Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

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Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby pooteeweet » Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:52 am UTC

What are some things you've watched by happenstance, or out of boredom, which surprised you with goodness?

Stuff that's underrated, or not widely known/discussed. Or stuff that's well-known or acclaimed, but in a way that made you stereotype it as something dumb, or not your type-- then turned out to actually be good, and not at all what you assumed it to be. Stuff that you find on Hulu or Netflix when you've re-watched your usual shows too much, and decide to cross your fingers and click on a random title, on the off chance it might be worthwhile.

Movies:

Transsiberian - An American husband and wife take a transsiberian train trip after their missionary work in China. Expected a slow-moving, pensive indie-travel flick (perhaps did not read past the first line of the movie description before viewing). Became something very different half-way through. Also, Woody Harrelson is awesome.

Severance - The sales division of an international weapons company goes on a team-building retreat in rural Hungary. Local twisted commandos stalk and hunt them with their company's own weapons. I'd never heard of this movie before. Awesome and hilarious horror movie-- but not a comedy/spoof horror movie.

The Thin Red Line - Obviously everyone's heard of this one. I hadn't ever seen it, and thought it was just another typical war movie-- Probably pretty good, but once you've seen a few WWII movies you kind of get the picture. It totally blew my mind. It's on a whole other level of sad, beautiful, and thought-provoking than most war movies. This also goes for Apocalypse Now (but maybe a little less).

Crybaby - After walking out of Pink Flamingo 20 minutes in (5 yrs ago), I was a little wary of John Waters. I love love love Cecil B. Demented, but Pink Flamingo, when you're 18 and haven't been exposed to much, and are a bit stoned, --it's just a little too much to handle. Crybaby is very silly (I'm not trying to claim it's a fantastic, quality movie) but it's lots of fun. And it's young Johnny Depp! As a 1950s leather jacket rockabilly rebel! With a deliciously cracked-out family (Iggy Pop and Mink Stole! One of his gal-pals is named Hatchetface!). Lots of fun.

Sex and Lucia - I'd never heard of it. Spanish erotic artsy film. Very sexy. Dreamy but rather twisted. Visually lovely.

The Orphanage - I'd sort of heard of this one so maybe it's well-known. A fairly enjoyable horror movie, of the eerie melancholy ghost-story variety. Rather creepy at points, but not terrifying.

Outpost - Never heard of this one. Loved it. Creepy Nazi horror movie. An independent (mercenary?) commando unit is sent to a remote WWII bunker in eastern Europe, then shit gets weird.

TV:

Damages - A random Hulu find. Not your typical lawyers show. Twisted, funny, intelligently endearing. Glenn Close. It may take you a minute to get into it, but right about at the very end of episode one you'll start to get totally hooked. Unfortunately just starting its second season (I prefer discovering a show when it's been around for a while, so I can watch several seasons at once without having to wait for the next episode to air).

Crusoe - another random Hulu find. Actually haven't watched enough of it to decide if it's any good, but from what I saw, it was in the "bad, but fun" category. Sort of a Pirates of the Caribbean thing, where in all honesty it's crap, but maybe a great "silly pirates beachy adventure fun" fix if you're in that mood.

City of Men - the TV series inspired by City of God. Generally quite a bit lighter. Follows a pair of young boys through the slums of Rio. Sort of "Slumdog Millionaire"-esque (for the parts of the movie about the kids in the slums, not the WWTBAM show or overarcing story parts).

American Dad - Everybody says it sucks, but we've decided that it is often better than Family Guy.

May update with more as they come back to me.

If this is a duplicate, I apologize. I tried searching for a similar thread and couldn't find one, but the search glitched out on me after I tried using advanced search options.

[edit to add imdb links]
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby culled » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:18 pm UTC

I remember in 10th grade English we were going to watch a Life is Beautiful. The teacher said "It's in Italian, you will have to read the movie" and practically the entire class groaned. I think by the end of the movie everyone was hooked.

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby BMW787 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:18 pm UTC

Not too many people I know have ever seen Twin Peaks the tv series. Its really good, wierd, and kind of funny. Too bad they cancelled it in the second season :(
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby headprogrammingczar » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:30 pm UTC

Dead Like Me (unfortunately only streamable through Netflix right now), The Invisible Man. I can't think of any others.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Encarnacion » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:41 am UTC

headprogrammingczar wrote:Dead Like Me (unfortunately only streamable through Netflix right now), The Invisible Man. I can't think of any others.


So with you on Dead Like Me, and I didn't see your post before submitting my last. Also, there is a DVD box set of both seasons and the movie. (Theme: Not-so-grim reapers are in the daily grind too.)

I also include Jeremiah. I happened to watch the pilot episode as my very first viewing of the thing. I thought it was a movie, andwas definitely not happy about it ending, until I found out that it was a series and the next episode was in a week. (Theme: Neverneverland comes to Earth, and it isn't such a fairytale.)

Just about all of my favorites are in the "underrated" category, so here goes:
Forever Knight (Theme: Vampire repents the best way he can, bless his little black heart. )
Space Cases (Theme: Flunkie preteens hijack a spaceship, get themselves royally lost.)
Hey Dude (Theme: Dude ranch life)

Movies:
obligatory nod to Nacho Libre. (Theme: Guy wrestles for his orphans, becomes hero(/heart throb?) for orphanage workers like yours truly.)
Children of Men (Theme: Humanity goes infertile.)
El Fauno del Laberinto (Theme: I'm not even quite sure.)

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby headprogrammingczar » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:31 pm UTC

Encarnacion wrote:El Fauno del Laberinto (Theme: I'm not even quite sure.)

God, that was a good movie. Surprising fact: the faun was dubbed over by a professional voice actor.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:41 am UTC

Encarnacion wrote:El Fauno del Laberinto (Theme: I'm not even quite sure.)


Idealism and reality, I'd say.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Jack Saladin » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:58 am UTC

Encarnacion wrote:

... I'm not sure you know what "theme" means.

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby 0range » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:02 pm UTC

pooteeweet wrote:City of Men - the TV series inspired by City of God. Generally quite a bit lighter. Follows a pair of young boys through the slums of Rio. Sort of "Slumdog Millionaire"-esque (for the parts of the movie about the kids in the slums, not the WWTBAM show or overarcing story parts).


I actually enjoyed City of Men more than City of God.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Wolf » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:00 pm UTC

Beautiful Thing -- A really sweet movie about two teenage boys discovering their homosexuality. I thought it was just a very good movie, and I really need to watch it again.

I also rather enjoyed:

Kamikaze Girls (aka しもつまものがたり)-- A really funny movie about a girl who just wants to dress up in frilly clothing and be as cute and "pure" as possible (aka a girl who's into lolita fashion and lifestyle) becoming friends with a girl who just wants to ride motorcycles and be rude and crude. It's got a very quirky style, and there are so many good moments in this movie that it's hard to not recommend it to anyone. There's even a hilarious fight sequence near the end. Well worth watching.

P.S. Apologies if the Japanese is mistranscribed. IMDB only has the roomaji, so it's very hard to tell which characters are supposed to be kanji, katakana, etc.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Zeroignite » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:31 am UTC

culled wrote:I remember in 10th grade English we were going to watch a Life is Beautiful. The teacher said "It's in Italian, you will have to read the movie" and practically the entire class groaned. I think by the end of the movie everyone was hooked.
I most certainly concur-- my class had an identical experience.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Clumpy » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:56 pm UTC

Spaced, an awesome, geeky comedy/horror show by the guys who made Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Stabable Offense » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:41 am UTC

pooteeweet wrote:American Dad - Everybody says it sucks, but we've decided that it is often better than Family Guy.


That's not saying much Family Guy is the same horrible jokes over and over followed by a really long pause that's supposed to be a funny awkward moment but really its just a boring 45 seconds that we don't have to listen to another horrible joke.

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Klapaucius » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:27 am UTC

Movies: Man Bites Dog. Documentary about a French hitman (although "hitman" is used more like "serial killer who takes money off the corpse) who goes about offing random people in shamefully hilarious ways, philosophizing, and generally stretching how much you can hate a protagonist and still like him.

Clumpy wrote:Spaced, an awesome, geeky comedy/horror show by the guys who made Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
Oh hell yes. This, and Peep Show.

I miss the days when you could just turn to BBC America at 2am, any day, and be entertained beyond all reason. Now they're just the 24-hour Bad Sci-Fi, Sketch Comedy And Gordon Ramsay Channel...
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby smw543 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:00 am UTC

pooteeweet wrote:Transsiberian - An American husband and wife take a transsiberian train trip after their missionary work in China. Expected a slow-moving, pensive indie-travel flick (perhaps did not read past the first line of the movie description before viewing). Became something very different half-way through. Also, Woody Harrelson is awesome.
Oh God, no! On the list of movies featuring Sir Ben Kingsley, Transsiberian is only a half-notch above BloodRayne.

I'm sure a disproportionately high number of people on this forum have seen it, but "Pi" was great. Or if you're in the mood for something less serious, try Legend of the Drunken Master (aka Drunken Master II.) Or if you want something kind of serious, try the first Drunken Master. Both star Jackie Chan and are based on the same historical figure, but with completely separate plot lines.
Spoiler:
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Grop » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:41 am UTC

To be accurate, Man Bites Dog is a Belgian movie, so that would be about a (French-speaking) Belgian serial killer.

Also, Drunken Master is awesome.

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Tajfoon » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:19 am UTC

Deep Rising.

My brother and I sat up on christmas eve, and at like 3am, this movie comes on. Neither of us had ever heard of it before and it is freaking hilarious. A great mix of humor, action and great big monsters. A film that does not take itself serious one bit.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Jack Saladin » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:09 am UTC

Grop wrote:To be accurate, Man Bites Dog is a Belgian movie, so that would be about a (French-speaking) Belgian serial killer.
And it's not a documentary. Obviously.

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Grop » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:16 am UTC

Well actually, it's a fiction story about an imaginary documentary :mrgreen:.

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby smw543 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:55 am UTC

Grop wrote:Well actually, it's a fiction story about an imaginary documentary :mrgreen:.
An incredibly rarefied genre, consisting of Man Bites Dog and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Both are strange movies that repeatedly make the watcher say WTF, but for very different reasons. And of course, both belong in this thread.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby thatguy » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:30 pm UTC

I second watching Spaced.

I recommend Wonderfalls, a series that Bryan Fuller did right after leaving Dead Like Me. It's about a girl who hears voices, and when she does what they say, things usually end up right. Also has a pinch of black humor.

Also, Pushing Daisies. You just have to watch it.

As for movies:
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Klapaucius » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:56 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:
Grop wrote:Well actually, it's a fiction story about an imaginary documentary :mrgreen:.
An incredibly rarefied genre, consisting of Man Bites Dog and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Both are strange movies that repeatedly make the watcher say WTF, but for very different reasons. And of course, both belong in this thread.
I'd say it's just a fake documentary that has no pretense of a fourth wall.

The first time I saw it I'd seen it half an hour in, so I wasn't sure if it was a really dark comedy or an actual, staggeringly gonzo documentary. I wasn't completely sure until they ran across another hitman, and end up shooting him and a camera crew making a documentary about his life.

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Philwelch » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:04 am UTC

"Now and Again" was a promising show some years ago that was cancelled before it took off, but maybe the passage of time and my own questionable taste are getting to me.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby apricity » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:07 am UTC

Movies (all foreign because I never know if American movies are actually well-known or not):
-La Meglio Gioventú/The Best of Youth: An Italian miniseries-turned-movie that follows two brothers as they live through some of the biggest events in Italian history in the last 40 years or so. Great character development, and of course it gives you a fun way to learn about history.
-Lamerica: Another Italian movie, about a guy who goes to Albania after the fall of communism to make money off a fake business, and ends up no better off than the poor Albanians he felt superior to. Can you tell I love movies with a historical basis? It's interesting to see the parallels between people who went from Albania to Italy in search of a "better life," and the people who immigrated from Italy to America for the same thing.
-Children of Heaven: An Iranian movie about a boy who loses his little sister's shoes, and they can't afford a new pair so they share his. I think this was a random Netflix choice, and well worth it. Netflix calls it "delightful" and that's the best word to describe it.

TV:
-Friday Night Lights: The most beautifully filmed show on TV today, all closeups and handheld cameras. It also has the best cast of any show I've seen, who deliver their lines as though they're completely unscripted, so it comes off almost as though you're watching a documentary. If you saw the movie this is based off of... the show is very different, and much better. And no, it actually has almost nothing to do with football.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby cephalopod9 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:45 am UTC

I have a habit of wandering into the video rental store without something in mind, and wandering out with something I think I remember hearing about once or twice.
This is fun to do with Terry Gilliam movies.
Brazil - make sure to get the directors cut
12 Monkeys - Brad Pitt as a mental patient
Tideland - a special kind of disturbing, made during a break working on Grim Brothers

The tricky thing is introducing other people to these movies, because part of what made them awesome was not knowing anything about them beforehand, but how am I supposed to tell people to go see them if I don't explain why?

Wrist Cutters: A Love Story - I saw a preview for it, and it doesn't seem like it ought to be that obscure, although it is kind low-budget indie style, but I don't think I've heard anyone else mention it.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby ArgonV » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:54 am UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:Wrist Cutters: A Love Story - I saw a preview for it, and it doesn't seem like it ought to be that obscure, although it is kind low-budget indie style, but I don't think I've heard anyone else mention it.


It really shouldn't, I watched it with 5 friends who all have differing tastes, and we all enjoyed it.

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby pooteeweet » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:41 am UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:Brazil - make sure to get the directors cut
12 Monkeys - Brad Pitt as a mental patient

The tricky thing is introducing other people to these movies, because part of what made them awesome was not knowing anything about them beforehand, but how am I supposed to tell people to go see them if I don't explain why?


YES. Anyone who hasn't should definitely watch Brazil and Twelve Monkeys.

I knew a bit about them before watching and they were both still awesome. No, come to think of it, I think my SO just insisted I watch Brazil without really bothering to attempt a description. For those who don't care about spoiling the surprise, and insist on knowing more before bothering to get ahold of these titles:

Spoiler:
Brazil is like a whimsical, tripped-out, carnival-ride rendition of a 1984-esque dystopian future. I say whimsical, but it is also rather dark and possibly a tad disturbing or depressing. And yes, definitely make sure to get the Director's cut!

Twelve Monkeys is also about a dystopian future, but mostly takes place in present times, which Bruce Willis has been sent back to (from said dystopian future), in order to try and figure out exactly what wipes out most of humanity.


Both TOTALLY awesome. Ooh, these made me think of City of Lost Children. Co-directed by the guy who did Amelie. From IMDb: "A scientist in a surrealist society kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process." Very trippy and fantastic. It feels like a turn-of-the-century science/horror novel on acid. I actually haven't seen it all the way through because I was very tired when I watched it, and decided to stop and go to bed so I could give it the attention it deserved. Then Netflix went and removed it from instant. The opening scene gives the creepy Santas from that (new) Dr Who episode a run for their money.

Paprika-- One of those anime movies that is a must-see even for non-anime-fans. It might seem a little cheesy at the beginning, with the intro-credits sequence set to silly pop music. Don't be fooled. I recommend viewing at high volume for optimal cracked-out-dream-parade effects. (I mean, high-ish. As in, don't watch this movie during your building's quiet hours. And try to watch it on a decently-sized screen.)

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby novax6 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:05 pm UTC

-Anything Wes Anderson has done (Rushmore, Life Aquatic, Darjeeling Limited, Royal Tenanbaums)
-Definitely second that Pan's Labyrinth recommend, fucking amazing movie
-True Romance, great movie not many know about, has a never directly seen Val Kilmer playing Christian Slater's imaginary Elvis mentor. Classic.
-Leon (or The Professional), one of the best performances ever by Gary Oldman: like this scene
-Spaced is awesome
-The Bicycle Thief, italian movie from the 1940's, has one of the best endings ever IMO
-The Thing (john carpenter version), maybe not that obscure, but probably my favorite horror movie.
-Let The Right One In, mentioned around here, recent Swedish vampire movie, quite good.
-The Proposition, with Guy Peirce, probably the best western since Unforgiven.
-Memento, also not that obscure, but I just had to pimp it here because it's so amazing. See it if you haven't

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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby headprogrammingczar » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:21 pm UTC

The Illusionist is very good. It is pretty well known, but I am putting it here because most people have it in their heads that The Prestige is better.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Philwelch » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:37 pm UTC

An even more obscure/cult John Carpenter movie is They Live. But also awesome.
Last edited by Philwelch on Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:41 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Good Shows/Movies You'd Never Heard Of

Postby Kag » Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:30 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:
Grop wrote:Well actually, it's a fiction story about an imaginary documentary :mrgreen:.
An incredibly rarefied genre, consisting of Man Bites Dog and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Both are strange movies that repeatedly make the watcher say WTF, but for very different reasons. And of course, both belong in this thread.
The Hole Story seems to fit pretty well. So that's three.
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