So I recently bought this site, about odd films and weird movies, and I’ve decided to add a blog here. My plan is to update the blog at least four times a week with whatever I can think of to write about as it relates to bizarre movies. For today’s post, I thought I’d start by listing some of the most memorable and bizarre films that I’ve seen personally–the ones that made the biggest impression on me as being “weird.” Since this is a personal list, it shouldn’t be construed as a list of good weird movies or as a list of the weirdest films ever. It’s just a list of the strangest movies I can remember seeing.
1. Deconstructing Harry – I’m a Woody Allen fan, and I have been a Woody Allen fan ever since I saw The Purple Rose of Cairo in my college film class. But I don’t usually think of him as a make of bizarre movies. But Deconstructing Harry is nothing if not bizarre. The movie is about a writer, played by Woody Allen, who drives to a university to receive an honorary degree. (The writer had been thrown out of the university before he was successful.) He kidnaps his son to take with him on the trip, and he also brings along a prostitute. Along the way he interacts with characters from his own fiction. Billy Crystal was particularly funny in his role as Satan.
2. The Machine Girl – My background as a small-town country boy from Texas leads me to think that most foreign films are weird in one way or another, but I think most people, regardless of where they’re from, would agree that The Machine Girl is pretty wild. It’s a Japanese action movie about a young woman with a machine gun prosthetic instead of a hand, and she puts it to use getting revenge for the death of her brother. The Machine Girl was pretty over-the-top with the action, but it’s not over-the-top in terms of creepiness or surrealism. You may not find it at your local video store, but services like LOVEFiLM and Netflix should carry it among their piles and piles of DVD releases.
3. Memento – This one is listed on our amnesia films page, but it’s a great movie. If you enjoy the non-linear storytelling that Tarantino made famous in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, then you’ll probably enjoy the storytelling techniques used in this movie. The plot revolves around a character who suffers from a type of amnesia where he’s unable to create any kind of short-term memories. So if you’re having a conversation with him, he might forget who you are by the time the conversation ends. He compensates for this by leaving himself multiple notes, some of which are important enough to tattoo to his own body. The plot revolves around how a man with no memory can try to play detective.
4. Right at Your Door – This 2006 scifi thriller won the cinematography award at Sundance. But don’t let the fact that it’s an award-winning film keep you away. This one’s a well-written and realistically-told story about terrorist attacks in Los Angeles. Like Cloverfield, the action is revealed via the perspectives of two of the ordinary people experiencing the events. Mary McCormack’s performance was particularly strong. My wife and I watched this together, and this isn’t the kind of movie she normally likes. But she loved it anyway. I was able to purchase a DVD of this one for next-to-nothing at my local Blockbuster.
5. Synecdoche, New York – Any movie that’s really great but almost impossible for me to actually understand is going to get a mention in my lists of bizarre movies. This one features Philip Seymour Hoffman as a playwright who works on a huge play that eventually becomes bigger than any play you could ever imagine. The screenplay is terrific, and so are all of the performances. There’s a tendency for a lot of middlebrow filmgoers to get upset when a movie doesn’t make complete sense to them, but I promise that there are rewards to be found in Synecdoche, New York if you can relax and just go with it, even though it makes little sense.
So this isn’t a complete list of bizarre movies that I’ve seen, but it’s definitely a list of good bizarre movies. I can recommend seeing all of these.
Also, I’d like to mention a couple of good blog posts I’ve read elsewhere this week. Be sure to check these out:
- Good Chinese Movies – A blog post from my very good friend Shane Rivers, the editor and writer for Only Good Movies.
- Between Men Review – This blog post made the movie sound so interesting that I ran over to Amazon to watch it. (It’s available to download there.) The guys at 366 Weird Movies post great bizarre movie related content all the time, so be sure to bookmark their site.
- Anthropophagus Review – Warning–this link includes some gruesome pictures. This one’s from Goregirl’s site about gory horror movies. Her site is another great resource for people who want to find entertaining and less well known bizarre horror movies to watch. (And I love it when people write about Tisa Farrow movies. Tisa Farrow is Mia Farrow’s sister.)
- Avatarize Yourself on the Web – This made me laugh. I’ve been a fan of Michael Martinez for years now, so seeing his image “Avatarized” was a real treat. And if you’re looking for a good place to find science fiction movie news, then you could do a lot worse than this blog.
I’ll be back tomorrow, with more bizarre movie recommendations and web resources.