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December 14, 2009

FMWL Presents: Future Midnight Movies of the 2000s, Part One

With the decade coming to a close, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the movies of the last decade, and think about the future of midnight cinema. I mean, the future's a tricky subject. Some say that future events such as these will effect you in the future. Others say that that they're interested in the future because they will spend the rest of their life there. As for me, I like to think that I'm not afraid of the future, because I've seen the past and I love the present. And, since the future depends on those who build it today, what better time for us to think about the movies that could shape the landscape of midnight movie showings in the future.

(Thanks to Google for helping me come up with quotes there.)

I started this listing of films thinking of a simple list of movies I think could be midnight movie classics of the future. But it's never that simple, because there are too many movies I'd like to throw a bone to. So, I have decided to break my thoughts up into two listings, and will start by giving you a few lists of movies that don't quite make the list of favorites.

Midnight Movies of The Mike-verse
To start my look at midnight's future, I thought of several movies that might be among my favorite midnight flicks of the future, and might be others' if not for circumstance. Some simply weren't seen by many, and some simply weren't liked by many. Some were simply too flipping crazy. Despite all that, I can't wait to run through them often.

(All films are presented in alphabetical order, this isn't a list of preference. That comes later.)

Crank/Crank 2:High Voltage
- Jason Statham has quickly gained notoriety as an action star, but the most entertaining films I've seen him in are these frantic, vulgar, and basically ridiculous action films about dying tough guy Chev Chelios. If nothing else, they keep me surprised.
A History of Violence - David Cronenberg's hitman-gone-country tale gained a lot of buzz and even some Oscar nominations, but was lost in the mainstream shuffle due to its explicit gore and sex. I think it's one of the most intriguing films of the decade.
House of the Devil - This one's hardly played in theaters yet, but I'm sold. A throwback to horror of both the '70s and '80s, it's a brutally tense horror that's short but savage. Mad bonus props for an '80s soundtrack.
The Hunted - Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro in a battle for wilderness survival with big knives and direction by THE William Friedkin. I don't care what critics or audiences say, I'm buying.
Jason X - This nearly made my Top 10, but then I realized it's a terrible movie. Regardless, it's a blast to watch. And if you're not down with drinking, drugs, or premarital sex, Jason's got your back.
The Last Winter - Not many topics have been discussed as much in this decade as global warming. Rest assured, there's a horror movie for that. A slow burn from director Larry Fessenden starring none less than Ron Perlman and the gorgeous Connie Britton, it's good enough that some bad CGI can't even derail it.
Moon - If you haven't seen this one yet, be ready. Sam Rockwell deserves the Oscar.
Nacho Libre - Jared Hess' Napoleon Dynamite was one of the break out comedy hits of the decade, but to me it's no comparison to Jack Black as a luchador in this oddly inspirational comedy.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - No one was more leery of this one when it came out than I was, but I was shockingly won over by its mixture of CGI and 1940s characters. When a blockbuster reminds me of Cary Grant, that's a big win.
V for Vendetta - Another blockbuster that didn't make its quota at the box office, James McTiegue's (maybe?) graphic novel adaptation had some of the most memorable images of the decade. Plus, Natalie Portman's my honorary twin (we were born on the same day), so she has to be mentioned.

The Mike's Midnight Movie MUSTSThe last list was movies I may watch a lot in the future, these five movies are ones I'm certain I'll be revisiting constantly. With no further ado, here we go:

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon - In my eyes, this is as essential a slasher film as Halloween or anything with Jason and/or Freddy. Leslie Vernon is one of the most interesting horror characters to come along in decades, and the film knows its place as a spoof perfectly. It's Scream and This is Spinal Tap's lost child, and I love it for that.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army - MONSTERS! Yep, that's what I'm talking about. The monsters here make my heart sing. Guillermo and Ron, please give us MORE!
Hot Rod - I've always been a sucker for SNL alum, and this irreverent comedy made me laugh as much as any movie this decade. I'll buy that for a dollar.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - If more people don't see this movie, I just might lose faith in humanity. Seriously. Kilmer, Downey, Iowa's own Michelle Monaghan, Shane Black's wonderful script and simple's a must. Watch it now. Please. I know I will.
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra - I reviewed this one in detail many moons ago, so I won't waste words. I sleep now. (Except for the sleep part. Let's move forward.)

Three Foreign Flicks that Could Make the Top 10 if Americans Stop Being so Stuffy
Pretty self explanatory, really.

Let the Right One In - Not many horror films of the 2000s got reviews near as positive as this one did. A touching tale of the relationship between two young people who are on opposite sides of the vampire/human line, it's a gorgeous and deep drama that keeps the viewer thinking.
Pan's Labyrinth - This one did relatively well with awards, reviews, and even made some money at the box office. But now that the shiny factor's worn off, I'm not sure it'll stay in the memory of most. It should.
[REC] - Another movie I've reviewed here. I think it's the best of the decade's "docu-horrors".

Midnight Movie of the Future Honorable MentionsThese movies nearly made the Top 11, but couldn't quite make the leap. Regardless, they'll keep a fan base.

Drag Me To Hell - It's too soon to tell if Sam Raimi's newest will join the likes of his Evil Dead trilogy in the midnight movie circle, but I wouldn't bet against it.
Feast - This probably belonged on my personal list, but I know there's a following out there. Earns points for possibly being the most unpredictable horror franchise starter of our time.
Hatchet - Adam Green is well on his way to becoming a horror mainstay, and his slasher Hatchet created a huge stir as it debuted. I think it'll stick around in horror circles, and rightfully so.
In Bruges - This is a wildcard pick, but I can't help but think the Colin Farrell led hitman comedy will gain an audience over time. It's got all the elements the midnight crowd loves, and is surprisingly as effective a drama as it is a comedy or thriller.
Napoleon Dynamite - This one was hard to leave off the Top 10, but I worry it might have worn out its welcome with its initial run. Time will tell.
Pineapple Express - Well, this one will always have an audience. And it's pretty entertaining to boot.
Snatch. - Guy Ritchie's crime epic hasn't aged a day, and is still one of the most entertaining movies of the decade. Statham's success should keep it around, too.
Team America: World Police - I was lukewarm on this one upon arrival, but it grew on me with time. It's got the sing-along soundtrack that can help a cult following, but it might fall victim to being a product of its times, not to mention being South Park's little brother.
Watchmen - This movie was never going to make it in the mainstream, and the source's biggest fans produced a lot of detractors. But those of us that loved it will keep it in circulation. At least I hope we will.
Zombieland - Again, it's too soon to tell about this one. It might stay in the horror mainstream and rise above the midnight level, or it might fade away.

Lastly, there's one movie I want to bring up because, quite frankly, I don't know what the future holds for it. But I think it deserves special recognition.

Really, what do we make of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's epic tribute to b-movies past? How does a three hour double feature play at midnight shows? Will Planet Terror make the rounds and leave Death Proof behind, or will the opposite happen, or will both stay together and live in infamy? I don't know. Regardless, I think Grindhouse was the b-movie event of the decade...I just don't know where it will go from here.

That's all for tonight, but I'll be back tomorrow with what I think will are THE Top 10 Future Midnight Movies of the 2000s. In the meantime, feel free to leave comments with your own picks, or just click on those tiny pics to see fullscreen stills from the DVDs (especially the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang one, it's a great laugh.)

Happy viewings!


Box Office Boredom said...

Very nice job mike. I have seen about half of those. I don't agree with all of them, but at the same time, I do see where you are coming from and why you picked them.

And yes- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is still wonderful. I pass it along to about everyone I know.

Scare Sarah said...

Great post, Mike.

Out of all of these I would probably go with Let the Right One In as my fave. It is beautifully shot.

Hey! Look Behind You! said...

Great list!