My last post was fueled mostly by anger and it showed. People keep congratulating me for it but I didn’t think I did that good a job on it personally. I decided to instead write about something I actually loved for a change and resurrect one of my old series’ from Poisonous Paragraphs that I began way back in 2007.
I haven’t done a cult movies list since December 2009 so I figured the best place to start was by highlighting my 50 favorite cult films that I think qualify between then and now that I haven’t written about yet. I need to kick myself in the ass for not writing about film sooner since it’s also a lifetime passion of mine. Might as well go in already…
Bukowski: Born Into This (2003)
This documentary tells a detailed story of the personal life, works and career of one of the most prolific and influential writers of the modern era, Charles Bukowski. This film will make you understand what both troubled and drove this man to write such prose and poetry.
The Comedians Of Comedy (2005)
Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Zach Galifianakis & Maria Bamford each take their brands of intellectual, offbeat comedy on the road and they document it. I’m a fan of comedy, especially if it’s well written so I love this.
Five Fingers (2006)
This film isn’t what you originally think it is and by the time it’s over you really begin thinking about what actually happened in it. You also began wonder if this happens a lot in real life. I think you can stream it from Netflix right now…
This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)
This independent documentary highlights just how ridiculous the MPAA’s film ratings system is and why so many filmmakers are at odds with it. It also tried to uncover who some of it’s members were and how they arrive at their ratings decisions. A must see for serious film fans, writers and wanna be directors and producers.
This is easily one of the most disturbing anime films I’ve ever seen in my entire life. What’s even more insane? It’s not even from Japan! Stream this jawn on Netflix and I guarantee you’ll see why I say that.
The Hip Hop Project (2006)
A former emcee that was a protege of Doug E. Fresh’s begins a program for at risk youth where they use Hip Hop as a vehicle to help them improve their stations in life and their circumstances. This documentary is extremely inspirational. Find it. Watch it.
West 32nd (2007)
An ambitious young Korean lawyer pushed his firm to defend a 14 year old kid pro bono in a case where the teen is charged with murdering a powerful Korean mobster. He then goes on a trip that takes him deep into a world he isn’t accustomed to at all. Not many heads are up on this flick.
I saw this documentary on HBO and I had to watch it. I used to do mock trail/debate in Boston when I was in high school but policy debate and the practice of the spread was unknown to me until I saw the film “Rocket Science” which was on one of my previous lists. A duo of inner city youth from LA try to revolutionize the entire practice of policy debate. See what happens in this intriguing documentary.
Zach Galifiniakis: Live At The Purple Onion (2007)
This shit is funnier than watching BET Awards completely sober. Nah, my bad. THAT would be depressing. This comedy film/faux documentary is the exact opposite of the BET Awards in every way imaginable…
Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Hunter S. Thompson (2008)
This documentary about one of my favorite authors and personal heroes/influences is extremely well done. It always freaks me out when people compare me to him, especially when I’ve never touched a controlled substance in my entire life.
Soul Power (2008)
This is the untold story of one of the greatest music festivals to ever occur in the history of Earth headlined by James Brown. It occurred in 1974 in what was then called Zaire (now called Republic Of The Congo) weeks before the events that occurred in the companion documentary "When We Were Kings". We see a young Pointer Sisters, Bill Withers, B.B. King, The Spinners, Celia Cruz & The Fania All Stars, Miriam Makeba & Manu Dibango. Seeing Don King, Muhammad Ali, George Plimpton and other famous luminaries so young (or alive) is a lot to take in.
The Horseman (2008)
Remember that movie “Taken”? Imagine if it happened in the sticks of Australia, the girl died and her father wasn’t a trained professional killer but what he lacked in skill he made up for in sheer anger and determination.
The Chaser (2008)
Let’s say that this pimp is losing his property. Let’s also say this same pimp used to be a cop. A detective, actually. Now imagine said pimp tries to call his old friends to help him find his girls but they blow him off because of a scandal they need to exercise damage control on. Now let’s say that by some group of unlikely events the pimp ex detective and the man who’s been abducting his women both end up arrested and at the police station. I ain’t telling you what happens next…
The Universe Of Keith Haring (2008)
This is a documentary about the life and work of the highly influential pop artist with ties to the graffiti world as well as underground New York culture Keith Haring. If you were a fan of his work or interested in the arts you could definitely see this.
The Class (2008)
This film about a teacher and his class at an inner city school in France is a sobering look at the challenges teachers face worldwide when trying to help educated youth. If you see any faces on this poster and don’t normally equate them with the image of those that live in France then think again.
This is the New York version take on “Run Lola Run” that begins with a coin flip and a young couple. So many different things occur in this film that I couldn’t accurately describe it without giving away what makes it a cult favorite of mine. Stream it off Netflix…
Dog Eat Dog (2008)
Carlos Moreno’s gripping tale of two Colombian thugs that fail at a job that ensures they’ll be killed is must see cinema.
You remember when you saw “Sucker Punch” and it sucked because you had NO clue what was happening in real life so you couldn’t relate it to either levels of the dream world? That doesn’t happen in Franklyn. The less I tell you about it, the better in my opinion.
Assassination Of A High School President (2008)
For those of you that saw “Brick” and enjoyed it, here’s something along those lines minus the old noir film jargon. A young Catholic school student who writes for the school newspaper is asked to investigate a story involving some stolen SAT tests. He instead stumbles on a much larger conspiracy. This one is hella slept on…
Fish Tank (2009)
This story of a young girl growing up on an estate with dreams of becoming a dancer and the hurdles she faces in her everyday life opened a lot of eyes at various film festivals. It just recently became available in the States but I saw it early last year via a screener. I think it’s finally available to stream on Netflix.
This French film is about a man who seeks to get even with an international arms manufacturer. He stumbles on a ragtag group of outsiders that tries to help him attain his goal. This shit is interesting to say the least.
Still Bill (2009)
This documentary about the incredible career of Bill Withers is a must see even for those that aren’t fans of his work. After seeing it, not only will you be inspired to follow your dreams no matter what they may be but you’ll be a Bill Withers fan for life.
Harry Brown (2009)
This Michael Caine film is the modern British version of “Death Wish”. Just watch it, okay?
A Prophet (2009)
Where do I even begin to describe this tale of a naive young Arab that gets detained in a French prison that rises to become an organized crime boss? Oh shit, I think I just did.
The Vicious Kind (2009)
This film is really bugged out. A guy’s brother brings home his girlfriend for Thanksgiving. The guy tries to warn his brother that his girlfriend is bad for him and he should dump her. His brother tells him to mind his business so he takes it upon himself to prove to his brother that his girlfriend is a horrible person. In the process, he ends up wanting his brother’s girl bad. Real bad. Michael Jackson. Then the weirdest shit happens…
The Shock Doctrine (2009)
This is the film version of the popular Naomi Klein novel about the phenomenon known as disaster capitalism, what it entails and how it’s executed. Several examples are illustrated visually and it really brings to book to life. If you haven’t already read the book yet, then see the film. Then read the damb book!
Legend Of The Fist: The Return Of Chen Zhen (2010)
Remember when everyone though Chen Zhen got murked by that firing squad at the end of “Fist Of Fury”? He didn’t die, but he did end up in Europe during the war before returning back home to beat on some more Japanese cats. There are quite a few historical inaccuracies in this film but it’s still an enjoyable watch. Just don’t Google the events to much & pay no mind that it seems like it should actually be set 20 years later…
13 Assassins (2010)
Takashi Miike directed this modern update of a classic film. He did a damn good job at it, too…
Remember what I was telling you earlier regarding the film adaptation of “The Shock Doctrine”? Same thing in regards to the book “Freakonomics”. The main difference being that six different filmmakers take on the task of bringing this book to life. Watch it.
Two men named Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington spent a year in Afghanistan with the 2nd Platoon of the 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team as they fought the Taliban forces. This documentary was extremely sobering and even moreso following the passing of Tim Hetherington in Libya. Watch this film…
American Grindhouse (2010)
This jawn documents one of my favorite eras of film ever. The rise of grindhouse cinema and the entire culture surrounding it. I use to have film discussions with Rob Zombie back in the days and we spent a lot of time discussing the grindhouse film aesthetic and how production value in modern film often kills the entire suspense factor that we got from films that were made in the 60’s and 70’s. Watch “Serpico”, “Dog Day Afternoon”, “Mean Streets” or “Taxi Driver”. You notice that the grittiness of the look of those films helps to sell it on a psychological level alone. Grindhouse films do that for me. It’s akin to hearing the record pop in a sample on a Hip hop song…
I love this film because it took another take on the zombie film by focusing on the people that survived it and how they cope with living in a world overrun by the undead. After this jawn ended, I immediately wanted to see a sequel. A funny zombie film that isn’t called “Shaun of The Dead”? Say word…
I Saw The Devil (2010)
Stream this on Netflix. I refuse to even give a synopsis of this film. If you’re not into horror or foreign films then don’t even bother with it. How could you NOT be into foreign films, though? Have you seen the bullshit Hollywood is putting out today?
Daydream Nation (2010)
This film is both hilarious and depressing simultaneously. This town reminds me of a few I’ve been to in Western Massachusetts where the youth were just bored out of their skulls in an environment that wasn’t conducive to happiness or growth of any kind.
Just the fact that John C. Reilly can get with Marisa Tomei in a flick and her son looks like Jonah Hill and he’s essentially a Bandcamp instrumental producer. It’s actually funny, too.
Ip Man 2 (2010)
Do I really need to sell you on a Donnie Yen martial arts film about Ip Man, the man who was Bruce Lee’s sifu back when he was the Baddest Man In Hong Kong? Sammo Hung was even really good in it. See that shit.
The second I saw the trailer for “Machete” in the film “Grindhouse” I wished that Robert Rodriguez would get off that bullshit (or from underneath Rose McGowan) long enough to make this a real movie. It got greenlit and Robert Rodriguez knocked it out the park.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s series of graphic novels sent in the indie Rock world of Toronto that appealed to indie music, comic book and video game fans worldwide was adapted into a film that bombed at the box office but has become a cable stable, a popular rental and has sold surprisingly well on DVD given it’s box office performance. I think I’ve seen it about 30 times myself. Be on the lookout for the “Scott Pilgrim Beat Tape” coming soon on Producers I Know.
Do I even have to waste any time explaining this one? I WILL say that the graphic novel is so much different from the film in certain key aspects that you should read that as well to see where the film adaptation actually differs. By the time Kick-Ass 2 drops the comic book run of Kick-Ass 2 should be coming to a close as well. Can’t wait…
One of my favorite young directors is Noel Clarke. He’s made two films that made my previous lists, “Kidulthood” & “Adulthood”. This time, he made “22.214.171.124” which is a layered story involving a group of 4 girls and their intertwining lives. If you can find it, watch it.
The Book Of Eli (2010)
This is a cult film to me because I draw so many parallels between this post apocalyptic future to today’s society. Most people are blind. The strong clique up and prey on the poor and weak, etc. The ill thing is that the young people actually seek out older folks that were around before the apocalypse for information and everyone’s fighting over a damb book. It takes the complete breakdown of society as we know it for either of these things to happen…
Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)
I find this film to be very inspirational aside from the fact Banksy’s involved with it. I’ve actually written a previous post on Bastard Swordsman that was fueled by multiple viewings of said film. Maybe you read it before? You probably didn’t, though.
This is the textbook definition of a cult film right here. An ensemble drama with several intertwining storylines that was the darling of the indie film festival circuit. If you’ve been watching movies in 2011 and have never once stumbled on this trailer and been been curious enough to see it, I’m telling you to see it now.
Night Catches Us (2010)
In a world where the last film featuring a mostly Black cast that wasn’t made by Tyler Perry STILL used his formula and looked like one of his movies anyways (“Jump The Broom”) if I can find a good film devoid of coonery, I’ll gravitate towards it. If I still bought DVD’s I’d have this next to “Medicine For Melancholy” in my collection. Kerry Washington’s in it and The Roots did the score, that’s a plus.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010)
One of my favorite all time artists is Jean-Michel Basquiat and the film “Basquiat” was one of my favorite cult film of the pre-Internet Age. This Tamra Davis documentary features a lot of footage of Basquiat and testimonials from many of his friends, peers, associates and contemporaries. I used to play this and “Exit Through The Gift Shop” back to back everyday for two straight weeks a few months ago. That’s saying a lot.
This film has been suppressed for quite a while now. I implore you to look up this history behind the making of this film and how it got funded. You might notice that this is the film poster but if you search for it yourself chances are you’ll only find the DVD cover. Why is that? Watch this film and you’ll completely understand why. Notice that I snuck this jawn in after I’d already posted this list? Why’d I do THAT do you think?
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011)
Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock tackled the task of making a film completely funded by sponsors that simultaneously revealed the role that product placement plays in the film industry. It also delves into the entire process behind corporate branding.
This film just became available for rental and purchase this Tuesday but it’s safe to say that a superhero & his sidekick story that follows in the obvious footsteps of the previous films “Oldboy”, “Special” & “Kick-Ass” should be categorized as a cult film. Watch it for yourselves.
Hold up, Dart! “Limitless” can’t possibly be a cult film because it made almost three times it’s initial budget at the box office alone so how can it be classified as a “cult film”. Here’s how, watch it. It actually borrowed comic book and graphic novel storytelling elements all throughout IT. I know a graphic novel when I see one. Watch it again, you’ll see what I mean.
Kill The Irishman (2011)
This flick is everything Dallas Penn would say epitomizes hardbody. Some would call it gully. Others would offer thugged out or possibly even grimy. Watch the Mob try to murder someone but end up getting merked repeatedly in the process. It’s kind of a feel good story, actually…
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest (2011)
I know it just recently hit theaters not too long ago but the screener has been getting views for a quite a while now. Not only that, but when this film is finally released on DVD and the bonus footage that wasn’t in the film can finally be viewed there’s no way to keep this documentary from achieving full cult status.