Since this is the final column of the year I thought I’d highlight some interesting films that have yet to make their way to streaming sites and can only be found on DVD. Whether they have been forgotten or were merely un-noteworthy at the time of their release, here is a list of films that ranks among cinema’s biggest curiosities or forgotten works.
Hey Darlin’, Where’s My Gun? (1984) Dir: John Waters
Only Waters could conceive this stab at Bonnie and Clyde, setting the film in the idyllic ‘50s around malt shops and sock hops. Made after 1981’s Polyester, Waters miscasts P.J. Soles and C. Thomas Howell as the titular Bonnie and Clyde. They play two misfits, who upon leaving a robbery catch a group of important town figures acting out perverted fetishes. The town officials chase down Bonnie and Clyde who are now on the run from the authorities, and the closeted eccentrics. In true Waters fashion, the car they steal has an adult man dressed up like a baby in the trunk who constantly needs his diaper changed.
Sister Act: Back 2 Beirut…Again! (2001) Dir: Howard Deutch
The little known 7th film in the Sister Act series sees Whoopi Goldberg strap on the military gear again to lead a group of nuns to dangerous war territory while trying to lead a group of kids in a local singing competition. Goldberg’s character sees something she isn’t supposed to which puts the singing competition in danger of being attacked. Not only will the political aspects intrigue you, the songs will raise your soul.
You Only Live Once and Will Face Deathfinger at the Chessboard (1976) Dir: Ingmar Bergman
The misguided and hated James Bond film directed by noted appreciator of paint drying, Bergman’s film was completely lost on audiences when it was released. Gone were the gadgets and capitalized lettered assistants, replaced by an invasion into the psyche of Bond while starring down the barrel of a gun. Bond finds himself on a beach with a chessboard and a man named Deathfinger, trying to win the match that is understanding his life. In the flashbacks Bond sees something he isn’t supposed to and it follows him until he wins the match. The film was criticized for its lack of action, sexuality and overall sense of fun.
Marlon Brando Talk To Dogs (1989) Dir: Anonymous
This documentary is literally Marlon Brando talking to dogs. A film that is harder to explain than his performance in The Island of Dr. Moreau, Brando takes us about his dog compound and gives a detailed annotated history of his pooches. During the tour, one dog sees something he isn’t supposed to see and spends the entire film trying to get away from Brando. If you sit through the entire 3 hour and 14 minute run time, there’s no denying Brando loves those dogs.
The Penguin Dossier (1992) Dir: Alan J. Pakula
A year before Julia and Denzel were involved in The Pelican Brief, Rosie Perez and Daniel Stern starred in the critically lauded The Penguin Dossier. Stern plays a delivery driver who delivers the wrong package to district attorney Perez, giving what was witness signatures to the criminals Perez is trying to prosecute. Stern sees something he isn’t supposed to in his boss’ office and spends the film trying to save his job. Impressive for taking what is two plotlines and combining them together for an overstuffed film filled with great performances.