One of the things I love to do besides spout off at the internet version of my mouth, my tendrils coating the web with my own interpretations of certain films and what would and/or could be, is recommend movies. But my interest in film is not just academic, its an obsession for movies that open up the doors of my own imagination while watching them that makes me love to share them with anyone who wishes to listen.
Below I am going to list what I believe to be the creme-de-la-creme movie mindf**ks of all time. There of course are more than 5, but lets just start with these and if it goes well there will be a part deux. For now though I tried to pick not only the movies that visually stun the eye but will movies that plant seeds within your brain for later. Lets DO THIS!!
#1 Zardoz (1979) - Director: John Boorman
Lets see, where should I start? Okay, hows about this:
I am sure at one point in the seventies Sean Connery was all pissy at the creators of the 007 franchise, and at one point ended up at a Grateful Dead concert where upon having a head full of acid decided it was time. Time for not only a change, but something a little different; and when all of the blood drained to his head as he hung from a set of monkey bars in the back yard of John Boorman's house, he figured why not take the lead in a movie powered by high minds and high hopes. At least that's what it seemed to me when I sat down all those years ago and took solace in seeing what burst clearly from the penile gland of Brooman's mind.
With Sean Connery not playing the suave British hero any Roger Moore, he had to somehow let his chest hair breath. So, if you set down to watch this psychedelic needle in a hay stack you will for sure be pleasantly surprised with a combination of both gratuitous chest hair and post-apocalyptic psychic hippie Utopian splendor.
#2 Videodrome (1983) - Director: David Cronenberg
This movie is one of the most psychologically kaleidoscopic views on the average TV spectator and the future of what was to become of television, all through the eyes of David Cronenberg. I’m not sure what’s better; seeing James Woods in the 80’s slowly go down a crazy rabbit hole of what reality TV would be like in the future if everyone became interested in sadism or the psychedelic take on the separation of viewer from the act being viewed.
Either way this movie is as magical as a VCR vagina suddenly appearing on your chest. One that not only holds VHS tapes but also doubles as a personal gun holster for later.
Honestly I wanted to put a few more of Cronenberg’s films on here (The Fly, eXistenZ etc.) because he seems to have the ability to peel back the scalp on a preconceived reality and lick its brain. Kind of like how Dark City was a noir sci-fi movie, this movie is a noir version of psychosis over time; James Woods style. The camera follows Woods’ character Max Renn into the abyss as he follows what he thinks is the future of Television into the darkness of his own desires. It’s the story of man in search of entertainment, ratings, and the favor of his investors and the lengths in which he will go to succeed no matter the quality or morality of the programming.
This is a great film to sit back and enjoy on a dark and stormy night, and if you are not already a fan of either Cronenberg or Woods you will be by the end of Videodrome.
#3 They Live (1988) - Director: John Carpenter
Out of all the wrestlers who have attempted to move onto the silver screen, not one has ever been able to top “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in John Carpenters version of 1984 named appropriately “They Live” . I really don’t care for John Cena, Steve Austin, or Dewayne “The Rock” Johnson like I do Piper as the nameless drifter lead in this movie. Also, apart from being brought to life by one of the best low budget film directors of all time, the film itself is a wonderful adaptation of a short story by Ray Nelson named "Eight O'Clock in the Morning". Now I am not trying to imply that I have read "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" cuz I am not, but I am saying that if that story is anything close to the screenplay John Carpenter wrote for this cinema classic, it has to be a damn good story. You throw in the mastery of make-up that is Frank Carissosa, and a musical score written by none other than John Carpenter himself and you have one hell of a crazy ass flick that will make you want a pair of Ray-bans to filter-in the real world.
The story follows a nameless drifter… Ya know what, if you think of the film as a separate reality anyway, let’s say we follow a homeless 80’s samurai version of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper through the streets of a down trodden LA.
He is a homeless drifter who gets a job at a construction yard for being a big bastard willing to be paid in cash. He is befriended by Frank Armitage (played by the great Keith David) and is shown to a sort of Tent City filled to the brim with LA’s lost souls. Piper quickly notices the local church isn't just feeding the homeless soup, or taking their money in the hopes of life everlasting. The loner tries to resist the temptation to see exactly what is going, but temptation just like life: is a bitch. A bitch that’s back in heat as soon as he puts on the stylish signal blockers.
This movie, apart from being a great John Carpenter work of storytelling, has one of the greatest fight scenes in the history of cinema. I like to think of it as an illustration of how hard it is to get the people around you to see the truth, but it will still be in my heart as how hard it can be to make someone put on a pair of sunglasses.
Especially if that person happens to be as badass as Keith David probably is in real life. This movie also has about 20 perfect one liners spewed from the mouth of one of the last square jawed heroes of this generation. I honestly am running out of words to describe how much I love this movie. To put it simply, if you are gonna sit down for this flick, bring some bubble gum cuz its all out.
#4 Brazil (1985) - Director: Terry Gilliam
Believe me Cinemaphiles, it has been a long time since I have seen this movie. So as time passes portions of the plot gets stripped from my memory still to this day. Although that is true, there will always be a portion of its cryptic production that will be wedged far far down inside my brain. Which, I am sure is ok with Terry Gilliam, since that's where he lives most of the time anyway. I mean shit, I knew the guy was crazy when I saw him on Monty Python, but this movie seems to reach indie the mind of an academic. A mind completely aware of literature future predictions and flipping them on its head by allowing human character flaws to enter into the mix, such as a dislike for doing paperwork. Terry seems to make the Dystompian future horrifying and at the same time funny and even more at the same time possible.
The great thing about the future with all its bells and whistles is also equally matched the convolutication (yeah well, it's a word now) of human bureaucracy. So this film is really just about a guy out to correct an error in his paper work.......
Okay, okay, its really about a guy trying to correct his paper work inside the permanent Acid Trip going on inside Terry Gilliam's brain. Johnathan Price does a hell of a job playing the part of Sam Lowry, who stumbles through dreams and his own reality to find Harry Tuttle who is played by none other than Robert DeNero.
I like this movie because it doesn't pull punches. When it gets weird: It doesn't stop in Weirdville, where all the nice little weirdies go to school; it hits the road and pulls right the fuck up to WeirdCity so it can detonate a WeirdBomb right inside your imagination and smile while doing it. Oh you still don't believe me? Take a gander at this:
THANKS FOR READING!
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