A couple of days ago screenwriter Daniel Waters asked followers to post four or five films that they deeply admire or feel guilty-pleasure pangs for, but which are generally regarded as insufficiently loved.
Five films, in short, that the hoi polloi never seemed to care very much for (or never knew much about or have forgotten) but which you privately swear by.
Five years ago I posted a list of HE’s 160 greatest all-time films , but none apply here because each is loved and respected. We’re talking lone-wolf, off-in-the-corner films. So here are five…make it six picks:
Sandra Nettlebeck‘s Mostly Martha (’01). Probably the greatest sensual foodie + unlikely love affair flick I’ve ever seen. Martina Gedeck and Sergio Castellitto‘s lead performances are perfection. Scott Hicks‘ No Reservations, an American remake costarring Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart, missed the mark.
John Flynn‘s The Outfit (’73). A classic hard-boiled revenge film, lean and blunt and crafted in the tradition of Point Blank. Outside of noir cultists and film bums, few have paid much attention. Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Joe Don Baker, Joanna Cassidy and Robert Ryan.
Bob Rafelson‘s Stay Hungry (’76). Love, character, destiny, Southern culture and body-building. Charming, low-key, funny. Arguably contains the most winning Arnold Schwarzenegger performance ever. Definitely my all-time favorite Jeff Bridges film. Sally Field, R.G. Armstrong, Robert Englund, Helena Kallianiotes.
Frank Perry and Thomas McGuane‘s Rancho Deluxe (’75). Another Jeff Bridges film about destiny and character, this time by way of Montana cattle rustling. Harry Dean Stanton and Richard Bright played Curt and Burt, and of course their names are a running gag. Not a lot of narrative urgency, but that’s also the charm of it.
Lamont Johnson‘s The Last American Hero (’73). One of the best redneck flicks ever. Yes, Bridges again. The story of racecar driver Junior Johnson, called Elroy Jackson in the film. Based on Tom Wolfe‘s Esquire piece titled “The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson…Yes!”.
Susanne Bier‘s Things We Lost In The Fire (’07). My all-time favorite film about drug addiction, containing my favorite Benicio del Toro performance. Fans were few and far between when it opened in ’07, but I was instantly sold. Alone but hooked,