Movies/Entertainment,  Quick 5/Top 10

G-S-T Top 10 – Movies Off The Beaten Path…

Movies, and the entertainment business, can be highly hit or miss because of ranging tastes in film and how people approach the medium. Sometimes, for whatever reason, you hear about a movie and have no desire to see it and don’t. You may even avoid it at all cost. In other cases you have no idea the film exists until someone points it out to you, years after its original release.

The following entries on our new series of Top 10 lists are films I happened to stumble upon or that were recommended to me. I watched, despite not knowing much about them or having initial apprehensions toward them for whatever reason, and all of these films left me pleasantly surprised. So here’s to exploration of new films that are “off the beaten path,” and to all the surprises therein. Whether these films are underrated, quasi-unknown or both, I think these flicks deserve a little attention (click any photo below to view the trailer)…Enjoy!


Suicide Kings – It’s hard to think of a better ensemble cast of up-and-coming actors than seen is in this film, including a foul mouthed Dennis Leary, (is there any other kind?) and a kidnapped but still lethal and fearsome Christopher Walken.  Great acting from this mid 90’s bunch of young guns, and it captures Walken just before he began to say good bye to the darker side of his film career in search of lighter fares (like Wedding Crashers and his stints on SNL). Being a (nearly reformed) bad guy never felt this good, and this movie is just stellar.


The Savages – This is a dark comedy about two siblings (played by the rarely disappointing Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman) who come together to cope with the challenges of taking care of their father who has developed dementia. A difficult task in itself, the two are also forced to face the abuses of their childhood, many of which their father was responsible, and learn how to forgive.  It’s a heartbreaking, yet beautiful film that leaves you with just the right amount of something like happiness to instill hope.


Primer –  One of the most exposition-deprived stories I’ve ever seen, this film offers an interestingly fresh take on the time travel genre.  It’s so great that it makes you feel smarter just by watching it, even if you have no idea what’s going on after several consecutive viewings. Simple, cool and brilliant…now if I could just understand it.


Waiting – This film, starring Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long and Anna Ferris (in a role where she’s refreshingly, not playing the dumb, blonde idiot per her usual casting. She’s actually kind of a badass, and the movie is worth watching for the standoff scene between her character and Reynolds’ if for nothing else) hilariously depicts a day in the lives of a group of waiters working at an Applebee’s-like chain restaurant, Shenanigan’s, as they cope with the every day pains of the restaurant world. The characters are stereotypical, but that seems to be the point. They are instantly recognizable to anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant job, which offers a certain level of nostalgia along with the comedy.


The Burning Plain – You may be familiar with screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga through  films such as Babel or 21 grams, but you may not have heard of his later film and director debut, The Burning Plain. Similar to his other stories, this one is also told in non-linear narrative style. Two stories are introduced then told out of order, eventually coming together to reveal one plot line about a troubled woman’s (played by Charlize Theron) look into the past in hopes of making sense of her future.


The Shape of Things – At first glance this looks like your typical romantic comedy, but look closely and you realize that something is just not quite right between Adam and Evelyn, as the film introduces questions about the nature of art, intimacy and the power of human manipulation. Despite the fact the film is clearly meant as satire, the evil it portrays is especially disturbing because of it’s human nature.


The Final Cut – I really have to give credit to Robin Williams for the bold steps he has taken in his over 30 years of acting.  Known best for his brilliant and zany antics, he took some real chances with roles that were so “against type” and away from the niche he seemed to have established.  Of his darker films like One Hour Photo, Insomnia, and this one, The Final Cut shows Williams in the best of these “acting stretch” roles.  This film starts off like it was what One Hour Photo probably wanted to be, but becomes a strange noir mix of The Sixth  Sense and The Matrix.  It’s difficult to categorize or describe it, but for a low budget film it really is one of Williams’ better dramatic roles.


Weather Girl – Despite the less than original title choice for a movie about a weather girl, thankfully this film does not live up to its ridiculous name.  Instead it’s a surprisingly funny, well-written, yet simple story about a woman in her thirties who is fired from her job as a weather girl after having a very publicized melt-down on air, in which she hails a number of inventive and amusing profanities at her (soon-to-be-ex) boyfriend and co-anchor. Single and jobless, she moves in with her younger brother and hilarity ensues.


Eulogy – This had quite a diverse, well-rounded and pretty famous cast though few have likely heard of the film. Ray Romano sporting an odd looking mustache, Kelly Preston and Famke Janssen as lovers, plus great additions from Rip Torn, Hank Azaria and a very young but still entirely quirk Zooey Deschanel; this movie proves that there’s messed up families all over the world, so don’t think you’re alone.


Stay – Though the visual effects in this film serve to provide hints of it’s secret, demonstrating how formal elements can successfully aid in a films larger meaning, this mind warp of a story impressively never quite lets on exactly what’s happening until right before the big twist. It’s a film that will likely leave you with questions rather than a solid solution, but it does so in a way that’s thought provoking and fun. Plus how can you resist a young Gosling?


We’ll be doing this series once a month so keep an eye of for the next installment. Anything on this list appeal to you? Have you seen or are you a fan of any of these more obscure films? Have any suggestions for flicks we should check out?? Love to hear you thoughts…


  • Andrew Crump

    It seems fitting to talk about Jenkins’ film in light of the similarly-named Oliver Stone movie being released today. Put simply, I really, really loved The Savages, though now that you mention it, I should probably revisit it. It’s been a while. Regardless, it’s hard to not like a movie starring Linney and PSH; they’re basically modern acting treasures.

    Great picks on Primer and the totally underrated Suicide Kings as well! (Not to mention The Shape of Things, which is on Instant for those of you who have it.) I’m under the impression that nobody’s seen Suicide Kings, which is a shame. Maybe you’ll convert a few people with this article.

    I’m actually writing a list similar to this, but inspired by Entertainment Weekly’s recent “50 Best Movies You Haven’t Seen” article (of which I’m only missing 11).

    • RidgeRacer4

      You said it Andrew, Kings and Primer are so awesome. Aside from Waiting and Stay, I’m mostly ignorant of the rest of the list. But that’s what this series is for right? Awareness of the lesser know gems out there (Waiting not withstanding:P)

      Awesome list Jessica, can’t wait to see what else you come up with!