Underappreciated Movie Picks
By Hunter Hoffman ’21, Film Critic
In this set of quick reviews, I will be talking about movies that I believe to be not talked about enough. It is not to say that some of these films are not held in high regard amongst critics and avid movie watchers, but from my personal viewpoint I have found these films to not be talked about much in the general public and specifically with people my age.
Based on the Hasbro board game of the same name, Clue is a murder mystery film in which a group of dinner guests is gathered at the mansion of their host Mr. Boddy (pun intended), who, of course, turns up dead. As our ensemble cast of characters searches the house for clues as to who potentially murdered Mr. Boddy, everyone is left as a suspect until the very end.
This film is exactly everything that it should be. Every character is hilarious, and there are zingers and jokes squeezed into the script as much as possible. As a “whodunnit” movie like this should do, the plot takes twists and turns every chance that it gets. The ending of the movie is what really puts this film on a whole new level. There is not one ending, nor are there two, but there are three different endings to this movie. When Clue first came out in theaters, different screenings would show different endings to the movie; however, nowadays all three endings are played out in the same showing of the film, and it works out to one of the funniest endings to a movie there could ever possibly be. To elaborate any further on this one would be giving too much away, so I will let you figure out the mystery and nonstop fun of this movie for yourself.
Demolition Man (1993)
Demolition Man is an action film starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes which takes place in the utopian city of San Angeles in 2032. Stallone plays the cop John Spartan, who, after viciously pursuing violent criminal Simon Phoenix for years, played by Snipes, accidentally gets innocent people caught in the crossfire of his pursuit for him and gets both of them sentenced to prison. However, this is no ordinary prison; it is a “cryoprison” in which prisoners are frozen for years until they are thawed.
As one can tell from a quick plot synopsis of Demolition Man, this film is not grounded in reality whatsoever, but it is the obscure plot and concepts which make this movie a must watch. The futuristic setting of this film is quite comical, including more obvious ideas such as self-driving cars, but it also includes more creative ideas such as everyone greeting each other with “Be well” and the fact that every restaurant is Taco Bell. Although the action itself is nothing to ride home about and this film does not really include anything of true substance, Snipes’ tongue-in-cheek performance as the comic book-esque antagonist and the ideas in the film holding nothing back are what make it an enjoyable viewing.
It Could Happen to You (1994)
Starring the great Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda, It Could Happen to You follows Charlie Lang, a simple-minded and kind-hearted cop in New York city who wins the lottery after buying a ticket at the insistence of his wife. After eating lunch on the day that he bought the ticket, Lang, realizing he does not have enough money to pay the waitress a tip, tells her that, as a tip, he will split the lottery winnings with her if he wins. When Lang’s wife Muriel (Rosie Perez) learns of this arrangement after they win the lottery, she is infuriated and spends the rest of the film scheming and becoming greedy with her money. Because of this, Lang begins to despise his wife while also falling in love with the waitress, Yvonne, in the process.
Because of the extreme kindness and joy of its protagonist, this movie carries a very light-hearted and refreshing tone to it. Lang is practically a perfect human being throughout the whole film which obviously has its flaws, but I think that overall it works for a romantic comedy movie like this. Both Lang and Yvonne attempt to give away all of the winnings from the lottery to make other people happy while his wife tries to hoard it all for herself. It Could Happen to You carries an extremely unassuming positive view of human nature in a classic story depicting how good will always prevail, but the movie’s overall heart and the fun romance between Charlie and Yvonne make it a film to turn off one’s brain to and enjoy some positivity.
The Belko Experiment (2016)
The Belko Experiment is a horror film with a large ensemble cast and depicts the story of how a normal day at the office turns into a nightmare at the Belko Corporation when all of its workers learn via the intercom that two workers must be killed in 30 minutes or everyone will die. Trapped inside of their office building, the workers slowly learn that they are part of a deadly experiment and a battle royale of ultimatums from the mysterious voice on the intercoms and killings ensues. If there are some accident related complications, attorneys for moto accidents can be checked out!
This film is very tongue-in-cheek about everything that it is trying to do, but it has a self-aware attitude when it comes to these decisions throughout the movie. What was once an office space becomes a violent bloodbath of co-workers killing each other. This movie moves very quickly with nonstop action and killings once the characters find out the stakes. An added element of the kills is that everyone knows the people they are killing. The Belko Experiment tries a tad bit too hard to comment on human nature towards the end of the movie and bites off a bit more than a movie like this can chew, but other than that, it is a near-perfect, gory, battle royale horror film sure to provide much entertainment in its ninety-minute runtime.