The spirit and passion behind cult and classic movies can often be overlooked, especially by younger film fans. That’s why I’ve set out on a quest for the best cults and classics.
At the end of the day, that means taking time to acknowledge not only the popular classics, but also digging for the hidden gems. Of course, defining the great movies of our time also depends on people’s interests, as much as whether a film is a “good” or “bad” one.
The idea behind Cults & Classics is simply to shine a light on movies that were released on this month in history. I do this to show not only the importance these movies have had to me, but because I figure as cult/classic films, they’ve probably had the same impact on others, as well.
Below are my picks for January’s edition of Cults & Classics.
“12 Monkeys” Release Date: January 5, 1995
Devastated with diseases, a futuristic James Cole (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to gather information about a virus that wiped out the population. A great job done by supporting actor Brad Pitt as well, for his role as a loony patient who ends up knowing all the secrets and inside information. The film is imaginative and very enjoyable. Still one of the best sci-fis that I have seen. Terry Gilliam at his finest — he loves to work in that dystopian style and he does it like no other. His previous work with Brazil, Time Bandits and of course Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I know a fair amount of people who didn’t even know this movie existed, and some who say it is one of their favorites of all time. Cult classic.
“Gran Torino” Release Date: January 9, 2008
Director Clint Eastwood: impressive. Actor Clint Eastwood: legendary. This movie really hits the strings of what it means to be a human being. Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is a racist old war veteran, recently widowed, living in rundown Detroit. The movie involves his prized Gran Torino, theft, gang initiation and how hatred and stereotypes can be broken down when we dare to get personal. With some time, this will no doubt be a classic.
“The Thin Red Line” Release Date: January 15, 1998
One of my favorite war films. The movie is filled with actors such as, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, John Travolta, John Caviezel, Nick Nolte, and Sean Penn. In terms of simplicity and what is important in this world we all call home, even when far away from home, the real story is the bond between these characters, like no other. Cult.
“Pan’s Labyrinth” Release Date: January 17, 2006
Guillermo Del Toro’s masterpiece is beautiful and brutal, but the fairy tale experience doesn’t stop there. The depth and style of this dark fantasy is undeniably brilliant. Filmed in Spanish with subtitles, it is both archaic and authentic. I don’t know why this movie isn’t talked about nearly as much as it should be, which makes it an automatic cult classic.
“Gone With The Wind” Release Date: January 17, 1939
An immortal and timeless achievement, this film still holds up more than 75 years later. Scarlett O’Hara played by Vivien Leigh, is a selfish heroine, but you still care for her on all levels. Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) is charming, sometimes funny, and wealthy — and exactly what Scarlett wants. The movie is set in the time of the Civil War. The war is an essential piece to the film, and the way it was used was really a perfect fit. A long movie, but definitely not boring. Vivien Leigh’s character may have been the most important, and the one who stood out the most to me, just by the way you feel her pain. Classic.
“The Artist” Release date: January 20, 2012
One of the best silent movies you would ever want to see. A silent movie that realizes it’s a silent movie, and has a sheer wittiness about it. Jean Dujardin was rewarded for best actor at the Oscars for this role, and he didn’t have to say a word. But boy, he sure filled the part looking identical to all of the previous actors in the silent era. A bona-fide masterpiece, and just endless fun. A movie that will leave you in a good mood. I was almost certain this movie wouldn’t be for me, but I was wrong. Amazing work, an instant classic.
Here is my favorite scene:
“Casablanca” Release Date: January 23, 1942
Man, where do I begin with one of the best films of all time? Here’s to lookin’ at you, kid. Film buffs and noir film fans alike adore this movie, and it will always be an endless classic. Timeless in every right. What Casablanca offers on the surface may be romance, and intrigue but what is truly great is that it delves into subtle nuance, and all around entertainment — the best you may ever see. No question, a classic.
“There Will Be Blood” Release Date: January 25, 2007
After receiving high praise at the Oscars that year “There Will Be Blood” put itself in the rankings of some of the best acting I have ever seen. Cinematography, the best writing, film editing, and just artfully crafted. Daniel Day Lewis is on another level. Seems like anything Daniel Day Lewis touches is instantly a classic, weird saying that about a movie not even 10 years old yet, but nonetheless, I feel it’s earned classic status.
Jake Pendleton, 21, is a student at Nashua Community College. Born in Beverly, Mass., and raised in Milford, he enjoys writing about his passions which include sports, music, movies and all forms of entertainment. He also enjoys filmmaking and photography. Jake posts regularly at indieball.wordpress.com, and will be doing an internship with Manchester Ink Link this semester. He can be reached at email@example.com.