This might end up being a new column for MovieDebaters. I’d like to talk about a few movies that I find to be truly great and engrossing, but for whatever reason, I don’t hear many people talk about them. In fact, I’d go as far to say that You Might Have Missed It.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
TAoJJbtCRF definitely has a strong critical background. It’s sitting pretty at 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. When the movie was released it ended up on many critic’s top ten lists for that year.
The movie is follows Jesse James and Robert Ford as they live as outlaws in the Wild West. Over the course of the movie their paths intertwine, forever altering each other’s lives. Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck (Jesse James and Robert Ford, respectively) give amazing performances that are both commanding and subtle.
The visuals in the movie are absolutely gorgeous. Every shot looks like a painting. The filmmakers did a great job of recreating the Old West and finding locations that transport the viewer back in time.
Without sounding too hyperbolic, the movie really is an instant classic in the Western genre. It stands tall with fellow peers No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. Not only that but TAoJJbtCRF is more inline with a traditional western story.
So why aren’t more people singing the praises of this movie? I think perhaps the running time scares viewers off. The movie clocks in around two and a half hours. And it’s a slow two and a half hours. However, I implore you to commit to the movie. It is such a rewarding experience and film.
The movie also, at times, comes across as a glorified history documentary. I can see how that would turn off some viewers, but it is a necessary addition to the movie, considering how many notable events the movie covers.
Even if you watch it and dislike the movie, you’ll still have seen a movie that is not like anything you’ve seen.
The Last Boy Scout
Released in 1991 during the height of the buddy cop action movie craze, The Last Boy Scout toes the line for being a parody of the genre.
The story is about a down and out, pathetic P.I. Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) hired to protect a stripper. The stripper is killed and Joe must find out how she was connected to a local gambling operation. Joining Joe is Jimmy Dix (Damon Waynes) a disgraced ex-football star and boyfriend to the aforementioned, dead, stripper.
The movie was written by action genre master Shane Black and directed by Tony Scott. The combination of Black’s extraordinarily sarcastic script and Scott’s visual flair makes for a great movie that is both a comment on 90s action movies and a genuinely good action movie.
Bruce Willis is at his absolute saltiest in this movie. His role is like someone describing a character as being “like Bruce Willis in concentrate form.” It beautifully adds to the almost parody layer of the movie.
Genres in of themselves go through fads, so I’m not surprised that this movie isn’t brought up more. It seems audiences and filmmakers have moved past the buddy cop genre with the two sarcastic, quipping leads.
But if you’ve never seen the movie, you owe it to yourself. Watching it is like traveling back in time. It’s a perfect time capsule of the early 90s.
Visioneers stars Zach Galifinakis as a low level bureaucrat in a future where one corporation runs just about every facet of life. Life is mundane, routine. Until. People start spontaneously exploding. Not combusting, but exploding.
The story tracks Galifinakis as he comes to grips with the fact that he’s begun to develop symptoms that are common in people who have exploded.
The movie plays like a more subtle version of Idiocracy and Brazil. The satire about our corporate culture is pitch perfect. The corporate overlords want to be your best friend, talk show hosts rave about the most mundane things, and people have begun to develop odd personality ticks from being forced to live under conglomerate law.
This movie is a dyed in wool indie picture so I can understand why it isn’t more well known. If you can seek it out, watch it. It’s the type of movie that reminds you that yes, interesting, creative, insane movies are still being made. It’s not just cookie cutter movies that seem to come out all the time in theaters.