Movie Goodness: Cult List

I’m not sure if Cult is the right word for this list but I really couldn’t think of a better one. Check it out and if anyone has a better word or phrase let me know.

Trainspotting (1996): Renton (Ewan McGregor), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Begbie (Robert Carlyle), Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Tommy (Kevin McKidd).  A group of Scottish heroin addicts (except for Begbie) journey through addiction, withdrawal and petty theft in the pursuit of getting high and numbing themselves to life that is less than ideal.  I remember when the movie first came out and some critics were saying that it glamorize heroin addiction.  There is nothing glamorous in this movie.  It is sad and if anything, a warning of the perils of addiction.  Powerful, depressing and well done.

Boondock Saints (1999): Two Irish brothers in Boston go on a mission to take out the worst criminal elements in their city.  Guided by God (or their Da?) they start out their vigilante mission by accident but soon make it their new career.  Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery are wonderful as Murphy and Connor MacManus.  I admit that I did not care for the sequel at all.  I really wanted to like it but it just seemed like the same story told 10 years later.  I was disappointed.

Reservoir Dogs (1992): The song ‘Stuck in the Middle’ will always conjure forth images of Michael Madsen cutting off a guy’s ear.  A group of jewel thieves heist goes horribly wrong and they try to pin point who the rat could be that set them up. This was the second Tarantino flick I saw, Pulp Fiction being the first of course.  In some ways I preferred RD because it was more about the story and the characters without being over stylized or weighted down with at least one big celebrity per scene.  Not saying there weren’t great actors/celebrities in Dogs but Pulp Fiction just seemed to have more of them.  Speaking of the cast: Tim Roth, Havey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Quentin Tarantino, Edward Bunker and Lawrence Tierney.

Pulp Fiction (1994): Alright, so I just put this movie down in the Reservoir Dogs gist but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it.  I liked the intertwining stories and Samuel L. Jackson was my favourite part of this one.  There are too many actors to mention and as far as the story, come on, who doesn’t know what Pulp Fiction is about.

Death Proof (2007): More Quentin Tarantino. This one stands above the other two because the leads are women and they are kick ass, strong and independent.  Kurt Russell is great as the psychotic Stunt Man Mike, stalking and killing girls with his car. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and it was fun to watch it in theatres with Planet Terror as part of Grindhouse.

Fight Club (1999):  The brilliant Edward Norton stars as a man with insomnia who becomes fed up with his life of consumerism and fitting into the norm.  Helping him to rebel against those social norms and the trappings of consumerism, is the charismatic and free-living Tyler Durden.  Who is Tyler Durden?  All becomes clear at the end of the flick and you feel like you were just slightly mind f***ed by the revelation.  Joining Norton is Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto and Meatloaf.  Based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel of the same name.

Velvet Goldmine (1998): Let me preface this one by saying I hate musicals.  I hate TV shows with episodes where the cast sings throughout.  I can’t explain it.  Anyway, this isn’t a musical in the way that the actors just burst into song while walking down the street.  It’s a musical in the sense that music plays a character in the movie and I loved the glam rock music.  Set mostly in the 1970’s, the story revolves around glam rocker Brian Slade’s rise and fall from fame and a young man’s journey into his own soul through that music, as he recalls his encounters with the glam scene in London and his acceptance of his true self. Starring: Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and a very young Christian Bale. I just love this movie.  Beautiful.

A Clockwork Orange (1971): Welly, welly, well.  A bit of the old ultra-violence.  Disturbing and moderately repugnant, Alex De Large (Malcolm McDowell) is both at the tender age of 18 (in the movie I believe this is his age).  Malcolm McDowell is one of my favourite actors and he played the arrogant, psychotic rapist and murderer wonderfully.  I have a hard time watching movies that involve rape and that is one of the reason that it took me several years to watch this again after seeing it for the first time when I was 16.  It still disturbs me but the movie is good if not hard to watch due to the violence.  It’s staying power is clear in pop culture today from people dressing like Alex for Halloween to music videos (Rob Zombie) and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ inspired photo shoots (my daughter did one and it was fantastic).

Honourable Mention: Dogma (1999); Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (1998); Snatch (2000); Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001); Heathers (1988)

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