Obscure Movies I Love

Most of these films were not huge hits when they were released and don't show up on cable very often, but they struck a chord with me for some reason.
  1. Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
    The combination of "history", violence, oddball comedy, and sentimentality works so well. I laugh a lot, but I cry when the bear dies and the fallen deputies rise for one last battle for justice and Miss Lilly!
  2. Time After Time
    With an unexpectedly gentle and romantic Malcolm McDowell as H.G. Wells, a chilling performance by David Warner, and a heart-stealing Mary Steenbugen, this movie blew me away in 1979. The movie is a love story and thriller, but it also has a lot to say about our modern world.
  3. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
    One of those rare movies I went to see not quite knowing what it was about and I left the same way. John Lithgow chews the scenery in every scene he is in, and Ellen Barkin is just grrr. No matter where you go, there you are.
  4. Spies
    I love all of Fritz Lang's silent films and M when he moved to sound, but I found Spies to be an unexpected delight. So many things that have become cliches of the spy film start out fresh and exciting here.
  5. Things to Come
    I've read reviews that say that this is less a film script and more Well's lecture and warning on society with undeveloped and wooden characters that represent ideas, and there may be some truth to that. However, I love every minute of it. It predicts the horror of the Second World War and our modern concerns of technology moving too fast. The special effects are amazing, and The Chief is great fun.
  6. Kelly's Heroes
    A movie that is both action war film and comedy. Love the final tank battle and the tense minefield scene. What really sells the film are the eccentric cast of characters, especially Donald Sutherland as Oddball.
  7. Little Big Man
    I grew up on stereotypes of Native Americans and Cowboys, but this epic comedy/drama changed that forever. Chief Dan George is memorable as Grandfather who teaches us all about the Human Beings.
  8. Flash Gordon
    Cheesy and silly? Maybe, but it catches the spirit of the original comic strip and serials. And who can not love the soundtrack by Queen.
  9. Start the Revolution Without Me
    With narration by Orson Welles and great performances by Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland, you will never see the French Revolution the same way.
  10. The Magic Christian
    Interesting morality tale on the power of money to make people do practically anything, Peter Sellers, Ringo Starr, and a surprising range of guest stars make this a fun series of vignettes. Great Badfinger soundtrack.
  11. The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming
    Not as famous as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, this big cast comedy is a lot of fun. Carl Reiner, Alan Arkin, Brian Keith, and Jonathan Winters all turn in great performances.
  12. Miller's Crossing
    Not that Cohen Brother movies are ever obscure, but this is my favorite. Period atmosphere, great acting, and brilliant dialogue make this film work beautifully. Albert Finney with a Tommy Gun and cigar is great stuff. Gabriel Byrne and John Turturro taking the long walk in the woods is powerful.
  13. The Great Race
    Hilarious Jack Lemmon as evil Professor Fate and Peter Falk as his dim sidekick Max "Push the Button, Max". Tony Curtis is the larger-than-life hero, The Great Leslie. Natalie Wood is feisty, funny, and sexy as the intrepid journalist. Blake Edwards directs and Henri Mancini does the score. Great, silly fun and a tip of the hat to early film melodramas.