Jay G over at MArooned asks:
I forget exactly where/when it came up, but the subject of “STOP” movies came up. These are movies that you have to stop and watch if you happen to be flipping around the dial…
What are the movies that make you put down the remote and watch?
In formulating a comment in response to his question, I got to thinking about one of my favorite “movies that no one’s ever heard of” (and, possibly, my favorite movie of all time). I’ve never seen it on TV, so it doesn’t fit the criteria for inclusion in his list, but I’d stop if I stumbled across it:
Actually, I never saw the movie in theaters. I had, in fact, never heard of it until the cover caught my attention at the video rental store sometime in the mid ’90’s. Although I’m sure there are movie aficionados out there who will know it, I’ve never personally met anyone who had heard of it when I mentioned it to them, which isn’t surprising considering that it only grossed $882k in US theaters (according to IMDB).
I liked Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner and his picture on the cover alone prompted me to rent it. I’m glad I did.
To be honest, I don’t think I could have really articulated what I like so much about the movie, but when looking it up on IMDB for the above link, I ran across this review that I think explained what’s so good about this movie very nicely:
The film is set against the backdrop of a fully realized post-apocalyptic society that actually makes sense (and the “game” the movie is built around is well conceived and executed too). Unlike in many futuristic movies, there is no need for grand exposition explaining why everybody in the film is acting so bizarrely — in this movie, you understand the people, their desperation, and the certain grim courage of those who dare to dream of more…
…The stories of these two characters are not stories of grandiose save-the-world heroes, but more down to Earth stories of courage, redemption, and most importantly hope in a world with little of it. The characters aren’t pure, they’re not pompous, they’re just normal people trying to make the best of a tough life. And I think that makes rooting for them all the easier. Its not so important they win — its important that they find the strength to strive rather than give up…
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
After a promising start, Rutger Hauer was pretty disappointing later on in his career, but in my opinion, I believe this may have been his pinnacle role.
I have it on VHS as I bought it years ago before DVD came out. It is available on DVD now and since this post got me thinking about it, I’ll probably go ahead and order a copy so I have a better quality version to keep for posterity. I doubt that it will ever come out on Blue-Ray but if it does, I’ll be one of the first to buy it. Excellent movie if you’re into that sort of thing.