There are many reasons that a film might not make many waves when it is originally released, but luckily viewers have numerous ways to take a second look and give a well-deserved reprieve to movies that develop lives of their own after tanking with audiences at first.
"The Boondock Saints" (1999)
This awesome film, written and directed by Troy Duffy, tells the story of a pair of fraternal twins who become vigilantes after killing two members of the Russian mafia out of self-defense in Boston.
After the incident, the brothers experience an epiphany that guides them to start a quest to take out sources of crime and evil in the city.
The film is action-packed, with a narrative structure that starts each chapter of the film at the crime scene left by the two, where a FBI Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) puts together the pieces in an effort to catch the brothers.
For a long time this film was only available on VHS tape, but eventually it was brought back into the public conscience enough to merit a less-than-amazing sequel called “All Saints Day.”
"Mystery Train" (1989)
Jim Jarmusch directed this cool picture set in Memphis and revolving around three sets of foreigners who are in the city on the same night.
Viewers learn about a pair of Japanese tourists who are in the city to visit the blues landmarks that dot the Bluff City, an Italian widow who is stranded there overnight after the death of her husband, and an unemployed Englishman who gets into a misadventure with two companions.
All three sets of people are linked by a single event that takes place in the motel where they are staying.
The film has awesome shots of Memphis, a great soundtrack that plays over the radios wherever the characters might be, and a great ending that ties everything all together.
Bonus points for having Tom Waits as the radio station DJ and Joe Strummer from The Clash as the Englishman.
"Grey Gardens" (1975)
This fascinating documentary made by brothers Albert and David Maysles focuses on the lives of a mother and daughter, both named Edith Beale, who lived as reclusive socialites in a decrepit mansion in wealthy East Hampton, NY.
The two women, respectively, were the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy and lived in poverty and squalor in the home, which is known as Grey Gardens.
The two women were brought into collective consciousness after the Suffolk County Health Department demanded that they clean up their house, which was infested with cats and raccoons, or face eviction. Eventually Jackie O helped the women raise the money to refurbish the house, which was eventually bought by Ben Bradlee, former editor of “The Washington Post.”
"Donnie Darko" (2001)
Troubled teenager Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhall) is awakened in the middle of the night on Oct. 2, 1988, by a mysterious figure in a horrifying bunny costume.
The figure, who identifies himself as “Frank” leads Donnie out of his room and tells him that the world will end in 28 days.
When Donnie wakes up miles from home, he is surprised to return only to see that a massive jet engine has crashed into his bedroom from the sky, even though the FAA does not know where the engine came from.
Over the following 28 days Donnie gets more visits from Frank, who instructs the teenager to commit serious acts of vandalism at his school and other locations until eventually Donnie’s behavior causes people to point the finger at him.
This film is a bit confusing upon a first watching but it’s a thrilling film that has a great cast, an amazing soundtrack, and a twist ending that is both terrifying and a propos.
"This is Spinal Tap" (1984)
What can I say about Rob Reiner’s hilarious mockumentary that hasn’t already been said numerous times before?
I first saw this film my freshman year at Rhodes and immediately bought it and watched it a tons of times.
Viewers follow the day-to-day lives of the fictional rock band Spinal Tap as they head out on a U.S. tour after years of being out of the loop with their former listeners.
The film is wickedly hilarious and championed the loose, unscripted and improvisational comedies that became the hallmark of Christopher Guest’s later career, with “Waiting for Guffman” and “Best In Show” being the best two since “Spinal Tap.”
In 2002, the Library of Congress entered it into the National Film Registry