S.G. Browne

Movie Review Monday: The Best Films You’ve Never Seen

I realize whenever anyone makes a Best Something List, it’s somewhat skewed by the personal tastes and opinions of the person making the list. But since I have impeccable taste and my opinions are the only ones that matter, then we’re all in agreement.

Below are my Top Five Films You’ve Never Seen. Why just five? Because one, I realize you have other things to do other than read this blog post. And two, I’m lazy.

In no order that matters :

Monsters (2010)
This thoughtful science fiction film set half a dozen years after a NASA space probe crashed to Earth with alien life samples takes place in a quarantined infected zone that straddles the U.S.-Mexican border. You don’t see much of the monsters who inhabit the quarantined area, but that’s not the point of the film. Just watch it. You’ll thank me. (Worldwide box office: $4.2 million).

Gentlemen Broncos (2009)
A comedy film from the writer and director of Napoleon Dynamite, this story follows the plight of an aspiring fantasy writer whose novel gets plagiarized by his idol. The scenes from his novel “Yeast Lords,” which are enacted with Sam Rockwell as the main protagonist, are ridiculously sublime. ($118,000)

Intacto (2001)
A Spanish psychological thriller about an underground luck trade where the main characters steal luck from others and engage in games of life or death chance with one another to determine who walks away with all of the luck. This film gave me the idea that would become my next novel, Lucky Bastard. ($307,000)

CQ (2002)
Set in late 1960s Paris, this film-within-a-film homage to European spy/sci-fi spoofs stars Jeremy Davies as a young film editor thrust into the director’s chair of the sci-fi adventure Dragonfly, where his infatuation with the film’s sexy star starts to affect his ability to separate fantasy from reality. ($414,000)

Hamlet 2 (2008)
Steve Coogan plays a failed actor turned high school drama teacher who tries to save his job and the drama program by writing and staging a controversial musical sequel to Hamlet that includes time travel, child abuse, and a toe-tapping number called “Rock Me Sexy Jesus.” A fun and irreverent riff on the inspirational teacher film. ($4.9 million)

Okay. That’s my list of the Best Films You’ve Never Seen. Or maybe you have seen them but you disagree. Or maybe you have your own films you’d like to share. Be my guest. We’re all friends here.

On Friday, I’ll share my list of the Best Books You’ve Never Read.

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Filed under: Movie Review Mondays,Movies and Books — Tags: , , , , — S.G. Browne @ 7:49 am

Movie Review Monday: Hamlet 2

You know those inspirational teacher movies?  The ones like Stand and Deliver, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and Dead Poets Society?

“Oh Captain, my Captain.”

And who can forget Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds?

Well, Hamlet 2 is nothing like any of them because it doesn’t take itself seriously.  Instead, it makes fun of the inspirational teacher films in a fun, twisted way that combines social satire with the irreverence of South Park and includes catchy, toe-tapping musical numbers like “Rock Me Sexy Jesus.”

Hamlet 2 tells the story of Dana Marschz (played by Steve Coogan), a failed actor and recovering alcoholic who teaches high school drama in Tucson, AZ, where, according to the voice over, “dreams go to die.”

Marschz, who puts on bad plays based on award-winning films, finds his unpopular drama class suddenly attended by a collection of slackers who only took his class because all of the other cool electives got axed in budget cuts.  When his job is threatened by the same budget crisis, Marschz tries to inspire his students, save his job, and work out long-standing emotional issues about his father by writing and producing an original musical play: a sequel to Hamlet that includes time travel, controversial sexual content, and Jesus Christ.

Also starring Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler,  David Arquette,  and Elisabeth Shue as herself, Hamlet 2 makes fun of religion, gays, Latinos, Hollywood, high school, the ACLU, and Elisabeth Shue, among other things.

So if you enjoy social satires and you don’t take your beliefs too seriously, then I think you’ll have a lot of fun with this one.  But if you’re easily offended by jokes about Jesus, minorities, or by seeing Steve Coogan’s bare ass, then you might want to think about giving this one a pass.

Hey, poetry!

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Filed under: Movie Review Mondays,Movies and Books — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 7:02 am