Blow Out (1981)
Sound man (John Travolta) accidently records a political assassination. Can he prove it? Loosely based on the Ted Kennedy-Chappaquiddick “accident” and other political deaths (John Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller.) Costars Nancy Allen as a witness who’s in too deep for her own good. John Lithgow is the loose-cannon hit-man. Topical Brain De Palma thriller that was ignored by the public.
Being There (1979)
Political fable on how a mentally-challenged man takes Washington, D.C. by storm, when his simple-minded quips on gardening are mistaken for profound thought. Superb performance by Peter Sellers as “Chance” aka Chauncey Gardiner. He should’ve won the Oscar that year. Based on the book by Jerzy Kosinski. Directed by Hal Ashby.
Lonely young man is befriended by rats. Willard uses them to exact revenge on his enemies. Cult film spawned a sequel and a remake; however, the original is still the best. Stars Bruce Davison, Sondra Locke and Ernest Borgnine. Based on “Ratman’s Notebooks” by Stephen Gilbert.
Wishing Stairs (2003)
Best of the Korean-Asian horror genre. An outside stairway, leading to a girl’s school for ballet, has an invisible stair on top. If it appears, your wish will be granted – but, with unexpected results. Mostly a cast of young Korean actresses, all impressive, especially Park Han-byul as Kim So-hee.
Directed by Jan-yeon Yun. Written by Soyoung Lee. Outstanding in every sense of the word.
The Love God? (1969)
Don Knotts stars as Abner Peacock IV, owner/editor of a bird magazine, which is taken over by gangsters and turned into a porno magazine. Unwittingly, he is transformed into the next Hugh Hefner. Almost surreal; the courtroom scene where Don Knotts is called “a filthy and perverted little degenerate” will permanently blow your mind. Flopped when it opened – director Nat Hiken died of a heart attack.
The Comic (1969)
Touching look at the rise and fall of Billy Bright (Dick Van Dyke), a silent-film star who fades into obscurity. Films about losers seldom connect with the public. Stay with this one until the conclusion. You won’t forget it. Costars Michelle Lee and Mickey Rooney. Directed by Carl Reiner.
Night and Fog (Nuit et brouillard) (1955)
French documentary on the Holocaust. Focuses on Hitler’s final solution and his WWII concentration camps. Masterful narration, although the film speaks for itself. Unbearable for some to watch. What have we learned since then? Not a damn thing.
Directed by Alain Resnais. Written by Jean Cayrol.
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