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DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

What is your favorite film (films) that never was a huge blockbuster or that popular, but is, in your opinion, a real gem?

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11271points) June 23rd, 2010

You know the film…it didn’t get a lot of media attention. It might have been an “arthouse” film or a Hollywood film that just wasn’t publicized well..but you found it to be delightful or thought-provoking or life-changing or just plain entertaining and well-done.

I have a quite a few, but these come to mind quickly:

Reds (This is tops in my book—Beatty’s finest and overshadowed by “Chariots of Fire”. Beatty should have taken Oscar home for “Best Picture”. Yes, this was a huge film. Big budget. But I put it here because it still has not received the attention it should have received.)

My Favorite Year (Peter O’Toole in an amazing comedic performance with a cameo by Lainie Kazan that is priceless.)

A Little Romance (Diane Lane in a touching coming of age film with a performance by Theolonius Bernard that is witty and charming. And Laurence Olivier is wonderful in his supporting role.)

My Life As a Dog (Directed by Lasse Hallstrom. This Swedish film won a lot of awards and accolades, but is mostly forgotten. It is the story of a young boy whose mother is terminally ill and is sent to live with relatives. His adventures with the eccentric people he encounters as he attempts to make sense of his changing life is filled with some very tender and funny moments. Lovely little film. )

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60 Answers

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

In A Day.

Loved this movie. Was waaaay under the radar, but so glad I found it.

Plot: A young woman spends a curiously unpredictable day with a stranger.

SuperMouse's avatar

The Waterdance – Amazing film with an amazing cast and one of the most realistic portrayals of spinal cord injury I have seen on film. Wesley Snipes is unbelievable in this movie and Helen Hunt manages not to be annoying (no small feat IMHO).

The Last Supper – A dark film with a great cast (when many of them were not very well known), that manages to be fun and thought provoking.

The Commitments – This movie is about a white guy in Dublin determined to put together a great soul group. It is funny and the music is fabulous, I bought the soundtrack on my way home from the theater.

mrrich724's avatar

Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni


Dog's avatar

Almost Famous
The Crow (first one- City of Angels was awful)

knitfroggy's avatar

So I Married an Axe Murderer. It has got to be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen.

dpworkin's avatar

Lacombe, Lucien
This is Spinal Tap
Heaven’s Gate (Not Gates of Heaven, but the movie about the pet cemetery)
Waiting For Guffman
Best In Show
The Rape of Europa
This Boy’s Life
The Executioner’s Song
Shot Through the Heart

aprilsimnel's avatar

My Bodyguard
Young Sherlock Holmes
The Missionary
Shallow Grave
Bright Young Things
Gosford Park
The Cat’s Meow
Eve’s Bayou

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@Dog I’m not arguing that Almost Famous is not good… I own every version of that movie, it’s one of the greatest films ever made… but how does it fit the category of the question, “not popular”? It was nominated for 4 Oscars & won for Best original screenplay. Sure it only made $32million, but it was still a very widely known film.

zophu's avatar

I really liked Waterworld even though it apparently bombed in the boxoffice. It’s like water, but the whole world . . . was awesome. dude had gills

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@zophu Waterworld only did bad in terms of money spent to make the film & how much it brought it. It cost them $175 million to make…it brought in $88 million. It brought in a lot of money when compared to other films, but was a huge loss for the studio.

janbb's avatar

King of Hearts
Life is Sweet
Vera Drake
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
Please Give
Walking and Talking
Kissing Jessica Stein
Rachel’s Wedding
Experience Preferred but Not Essential
Cinema Paradiso
The Night of Shooting Stars
I’m Not There
The Good Girl

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Rory O’Shea Was Here – Inside I’m Dancing
I’ve also always really enjoyed the movie Pi

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Bicentennial man was and still is thought provoking.

ETpro's avatar

A Boy and His Dog is at the top of my list. It was a 1974 dystopia about a post-nuclear world adapted from a 1969 short story of the same name by Harlan Ellison. Chilling. Absolutely great story telling.

filmfann's avatar

One of Hollywoods biggest flops is one of my favorite films:

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Another Gem: The Rocketeer

zophu's avatar

@rpmpseudonym oh, i see. That’s good to know.

Madmax Beyond Thunderdome was also awesome. But that was kind of just the desert version of waterworld. (my taste in film is pretty simple.) I guess that isn’t much of an undiscovered gem, though. i should hit up netflix and watch some of these other suggestions.

benjaminlevi's avatar

The Fall – it an independent film thats kind of like a darker version of the never ending story, but with the best costume design i have seen in any movie.

Your_Majesty's avatar

It would be hard for me to say since I only watch most movies that get into international movie nomination. The nominee itself is a good film I just can’t agree with the winner. But I would say ‘Van Helsing’. A good movie that lost its prize.

andreaxjean's avatar

I don’t remember seeing a Visioneers trailer on TV when it came out. I love Zach Galifianakis and this dark comedy was hilarious!! I recommend it to anyone who needs a good laugh.

ipso's avatar

@dpworkinGates of Heaven (1978) is a damn good call. So is A Boy and His Dog (1975) @ETpro

My handful of cine seed:
– Loved (1997)
– Rancho Delux (1975)
– Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
– Bronson (2008)
– The Tall T (1957)

Moderately successful, but these three have consistently shown the biggest gap between me thinking they are “top 10” and others scratching their head or outright hating the movie:
– Solaris (2002)
– Donnie Darko (2001)
– State and Main (2000)

Cruiser's avatar

I have yet to meet anyone who has seen “A Boy and His Dog” with and 18 yr old Don Johnson! The movie rocks and is a post apocalyptic world type movie of his dog who sniffs out food and women for him. The dog talks telepathically and kicks all form of ass. But it Don Johnson who makes the movie…just see it already!!

BhacSsylan's avatar

The Secret of Kells Not underappreciated, per se, it got incredible reviews, plus being nominated for best animated feature at the Oscars (pushing out Ponyo). But as far as I know not well known of, at least in the US. It’s an irish film, and only got showing at select theaters. But it is absolutely amazing in terms of art and design. And plus, I’m half Scottish and was incredibly happy when they had a song in Gaelic (it’s the song that plays on the site), and in general had elements of Irish culture and mythology weaved throughout the entire thing.

Okay, that rant over. Sorry! Anyway, other list, @filmfann already took on of my favorites, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, but a few more:

Catch-22. No, not M*A*S*H. That’s actually why this did badly, they came out at the same time, and M*A*S*H stole Catch’s thunder. But still amazing, and Alan Arkin is amazing.

UHF. Weird Al in charge of TV. Need I say more? Not sure if this was badly received, but it’s getting old, and too few young whippersnappers know of it.

Garden State. I also don’t know about the reception of this, but again, too few people have seen it. It’s a great movie, and it has bilbo baggins. What more can you ask?

Everything is Illuminated. A intriguing little movie starring Elijah Wood as ‘the collector’, a guy who collects stuff. He goes to poland to try and find the lady who saved his grandfather from the Nazi invasion (he was jewish, by the way). Amazing, amazing movie. Also limited showings.

Iclamae's avatar

It’s hard for me to tell which ones are popular or not because they are popular among my nerdy college friends but not any of my other friends or my family…

“A Very Long Engagement”
“Coco Before Chanel”
everything by Miyazaki
“Keeping Mum”
“Tripletts of Belville”
“Secret of Kells”

ETpro's avatar

I can see it is going to take some time for a leader to emerge in this pack.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@Everyone, I see some good suggestions & some titles even I haven’t heard of. After looking over every title listed here.. I own about 35 of them already, leaving just a handful left…so it would appear I haven’t seen every movie…yet. :)

I will pick out from all those listed, & give my top 10, in no specific order- in case anyone wants to watch a few based on my suggestions…of course… my first post recommendation, In A Day would be top choice. :)

Tripletts of Belville – fantastic animated film, with no talking & amazing/fun story.
everything by Miyazaki – although his films are the top grossing films in history in japan, in the U.S, few people watch them & everyone should be.. my top picks of his films are, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle & Princess Mononoke.
Garden State – has a cult following (or Zach Braff following) still delightful film with a simple story that unfolds in a quirky way.
Donnie Darko – one of my favorite films of all time. A must watch for lovers of great sci-fi-esque story telling & for those who don’t wish to understand what the hell they just saw.
The Fall – great fun & feels epic with ambition.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? – more successful than some think, but who cares.. I love this heart breaking work of amazing character development.
I’ll group together the 3 Christopher Guest movies, Best In Show, Waiting for Guffman & This Is Spinal Tap… because really, you need to see them all. Great pieces of work & astounding talents in improvisation – oh what the hell, I’ll throw in my favorite of his films, watch For Your Consideration while your at it.
Last, even though I commented that it was a film that did pretty good for itself…. every human being should watch Almost Famous. To watch the movie feels like you are experiencing something that is fundamental in how we live on Earth. We need water for thirst, food for hunger, & Almost Famous for our eyes/ears/heart.

I just remember a very good movie that got next to nothing for publicity & I consider it to be one of the greatest pieces of movie making. The Nines.
Yes, that’s Ryan Reynolds. The movie has an incredibly complex story that is fun to watch & will have you thinking about it for weeks. It’s like Donnie Darko, in that… your not entirely sure what you are watching, while you watch it, you can’t wait to tell your friends about it & when they ask you, what’s another movie thats like it… you don’t’ have a damn clue, because it truly is one of a kind.

Joodie's avatar

Me and You and Everyone We Know
The Fountain
All ***** star movies in my book!

benjaminlevi's avatar

@Joodie cashback was awesome

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t think Gia or Mermaids (the one with Cher) were huge blockbusters but both are favourites of mine.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Silverado and We were Soldiers. I think they both did ok, but not huge at the box office.

Iclamae's avatar

I just remembered one I couldn’t remember earlier.

was amazing.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@Joodie Oooh yea, forgot about those two. Cashback & The Fountain are amazing, especially The Fountain. I don’t know what it was about that movie, but it just really dug its claws into me & I fell in love with it.

Iclamae's avatar

@Joodie and @rpmpseudonym yess, the fountain was good and super beautiful

Dr_Dredd's avatar

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. Hugh Grant was cute, and Colm Meaney was fantastic!

zophu's avatar

I just watched a bit of The Fall and it reeks with artsy awesomeness.

edit: oh, i see this one was already suggested. I agree, the costumes are ridiculously awesome @benjaminlevi

Iclamae's avatar

oooh, “Mirrormask”

Joodie's avatar

@Iclamae Agreed, really surreal and strange but good!

Val123's avatar

The God’s Must Be Crazy I and II. II was even better than I!!

janbb's avatar

@Val123 My family loves them. They are so much fun!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Leanne1986 I love Gia. Plus, I’ve had lovers who were on heroin, and it so perfectly shows why it was hard to leave (one of them looked a lot like her…).

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Wow….I didn’t think so many of you would respond….but thank you! I now have a list of great films I might have missed!! THANK YOU!!

I hope that others keep adding to the list…it was fabulous to read all the postings.

Lurve coming at you…..from DR

Oh, and…it was really cool to see that quite a few of the films mentioned…I also enjoyed.

Brian1946's avatar

i don’t think Forbidden Planet was a blockbuster, but I think it’s my all-time favorite sci-fi flick.

Dog's avatar

@rpmpseudonym I am an artist and rarely read up on movie popularity as it really is not of any interest to me.
I based my selection of “Almost Famous” on the fact that many of my friends had never heard of the movie until I had told them about it.

Val123's avatar

@janbb I discovered that movie when my kids were just about the same age as the kids in the movie! My daughter was the older of the two. We just love those movies!

andreaxjean's avatar

What about Eraserhead or Mulholland Drive? David Lynch is sick and twisted but his film productions are so captivating. His daughter did a film recently. I can’t remember the name of it at the moment… but she definitely inherited some of her father’s talent.

—Edit: Jennifer Lynch is her name and the movie I’m thinking of is Surveillance.—

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Oh wait…my favorite sci-fi film (hands-down): The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Priceless. And probably more timely now than ever.

andreaxjean's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus Hopefully you mean the original. The remake was terrible!

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@andreaxjean….There was a remake?? ;)

Some films never, ever should be remade…and this was one of them.

The other one? “Lost Horizon” which was made into a horrific musical in the 70’s.

The original? Sublime. Never should have been tampered with.

andreaxjean's avatar

Haha, yeah. The Day the Earth Stood Still was remade in 2008 with Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

Just thought of another (don’t know how I could forget it) Eulogy

Absolutely hysterical. My go-to movie for when I need to laugh (but also very heartwarming). This movie is just brilliant…bloody brilliant. Everyone should see it.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

Just thought of another one that I really love. L.A Blues.
Has a genius cast & great storytelling. A must watch for everyone.

Tune in tomorrow for my next pick. I could give a new movie for you guys to watch every day for a year.

eden2eve's avatar

The Legend of 1900 directed by Giuseppe Tornatore and starring Tim Roth. It’s one of several movies revolving around music that really moved me. It’s a fantasy about a baby who was found on an ocean liner in the year 1900, and his life occurred utterly on that ship. I think it’s brilliant!

Iclamae's avatar

@eden2eve I’ve been meaning to watch it. I stumbled across it accidentally in Blockbuster and it looks so good.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

Okay, I stayed up at night, thinking of some real gems to list, so I don’t’ have to keep coming back each day to give a new one… so here is my short list of hidden gems in the movie industry.

Bottle Rocket (1996)
Candy (2006)
City of Lost Children (1995)
Fifty Pills (2006)
Friends With Money (2006)
Happy Endings (2005)
Half Nelson (2006)
Hoodwinked (2005)
I’m Reed Fish (2006)
Igby Goes Down (2002)
Infamous (2006)
Junebug (2005)
Lars & The Real Girl (2007)
A Love Song For Bobby Long (2004)
Mean Creek (2004)
Music Within (2007)
Numb (2007/I)
Once (2006)
Pretty Ugly People (2008)
Proof (2005)
Requiem For A Dream (2000)
The Rules of Attraction (2002)
The Science of Sleep (2006)
Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
Thumbsucker (2005)
The Thing About My Folks (2005)
Trust The Man (2005)
Two Weeks (2006)
Waltz with Bashir (2008)
The Visitor (2007/I)
Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)

I think that will be enough for now. Sorry I didn’t post a link for each movie, but I just didn’t have the time to look up each movie on, copy the link & then paste it into here. But please, look up some/all of these movies & give them a shot…they really deserve your attention.

janbb's avatar

@rpmpseudonym Soem great films on your list. Two of my favorites from recent years were Waltz with Bashir abnd The Visitor !

Carly's avatar

Pretty much anything with Philip Seymour Hoffman. :)

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