Monday, June 11, 2007

Little Known Sad Movies

I don't go to the movie theatre much anymore (does anyone over the age of 18?) but I do watch a lot of cable TV late at night and sometimes come across a little gem. Here are some little known and underrated movies that you've probably never heard of, let alone seen, that I recommend. Caution: I like sad movies.

Baby It's You (1983, Rosanna Arquette, Vincent Spano, John Sayles dir.) -- In 1966 New Jersey, Jill Rosen, a frustrated high schooler, is intrigued by an enigmatic new student known only as the Sheik. Sheik is a Sinatra-wannabe whose primary interests are his car, Frank Sinatra, and Jill. Jill is enamored with the rakish Sheik but eventually outgrows him and leaves for college. The Sheik heads off to Florida to become a famous lounge singer (or so he thinks), but soon learns what a naive loser he really is. He flees to Jill's school to declare his love only to realize that the two of them have no future together. The last scene is so beautifully poignant and pathetically sad as to discourage anyone from ever declaring love again. I just love it.

Proof (1991, Hugo Weaving, Genevieve Picot, Russell Crowe) -- Not that other Proof, this one is about a blind photographer (yes, you read that right) who grew up embittered by his blindness and completely distrustful of the world to the point where he believes his mother faked her own death so as to be rid of him. His bitterness cuts a path of distruction in his life as he viciously spurns and mistrusts anyone's feelings for him, especially his housekeeper's love. The scene where she offers herself and he rejects her is cringetacular. His friendship with a restaurant worker (Crowe) eventually leads him to the proof he seeks.

This is My Father (1998, Aidan Quinn, James Caan) -- an Irish Romeo and Juliet. James Caan returns to Ireland to seek knowledge about the father he never knew. Aidan Quinn plays his father in flashbacks revealing the doomed love affair and series of unfortunate events that crushed true love in the name of propriety and caused his mother to flee her homeland. It's a sweet, simple tale of sweet, simple folk just trying to be in love and what the world will do to people in those cases. Caan's performance is excellent as a man who is able to transcend the tragedy of the past.

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