Published on February 20th, 2015 | by SgtKaiju0
Cult Of Consume – Oscars 2015 Edition
With The Oscar ceremony a mere 30-odd hours away, we here in the dark, abandoned corner of Need To Consume thought we should bring our own brand of reporting to the festivities. We all know that this ceremony is about awarding all the best in cinema, or at least the best of the profitable and popular ones, but that simple isn’t how we in Cult Of Consume do things.
So, in honour of the day and the brave men and women of Hollywood, allow me to bring you not the films that made them famous, not the films that won them Oscars, but the films that everyone forgot, that disappeared into faded memory, on lost VHS shelves and 3 for 2 DVD bargains.
Micheal Keaton – Night Shift (1982)
Boasting a most impressive cast (The Fonz! The Costner! The Lady From Cheers! Brenda From 90120!), Night Shift tells the tale of two night shift morgue workers (Winkler and Keaton) who open a prostitution ring out of their otherwise grizzly workplace. Yeah, it was the 80s.
That being said, this a damn good ride of a film, funny and touching in every way you want a 80s screwball sex comedy to be. Winkler and Keaton are both sparkly-eyed and charming and Ron Howard’s direction is as deft as ever. Well worth checking out.
Benedict Cumberbatch – Third Star (2009)
Beneditio Cucumbersnatch as a pithy cancer victim doing one last road trip with his mates? I can hear the sound of The Cumberbitches weeping from here.
Third Star is a little known British film, filled with people you’ll kind of recognise from other places, telling the story of 4 childhood friends and their one last trip to Barafundle Bay (the film’s working title) before one of their number succumbs to cancer. It is filled with a particularly British sense of humour, one tinged with sadness but also natural and flowing. The odd sentimental monologue aside, the film is naturalistic and heartfelt. Watch with tissues to hand.
Eddie Redmayne – Black Death (2010)
Sean Bean and Eddie Radmayne. No, this is Jupiter Rising all over again, instead a film detailing the grimdark adventures of a monk and a band of Knights in the medieval days. Eddie plays the monk, drawn to foresake his vows by a beautiful woman, before encountering a local village in the thrall of possible necromancer. Think The Wicker Man but with more chainmail.
In many ways, Black Death is a forgettable film, lost in the sea so medievals romps that emerged at this time (Outlander, Valhalla Rising etc), but give it some time and it’s quality does shine through. Sean Bean is always value for money and the variety of character actors filling out the rest of the adventuring party round out the cast nicely.
One for genre fans only, but a great film nonetheless
Bradley Cooper – Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
The very definition of a cult classic, Wet Hot American Summer was a total flop on release. Both critically and commercially. But since then, a slow and strong love for the film has emerged, even leading to Netflix commisioning an 8-part prequel series this year.
The film follows the adventures of various camp counselors over the last day of the summer season, each with their own stories and aims. This is very much in the vein of Empire Records or Mallrats, with a variety of differing plots forced into a enclosed space in a fixed timeframe.
Bradley plays a camp counselor who, along with Amy Poeler, is attempting to put on the end of summer show among the madness. He’s good here, but is yet to hit his The Hangover easy charm phase and is easily outshone by Paul Rudd in the charm stakes and David Hyde Pierce in the memorable character.
Steve Carrell – Sleepover (2004)
Dear god people, even I have limits….
Back before his breakout his of 40 Year Old Virgin, Steve Carrell was making most of his living as bit parts and character roles in lesser known films. And Sleepover is one of those films. Telling the tale of a group of 8th grades at a sleepover-cum-scavenger hunt, it is very much aimed at the YaYa Pants / Lohan crowd. Alexa Vega shows great promise in the lead role, with some support from the always excellent Jane Lynch as well as Sam Huntington and Jeff Garlin.
Carrell plays a local cop, Officer Sherman, in one of his more knockabout roles, hapless to a fault and caught up in the ever increasingly outlandish plot twists of the girls on a mission.
Genuinely, a forgettable film in a niche genre.
Felcity Jones – Albatross (2011)
Another low-budget British indie gem making the list, Albatross tell the story of Emelia (played by a fabulous Jessica Brown Findlay), rebellious dropout and the middle-class she works her way into. Felicity Jones plays Beth, the 19 year old daughter of the family, a straight-laced medical student Emelia takes under her wing, showing her the ways of the rebellious life.
On paper, this film could quite easily come off as trite, fluff in the vein of Elizabethtown or Garden State, but with Niall MacCormick at the helm and such talent in the main roles, it is lifted, bringing in a film akin to My Summer Of Love, in the way it handles British family life, isolation and coming-of-age.
Worth a watch for all indie film fans.
Marion Cotillard – Taxi (1998)
Luc Besson at his finest. The tale of a taxi driver in Marseille, his overly tricked out car and a gang of german bank robbers he gets involved in hunting down. All the traditional Besson traits are in full flow here, with madcap editing and over-the-top visuals.
Marion plays Lily, the long suffering girlfriend of Daniel the taxi driver, and she is as an arresting screen presence as ever, but the real star here are the driving sequences. This film has set man archetypes for the kind of thing we see every week in modern cinema. Without Taxi there’d be no Fast & Furious, no xXx.
Grab a beer, grab a seat. Check it out.
Reese Witherspoon – Freeway (1996)
I mean, just look at that poster. It just smells of glory.
Freeway is a modern day (well, modern then) retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with Reese playing Vanessa, a sexually-abused illiterate poor daughter of a hooker, trying to get to her grandmothers, all the time pursued by Bob Wovlerton (Keifer, see what they did there?). The films falls between clever meta jokes with the original fairy tale, and very hard-edged satire. I mean very. Brittany Murphy plays a lesbian heroin junkie for god-sake…
That all being said, this is the early work that showed the promise in Reese, one that helped launched her to the fame she well deserved, even if she did then squander it on rom-coms..
A very 90s slice of cinema, but for cinephiles worth seeing.
Julianne Moore – Vanya on 42nd Street (1994)
In many ways more of a cinematic experiment than a standard film, Vanya on 42nd Street is the result of three years of performing the Chekhov play Uncle Vanya to an invited audience only. Put together after the actors had been workshopping the play for all that time, the film is very reminiscent of Dogville in it’s staging, although not to such an extreme.
Due to the obviously protracted ‘rehersal’ for this film, the characters are beautifully fleshed out by the actors, with particular nods going to Wallace Shaw and Julianne herself for stand-out performances.
This is one of the odder films on this list, but for any fan of theatre, acting or films that fall outside the usual ‘4th wall’, this is a interesting and engrossing watch.
Rosamund Pike – Doom (2005)
The Rock shoots aliens with a Big Fucking Gun. What more could you want?