Sometimes you just have to break a bit from popular opinion… here are 9 obscure movies I enjoyed.
I’ve received a lot of feedback when I’ve written about some of the movies I’ve enjoyed. Movies are great because they often communicate very central messages to a very wide range of people. I find when I’m meeting someone for the first time, if I can’t find a commonality with them over work, interests, lifestyle, faith, music, or life experiences, I usually find I can relate to someone on movies. I guess that’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed growing my movie collection over the years, because movies are a means for exploring some big ideas as a larger collective of people, and also sometimes just sharing some mindless fun.
So this time around, I though I’d write about some of the more obscure movies I enjoyed.
In defining “obscure”, I’ll say for the purposes of this list these are movies that were either less popular, quite quirky, or movies that people have been surprised at me and said “really?” when I’ve mentioned them. This isn’t necessarily a favourites list by any means, but just some of the films I’ve got that fit one of those descriptions that I still enjoy rewatching at least every now and again.
So here we go.
Also, check out the very similarly related 9 Movies I Like But No One Else Does if you’re interested in more of those “different” types of movies I’ve enjoyed.
This was one of my favourite movies when I was a bit younger, and although I don’t love it as much as I once did, I recently picked it up again and was reminded that this movie really does hold up. A bit of an older movie starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L Jackson, it’s a story about two men with very different lives who have a car accident resulting in one of them losing an important legal file, and the other losing a court case for the custody of his children because the accident caused him to be too late for the final hearing. Tension mounts between the two men as they enter a battle over the file full of twists and raw emotion. This movie is intense – after rewatching it after not having seen it for a while, I was surprised at just how gripping this movie still was as I forgot a whole bunch of the heavier moments that happened in the movie. It really does live up to the thriller genre.
It just seems like this movie didn’t do as well as its leading stars would merit.
Confession: I love Christopher Nolan. I loved the Batman reboots. I loved Inception. I loved Interstellar. I still haven’t seen Memento but I’m told I need to. But before all those bigger blockbuster hits was the slightly strange yet amazing crafted The Prestige.
The movie centers around two stage magicians who start out as partners but have a major falling out, causing them to enter perpetual competition with each other. The movie is incredibly creative in how the story is told, recounting parts of the story from each man’s diary and perspective, changing focus to leave you guessing what will happen next as only Nolan can. I feel like this movie is often overlooked by a lot of people – many people have heard about it but never seen it. The cast is also brilliant – Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johannson, Michael Caine (pretty much in every Nolan movie), Andy Serkis, and an amazing cameo from David Bowie. The plot is intense, the story is brilliant, and it really is an enjoyable and engaging watch from start to finish.
Are you watching closely?
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete
Enter the nerd pick on the list. Despite owning several game consoles and having a love for RPGs, I never really got into Final Fantasy VII. I have honestly tried to play through the game several times since its release at various points of my life, but the furthest I ever got into the game was about the 8 hour mark without just… getting… bored… don’t kill me. For those who are uninformed, Final Fantasy VII is in the order of 40-100 hours of investment to truly experience it.
But something I have always loved are the bigger story moments and the soundtrack. On the Bluray of Advent Children, there is a 16 minute summary video going through all the major events in the game to bring the audience up to speed, and I actually enjoy watching this more than any amount of time I’ve given to playing the game.
As for the movie itself, it is ultimately a pretty touching tale of learning to forgive yourself. The protagonist, Cloud, struggles years later with the death of a girl he got very close to, still believing it to be his fault. It charts his story in accepting himself; dealing with the woman in his life who does love him, Tifa; reuniting with old friends…
Oh yeah, and some awesome combat scenes as only the Japanese can produce. And dat electric guitar in One Winged Angel. Make sure you watch this one with subtitles in its original Japanese – it really is that much better than the dub.
This one will definitely be obscure by most definitions of the word. The Christian film community isn’t necessarily known for putting out the best movies around. Sure, some of the bigger hits like the recent War Room or the slightly older Fireproof have garnered even critical acclaim in some ways, but as a whole, the industry is still on its way towards gathering mainstream acceptance.
This movie though definitely took me by surprise. Starring Michael W Smith, it follows a well-off middle to upper class youth pastor of a local megachurch who really embodies a lot of the more modern movement of churches around the world. His father being the pastor, he is sent out to one of the church’s plants in the downtown suburbs of their city, where things aren’t as ordered or pristine as he is used to. He and the pastor of the downtown church instantly conflict, depicting a great look at the very different struggles at each end of the socioeconomic spectrum and reaching different communities. It’s not necessarily going to win any awards any time soon, but if that sort of examination of modern church interests you, check it out.
Legend of the Guardians
Haha, I’m laughing already at including this one because I can hear my brother saying “Of course Matt would put the stupid owl movie on this list”. Legend of the Guardians was the reason I bought a Bluray player and suitable TV a few days after seeing it used to advertise in a store. It’s a beautiful looking movie, even years later. With a great Australian cast of voice actors such as Hugo Weaving and Geoffrey Rush, the movie follows two owl brothers who are taken from their home and have to find freedom from their captors. Charming, funny, and a really good mix of the best elements of a whole bunch of different movies, watching this movie again is always a whole lot of fun.
And of course I have to mention the musical number by Owl City (they must be stoked they got him for a movie about owls). You can’t not smile during To The Sky.
I really enjoy this movie. Jet Li vs Jet Li. Yet another movie with Jet and Jason Statham. Bullet-time fight scenes released at around the same time as the first Matrix movie when it was still cool (the effects in this movie are still cool to me). I think it’s the choreography that I really enjoy the most.
Mindless action at its best. But no one ever seems to talk about this one.
The Sound Of Music
Now hold up, before you cry fowl and say, “Hey, this isn’t an obscure movie”, my experience with it has been that it is. If I’m ever with a group of guys and mention I enjoyed this movie, the response is rarely ever “Oh me too”, for whatever reason – it’s usually a bit more negative. So, that’s why I include this one for obscurity.
I never actually used to like this movie growing up, but watching it with adult eyes, I’ve been able to see what a great story it really is. An endearing tale of family, love, and finding your way, the great story is enhanced by musical numbers which definitely convey so much about the characters in a way that simple dialogue couldn’t.
Men are allowed to like The Sound of Music. Just saying.
And the Bluray remaster of this makes it look like it was recorded yesterday.
Here’s another surprise one. This one was a surprise for me how much I enjoyed this movie, as well as how much I still enjoy it. In the US I believe it was called Four Christmases, but in PC Australia we call it Four Holidays. It follows a couple that have been dating for several years without the “confines of being married”, until one Christmas when they finally have to visit the family they have been avoiding. Both of their parents being divorced, it results in the couple having to travel to four very different parts of their family on Christmas day, and learn things about each other they never knew before.
As far as love stories go in cinema, I always enjoy the ones that are more realistic and really aren’t afraid to explore some of the real issues people face in their journey towards each other. And that’s why I like this one. Never been much of a fan of Big Vince, but here, he’s pretty good. And no T-Rexes in sight.
I mentioned this movie on my list of movies that made me cry, but I wanted to give special mention to this recent sleeper. I was not expecting this humble Australian film to be such an honest look at so many issues in life. The title character, Manny, is a comedian who connects with thousands of people, but struggles to connect with people on a more personal or meaningful level. He meets a young woman named Maria, struggling to find her own way through Sydney life and face realizing her own dreams. It follows the simple complexities of meeting people, facing fame, searching for acceptance, dealing with friends, and takes some very very deep turns in exploring how events in your childhood can still hold such a large grip on you even into your adult years. Give it a look. This is a beautiful film.
So there are a few more obscure movies I enjoyed. Have you seen any of these? Did you love or hate any of them? What are some of the more obscure movies that you’ve enjoyed?