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Old 09-04-2019, 03:37 PM
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"Dark Horses" from my Top Thirtyfive Movies List


Spurred by some of the threads here, I prepared my own Favorite Movies list. Most are familiar favorites which I won't bore you by listing, but some are "dark horses":
Flower Drum Song
Whale Rider
Crash (2004)
The Third Miracle
To Live and Die in L.A.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Across the Universe
Dial M for Murder

I'm just curious to see if I get "Yes! One of my favorites too" or "Strange choice. Why?" I'll guess that Crash, Third Miracle, and Live/Die L.A. may seem especially peculiar choices.

Last edited by septimus; 09-04-2019 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Spurred by some of the threads here, I prepared my own Favorite Movies list. Most are familiar favorites which I won't bore you by listing, but some are "dark horses":
Flower Drum Song
Whale Rider
Crash (2004)
The Third Miracle
To Live and Die in L.A.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Across the Universe
Dial M for Murder

I'm just curious to see if I get "Yes! One of my favorites too" or "Strange choice. Why?" I'll guess that Crash, Third Miracle, and Live/Die L.A. may seem especially peculiar choices.
Quite honestly, the only film on that list I've seen is Dial M for Murder, which is a real classic. I'm not knocking the others, I'm just saying they've never been on my "Must see!" list.
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Old 09-04-2019, 04:33 PM
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I adore the film The Third Miracle. Love Ed Harris, but then I'm a sucker for a troubled priest story. Back when the IMDB had their discussion boards, the question came up "what WAS the third miracle," and no one (except me) got it.

Dial M for Murder, too. I love Grace Kelly coming out of the bedroom to answer the phone in that perfectly tailored nightgown. Can you REALLY stab a man fatally through an overcoat and a sportcoat with just a pair of scissors? Maybe if you're in fear for your life you can. Great film!
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Old 09-04-2019, 04:41 PM
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Checking my IMDb ratings, I thought Whale Rider was alright (7), but I hated Crash (1). I remembered hating the latter, but I didn't remember hating it that much. I may have to search here to see if I ever mentioned what I hated about it so much. That's Gladiator territory.
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Old 09-04-2019, 04:52 PM
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. . . Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? . . .
Sure, if you enjoy two hours of people screaming at each other. If I want that, I can go visit my in-laws.
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:25 PM
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I won't call these great movies, but these are ten of my favorites that I think are under-appreciated:

Antz
Clerks II
Daybreakers
Dodgeball
Josie and the Pussycats
Mystery Men
Near Dark
The Professionals
7 Faces of Dr Lao
Twelve Monkeys

This is a pretty off the top of my head list. I'm sure I could name ten more if I took some time.
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:25 PM
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Your Dark Horses are pretty well known. I don't have a proper Top 35 list, but some dark horses I like that I think lots of people have not seen are:

Possession (1981)
I Want To Eat Your Pancreas (anime)
Peppermint Candy
The Sisters Brothers
The White Diamond
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
I adore the film The Third Miracle. Love Ed Harris, but then I'm a sucker for a troubled priest story. Back when the IMDB had their discussion boards, the question came up "what WAS the third miracle," and no one (except me) got it.

Dial M for Murder, too. ... Great film!
Did you watch any others in OP? I'm so glad you liked these two movies. It would be an effort to explain in essay why doubtful and ambiguous Third Miracle belongs on a Top 30 list, but it does.

I wasn't sure what the 3rd Miracle was. My guess:
SPOILER:
The Ed Harris character regaining his Faith.


I hate "preachy" movies. I can develop my own opinions on contemporary morals by myself, thank you. I'll guess some opposition to Crash (2004) is due to it seeming "preachy." But Crash is NOT preachy. It's a powerful story of human interactions where racism often plays major roles, but the movie doesn't preach, it leaves ambiguities in place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
Sure, if you enjoy two hours of people screaming at each other. If I want that, I can go visit my in-laws.

On another day I might promote some heist and adventure films, and demote Who's Afraid of VW off the list. But this master psychodrama played out between Liz Taylor and Rich. Burton is, IMHO, far greater than far more famous films including GWTW, Citizen Kane, etc.

Last edited by septimus; 09-04-2019 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:37 PM
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I notice my list in OP is quite diverse. No two films on the list are even remotely similar to each other!
Quote:
Originally Posted by terentii View Post
Quite honestly, the only film on that list I've seen is Dial M for Murder, which is a real classic. I'm not knocking the others, I'm just saying they've never been on my "Must see!" list.
Oh! I'd call them all must-sees!
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:42 PM
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Did you watch any others in OP? I'm so glad you liked these two movies. It would be an effort to explain in essay why doubtful and ambiguous Third Miracle belongs on a Top 30 list, but it does.

I wasn't sure what the 3rd Miracle was. My guess:
SPOILER:
The Ed Harris character regaining his Faith.


...
No, that's not it. I'm going to PM you.
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Old 09-04-2019, 07:44 PM
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I couldn't find English subtltles for The Third Miracle online, but I found French. There is a sole utterance in the final scene where the count of miracles is mentioned:
SPOILER:
Quote:
...
Oui, oui, c'est ma fille.

- Elle est magnifique.

Alors ? Est-ce que ma mère est devenue une Sainte ?

- On a deux miracles, Maria et le bombardement de Bystrica. L'église n'aime pas parler de Bystrica mais elle en tient compte. On en attend un troisième.
["There are two miracles, Maria and the bombing of Bystrica. The church does not like to talk about Bystrica, but it does count it. We are waiting for a third."]

Tu es devenu curé ?

...
Saving Maria's life was one miracle and saving Bystrica from bombardment was the other. Helen actually saved Maria's life twice but, it seems, under the rules — and fairly so!? — however many savings of the same life counts as only a single miracle.

I still think the "3rd Miracle" of the title, albeit irrelevant to the prosecution for St. Helen, is the restoration Frank's faith.

Last edited by septimus; 09-04-2019 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 09-04-2019, 08:28 PM
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I've seen many of these

Flower Drum Song -- Surprisingly good musical. Dated in its stereotypes, but a real R&H sleeper, with one of their better scores.
Whale Rider -- Great film all round.
Crash (2004) -- deserved its Oscar. People sneer at it, but I've yet to see anyone who did and who understood what it was saying.
Across the Universe -- Other than the Beatles songs, just so-so.
Dial M for Murder -- OK, but not one of Hitchcock's best.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 09-04-2019 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 09-04-2019, 08:52 PM
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Across the Universe -- Other than the Beatles songs, just so-so.
I like listening to the Beatles. The story is quite fun and sentimental: Better story than Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz, etc.
Quote:
Dial M for Murder -- OK, but not one of Hitchcock's best.
I'm not a big fan of Hitchcock. Instead of Psycho, Birds, Notorious or North by Northwest, my 2nd-favorite Hitchcock might be Vertigo.
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:42 PM
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Live and Die in LA has a great soundtrack and ending.
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Old 09-05-2019, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I won't call these great movies, but these are ten of my favorites that I think are under-appreciated:

Antz
Clerks II
Daybreakers
Dodgeball
Josie and the Pussycats
Mystery Men
Near Dark
The Professionals
7 Faces of Dr Lao
Twelve Monkeys
Twelve Monkeys is a great movie. Daybreakers is an underappreciated alternative take on the vampire movie which started really well, but kind of faded a bit in execution.
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Old 09-05-2019, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
I couldn't find English subtltles for The Third Miracle online, but I found French. There is a sole utterance in the final scene where the count of miracles is mentioned:
SPOILER:


Saving Maria's life was one miracle and saving Bystrica from bombardment was the other. Helen actually saved Maria's life twice but, it seems, under the rules — and fairly so!? — however many savings of the same life counts as only a single miracle.

I still think the "3rd Miracle" of the title, albeit irrelevant to the prosecution for St. Helen, is the restoration Frank's faith.
I'm 99% sure the third miracle has something to do with the Cardinal and what happened when he was a soldier in that truck. I remember very vividly (if not clearly) that when this thing (that I can't exactly remember) was revealed, it was a huge, gratifying AHA! moment. "So THAT'S the Third Miracle they've been looking for!" It's not Ed getting his faith back. He got his faith back BECAUSE of the revelation of what the third miracle (needed for canonization) was. I'll watch the movie again and get back to you.
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Old 09-05-2019, 07:41 AM
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Crash (2004) -- deserved its Oscar. People sneer at it, but I've yet to see anyone who did and who understood what it was saying.
My understanding (having now reviewed my earlier comments on it): "Racisim is bad! It's just so bad! It's so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so bad!"

ETA: And for what it's worth, even the director disagrees with your "deserved its Oscar" sentiment.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 09-05-2019 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 09-05-2019, 07:44 AM
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Antz
Clerks II
Daybreakers
Dodgeball
Josie and the Pussycats
Mystery Men
Near Dark
The Professionals
7 Faces of Dr Lao
Twelve Monkeys
Nice list...Josie and the Pussycats and 12 Monkeys are both in my top 5...the 7 Faces of Dr. Lao is wonderful...and I love Near Dark, but Strange Days is my favourite Bigelow film.
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Old 09-05-2019, 08:28 AM
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My understanding (having now reviewed my earlier comments on it): "Racisim is bad! It's just so bad! It's so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so bad!
Even setting aside the fact that racism is bad , let's listen to OP:

Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
I hate "preachy" movies. I can develop my own opinions on contemporary morals by myself, thank you. I'll guess some opposition to Crash (2004) is due to it seeming "preachy." But Crash is NOT preachy. It's a powerful story of human interactions where racism often plays major roles, but the movie doesn't preach, it leaves ambiguities in place.
Crash has humor, suspense, great dialog, huge sentimental appeal, and good story-lines. Several of the scenes are masterpieces. The heroin addict's relationship with her two sons is poignant: Does racism have anything to do with that?

Is racism the linchpin that connects the stories? Sure: Great stories need something besides Dick-and-Jane tales. Suspend the prejudice that you're being preached at, and watch it again.
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Old 09-05-2019, 08:44 AM
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Watched "To Live and Die in L.A." a few months ago. One of the few DVDs I own for some reason. While I have always like it, it is sooooo stuck in the 80s!
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Old 09-05-2019, 08:49 AM
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Across the Universe
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Daybreakers
I liked both of these movies quite a bit, particularly Across the Universe, but Daybreakers was also interesting and well-done.
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Old 09-05-2019, 08:53 AM
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Just now I clicked at Youtube to find scenes from Crash and this one popped up.

Watch it. Suspense; detective work; political hypocrisy and corruption; justice vs expediency. Is the fact that some cops are black and some are white absolutely integral to the story here? Absolutely ... and Casablanca needed those "letters of transit." But to reject this story because racism is involved, you'd have to reject Casablanca and Lawrence of Arabia because war was involved.

(Just watch the first 2 minutes of the clip to see my point, and to avoid some spoilage if you've not yet watched the movie.)


By the way I did NOT call the eight films of OP "dark horses" because I thought that others hadn't heard of them. (Though congrats to two who posted lists of films, none of which I'd heard of. ) I posted them because others knew of them, but might wonder why I rate them so high.
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Old 09-05-2019, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I won't call these great movies, but these are ten of my favorites that I think are under-appreciated:

Antz
Clerks II
Daybreakers
Dodgeball
Josie and the Pussycats
Mystery Men
Near Dark
The Professionals
7 Faces of Dr Lao
Twelve Monkeys

This is a pretty off the top of my head list. I'm sure I could name ten more if I took some time.

Mystery Men
is a favorite of mine as well, and it is absolutely underappreciated. The other day, while I was pulling weeds in the garden, for some reason the line "Yes, of course. You may absolutely 'bring zee brewskies'" popped into my head and I just started laughing.

I'll add The Commitments (1991) as another movie that's a great dark horse. It's got great acting, a wonderful screenplay (based on Roddy Doyle's book, of course) and absolutely electrifying musical performances, and you never hear anybody talk about it.
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:00 AM
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Something that makes my personal list different from others is that there are many genres I don't particularly like, including Comedy, Action, Sci-Fi, Disaster. I do like some sentimental (e.g. love!) films, but they have to be very special to make my Top List. (Comedies I do rate very high include Good Bad and Ugly, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Dr. Strangelove, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ... though it's a stretch to call some of these comedies! )

But I'm not that weird. Most of the films on my Top Seventy-five List have an IMDB rating of 8.0 or more. Even most of the "dark horses" in OP have highish IMDB ratings ...
8.2 Dial M for Murder
8.0 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
7.8 Crash (2004)
7.5 Whale Rider
7.4 Across the Universe
7.3 To Live and Die in L.A.
7.0 Flower Drum Song
6.5 The Third Miracle
... with the exception of The Third Miracle.
(I wasn't even aware that Crash got Best Picture Oscar until after I posted OP. Are there other "Best Pictures" with IMDB as low as 7.8?)

I do especially like heist thrillers, crime drama and spy intrigue. My Top Seventy-five List might include
7.1 Spy Game
6.8 The Score
6.5 Good Thief

Last edited by septimus; 09-08-2019 at 03:03 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:12 PM
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Mystery Men
is a favorite of mine as well, and it is absolutely underappreciated. The other day, while I was pulling weeds in the garden, for some reason the line "Yes, of course. You may absolutely 'bring zee brewskies'" popped into my head and I just started laughing.

I'll add The Commitments (1991) as another movie that's a great dark horse. It's got great acting, a wonderful screenplay (based on Roddy Doyle's book, of course) and absolutely electrifying musical performances, and you never hear anybody talk about it.
"I woont you to goo out there and say 'ahm black, and I'm prood of it.'"

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Old 09-08-2019, 10:41 PM
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Watched "To Live and Die in L.A." a few months ago. One of the few DVDs I own for some reason. While I have always like it, it is sooooo stuck in the 80s!
One of the best car chases of all time. I like a lot of the dialogue as well, particularly any scene Defoe is in. "Do you know you're living like a fuckin' animal in the zoo?!"
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I'm not sure whether I like Petersen better in this or Manhunter. Amazing scenes with the counterfeiting process. Shockingly violent. One of my favorites as well.

Last edited by Gray Ghost; 09-08-2019 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:14 AM
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My understanding (having now reviewed my earlier comments on it): "Racisim is bad! It's just so bad! It's so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so bad!"

ETA: And for what it's worth, even the director disagrees with your "deserved its Oscar" sentiment.
And that proves my point. That was not the message of the film, which was that racism is not simple or black and white. It shows we all have racist tendencies and they we're blind to them. That what might be seen as racist is due to complex factors. That even if we deny we're racist, the racism can come out in certain situations.

"Racism is bad" is the starting point, but that's only the beginning.
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