Written By: Ken Hulsey
Everyone has "hidden gems" in their DVD collection, films that they treasure, but for some reason, other people either don't get or have never heard of.
Being a huge fan of movies myself, as you may of guessed from the fact that I run a movie blog, as you would expect, own a whole lot of movies. Some are great, some are good, some are bad and some are good because they are so bad.
Does that make sense?
Anyway, In my collection I have several films that may have cruised under many peoples radar, films that I feel are classics in their own right, yet not generally accepted as classics.
Does that make sense?
I'm sure that you know what I mean because you undoubtedly have several films of this type in your own DVD library. Films that are special to you, though they may not be to other people. Only difference here is that I run a blog, so I get to share them with the world.
Okay, here we go with my selections which I will now present in no particular order:
Hexed is a 1993 comedy film, starring Arye Gross, Claudia Christian, Adrienne Shelly, and R. Lee Ermey. The film was apparently a minor financial success due to its low budget.
Well thank you Wikipedia for that entry! "Hexed" is a little known comedy that spoofs late 80s thrillers. It's humor is low-brow but what's wrong with that? A friggin hilarious film!
2: The Long Kiss Goodnight
The Long Kiss Goodnight is a 1996 action thriller film starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson, written by Shane Black and directed by Renny Harlin.
Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) is a mother and schoolteacher with a seemingly normal life in the small town of Honesdale, Pennsylvania. However, she was found badly injured and suffering from amnesia eight years previously, and has no memory of her past. When she is attacked by an escaped convict, Samantha dispatches her attacker with lethal self-defense skills she was not aware she possessed. Throughout the years she hires a series of detectives to help her find the truth about her past until ending up with wisecracking, ethically challenged private investigator Mitch Henessey (Samuel L. Jackson) who lucks into some vital information. She contacts the mysterious Dr. Nathan Waldman (Brian Cox) who reveals that Samantha is really Charlene Elizabeth "Charly" Baltimore, an assassin for the CIA who went missing eight years ago. When Samantha is captured and tortured by her old enemy Daedalus (David Morse), her real identity resurfaces. Although she initially disdains her life as 'Samantha', Mitch forces Charly to recognize that she actually liked her time as Samantha as it was the first time she was truly content with herself.
While attempting to resolve her conflicted feelings about her past, Charly discovers that her former boss at the CIA, Leland Perkins (Patrick Malahide), has allied with a psychological-operations specialist named Timothy (Craig Bierko) in a false flag plot to detonate a chemical bomb in downtown Niagara Falls, New York, frame "Islamic" terrorists for the crime, and thus secure more funding. She and Mitch set out to thwart the plot and rescue her young daughter, Caitlin (Yvonne Zima) from the clutches of the terrorists. Charly reveals to Timothy during a tense confrontation that he is actually Caitlin's father due to a brief fling during Charly's last assignment before being struck with amnesia. After averting the plot by stealing the tanker carrying the chemical bomb (Timothy dying in the process), Charly returns to her old life as Samantha and loving parent to Caitlin. For his part, Mitch enjoys the publicity attracted by his role in the crisis.
Geen Davis as an action star? I know, but it works!
3: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a 2004 American pulp adventure science-fiction film written and directed by Kerry Conran in his directorial debut. The film is set in an alternative 1939 and follows the adventures of Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), a newspaper reporter, and Harry Joseph "Joe" Sullivan (Jude Law), alias "Sky Captain," as they track down the mysterious Dr. Totenkopf who is seeking to build the "World of Tomorrow."
In 1939, the zeppelin Hindenburg III arrives in New York City, mooring at the Empire State Building. A frightened scientist named Dr. Jorge Vargas (Julian Curry) makes arrangements for a package containing two vials to be delivered to a Dr. Walter Jennings (Trevor Baxter), then vanishes.
Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), a newspaper reporter for The Chronicle, looks into the disappearances of Vargas and five other renowned scientists. She receives a cryptic message telling her to go to Radio City Music Hall. Ignoring the warning of editor Paley (Michael Gambon) not to go, she meets Dr. Jennings during a showing of The Wizard of Oz. He tells her that Dr. Totenkopf is coming for him. Suddenly, air raid sirens go off as giant indestructible robots attack the city. In desperation, the police call for "Sky Captain" Joe Sullivan (Jude Law), who commands a private air force based in New York, the Flying Legion.
Polly photographs the action from the street as Sullivan knocks out one robot and the rest leave. News reports show similar attacks around the globe. The robot's wreckage is taken back to the Legion's air base so that its expert, Dex Dearborn (Giovanni Ribisi), can examine it. Polly follows, hoping to get information for her story. She and Joe are ex-lovers, who broke up three years earlier in China where Joe was serving with the US Air Force. Since it appears Polly has useful information, Joe agrees to let her in on the investigation. Her lead takes them to the ransacked laboratory of Dr. Jennings, with the scientist himself near death. The killer, a mysterious woman (Bai Ling), escapes. Jennings gives Polly two vials, which he says are crucial to Dr. Totenkopf's plans. Polly withholds this information from Joe. They return to the Legion's base, which comes under attack from squadrons of ornithopter drones. Dex manages to track the origin of the robot control signal, but he's captured. However, he leaves behind a part of a map marking the location of Totenkopf's base.
Joe and Polly find it and head to Nepal. Venturing into the Himalayas, they discover an abandoned mining outpost. Two guides turn out to be working for Totenkopf, forcing Polly to turn over the vials and then locking her and Joe in a room full of explosives, which they light. Joe and Polly are knocked unconscious by the explosion. They wake up together in the mythical Shangri-La. The monks there tell of Totenkopf's enslavement of their people, forcing them to work in the uranium mines. Most were killed by the radiation, but the final survivor (who was suffering from Radiation poisoning) provides a clue to where Totenkopf is hiding. This leads them to another of Joe's ex-flames, Commander Franky Cook (Angelina Jolie), who commands a Royal Navy flying aircraft carrier with submarine aircraft.
Franky leads the attack while Joe and Polly enter through an underwater inlet. After surfacing, Polly notices that the identification number on Joe's aircraft reads "Polly" when viewed upside-down. Joe and Polly find themselves on an island with dinosaur-like creatures. They head to a mountain and find a secret underground facility, where robots are loading animals, as well as the mysterious vials, onto a large "Noah's Ark" rocket. Joe and Polly are detected and nearly killed. Dex, piloting a floating barge, arrives in the nick of time with three of the missing scientists. Dex explains that Totenkopf has given up on humanity and seeks to start the world over again: the "World of Tomorrow". The vials are genetic material for a male and female human: a new Adam and Eve.
In Totenkopf's lair, one scientist is incinerated by the defense system. A holographic of Totenkopf (Laurence Olivier) appears and speaks. Dex disables the defenses and the group discovers Totenkopf's mummified corpse. He had died 20 years before, but his machines have carried on his work. In his hand is a scrap of paper reading "forgive me." The only way to sabotage the rocket is from the inside. Polly tries to tag along, but Joe kisses her and knocks her out. He prepares to sacrifice himself while the others escape. Polly recovers and follows Joe, arriving in time to save him from the mysterious woman who turns out to be a robot. The two board the rocket. Before it reaches 100 km, when its second stage fires and incinerates the earth, Polly pushes an emergency button that ejects all the animals in escape pods. Joe tries to disable the rocket only to be interrupted by the same robot. He jolts her with her electric weapon and then uses it on the controls, disabling the rocket. They use the last pod to save themselves as the rocket safely explodes.
Joe and Polly watch the animal pods splash down around their escape pod. Polly then uses the last shot on her camera to take a picture of Joe. He tells her that the lens cap was still on the camera. Polly's look of joy turns to shock as she realizes she has no proof any of their adventure happened.
CGI used right .... for once!
4: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a 2005 comic science fiction film based on the book of the same name by Douglas Adams. Shooting was completed in August 2004 and the movie was released on April 28, 2005 in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, and on the following day in Canada and the United States.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (voiced by Stephen Fry) narrates that dolphins, the second most-intelligent creatures on Earth, attempted to warn mankind (the third most intelligent creatures) about Earth's impending destruction, but humans interpreted the dolphins' communications as tricks. The dolphins leave the planet, their final message to humans being "So long, and thanks for all the fish."
Earthling Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) wakes up to find his house about to be demolished by city bulldozers and he tries to delay them by laying in the mud. Ford Prefect (Mos Def), his best friend, convinces Arthur to come to the pub to get some beer as a muscle relaxant. Ford tries explaining to Arthur that he is an alien from a planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse working on the Hitchhiker's Guide, and that the Earth is scheduled to be demolished. A Vogon planetery demolishing fleet appears around the Earth, announcing to humanity its impending demise so they can build a hyperspace expressway. Ford saves himself and Arthur by hitching a ride on a Vogon ship just before the Earth is destroyed. The two are discovered, and as punishment are forced to listen to Vogon poetry, the third-worst of its type in the galaxy. They are then thrown out an airlock, but are picked up by the starship Heart of Gold before they asphyxiate. Aboard the Heart of Gold, they find Ford's "semi-half brother" Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), the President of the Galaxy. He has stolen the ship, along with Tricia "Trillian" McMillan (Zooey Deschanel), an Earth woman that Arthur flirted with at a party before she left with Zaphod, and Marvin the Paranoid Android (voiced by Alan Rickman).
Zaphod explains that he seeking the planet Magrathea, where he believes he can discover the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything to match with the Answer "42" given by the supercomputer Deep Thought (voiced by Helen Mirren). Zaphod stole the Heart of Gold to use its improbability drive to get there through trial and error.
During one of these attempts, they end up at the planet Viltvodle VI. Zaphod decides to visit Humma Kavula (John Malkovich), his opponent from the election. When Kavula learns of Zaphod's plan, he announces that he has the coordinates to Magrathea. Zaphod makes him an offer which he accepts, but demands they return with a Point-of-view gun created by Deep Thought, as well as taking one of Zaphod's two heads as a "hostage". As they are leaving the planet, Trillian is captured by Vogons, and the others travel to the Vogon homeworld to rescue her from the bureaucracy there. The crew face long lines and frustrating form processing. Before being rescued, Trillian learns that Zaphod signed the authorization for the destruction of Earth, because he thought it was a request for an autograph.
The Heart of Gold is chased by the Vogons, led by Galactic Vice-President Questular Rontok (Anna Chancellor), who is attempting to rescue Zaphod from himself. The Heart of Gold arrives in orbit above Magrathea, and avoids its automated missile defense systems when Arthur triggers the improbability drive, changing the missiles into a whale and a bowl of petunias while surviving the side effect of unstable jumps: permanent improbability.
On the planet, Zaphod, Ford and Trillian take a portal to Deep Thought. When they ask the computer whether it has calculated the ultimate question, it reveals that it had designed another supercomputer to do so: Earth. The trio later finds the Point-of-View gun. Trillian shoots Zaphod with the gun, making him understand how she feels about the destruction of Earth. She also finds out how much she loves Arthur, directly from Zaphod's mouth. Meanwhile, Arthur and Marvin miss traveling through the portal, and instead encounter a Magrathean called Slartibartfast (Bill Nighy) who takes Arthur on a tour of the "construction floor" where Earth Mark II is being built. Slartibartfast takes Arthur to his house where the others are waiting for him, enjoying a feast provided by pan-dimensional beings (currently resembling a pair of mice). Arthur realizes he has fallen into a trap. The mice, the beings that constructed Deep Thought, used the supercomputer to build an even larger supercomputer called "Earth" to determine the Ultimate Question. Arthur, as the last remaining supercomputer component, may hold the Ultimate Answer in his brain, which the mice intend to cut open to obtain. Arthur manages to smash the mice into pancakes.
As the crew regroup outside the house they are surrounded by Vogons, and take shelter in a caravan as the Vogons open fire. Marvin, left outside, is shot in the back of the head, but the shot is not fatal and he uses the Point-of-View gun on the Vogons, causing them to become very depressed and unable to fight. As the Vogons are taken away while Questular rejoins with Zaphod, Arthur realizes that he now has the opportunity to explore the galaxy with Trillian, and lets Slartibartfast finalize the new Earth without him. The Heart of Gold crew decide to visit "the Restaurant at the End of the Universe", though Marvin points out they are going the wrong way. The improbability drive is then activated.
When my wife and I went to see this one in the theater we were the only ones who got the jokes ..... pity because this one is truly hilarious!
5: Free Enterprise
Free Enterprise is a 1999 romantic comedy film starring Eric McCormack and Rafer Weigel, and featuring William Shatner, directed by Robert Meyer Burnett and written by Mark A. Altman and Burnett.
The film deals with the mid-life crises of its two main protagonists, Mark (Eric McCormack) and Robert (Rafer Weigel), fictionalized versions of the film's director and producer/writer. The two friends struggle with adult career and relationship problems, all the while defiantly clinging to the geeky science fiction pop culture of their youth and seeking advice from their greatest hero, William Shatner.
Shatner plays a campy caricature of himself as he works on a one-man musical version of Julius Caesar in hopes of finally being taken seriously as a dramatist and musical performer. Hip-hop artist "The Rated R", joined by Shatner, provides the concluding musical number "No Tears for Caesar", a pastiche of famous lines from the play set to a rap rhythm. The film's score was produced by Scott Spock.
Honestly .... I am a combination of both of the main characters in this one. I have a serious side .... but then again I get a boner over Star Trek and old comic books. Go figure huh?
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