Top 5 Overlooked Films

These films did not get the attention they deserved at the box office.  The threshold I set for myself was $10,000,000 at the domestic box office.  It just so happened that the majority of my list was from the last decade.  This is when I started seriously devouring films and taking notice of things like box office.  However, there is one that is almost twenty years old now.

Dazed and Confused               $7,900,000

Easily the best movie, with the best case, that wasn’t a box office sensation.

Never Let Me Go                    $9,400,000

My number one film of 2010, this got lost in the ether.  Somewhere between Carrie Mulligan’s amazing performance and Andrew Garfield playing Spider-Man.

The Proposition                      $1,900,000

The best western since Unforgiven, this film has more texture and grit than even that film. Hillcoat burst onto the scene with this film.  You feel filthy just watching this movie.  The performances are all superb, the cinematography is breathtaking and the production design is Oscar-worthy.  And the story just might be pretty damn good as well.

Auto Focus                              $2,000,000

And this was all based on a true story.  Dafoe and Kinnear are great, and if you haven’t seen this yet – their performances are fun yet tragic.

Interview with the Assassin     $47,000

This is criminal.  This is one of the best found-footage films out there, based on an excellent idea that seems grounded in some semblance of logic (unlike most found footage films).  I’m proud to say that my $8 bucks went towards its almost embarrassing $47,000 take.  It is a wonder Burger got to direct another film after that gross.  I’m glad he did though.

Top 5 Traditional Animated Films

This list is purely for Traditional 2D Animation.

  • Princess Mononoke
  • Aladdin
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
  • Ghost in the Shell

Honorable Mention

  • Lion King
  • Pinocchio
  • The Iron Giant
  • Beavis and Butthead Do America
  • An American Tail
  • Dumbo
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut 

Special Mention for The Land Before Time, written by my screenwriting professor (and one of the best teachers I’ve ever had) at USC Stu Krieger.


Top 5 Dystopias

A dystopia, in my opinion, is a world that is set up to be a utopia, but is actually the opposite – or becomes the opposite.  There are some rules for such a dystopia.  In it, there should be a vision of society that could be chaotic because of no control or grim/bleak because of oppressive control.  I’ve ruled out any movies set in space.  Zombie movies count for the purposes of this list.

Top 5

Honorable Mention

  • Dark City
  • Battle Royale
  • 28 Days Later
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • Children of Men
  • District 13
  • Total Recall
  • The Running Man
  • Metropolis
  • Rollerball
  • Gattaca
  • THX 1138
  • District 9
  • Escape from NY
  • V for Vendetta
  • They Live

Top 5 Up-and-Coming Actors and Actresses (2012)

In determining this list I had a few considerations to keep in mind.  Age was definitely a factor as I tried to stay under 30, even if they are someone who is just breaking onto scene.  Also, this is not a list of best actors and actresses under 30. They can’t be too established (so there is no Jennifer Lawrence).  Elizabeth Olsen certainly turned heads in Martha Marcy May Marlene, but I don’t know if she’s on the public’s lips just yet.

Honorable Mention

Top 5 Bicycle Scenes

Just to be clear, this is the top 5 bicycle scenes from films, not the top 5 movies about bikes (or involving bikes).

  • Rad – Bicycle Boogie (and pretty much every scene in the film)
  • Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure – Race through Warner Bros back lot
  • E.T. – flying across they sky
  • Better Off Dead – Race Down the Mountain, aka I want my two dollars
  • Goonies – Brand races down hill on a little girl’s bike

Honorable Mention

  • Karate Kid – I hate this stupid bike
  • Cinema Paradiso – Racing to get the film delivered
  • Wizard of Oz – Miss Gulch flying past the flying house
  • BMX Bandits – BMX’ing down waterslide
  • The Bicycle Thief – The ending

Top 10 Movies About Redemption

To qualify redemption had to be a serious theme.  No last minute redemption (Sorry Return of the Jedi).  No minor character redemption.  And no failed redemption.

  • Unforgiven
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Groundhog Day
  • Bad Lt.
  • American History X
  • The Apartment
  • The Wrestler
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • Scrooged
  • On the Waterfront
  • It’s a Wonderful Life