Are you sick and tired of seeing the same old faces on the big screen? Do you want to bet that the next Star Wars film will feature another Death Star ready to set the entire galaxy on fire? And the Avengers will no doubt save the day (again) while cameos of yet unsung heroes appear from future installments.
Suppose you’re a fan of such a spectacular extravaganza. In that case, you can always explore amusement parks in sunny California up close and personal. Today’s article won’t revolve around overblown Disney franchises. Instead, we’ll inspect those few hidden gems that, against all odds, managed to bring something new to the table. These will attain cult movie status and, undoubtedly, everybody will be talking about in ten years.
But first, let’s look at some offstage factors why Hollywood produces so few genuinely original flicks!
On the present alarming state of the film industry
If you’re a movie buff, you must have noticed that creativity, originality, and daring ideas took a back seat starting from the turn of this century. Hollywood has greenlit a series of movie prequels, sequels, and spin-offs. Besides, it has become apparent that nowadays, the movie industry is solely concerned with reimagining and repackaging classic IPs and franchises.
Why would they choose this road, you may wonder? The explanation is manifold. First and foremost, movie producers heavily rely on old tropes to have those worldwide gross profits secured. The classic franchises (Jurassic World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ghostbusters, Spiderman, etc.) have already proved their worth in terms of artistic merits and marketability. They simply won’t take risks exploring new routes.
Why won’t you enjoy mindless mess?
However, moviegoers have their fair share of responsibility as well. Fans still prefer a friendly face on their large-sized smart TVs instead of discovering new stories with brand-new characters. Hold on for a second, though! Rehashing classic film stories will inevitably lead to a drop in quality. There’s no breathing room for fresh ideas because filmmakers must stick to conventions, repeating the same old cliches on an endless loop.
Besides, various political beliefs also became transparent in films which are disheartening, to say the least. Most of all, if they don’t serve either the plot or character development. In the long run, the Hollywood film industry will literally consume itself.
Under such circumstances, the following innovative and often brash films went against mainstream tendencies. Their merits grow even more significant once you realize the risk they assumed in showing something unique and thought-provoking. It’s no wonder that these off-the-radar flicks originate mainly outside big studios. Warning! Minor spoilers are ahead!
Dive into the mind-bending labyrinth on Mulholland Drive (2001)
David Lynch has always been a lovable oddball in the American film industry. The famous Twin Peaks TV series director consistently refused to play by the rules. As a result, he would never supply his audience with easy answers. Instead, he favored psychological surrealism, diving deep into his characters’ psyche.
In his 2001 head-scratcher, Mulholland Drive, he seemingly tackles a classic whodunnit story as our two leads (Rita and Betty) set out on a mysterious journey in Hollywood. They wish to unveil Rita’s true identity as she can’t remember anything due to a car accident she had suffered. Throughout the detective story, we receive insightful glimpses into Hollywood studios’ sleazy tricks and practices.
The shocking genre-bending twist comes in the last third of the movie. On their investigative expedition, the ladies find a body lying in Rita’s former apartment. In the ultimate hair-raising reveal, we discover that the body is Betty’s. She committed suicide in the past. The film we’ve been witnessing is not the reality but a distorted version of Betty’s dream. In it, Betty can finally become a famous actress and the girl of her dreams, Rita, stays with her.
Mulholland Dr. is a must-see thriller, Hollywood satire, detective, horror, love story, and, most of all, an unexplainable mystery. It requires its audience to devise an original interpretation of its mind-boggling twist and turns.
Explore complex environmental issues in Mother! (2017)
Like Mulholland Drive, Mother! doesn’t offer easy answers. The phenomenal director, Darren Aronofsky, presents a married couple (the unnamed Mother and her painter husband, Him) living at the world’s edge. Their idyllic life is thrown off-track once visitors appear uninvited and seemingly without an end.
Moreover, their intrusion in the couple’s life gets more aggravating. ‘Him’s’ apparent indifference to the escalating situation further enhances the pregnant Mother’s despair. Soon, the visitors’ purpose becomes clear as they wish to take control over their lives, house, and child.
Mother! received a mixed bag of reviews. Yet, you can’t question its daring approach to an original subject. The film gives room to various interpretations, one being a deep analysis of the religious creation story, HIM being a God-like figure. In addition, the movie raises fascinating ecological concerns. We, humans, tend to destroy our environment with harmful materials. Finally, Mother! It is an intimate study of interpersonal relationships, and to what extent are we disposed to pursue our artistic dreams.
Discover the golden age in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)!
Quentin Tarantino is a genuine movie fanatic and Hollywood film-making daredevil. In his most recent blockbuster, the director pays homage to Hollywood’s golden age from the 1960s. We can explore wild parties, the fanciest homes in La La Land, various shooting locations, and the life in the movie industry through the eyes of Rick Dalton, a western hero past his hey-days, and his stuntman, Cliff Booth.
However, presenting a factual reality of this dream world and events doesn’t concern Mr. Tarantino. In his creative interpretation, historical events take a bizarre turn. History is rewritten, and the Manson Clan arrives at the wrong address, where they meet their demise at the hands of our main guys. Consequently, a second-class actor becomes the ultimate symbol of chivalry, Bruce Lee gets floored, and Sharon Tate lives on.
We highly recommend Once Upon a Time in Hollywood if you’re an avid fan of auctioneers, thrillers, drama, and ironically presented gruesome violence. In a word, the film manages to defy all expectations and charms you with a colorful presentation of a bygone era.
Adrenaline-fuelled rides await you in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Take a wild ride throughout the wasteland in this post-apocalyptic actioner and non-stop adrenaline bomb! Join Max, an ex-cop struggling with his inner demons, and Furiosa, the fierce amazon, as they strive to escape from a tyrannical and bloodthirsty chieftain! Their objective is to find an unspoiled oasis they can call home through the desert!
Before you would write the film off as cheap entertainment, we want to emphasize its glorious visual and CGI-free style. Film director George Miller and John Seale, director of photography, both in their 70s, swept audiences off their feet. They showcased an elaborate world where oil and water are natural treasures.
Besides being a stunning thriller, Mad Max: Fury Road provides filmgoers with a character study of its flawed heroes. Although there isn’t much dialogue in the film, images of rare beauty speak for themselves.
In short, the film producers don’t commit the capital sin of over-explaining the pilot in long expositions and redundant conversations. Instead, they let us explore this fictitious world which, unfortunately, can become our next reality if we continue exploiting our environment.
By all means, these were only a few of the must-see genre-bending films which won us over in this century. They refuse to be didactic and motivate filmgoers to develop their own interpretations. Secondly, they prefer taking entirely original paths to beaten tracks. Additionally, they treat their audiences as equal participants in the events depicted in the films.
Suppose you wish to pursue a film career. In that case, we recommend you sink your teeth into film photography and set up the ultimate home theater room. Therefore, you can view these masterpieces repeatedly, analyze their unique styles, and come up with something similarly ever-lasting.