I have a confession to make.
I’m a bit of a film snob.
I blame it entirely on the masterful teachings of a certain University of Delaware professor who is the most awesome teacher of all time. Since those days of film theory I have never watched a move the same again.
Most likely, you won’t hear me talking about what a great movie the third installment of The Borne Identity was. If I make an appearance at the movie theater, it is after weeks of careful research and deliberation.
Is the movie worth shelling out over $11 dollars NOT including the popcorn and Coca-Cola, which are mandatory accompaniments? Because I can watch an excellent movie on Netflix for free and pop my own damn popcorn. Nah mean?
Alas, I am getting off topic.
Have you ever noticed that movies can be super weird sometimes? Like there are some that will make you scratch your head and go, “huh?”
But some of the weirdest movies I have seen, have actually turned out to be some of my favorites. I think this is because in weirdness, in those strange places, in the insanity and the whirlwind, and the crazy that comes out of the mind, somewhere you find the truth.
Life is pretty weird. Why not capture that essence on film?
Here are my top 10 weirdest movies of all time. But you should watch all of them!
1. Blue Velvet (1986)
Director: David Lynch
The movie begins when a man discovers a severed ear. Labeled as a “sick, depraved masterpiece,” this movie will make you feel uncomfortable, intrigued, and just plain fascinated. I’m not a big fan of David Lynch, but in this movie he just knows how to take a hold of you. You will either love it or hate it, but you will never just feel so-so about it. The camera angles, the color scheme, and the brilliant acting by Dennis Hopper make this weird movie a cult classic. Try it out on Netflix.
2. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
People always go on and on about Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. You want a really weird Johnny Depp flick? You want to see the real weird Johnny Depp, not just a character actor? The Johnny Depp the auteur, the one who actually lived in Hunter S. Thompson’s basement and read his books and travelled to Cuba with him and dropped acid with him and became his number one fan. Then you need to see Fear and Loathing. And let’s not forget Benicio Del Toro, who was an excellent side kick in this movie and added to the richness and wackiness of the film.
3. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
This scene right here gave me nightmares for a few solid weeks as a child. Gene Wilder will always and forever be Willy Wonka (sorry Depp) and his strange portrayal of the Roald Dahl character is what makes this movie a classic. It may be a strange movie but it carries with it some real moral values for kids.
4. Donnie Darko (2001)
This strange flick has become a cult classic. With giant bunny rabbits, time travel, mental illness, and teenagers coming of age, how could this not be great? The movie begins when a boy (Jake Gyllenhaal) is awoken and led outside by a huge masked rabbit man. Right as he steps outside, a jet engine crashes into the house, collapsing part of the roof.
The soundtrack of Donnie Darko adds to its mystique with great songs from Tears for Fears and a creepy rendition of Mad World.
5. Everything is Illuminated (2005)
Based on the quirky novel of Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated is the story about an American Jew (Elijah Wood) who travels to the Ukraine to find a woman who saved his grandfather’s life in World War II. The characters, the dialogue, and the foreign atmosphere make this movie interesting, funny, and strange in all the right ways. Read the book first though!
6. Videodrome (1983)
Oh David Cronenberg, you genius you. Videodrome explores a world where our addiction to videos, televisions, and technologies, begin to affect our everyday lives. We begin to blur the lines between videos and reality. Bring on the hallucinations. At one point, the images start to protrude right from the screen.
Cronenberg directed this in 1983, a time when television addiction was just emerging. Nowadays, with our handheld TVs and digital EVERYTHING, it would be interesting to revisit a story like this.
7. The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
The reason the Devil’s Advocate is so gripping is the combination of an excellent script, brilliant acting (particularly by Pacino) and startling imagery. You watch as one man’s live unravels and you don’t know how to stop it. You feel him battle good and evil and you get lost in a seedy underworld that you never signed up for. As a viewer, you feel like you are getting more and more sucked in but there is no way out, you must follow the flawed protagonist As one reviewer writes: “Exceptional. Simply perfect. I watched without blinking my eye for a moment until the end of the film, and the [finale] literally shocked me.”
8. Death Becomes Her (1992)
I don’t know why this movie is my guilty pleasure, but I liked it from the very first time I saw it. I am fascinated with the idea of living forever, and what would that mean. Would it really be fun? To warn you ahead of time, this movie is incredibly cheesy, and many people I know hate it, but it brings up valid points about our society and people’s obsession with beauty, looks, and youth. Plus you can’t hate on Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn together in one movie.
9. Stay (2005)
I think this movie is very underrated. Ewan McGregor plays a psychiatrist who is trying to stop his patient (Ryan Gosling) from committing suicide. In the process, he starts to blur the lines between his reality and his patients’ reality. The teacher becomes the student, as they say. This is one of those movies you can watch a second time and see all the things you missed the first time.
I mean this movie is just so absurd! It’s funny, it’s spooky, it has a young Winona Ryder in it, it’s a movie every 90’s kid knows by heart. We can watch it over and over again. But at the end of the day, it is a very weird movie. Tim Burton has a wonderful way of capturing the weird, the strange, the dark, the humorous, and the lovable and packing it all into one blockbuster. Beetlejuice has got to be one of his greatest. It’s like a cartoon on acid that is taking a little turn for the worst but is still colorful and clever.
Weird, wonderful, whimsical. And you can’t get that darn song out of your head!
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/saipal/2646935127/”>*saipal</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>