It happens to all of us. We watch a movie for which we have low expectations and afterwards we are surprised by how much we enjoyed it. This has happened to me several times over the past few years, and the surprisingly good movies usually move to the top of my favorites list. The following titles are just a few of the “unexpected gems” I’ve discovered, and they can all be checked out from the Azle Memorial Library DVD collection.
All three of these mockumentaries were written and directed by the quirky Christopher Guest (who also acts in each film). Guest, who starred in the ever popular 1987 film The Princess Bride as Count Tyrone Rugen, has a repertoire of other films, but these three remain my favorite. The movies, which at first glance appear to be real documentaries, are entirely comical fiction. These are cult classics that will please adult viewers who enjoy subtle wit, mixed with a little oddity.
The classic, which was nominated for four Oscars, takes place in a small New England town where a German submarine has just run aground. The town goes into a frenzy as they assume that a war has begun between Russia and the United States. In reality, the Russians ran aground by accident and simply want to find a way to get back into the ocean. A chaotic and hilarious string of car chases, misunderstandings, and accidents occurs until the townspeople and Russians finally come together in harmony in the end.
Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
A mother in need of money for her son’s schooling begins cleaning houses for extra income. When she realizes she is not making nearly enough money, she and her unreliable sister start an unusual new business cleaning up after crime scenes (think CSI…after the investigators have finished their work). The money is good, but the job proves to be harder than the sisters expected, and they have to learn to work together and make the best of a difficult situation. The movie has an all-star cast (Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin), but stayed under the radar due to its indie ties and low production budget. While serious subjects are broached by this rated R film, it still manages to be heartwarming and funny as it is more about family and finding one’s true self than the crime scenes being cleaned.
Posted by Library Director, Curren McLane