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10 Movies That Deserve To Be Reevaluated Now That Times Are Different

31 August 2017 | Features, Film Lists | by Andreas Babiolakis

The-Life-Aquatic-with-Steve-Zissou-bill-murray

The Velvet Underground and Nico is tumultuous on the first listen, and it was much more difficult when it first came out 50 years ago. Many years later, the album was seen as one of the greatest innovators of contemporary music. I start this film article with an album’s history, because it can sometimes be easier to measure the evolution of a piece of art—regardless of its same form from the start—with a short burst that stood out from the rest of its kind.

Cinema has its similar examples of art house releases that changed mainstream cinema, whether you look at the fragmented dreams of Maya Deren or observe pop culture in a new light with “Scorpio Rising”.

Some films are also reexamined many years down the road. Were they ahead of their time? Were we not in the right mindset to get these films before? Did we have to see the inspiration spew from latter films to see where the imagination in these overlooked gems spewed from? “Synecdoche, New York” was considered a depressing and bloated affair 10 years ago, yet it is now highly reconsidered for its ambitions and depth.

The following list of movies isn’t akin to the way “Synecdoche, New York” has been reevaluated. These films haven’t quite shaken up the world. In fact, a portion of these films are still considered lousy or unfulfilling. A couple of these films are already being looked at in a new way, while the rest are entries I insist get the same kind of treatment.

None of these films are mistaken masterpieces I’m trying to shove down the throats of you fellow readers; these are simply movies that I think speak louder than they did when they were first made. Some of these films aren’t as disturbing as when they came out, and thus can maybe be reflected in a new way. Some of these films resonate more with the kinds of films that are popular now. Either way, these are 10 films that deserve to be reevaluated now that times are different.

 

1. Crash (1996)

Crash (1996)

No, not the Best Picture winning film. There’s another “Crash” that has left a much larger imprint on some cinephiles (like myself). There isn’t a lot of commentary on race issues, but instead there is a psychoanalysis on sexuality and cathartic obsessions.

The film is centered around paraphilia (a fetish based on abnormal occurrences or objects), particularly the perverted fascination behind car crashes that turns on the two main characters (played devilishly by James Spader and Holly Hunter). The plot is a little bit odd, let’s be honest. In David Cronenberg’s hands, though, this psycho-erotic thriller makes a little bit more sense. The guy’s done some of the greatest body horrors and sensual nightmares ever put to film. 



The film came out at the wrong time, it seems. The mid-90s were cleansed by light-hearted affairs and romance. Let’s look at some of the Best Picture winners that dominated: “The English Patient”, “Shakespeare in Love” and “Titanic”. Best Picture winners don’t really dictate what the world loves, but they do represent the mindset of the industry at the time that they happen (a timestamp of sorts).

This kind of film would pass much more easily now, especially with the deranged pictures we get currently (how about “The Neon Demon”, ladies and gentlemen?). “Crash” came just a little too late after “The Silence of the Lambs”, when the movie world was heading towards films that were sweeter. “Crash” won’t win everyone over, but we’re in the age of technology where movements are less vital to a film’s success. It’s Cronenberg’s most divided film, but a reevaluation may win even more fans now.

 

2. The Fearless Vampire Killers

You have so many films to pick from when it comes to Roman Polanski’s filmography that can be considered gems: “Chinatown”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “The Tenant”, “Repulsion”, “The Pianist”, “Knife in the Water”, “Cul-de-sac”, and so many others.

Maybe “The Fearless Vampire Killers” isn’t brought up because it isn’t quite as good as the films that were just previously mentioned, but it certainly should be brought up at least in more jovial conversations. It’s a cheeky, silly horror film with a great amount of shlock shoved into it. It may not be a mentally stimulating film (especially compared to other Polanski films), but it really doesn’t need to be. “The Fearless Vampire Killers” isn’t exactly hated, but more or less forgotten instead.

It may have more of a place now that the newest trend of vampire films has come and gone. We’re in the part of the vampire phase that making light or making new of the style is more than welcome. “What We Do in the Shadows” is a recent comedic grand slam that had many around the world in stitches.

“Only Lovers Left Alive” put a new spin on the creature-type that opened up so many new doors. As well, the hyper-glamorous horror film is coming back in fashion (if you haven’t seen “The Love Witch”, get on that). “The Fearless Vampire Killers” is goofy, stylish and magnetic. It’s really not talked about enough.

 

3. Heaven’s Gate

Heaven's Gate

Michael Cimino’s follow-up to “The Deer Hunter” was a complete and utter failure. The key word in that sentence is the word “was”. When the movie came out, it was a disaster that was lost in the shadow of the previous Best Picture winning film. It was long (actually longer than “The Deer Hunter”, depending on the cut that you watch).

The budget was gargantuan, compared to what was proposed, and the earnings back didn’t even match a quarter of the budget ($3.5 million compared to $44 million). The ratings were scathing, and it was considered one of the all-time worst films ever. It’s been more than 30 years since it came out, so let’s be completely realistic about this strange flick.

This western epic with strange elements (roller skating in the Wild West?) may have suffered from further injustices that tampered with the risks that it took. The re-edit that shaved more than an hour and a half of content has got to be up there with the theatrical releases of films like “Once Upon a Time in America” with being one of the worst disservices to any film.

This article is far from the first to commend “Heaven’s Gate” for a reevaluation, as it is commonly being brought up as one of the most misunderstood films in cinema. The cast still resonates well today (everyone from Kristoferson and Walken to Huppert, [Jeff] Bridges and [John] Hurt), and the aesthetics are purely dream-like. It’s a bit of a test to watch (it is an epic, after all), but it is films like “Heaven’s Gate” that inspired a list like this in the first place. It damn well deserves better recognition than what it has received for decades.

 

4. Interiors

Interiors

This film is likely the most well-regarded on this list. Why is Woody Allen’s “Interiors” on this list, then? It’s also far from the most underrated Allen film. The thing that makes “Interiors” more than just Allen’s first attempt at a drama is that it is the first time he has flirted with his all-time favourite influence Ingmar Bergman.

The words don’t just instill a chuckle or an appreciation for Allen’s wit, but instead you can feel that every single word come from a place of history and hurt. This is his first chance to show the sorrow he can just as easily inflict with his writing. “Interiors” wasn’t overlooked when it came out, either. It got its numerous Oscar nominations. Then it was kind of forgotten about.

Sure, it has been occasionally ranked by publications as a solid Allen film, but these instances are usually lists of Woody Allen films. What we need is a reconsideration of this film altogether, and not just within his canon.

The film is currently represented by decent reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. If this film really is one of Allen’s best, it needs to be treated as such. We’re well beyond getting familiar with his works as well, and we are more than aware of what a mediocre (or even bad) Allen film looks like. “Interiors” is far from that, and it deserves to be given a spotlight instead of being cast into the massive list of Allen films that disappear into oblivion.

 

5. Julien Donkey-Boy

Julien Donkey-Boy (1999)

Yeah, I wouldn’t blame you if this ended up being the hardest film to forgive on this list. Harmony Korine is somewhat of an antonym of his first name, because his works are usually extremely abrasive and difficult to dive into. That’s how his movies work, though. Korine’s collection works through disconnect, and your fascination is from how you yearn to cling onto the atrocities he projects.

The titular character (played by Ewen Bremner) is plagued with schizophrenia, and his feuding family certainly does not help with adding any order in his life. The minimalism this film boasts comes from the fact that it follows the rules of Dogme 95 (a strict series of guidelines that forbid technological help to instead allow a film to shine through its bare basics).

“Spring Breakers” clicked with some people, and pushed away others. “Gummo”, as a result, is being reconsidered by the former group. In that same breath, “Julien Donkey-Boy” may resonate with this small fanbase. It is disturbing, unnerving and entirely nonsensical at times. With the help of the internet, avant-garde-esque films are finding more love than they may have in the 90s. Communities are always sharing what films get underestimated, especially when it comes to being different.

“Julien Donkey-Boy” sure is different, alright. You’ll find lists of challenging films that people are willing to test their tastes with. If we’re skimming through the experimental or different films of the past and are picking up works like “Begotten”, “El Topo”, and “Pink Flamingos”, do yourself a (dis)service and pick up “Julien Donkey-Boy” as well. You’ll either thank me or will curse me, but you can’t deny that there aren’t many films like it.

 

 

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  • bd

    Happy to see both Lost Highway and Showgirls on this list. Highway is definitely my favorite Lynch film, rivaled only by Inland Empire. I’m even more glad you didn’t take the easy way out and choose Fire Walk with Me, because it’s been heavily championed more commonly over the past 2 years, so kudos for not recycling content.

    In a reverse fashion to not including FWWM though, I was expecting the Star Wars prequels to be on this list since their reevaluation has been gaining notoriety in the past year or so. I’ve never been a fan of the Star Wars franchise as a whole — just never got into it as a kid or teen, and nobody in my family was attached to it, so I missed the bus on that. But again, you could’ve just been avoiding the easy work in order to give more interesting choices.

    Great read 🙂

  • Mortimer

    Reds (1981) – this epic movie was actually loved by the critics and Academy voters but it was (understandably) just a modest box office success. Since then, it seems this movie disappeared from the collective memory. It deserves to be rediscovered again because it probably represented the last stand of the “New Hollywood” against upcoming commercialism of the 1980s.
    Also, you have to give Warren Beatty a credit for even making this movie in that time – at the height of Reagan’s election and 2nd Red Scare.

  • Zwei
    • Vincenzo Politi

      😀

  • With the exception of War & Peace which I haven’t seen. I agree that most of these films need to be re-evaluated although I liked a lot of them when they first came out. Heaven’s Gate didn’t win me over immediately though I thought the critical mauling it got was unfair. It is still flawed but there’s so much about the film that is just incredible to watch.

    Showgirls is a film where if you don’t take it seriously, it’s fun to watch. My Blueberry Nights is still my least favorite WKW film as I felt it was too derivative of his other films and I don’t think WKW and the English language don’t really mesh.

  • sailor monsoon

    Ishtar.
    Why is this film still in the fucking doghouse!?

    • Schizo_Frog

      Hey Sailor good to see you visiting some other place than Exodus. DBMI is a real tyrant over there. Ran off me, dnwilliams, CapN Jack, CoolHands, Jean, Mr Nice Guy, and a whole bunch others. DBMI is running a burning ship. We’re all mostly on BMD which is way more active. See ya round.

      • sailor monsoon

        He ran you off because you sided with Lydia.
        Who was nothing but fucking drama
        Who has tried to come back at least 3 times.
        And he ran off Jean because Jean is a douche.

        • Schizo_Frog

          And all the others? dnwilliams, CapN Jack, CoolHands, Mr. Nice Guy, Sean Luke McCard, the list goes on. If you believe all those people are just bad and DBMI is blameless I dunno what to say. Just a few days ago CapN Jack told me he was totally turned off by the direction DBMI was taking things, and CoolHands said the same… among others. But like I said, we’re all on more active sites and speak often. Wish you guys the best over on Exodus. See ya.

          • sailor monsoon

            There is literally no direction DBMI has taken the site besides making it a legitimate site.
            The only time he’s played the boss card is asking Jean to stop using sexy gifs in every fucking birthday post and trying to rein in Lydia.
            If people leave, they leave.

  • David

    Gangs of New York feels more relevant than ever, especially in this Trump era.
    It deserves much more praise.

  • Yeah, um no…
    SHOWGIRLS deserves every bad accolade it ever received.
    The movie not only features bad acting throughout (from cardboard to over-the-top), it also seemingly takes itself too seriously with a lengthy clichéd script that offers pure stereotypes for characters who are all so miserable that it’s impossible to identify with any of them, let alone care about them.
    It’s direct attempt at showing things such as exploitation, abuse, aging, addiction, and gang rape come across as offensive. And if Verhoeven was attempting to offend his audience, he achieved it for all the wrong reasons.

    • I had seen it mentioned on a few ToC so I tried to rewatch for the first time since its release – and found it unwatchable on all levels (satire, so bad its good, etc.)

  • Vincenzo Politi

    I have always LOVED Lost Highways. It is my favourite Lynch movie, even better than Mulholand Drive in my opinion.

  • shane scott-travis

    How exactly is Lost Highway “Lynch’s answer to Pulp Fiction”? You can’t make a statement like that and just leave it there to fester without any justification. I’d more say Inland Empire was since it has a broader cast, a compendium-like story and uses old pop tunes like Nina Simone.

  • PLATTSBURGHER

    pretty much every movie on the list, plus everyone named in the comments sucks.