Thanks to that generous pushover of a friend we all have, our generation has access to a plethora of streaming services to watch the newest movies and shows as soon as they are added. Yet, through no fault of their own, some flicks exist in a world unseen by many. They’re trapped in an obscured dark-alley of Netflix that we never scroll down far enough to see. Whether praised from their release and forgotten through time or predestined to be timeless dark horses that never got the credit they deserved, here’s three must-see movies to satisfy your refined cinematic pallet.
In this unrivaled age of universal Bill Murray fandom, where the man could cough on your baby and you’d still laugh and give him a hug, you likely think you’ve seen all the Murray classics. The problem with your overzealous pride in your Ghostbusters knowledge is that many of us forget the streak of quality films Murray made in collaboration with the steampunk Renaissance man himself, Wes Anderson. Movies like The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Royal Tenenbaums hit big with critics, but this little gem is sure to revamp your interest in his unique directing style.
The basic premise revolves around a world famous oceanographer, Steve Zissou, played by Murray (think Captain Ahab in a quirky stop-motion fever-dream) who takes to the high seas to hunt down the “jaguar shark” that ate his partner. The selling point for this movie as a new-age classic is the baffling ensemble cast that has become one of Anderson’s calling cards. Of course, the golden child Murray gives one of his best performances, but then you have Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, The Curious case of Benjamin Button) as a darkly comedic and very pregnant reporter, longtime collaborator Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers) plays Murray’s estranged could-be son, and William Dafoe (The “Green Goblin” from THE REAL Spider-Man) playing Murray’s right hand man aboard the doomed search vessel.
This movie is an endlessly quotable, cheeky, good time that would play the perfect third wheel on a date night.
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez walk into a bar, the bar is staffed by sexy stripper vampires and a whole lotta’ weapons. The punchline writes itself. Tarantino, of Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill fame, and Rodriguez, director of Desperado and Machete, pack a silver-plated punch with their over-the-top dialogue in this purposefully “B Movie-esque” action/horror flick. Throw in Tarantino himself co-starring alongside a young George Clooney and what you get is one of the funnest rip-roaring movies you’ll ever set your bloodshot eyes on.
The soundtrack alone is enough to keep you enthralled if it weren’t for Clooney dishing out classic one-liners like McFlurries at Ronald McDonald’s funeral. The graphics are enough to hold you in there, but it’s the mood shift halfway through that will make you sit and contemplate your existence by the time it’s over. Violent to the point of hilarity, this movie leaves no gore-stone unturned as our antiheroes, a pair of murderous bank robbers named the Gecko brothers, battle their way through the heart of dive bar hell.
Still not convinced? Ladies and gentlemen… Satanico Pandemonium.
Certainly the most mainstream of the movies on this list, this Darren Aronofsky adaptation of Hubert Selby Jr.’s pitch-black, brooding novel was named one of the top three movies of all time by IMDB. But the notion that it LOST money at the box office on its measly $4 million dollar budget says that your average moviegoer wasn’t ready for the product that was delivered.
Requiem works as a crescendo while navigating through the intertwining stories of four recreational drug users who slowly find themselves consumed by their vices. The film’s score heightens in unison with the story line and repeats its siren song as you lay your head down for bed after the credits roll, drifting asleep dreaming of dancing sugar-plum heroin fairies. The cinematography remains engrossing and steeped in reflective perception throughout as you just can’t help but wish the best for our main characters as they waste away.
Rock star character actor Jared Leto (Fight Club, Suicide Squad) shines in his breakthrough role as the realistic Dorian Gray-portrait of a junkie, a performance that still stands as his most moving. Co-starring alongside Leto is funnyman Marlon Wayans (White Chicks, Scary Movie) as his best friend, Jennifer Connelly (Blood Diamond) as his girlfriend, and a particularly disquieting performance by Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist, Interstellar) as his mother.
This movie is not for someone looking to pass a Friday night in peace. Keep your dates as far away as you can from this caustic, unnerving, and ultimately profoundly hard to watch movie. But if you somehow manage to stop diverting your eyes from the horror on-screen, you’re likely to learn a damning lesson about the human condition.
Casey Rohlen is a contributor and the current online editor for Reflector Magazine. As a senior journalism major and writing minor at Georgia Southern, he spends his days having fun on Microsoft Word and his nights reading about the strange and macabre. When he’s not writing, he spends his free time playing a good round of sports or doing stand-up comedy whenever and wherever he can to little critical acclaim.