When it comes to movies, it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone. There’s romantic comedies for the saps of the world. There’s horror for those who like a good fright. There’s sci-fi for turbo nerds like me. The list goes on and on and on. However, from time to time, you need a film that plays it fast and loose in terms of genre expectations. You need a film that’s hard to label. When you’re dying of boredom in your Motel 6 room on a business trip, you more stimulation than [insert genre here]. There are plenty of films that scratch this itch. You just have to know where to look. Here are some of my faves.
First and foremost, I would be remiss if I didn’ mention the works of Stanley Kubrick. If I had to quickly summarize Kubrick’s essence as a film maker, I would have to use the anecdote of him psychologically torturing Shelley Duvall on the set of the Shining to get a more genuine reaction from her during the film’s climax. He was a strange, sometimes cruel, man, but his films are the stuff of legend because of his commitment to his craft. My favorite, if for no other reason than it was my first, is A Clockwork Orange. A Clockwork Orange takes place in a futuristic dystopia and focuses on Alex and his gang as they terrorize the innocents with violence and sexual assault. After an attempted attack goes awry, Alex ends up killing someone and going to prison. What follows is a bizarre examination of what constitutes morality. The central question the film asks is, if you’re forced to behave morally, are you a good person? Is it morally righteous to force good behavior on others? It’s suitably bizarre and has Kubrick’s trademark slow pace and dark atmosphere, so it’s absolutely worth a watch.
Another favorite of mine is the Cohen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski. I couldn’t get into it the first time I watched it, but all of the things I didn’t like about it initially are all the things that make it a truly great watch. The central premise that stoner Jeff Lebowski, aka, “The Dude” is mistake for another Jeff Lebowski, aka the Big Lebowski, a millionaire whose wife owes money to “known pornographer Jackie Treehorn.” What ensues is essentially a film noir plot, but set in the nineties and focused on a bizarre cast of characters such as The Dude’s bowling buddies, neurotic underdog Donnie and Vietnam vet Walter to name a few.