When I was invited to compose and share a list of my favorite films, rather than parrot the same titles that have been generally agreed upon as hallmarks of the art, I decided that the discussion could use an injection of audacity. I have culled together 400 films of various types – Golden Age assembly line, arthouse, grindhouse, lowbrow, highbrow, middlebrow, camp – that in my purview have not received enough attention or vigorous debate. A signal boost for creations and creators who have not enjoyed the same advantages as their better-known contemporaries. Whatever your background or taste may be, I am positive there are several films on this list you’re not familiar with and that you will enjoy discovering, and more importantly, spreading the word about to your other film-loving friends later on.
Some notes on the makeup of this list:
The ‘90s onward does tend to drift mostly to arthouse fare, but part of that is due to the fact that production and release on such films exploded around that time as well, and many of these are titles that got lost in the hustle. Conversely, production of the kinds of low-budget genre fare that pops up in the ’70s and ’80s section of the list went down, along with the quality. Sign o’ the times.
Yes, there seems to be way more drama on this list than comedy or horror or other lighter genres. Part of that is because in those fields, especially in those first two categories, those fan communities are very tight-knit enough that they do plenty of their own elevation of lesser-known films. For example, you hear an awful lot of jokes about ‘80s fantasy movies that weren’t hits back in the day, because those people have kept them alive. And the horror film crowd is one of the most supportive groups you can ever have, constantly steering people to underseen works. Thus I suspect many of those types of films don’t need my help, though I’ve nonetheless put some titles here that I still feel could use more visibility.Read less