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Top 10 Hidden Treasures: The Best Movies You Never Saw
Sylvester Stallone’s big break came in 1974 when he starred with Henry Winkler as gang member Stanley Rosiello in this underappreciated little cult movie. Winkler portrays "Butchey Weinstein," while Perry King is "Chico Tyrell" and Paul Mace is "Wimpy Murgalo." Richard Gere was originally cast as Chico but he did not get along with Stallone, who demanded that he be fired and replaced with King. Sample Dialogue: "You want a ring? I got a ring for ya. In my bathtub." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]
A gang of slackers take one last road trip across Texas in search of their old buddy "Dom" before some of them have to head to Vietnam. Before Kevin Costner's ego took off and he made a string of turkeys like Waterworld and The Postman, he actually starred as Gardner in this decent movie about five college buddies (called "The Groovers") in the class of '71 at the University of Texas. Judd Nelson plays a geek named Phil who must prove his mettle by skydiving from what looks like a crop-dusting plane. One of the "Groovers" stays passed out in the car for the entire duration of the film. Fandango inevitably goes nowhere but it's a great ride. Sample Dialogue: "There's nothing wrong with going nowhere, son. It's the privilege of youth." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]
A pre-Baretta Robert Blake turns in a brilliant portrayal of a diminutive motorcycle cop named John Wintergreen. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his on-target performance. The film also stars acclaimed character actor Billy “Green” Bush, Mitch Ryan and Elisha Cook, Jr. (as "Crazy Willie"). Filmed on location in Monument Valley. Sample Dialogue: "I'll give you some information. You're standing in pigshit." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]
A classic Marlon Brando performance highlights this Gillo Pontecorvo film about colonialism with some strong parallels to Vietnam. Non-actor Evaristo Márquez also excels in his role as Jose Dolores, who leads the rebellion on the Portuguese-controlled island. Also known as Queimada. According to legend, Pontecorvo once threatened Brando with a gun on the set if he continued to refuse his direction! Sample Dialogue: “If a man gives you freedom, it is not freedom. Freedom is something that you must take.” [READ THE FULL REVIEW]
A bigoted South Carolina boat salesman named Ace Barker (Noble Willingham) starts getting harassing phone calls from a mysterious stranger who claims to be his son. The harassment escalates as Ace rapidly goes insane. As the film unfolds, we learn Ace's dark secret. The Corndog Man has a warped sense of humor that doesn't affect its highly dramatic outcome. It's audacious, well acted and stunning in its originality. (Note: Someone could start a drinking game out of the amount of times the old guy answers the phone with the words "Triple K Marina.") As Ace, Willingham is totally believable. If you enjoy your films a little on the offbeat side, seek this one out. Sample Dialogue: "Triple K Marina." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]
Set in Portland, Oregon, in 1971, Drugstore Cowboy is a realistic, unsparing look at the world of small-time junkies. All the leader of the crew, Bob, cares about is the next score, much to the chagrin of Diane, who actually wants to get fucked and is rather frustrated. The crew spends all of their time eking out a barren existence in a series of sleazy motel rooms, popping pills, breaking into drugstores and spouting out philosophical lines like: "Fate sucks. I swear." By the end, Bob attempts to turn things around and do some "straight time" but he can't escape his sordid past. Drugstore Cowboy was based on an autobiographical novel written by James Fogle, who was serving time for robbery and parole violation in the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla. I don't know what happened to this guy but he's probably either six feet under or back in prison. Most importantly, the film is totally nonjudgmental - a slap in the face of the Reagan/Bush era and their bogus war on drugs. We are informed right off the bat that a junkie strives to escape the "pressures of life, like having to tie your shoes." When I first watched this masterpiece, I thought that Kelly Lynch was headed for superstardom and then she acted alongside Patrick Swayze in Road House and it was all downhill from there. Legendary Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs appears in a cameo as "Old Tom, the Junkie Priest," looking like the Grim Reaper himself and delivering some classic lines such as: "In the future, right wingers will use drug hysteria to set up an international police apparatus." Brilliant! Sample Dialogue: "There's nothing more life-affirming than getting the shit kicked out of you." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]
Jack Nicholson stars as Billy "Bad Ass" Buddusky, a Navy "lifer" who, along with "Mule" Mulhall (Otis Young), is put in charge of taking a young dumb kid, Meadows (Randy Quaid) to the brig. Carol Kane plays a young whore. Directed by Hal Ashby with a screenplay from Robert Towne adapted from a Daryl Ponicsan novel. Nicholson was awarded the Best Actor Oscar for his performance. Sample Dialogue: I am the motherfuckin' shore patrol, motherfucker! I am the motherfuckin' shore patrol! Give this man a beer." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]
Unappreciated cult film based on the novel, Cutter and Bone, by Newton Thornburg that stars John Heard, Jeff Bridges and Lisa Eichhorn. Heard's best performance—ever! Sample Dialogue: "I don't drink. You know, the routine grind drives me to drink. Tragedy, I take straight." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]
A cast of relatively unknowns portrays a 1960’s teen gang living in the Bronx, where they must deal with the likes of the "Fordham Baldies," "The Wongs," "Del Bombers" and the mysterious "Duckie Boys," who resemble the zombies in Night of the Living Dead. Ken Wahl portrays the Wanderers gang leader, who is forced into a shotgun wedding by a group of aging, overweight bowlers wearing Hawaiian shirts. Who can forget the football game that devolves into a full-blown riot? Or the scene where the Baldies and their notorious leader Terror get drunk one night and sign up for the Marines? How about the excellent soundtrack that includes such classics as "The Wanderer", "Big Girls Don’t Cry", "Runaround Sue" and "Walk Like a Man"? Turkey betraying the gang by shaving his head and becoming a member of the Baldies? Joey’s insane father? The gang getting caught in the nightmarish turf of the Duckie Boys? Last but not least, how about when Richie follows Nina into that coffeehouse where Bob Dylan sits on stage singing "The Times They Are A Changin’? This flick is an unappreciated classic even though every member of the "teen" gang looks like they are in their 30s. It would make a good double bill with The Lords of Flatbush. Sample Dialogue: "Nobody fucks with the Baldies!" [READ THE FULL REVIEW]
In the final scene of the classic movie, Being There, Chauncey Gardner (Peter Sellers) strolls through the woods during the funeral of billionaire industrialist Benjamin Rand (Melvyn Douglas) and then casually walks on water. The last time I watched this flick I started listening to the background eulogy of the President of the United States (Jack Warden) as Sellers makes his way toward the lake. It’s actually full of quotes from Rand — some of them funny, some of them totally bizarre and some of them quite profound. Here (for the first time ever on the Internet!) is the list of quotes in its entirety: • "I have no use for those on welfare, no patience whatsoever. But if I’m to be honest with myself, I must admit that they have no use for me either." • "I do not regret having political differences with men that I respect. I do regret, however, that our philosophies kept us apart." • "I could never convince my kitchen staff, but I look forward to a good bowl of chili now and then." • "I have heard the word ‘sir’ more often than I have heard the word ‘friend’ but I suppose there are other rewards for wealth." • "I have met with kings. During these conferences I have suppressed bizarre thoughts: Could I beat him in a footrace? Could I throw a ball further than he?" • "No matter what our facades, we are all children." • "No matter what you are told, there is no such thing as an even trade." • "I was born into a position of extreme wealth but I have spent many sleepless nights thinking about extreme poverty." • "I have lived a lot . . . was surrounded by little men who forgot that we enter naked and exit naked and that no accountant can audit life in our favor." • "When I was a boy I was told that the Lord fashioned us in his own image. That’s when I decided to manufacture miracles." • Security, tranquility, a well-deserved rest—all the aims I have pursued will soon be realized." • "Life is a state of mind." Sample Dialogue: "Bullshit. Who sent you here, boy? Did that chickenshit asshole Raphael send you here, boy?"
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