Previously on Stuart Reviews Stuff…
So far I’ve revealed 10 of the 15 most Under-Appreciated Films of all time. They are Rope, All About Eve, The Emperor’s New Groove, Quatermass 2, The Butterfly Effect, The Iron Giant, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, The Manchurian Candidate, Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel and The Day The Earth Caught Fire.
There are five more to go. What are they? Well it might surprise you to know that there are no Science Fiction films in sight.
11. Clockwise (1985)
From the file marked ‘What’s Not To Love’, John Cleese is almost Basil Fawlty in a full length British film.
Rather than being a rude hotelier, he instead plays a School Headmaster who is obsessed with punctuality. He’s due to travel to Norwich to give an important speech at a teaching conference, but a mixup at the Railway Station sees him get on the wrong train, and then leave his speech on that train when he tries and fails to catch the right one.
So he ends up having to get a lift from a female sixth former from his school, but this in turn leads to the dropkick (what an Australian term) science teacher – who is having an affair with the girl – following them because he thinks something is going on. Then a chance encounter at a petrol station makes Cleese’s wife thinks something is going on as well, and so – with a group of dementia suffering old women that she had taken out for the day from a nursing home – she follows too.
Inevitably circumstances are against Cleese in his efforts to get to Norwich on time in the era before Sat-Navs.
It’s a hilarious film which may seem implausible to some, but I would suggest if you’ve ever been on holiday with my dad, you’d know it’s actually quite realistic.
12. Goodbye Mr. Chips (2002)
This is the only TV movie on my list and therefore it’s one that doesn’t even have a trailer.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the story of Goodbye Mr. Chips, but if not, it tells the story of the career of a teacher at a boys’ public school from the 1870s all the way through to the early 1930s.
Not only does the story focus on the career of Mr Chipping and his rise up the career ladder, but also his personal life
(including his friendship with an Austrian teacher that was tested when WW1 broke out, and his relationship with his wife) and crucially, the effect that World War 1 had on the school and all the former pupils and teachers who fought and died during it.
It’s a classic story, but I’m nominating this version – from ITV in 2002 – for the brilliant performance by Martin Clunes.
Perfectly cast as Chipping, Clunes does a fantastic job of changing his performance throughout the film to reflect the age of the man he’s playing. Indeed, his portrayal as the very old Chipping on his death-bed is probably the best ‘old’ performance I’ve ever seen a young man give.
Worth watching for the quality of the story, but a must see for Clunes’s performance.
13. You’ve Got Mail (1998)
When people think of a film with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan they immediately think about Sleepless in Seattle. But in my opinion a far better film involving the two of them is You’ve Got Mail.
Based on and (whisper it….) far better than the early James Stewart film The Shop Around The Corner, the twist on this romantic comedy is that it’s about two people who seem to hate each other in real life but fall in love together under the anonymity of e-mail.
Yes, this is a film made when e-mail was a new and exciting thing. It’s like watching a Columbo where the plot hinges around newfangled answering machines or CCTV systems.
Meg Ryan’s character owns a small bookshop in New York while Tom Hanks owns a new Borders-style massive book shop a few streets away putting Ryan’s business in jeopardy. So while they fight each other by day, they end up falling in love e-mailing each other anonymously at night.
Naturally at they end they realise who they’ve been e-mailing and fall in love properly.
Yes, it’s a mushy romantic comedy, but it’s a nice film to watch, capped off by great performances by Ryan and Hanks. As rom-c0ms go, it’s the best one in my opinion, and well worth your time.
14. In Good Company (2004)
I’m not exactly sure how to describe In Good Company. Is it a drama? Is it a romance film? Is it a comedy? It’s a mish-mash of all three really.
The film is about an advertising executive (Dennis Quade) who is replaced as sales manager of a sports magazine by a high-flying ‘golden child’ half his age (Topher Grace). Tensions are raised further when Grace ends up dating Quade’s 18-year-old daughter (Scarlett Johansson).
The movie mainly explores the relationship between Quade and Grace and how Grace quickly learns that he doesn’t know it all, despite what he initially thought.
I think the best way to describe the movie is pleasant. It flew under the radar when it was released but I know that anyone who has seen it has enjoyed it.
And I’m sure you will too.
15. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1954)
To round off the list I go back once again to Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart with one of my favourite films of all time.
In The Man Who Knew Too Much, Stewart, his wife (Doris Day) and son are on holiday in Marrakesh where they accidentally get involved in a conspiracy to murder a world leader. When a secret agent lies mortally wounded in the street he whispers some vital information in Stewart’s ear with his dying breath, and as a result of this the next thing Stewart knows his son has been kidnapped.
The action moves to London where there are fantastically tense scenes, not least the long one in the Royal Albert Hall during an orchestral concert. In that scene there’s no dialogue whatsoever, but the viewer knows that the visiting world leader is set to be murdered when the concert reaches its climax (the gunshot will be hidden by the crashing of the symbols).
It’s a testament to Hitchcock that he directs the film totally differently to Rope yet makes it even more tense.
Other things to look out for in this film include Doris Day’s song ‘Que Se Ra’ (this is the film that the song came from, so if ever that question comes up in a pub quiz you can thank me) and also a rather worrying scene in which Stewart (who plays a Doctor) sedates his wife before informing her of her son’s kidnap.
So there you have it. 15 of the most Under-Appreciated films of all time.
Have you seen any of them? If so, what do you think? And what films would you consider to be Under-Appreciated?
A selection of the most Under-Appreciated TV shows