indoctrinated her. Taken in by her yuppy sister and her husband, Marcy has to learn how to behave in society, having been brainwashed into believing that she is "a teacher and a leader". However, the threat of the old cult catching up to her is ever present, particularly in Marcy's fractured, confused mind.

Unmissable for: John Hawkes' insane cult leader singing to Marcy (the song the film was based on) and the ambiguous ending.

Part 3 will come!

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