Tossing Salt Presents:
Fifteen Top Unknown and Forgotten Movie Gems
(Part 3 of 3)
February 3, 2018
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to listen to a fantastic podcast, SMF Cyberspace, hosted by an amazing guy, Brent, along with two of his buddies, Jon and Luke, and they were discussing movies. Not just any movies, but the movies that they’ve seen that are amazing and stand out from the crowd, but may or may not always get the recognition that they deserve. It’s a great listen and I strongly advise anyone reading this to go over to YouTube and give this episode (and all of the episodes) of SMF Cyberspace a listen. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll shake your head a little bit. And most of all, you’ll have fun. The cast of characters rotates a bit, but Brent is the man and leads the way as they discuss everything under the sun and just make you go, “hmmmmmm!”. Go listen. You’ll be glad you did.
But as I was saying, the topic was “movies” and it got me to thinking of movies I know and love and have enjoyed that people might just not know about, that are truly lost or hidden gems. And with that in mind, I made up my own list. I came up with fifteen titles. I did Part 1, with movies 15 through 11 a couple of days ago, followed by Part 2, with movies 10 through 6 a couple of days later Now it’s time to wind this sucker up and get down to the final five movies. Are you ready? I said, “Are you ready?”.
Before I get started on Part 3 of my list of the infamous fifteen, here’s a quick recap of my ten movies picked. 15 – “Ed Wood”. 14 – “Monster Dog”. 13 – “White Frog”. 12 – “Can’t Stop The Music”. 11 – “Earth Girl’s Are Easy”. 10 – “East of Eden”. 9 – “One Hour Photo”. 8 – “My Own Private Idaho”. 7 – “Kids”. 6 – “Gummo”. And now, let’s put baby to bed and wrap this bad mama jama up.
5. Basketball Diaries (1995)
Here is the description given over at Wikipedia. “The Basketball Diaries is a 1995 American coming of age crime drama film directed by Scott Kalvert, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Lorraine Bracco, James Madio, and Mark Wahlberg. The film is an adaptation of Jim Carroll’s autobiographical work of the same name, telling the story of Carroll’s teenage years as a promising high school basketball player and writer who developed an addiction to heroin with his misguided friends.” Leo DiCaprio may be annoying as hell, but between this movie and his role in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, another amazing movie that everyone should see, he is an amazing and fantastic actor. Playing Jim Carroll, Leo embraces the role of a drug-addicted aspiring writer and basketball player and just runs with it. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll feel the pain he causes his mother and himself and it’s a wild and crazy ride from start to finish. Mark Wahlberg, in one of his first acting jobs after breaking out as part of the “Funky Bunch”, is really good in his role as Leo’s ride or die buddy. It’s not a pretty movie and it can be hit home awfully hard especially if you’re familiar with drug addiction and the perils and pain it can cause. It’s not pretty, but it’s a damn good movie about the life of a fascinating person and starring some damn good actors.
4. Johnny Got His Gun (1971)
From IMDb: A World War I soldier, rendered blind, deaf, limbless, and mute by a horrific artillery shell attack, finds a unique way of communicating with his doctors. This movie is one that has to be seen to be believed. Johnny is an active mind trapped inside a useless shell of a body. Just imagine the horrors. Johnny moves back and forth between reality and dreams, the “reality” filmed in black and white, while the dreams, including a conversation with Jesus, was filmed in color. It’s a psychological thriller that will tear your nerves up in so many ways. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter required that everyone in his Cabinet watch the movie to help understand the consequences of war and the horrors it can bring and this movie definitely does that with a major exclamation point. This movie was also used as part of the video for “One” by Metallica, a great song which interacts with the concept of the movie perfectly. I can’t really describe everything about the movie except to just say everyone should see it at least once. It’s like a train wreck or a Maxine Waters speech. It’s so horrific, you can’t turn away.
3. That Was Then This Is Now (1985)
From IMDb: A delinquent teenager’s only link to society is the attachment he feels towards an older brother-figure. When the older boy starts spending time with a new girlfriend, the teenager begins to feel even more alienated, and gets involved with drugs and the police. Based on a book by S.E. Hinton and considered a follow-up to the book, “The Outsiders”, this is two friends, raised together and brothers in every way but blood and what happens when life takes them in different directions. One, played by Craig Sheffer, moves towards responsibility and adulthood while the other, played by Emilio Estevez, finds himself headed the other direction, getting involved with crime and drugs. People change and situations change and this movie plays to that, that how people can be so close one day and on two different worlds the next. It’s a great teen “coming of age” style film and while not “great”, it’s pretty damn good and a nice way to kill ninety minutes and reflect on what was and what is and the people you used to know. Emilio is really under-rated as an actor and writer, but this movie really shows what kind of talent the man has and is a great testament to his abilities as an entertainer. A good watchable flick.
2. Deep Throat (1972)
Yes, I am putting an X-rated porno flick on my list. But it’s not just any grunt and sweat and fake ecstasy style movie, but a truly original and American classic, Deep Throat, starring Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. Released in 1972, this movie was one of the first X-rated films to actually have a plot and dialogue and humor and a soundtrack and all of the other essentials usually associated with only mainstream pictures. It was even featured prominently with big screen showings and viewed openly by several major Hollywood names. This movie, which allegedly has taken in over six hundred million dollars worldwide, set new standards for the adult film industry and created a legacy that has never been matched, before or since. Starring Linda Lovelace as a young woman who enjoys sex, but wants to “hear the bells”, it’s relatively tame by today’s standards. It’s more dialogue and bad acting than sex (mostly fellatio), but it just seems to work and the movie had a charm that has to be seen to be believed. There are scandals attached to this film (mob controlled, Linda claims that she was beaten and forced to make this movie), and all of that adds to the stigma that already exists by being an adult film with emphasis on the skill of “deep throat”, but it doesn’t take away that this movie is a must-see for people who have a warped sense of humor and like adult films. As for Linda’s skills, well, I used to have a t-shirt that had a picture of Linda on it and said, “She was good – I’m better! Any questions – prove me wrong!”. She was skilled at what she did and Harry Reems had an impressive member as well, but I look at it and see, “Amateurs!”. It’s hard to find this movie now, but if you can, check it out, just for the nostalgia factor if nothing else.
1. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
This movie, an Italian film, has been called the most disgusting and vile movie of all time and I can’t disagree with that. Here is the IMDb description: In World War II Italy, four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to one hundred and twenty days of physical, mental and sexual torture. And from Wikipedia: Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Italian: Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma), titled Pasolini’s 120 Days of Sodom and commonly referred to as simply Salò is a 1975 Italian-French horror art film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. The film is a loose adaptation of the book The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade. The film focuses on four wealthy, corrupt Italian libertines, during the time of the fascist Republic of Salò (1943–1945). The libertines kidnap eighteen teenagers and subject them to four months of extreme violence, sadism, and sexual and mental torture. The film explores the themes of political corruption, abuse of power, sadism, perversion, sexuality and fascism.
There are versions availvable with English subtitles, but the film is in Italian, not that you need to speak the language to be both disgusted and yet, fascinated by the things taking place on the screen. Nudity, rape, vivid images of torture, both physical and psychological. This film has been banned in many countries, including Italy and it’s easy to understand why. I watched the first time and some of the scenes literally made me physically ill. That being said though, it was hard to turn away and quit watching. I can’t imagine how messed up some of the actors taking part in this movie were after the filming ended. Hell, the guy who wrote the screenplay and directed it, Pier Paolo Pasolini, was a sick and degenerate bastard in his own right and this film is absolute proof. No one should watch this movie really, but it’s hard to resist, like sex with a hooker or that one last shot of liquor when you know you have to drive home soon. It’s hard to describe and definitely not for the weak at heart or those easily offended, but it’s an amazing piece of art. And I guess that’s what matters most.
And there you go. My Top 15 “forgotten gems” from the world of film and movies. Thank you for reading and again, thanks to Brent and the rest of the crew at SMF Cyberspace for the idea and suggestions. Comments and thoughts? Leave them in the box below or send them to me at my e-mail, Doug28352@yahoo.com. I’ve got to go to work now. Have a great one and take care.