by Released : 2023-09-27
1. More American Graffiti (1979)
Visually glorious shot in multiple aspect ratios and cuts between 1964 65 67 with only a meager 20% on rotten tomatoes. More American Graffiti has a notorious bad reputation and is one of the most misunderstood unfairly mangled films of all time. The whole cast, except for Richard Drefyuss (riding high after a 1977 oscar win) returned for this film. Including Harrison Ford in a brief uncredited scene. The film like the original has comedic moments but a somber undertone. In particular the scenes in vietnam are riveting and can be stacked against the great vietnam movies apocalypse now and platoon, that's how good those sequences look. The film was a huge box office flop and was never even given a dvd release. Difficult to find and is currently on TUBI
2. Hoodlum (1997)
Reprising his role as real life gangster Bumpy Johnson, but this time given a reign of starring roles. Many films were made about Dolph Schayes and Bumpy Johnson during this time- Cotton club, Billy Bathgate, but this is by far the most accurate of them. Tim Roth is solidly sleazy as Dolph Schultz and Antonia Garcia is perfect as Lucky Luciano, not until Boardwalk Empire was the role played so well. Clarence Williams is ever reliable as a tough mob enforcer. With a solid 30 million dollar budget, including a great car chase with wide open film locations and period accurate costumes- the film was trashed by critics (currently sits out at 43 on RT, but the film used to have even worse reviews) and bombed at box office making only 20 million. Was one of Fishburne's last leading roles after doing matrix in 99 and moving into supporting roles. Fishbourne is electric as Bumpy Johnson even better than Denzel (who played Bumpys protage as Frank Lucas in American Gangster). A must watch for fans of gangster films. A nice companion piece for the show is Godfather of Harlem which takes place decades later once Bumpy is released from prison.
3. Alexander (2004)
After seemingly becoming an overnight success with Tigerland (despite its box office failure) Colin Farrel quickly became a Hollywood darling dodging bad reviews and bad press for his troublesome behavior even when the films weren't good holywood still loved him. Trying to make him the next big thing. However, it was this film which he stated causing him to fall flat on his face and awaken him. With a massive 155 million dollar budget one of the biggest historical epics ever the film was a huge huge flop making only 167 million. And after many predicted oscar gold the film was instead nominated for numerous Razis and holds only a 16% on rotten tomatoes. The theatrical cut of this film is terrible. But, Oliver Stone just like he does with JFK improves upon this film with a director cut. There are in fact 4 different versions of this film: the theatrical version, 2005 re-edited cut, the extended unrated 2007 cut, and lastly the 2014 ultimate cut. The 2007 cut being the longest where Stone threw the kitchen sink and basically everything he shot for the film. The best cut being the 2014 cut which flows better and is still very long at roughly over 3 hours. This cut rectifies the film and vastly improves it to an underrated historical epic. Colin Farell much derided for his performance at the time nominated for a razzie. In the restructure/ ultimate cut of the film his performance is salvaged- sure he's overtop in certain scenes but he does a great job of capturing the essence of Alexander. Jolie as his mother that whole relationship is hard to watch, but she’s great. Val Kilmer, Jared leto, Anthony Hopkins, Rossaro Dawson, and Christopher Plummer round out an outstanding cast. Similar to Kingdom of heaven (2006) another historical epic later salvaged drastically by a director cut. Sadly this combined with Kingdom of heaven and Troy (which was a box office success compared to these films but still had a hefty price tag)- another 2000s epic improved by a director cut. However, sadly the combination of the failures of these historical epics (Master and commander and King Aruther also bombed) led to the genre being basically gone by the 2010s.
4. The Road to El Dorado (2000)
One of the most underrated animated movies ever packed with so many adult jokes that makes it fun for all ages. Also the last hand drawn disney animation movie along with Treasure planet (both which sadly were huge flops) and led to them moving away from hand drawn animation. A large 95 million budget the film was a huge flop making only 76 million. With only a 48% on rotten tomatoes. Elton john music in the film and he narrates it amazing soundtrack. Kevin Kline and Kenneth have great chemistry. Rosie perez is also great as Chel and Armand asante and edward james olmos make great villains. Not since Aguirre wrath of god (1972) has the road to el dorado been so well adapted to film. Set in 1519 the film follows two spanish con artists that stumble upon the legendary city of El dorado. The film has since become a minor cult classic despite the negative reviews and being a box office disaster. Prince of Egypt (1998) led to this film tone being changed which actually benefited it- although rated PG (to include the kids) the film would easily be PG13 today with many adult jokes and promiscuous situations. Roger Ebert was one of the few crises at the time who liked the film. Perfect chemistry between leads and great Hans zimmer/ Elton John soundtrack. The internet and TIKTOCK have led to this film becoming a cult film due to countless memes and jokes around Rosie periz’s character. .
5, Kingpin (1996)
The best farley brother comedy nearly as good as dumb and dumber. Dumb and Dumber made 247 million while Farrelly brothers Kingpin would not be a box hit making only 32 million against a 25 million performance. Bill Murray gives one of the best performances of his career stealing every scene he's in as the slimy. Woody Harrelson, known for being somewhat of a heartthrob in the 90s gained weight for this role and wears a prosthetic hand to play a shulby loser. Randy Quaid is perfect as a bumbling amish with a naughty streak. A mean spirited comedy full of laughs and one of the best bowling movies ever with only a 49% on RT, criminally low for one of the best comedies of the 1990s.
6. Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
The film had an interesting production with Laurence Fishbounre initially in the Samuel L Jackson role. However, as Taratino explained on a Bill simmons podcast a few years ago- Fishbourne turned down Pulp Fiction because his agents told him he was a lead and could not play a small part like Jules so Jackson was cast instead. Fishbourne sued the studio in court and was actually awarded some money for the contract disputes. Jermny Piven is the best villain in the franchise outside alan rickman hans gruber. Jackson and Willis have amazon chemistry, some great chase scenes and shoutouts- the film has often been criticized for its last 10 minutes and how everything wraps up. That was actually a studio mandated ending and besides those last 10 minutes the movie moves an excellent pace. You can look up the alternate ending on youtube which is superior and darker. Die hard 3 (combined with the alternate ending) makes it one of the best action films of the 90s and very curious that despite its love by fans that it’s one of the worst reviewed in this franchise.
7. Blow (2001)
Johnny Depp did another movie that also got medicroe reviews by critics, that was underrated From hell (2001)- which got a 57% although that film was a minor box office success making 76 million. Blow flopped and was foolishly criticized for coping with films like Goodfellas and Boogie Nights just for using music in certain sequences including Ray Liotta. What I most appreciate about this film is unlike most crime films this film is 95% accurate according to Jung who Depp met with him in prison. Depp was passionate about the character and the man’s life). Depp met with him while he was in prison (and was passionate about the character and the man’s life) The director Ted Demme sadly died young. Paul Reubens playing against type is also great here.Very rewatchable, Depp is magnetic with only a 55% on rotten tomatoes the film only made 80 million against a 55 million budget flopping at the box office- and failing to live up to the crime epics of the 90s. However, in retrospect its one of the better Crime epics of the last twenty years. The pace is great, it’s a fun watch, Depp gives one of the best performances of his career. A good watch alongside american made or NARCOS. The film has since developed a significant cult following thanks to its time on Netflix.
8. Last Action Hero (1993)
Nominated for 6 razzies, riding high off Terminator 2 came crashing down a year later. Reteaming with Shane black and John McErtrian after working on Predator with them. The film had huge hype around it, but was killed by Jurassic Park a week later. Arnold tried to make a smart action film to parody the films he or his rivals the other oil muscle action stars of the 80s. However, the film was a huge flop, and Arnold has credited it for derailing his career, (as he went into later depth in his documentary ARNOLD)- he talked about how and he and the director tried to get the film delayed a few weeks so it would not go up against Jurassic Park. Then the studio had so much riding on it and the film got picked up by such a hype machine. Arnold in 2017 blamed the election of Bill Clinton which led to 80s action films being seen as lowbrow for hurting the film. The film James Cameron said was the only time he saw Arnold sad and def hurt his brand. However, as discussed in his recent documentary ARNOLD was happy that the film found a second life years later on streaming and has now developed a cult following with arnold pointing it as the most underrated film in his filmography. By no means a great film but a fun action satire with some really smart ideas that was ahead of his time. With only a 40% on rotten tomatoes the film deserves more love and is one of the smarter action films released during that time. Anthony quinn, F. murray abraham, Ian mckellen the film ha a stacked cast
9. Fast and Furious (2001)
Curiously with only a 53% on rotten tomatoes, although I think besides Fast Five it’s the best in the franchise. Just like Tokyo Drift which only has 37%. The later films became ridiculous. The film is definitely better than Fast 6, 7, 8, 9 even though all those films have better reviews. Point break meets cheesy 1950s racing movies.
10. Hustle (1975)
With only a 56% on rotten tomatoes one of the best films of Burt Reynolds career and one of the best performances of his career. Paul Weinfield as his partner is also great, directed by the great Robert aldrich. Roger ebert gave it a ¾ one of the few critics who enjoyed the film. Burt Reynolds was the most beloved and popular actor in Hollywood at the time. So the film's downbeat ending which had been leaked by the press before the release of the film hurt its box office. Veteran director Aaldrich, who had been directing films all the way back to the 50,. fashioned this film as an old school 1940s noir vibe although it takes place in the 1970s. Unlike most cop films of this era. The film takes its time developing his romance- Reynolds has excellent chemistry with the cops he works with, and the victims. Reynolds once again plays a cop outside Sharky's machine this is probably his best cop film or tv show. A world weary cop bogged down by years of murder cases. A much watched for Reynolds fan in a career sadly most remembered for his bad films, Reynolds truly had a great run in the 1970s up to the early 1980s.