What do you eat with movies like “Edward Scissorhands,” “Fargo” and “The Artist”?
Aaah, the great American outdoors. It can sure be beautiful, but beware: the further afield you get, the harder it is to find help. Help with what, you may ask? Just ask the boys from Deliverance— deviant lunatic hicks, o’course!
If you’ve never heard the term “Hicksploitation” (or “Hixploitation”), the criteria for this peculiar and highly entertaining bunch of movies is simple: they’re usually pretty creepy, with some shit going down in the woods or the middle of nowhere at the hands of some seriously parochial individuals. Here is our list of shameless examples:
More than just a character actor, Steve Buscemi has that certain… something. His distinctive look and offbeat energy set the tone of a movie like few actors can, and his one-of-a-kind mug makes a big impact onscreen—even when it’s just in a cameo appearance. No wonder Joel and Ethan Coen love casting him in their movies; he’s able to sum up their signature creepy/weird/funny style in just one shot. Here are five movies from the Coen brothers that show how Buscemi is like their cinematic soulmate.
These films take the timeless hostage scenario to a whole new level of twisted—where cannibals play mind games with cops, psychotic killers take the form of fan girls and snipers, bombs are on buses and vampire strippers are a thing. Our list of demented hostage films isn’t for the faint of heart.
1. Funny Games
When two deranged young men take a family hostage in their home, they’re forced to engage in a slew of savage games in order to stay alive. Naomi Watts’ and Michael Pitt’s grueling performances—loving, brave mother and perverse, psycho killer, respectively—and a thrilling, fourth-wall breaking scene make the movie well worth enduring the horrors.
2. Silence of the Lambs
FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodi Foster) is drawn into a game of wits with one villain behind bars (the Hannibal Lector), while pursuing another serial killer, “Buffalo Bill,” on the loose. When Bill takes a new victim hostage, Starling’s race against the clock begins. She must get the information she needs from the cryptic psychopath Hannibal (cue the mind games) to apprehend Bill before he murders his prey.
Do the ’90s seem less memorable that the ’80s (so rad) or the ’70s (so groovy) to you? Take a moment and reconsider the decade which features some of the most offbeat characters in movie history. Suddenly, the ’90s seem a bit more memorable, right?
1. The Dude (Jeff Bridges), The Big Lebowski (1998)
It’s hard to imagine a more iconic, more offbeat character from the ’90s—or any era—than Jeff Lebowski, a perpetually bath-robed bastion of chillness in search of justice for his peed-on rug (because, hey, “it really tied the room together”). A fan of weed and White Russians, he made bowling an art form and inspired a subculture of devoted fans who still attend annual Lebowski Fests.
2. Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter), The Piano (1993)
The mute woman at the center of Jane Campion’s extraordinary story is one of the most unconventional heroines in film history: a young mother (Hunter won a Best Actress Oscar) who, despite being shipped off to the wilds of New Zealand for an arranged marriage, manages to fall in love (not with her husband) through a shared passion for music and ultimately receives a most unexpected salvation.
This week we delve into our darkest fears and deepest desires with films about alienation, death, love, sex and… improper surgical techniques? Luckily, not all in the same film. Like this crazy month of December so far, our films are running hot and cold this week, from the blazing Arizona sun of SEX MAGIC to the North Dakota/Minnesota snow and ice of FARGO and points in between.
Any real film fan will recognize William H. Macy. Chances are, you’ve seen his Oscar-nominated role in FARGO and his supporting turns in MAGNOLIA and BOOGIE NIGHTS. But if that’s all you know of this indie Everyman hero, are you ever missing out. Both awkward and intelligent, apprehensive and over-eager, Macy conveys a jittery familiarity — you know a guy like this, however far-fetched a character he may be playing. Here’s a William H. Macy sampler that will give you the full picture of his considerable talents — and, lucky for you, you can even catch two of these movies this weekend on Sundance Channel.
Aaah… the great American outdoors. It can sure be beautiful, but beware: The further afield you get, the harder it is to find help. Help with what, you may ask? Just ask the boys from DELIVERANCE, currently playing on the Sundance Channel: deviant lunatic hicks, o’course!
Everyone has a favorite Beatles song. And if there’s a Beatles song for everyone, why can’t there be a Coen brothers movie for everyone? After the shocking brilliance of their debut BLOOD SIMPLE., Joel and Ethan Coen followed up with RAISING ARIZONA, proving that they could make comedy just as well as crime drama and violence that actually has a point (most of the time). Since then, they’ve done just about everything in between.
So which Coen Brother’s movie are you?