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 411mania » Movies » Columns

Ten Deep: Top 10 Movies That More People Should See
Posted by Mike Gorman on 08.07.2014

"Top Ten Movies More People Should See"

Welcome to my very last crack at the 411Mania TV/Movie Zone Ten Deep! It has been my absolute pleasure to entertain, challenge, and often baffle you with these weekly lists of ten. I am stepping down to let someone else bring a fresh set of eyes to the property and am very excited to see what they have coming for you. You should be too! I will not be fading away from 411Mania as I have been kicking around here for around eight years now and that is a rough habit to quit. Instead I will be taking a quick break to regroup myself and find a new outlet for my creative juices. And now that things have gotten awkward, let's move on to the topic at hand.

This week's list consists of ten movies that stand out to some folks but certainly did not have the best showing when initially released. I have expressed my admiration for many of these films before, and don't go blasting off the handle because you, my movie geek friends, have seen some of these films. This is a list for the average movie fan looking to check out something new and for you to share with your friends. I have had some of the best discussions of my life talking about several of these films, and I invite you to do the same with your film fan friends. These are not my personal favorite films per se because if you are a regular reader you would know that films like The Lost Boys, Xanadu and The Last Starfighter would make my Top Ten. Instead these are movies that I truly enjoyed and would love for someone else to discover!

10. Idiocracy

Honestly I avoided Idiocracy when it was first released, and had a hard time getting through it the first time I watched. I am not a fan of "cringe-worthy films," the ones where you know someone is about to make a fool of themselves and can't avoid it. That is this film, except on a grander scale. Upon a second viewing I realized that the social commentary of this one, buried within the low brow humor, made some keen points. In Disney's Wall-E they tried to show the future that lay before us if we as human beings did not change the way we treated the planet and it was cute, and touching. In Idiocracy they take us to a similar future but do not pull any punches and do not offer any escape. The scariest thing about this film is when you ask the question of yourself, "Is this where we are headed as a society?" and you find it hard to say "no."

9. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

We come to a film that I kind of stumbled upon to be honest, which is weird because it seems right up my alley. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is hard to describe, is it an outright comedy? Is it a horror film? Or is it about an unfortunate series of events that add up to both? I don't want to spoil the film but I will say it is filled with one, "OMG did that just happen?" moment after another.

8. Chuck & Buck

Most of the laughing you do during Chuck & Buck will not be of the response to humor type, instead it will be due to a creeping unease that you just can't shake. The film tells the story of a grown man still stuck on his obsession with a childhood friend, that has grown so strong that it drives him to take action to get himself closer. Stalking and awkward are definitely terms that will come to mind when you watch this one, but it also brings a sense of fascination as wonder just how far it all might go.

7. Running on Empty

We're going back to the 80s and the all too short career of River Phoenix for this one. I was introduced to Running on Empty my junior year of college when I was an RA (Resident Assistant.) Some of students said they had a movie I had to see, so we watched it together and by the end I was definitely shedding some cathartic tears. The film is about a couple who have been on the run since the 60s for their role in some violent activism. They have chosen to raise their children on the run surrounding them with love but keeping them ready to move as needed. When it is discovered that their oldest son has a musical talent coveted by Juliard, decisions must be made, very difficult decisions.

6. Hard Candy

From time to time I get into discussions with people about certain films, namely the X-Men franchise, and when Ellen Paige comes up people are torn. They seem to either love her or find her boring. If you fall into the latter category, Hard Candy might be the film to change your mind. Again, I find it hard to say too much without giving away the "twists" in the plot but just know that this is a solid psychological thriller with Paige stepping out of her usual box and into some shoes we have not seen her inhabit before.

5. Primer

Have you ever seen a film more than once and still found it pretty much impossible to describe, but you know that you really enjoyed it? For me that film is Primer. It is a high concept film about the possibility of time travel, but not from a crazy special effects sci-fi point of view. Instead Primer was made for around $7000 and explores what time travel might actually turn out to be. I was drawn right in the first time I saw it and each subsequent viewing leads to new discoveries.

4. Moon

There is a certain Tom Cruise movie that I would like to compare and contrast the amazing Moon to but in doing so I would give away some major plot points of Moon that you hopefully are not aware of if you haven't seen it yet. Moon is one of the best space films to come out in years with its haunting architecture and claustrophobic storyline. Sam Rockwell is alone for most of the film and gives a truly spectacular performance that is larger than life without going over the top.

3. Brick

Over the past few years we have 3rd Rock from the Sun's Joseph Gordon Levitt evolve from a comedic child actor to a true big screen star with potential that just keeps growing. That potential was visible in Brick, a 2005 film that draws elements of classic film noir into a high school, small town setting. Levitt is the "detective" at the center of the story and he carries the gravitas of the role well, delivering a memorable performance to say the least.

2. Big Night

Big Night is the story of two brothers struggling to keep their restaurant open with one shot, one big night, to ensure their future. The film teases your senses with the amazing food prepared on screen while invoking your emotions by presenting a familial relationship that feels honest and true to any you have experienced. The film explores the urgency of life, the bonds of family and the limits of satisfaction, with both the food and the outcome of the "big night." There are no real twists or over the top deus ex machinas here, just some simple honest storytelling made of elements as pure as the ingredients in the brothers' dishes.

And finally…

1. Cinema Paradiso

When deciding on this week's topic, I had another in mind besides the one you have experienced today. I was going to share with you all the ten films that I feel shaped my perceptions as a lover of cinema with the stories of why. I decided against that topic but realized that in the end one film would have held the top spot on either list and it is Cinema Paradiso. This 1998 Italian release is story of a famous Italian film director who is exposed to the world through film in his small village as a child, at the Cinema Paradiso. The film is a flashback to the director's history and world he left behind to pursue his fame. If you are a true lover of the cinema, you will certainly relate to this film, and if you just love a grand story filled with love, drama and character, you will certainly love this film. I was first exposed to this film in the early 1990s when I was in college and working at the campus cinema. Until that time I had been relatively simple in my film tastes, which included pop culture hits, sci-fi action films and a smattering of horror. Here I had the door opened to me to a whole new type of film to me. It was the first time you are made to try a food you are certain you will hate and find that you love when you give it a chance. For me Cinema Paradiso will always remain that beautiful door that opened me up to what else the world of film had to offer and for that I will ever be grateful.

Speaking of grateful, I have to say thank you to Ashish, Larry, Jeremy, Chad and everyone else here at 411Mania for letting me steer this ship that is Ten Deep for the last four years. And I also thank you, the readers, even when you disagreed with me I appreciate you taking the time to react and respond. As I have said, I will not be gone long, but until then keep watching movies, keep sharing them with your friends, and come on back to Ten Deep next week to see what greatness lies ahead!

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