bad movie art movies
June 20, 2016 2:04 PM   Subscribe

In the latest episode of the Canon podcast, Devin Faraci said that They Live occupies "a liminal space between being a bad movie and an art movie." I realized that this succinctly characterizes a subset of art I tend to love, and I'd love to find as many examples of it as I can. What are some movies, books, TV shows, etc., that might fall into this middle-space between great and garbage? I'm thinking, I don't know, a lot of stuff by PKD, Bryan Fuller's Hannibal, Shock Corridor, etc. Can't wait to dive into your recommendations!
posted by scarylarry to Media & Arts (102 answers total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
John Waters -- his "Multiple Maniacs" is being reissued by Criterion Collection
Russ Meyer -- "Faster Pussycat Kill Kill" in particular
Andy Warhol (films of)
Jack Smith
Kenneth Anger
The Kuchar Brothers (there is a great documentary on them called "It Came From Kuchar")
Harmony Korine
posted by Clustercuss at 2:13 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Vampyros Lesbos
posted by matildaben at 2:15 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Repo: The Genetic Opera

Tries and fails to forcibly reproduce the cult success of Rocky Horror, but achieves something sublime in the process of that failure.
posted by sourcequench at 2:25 PM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]

I call this sort of thing "movies that are not Good but Great." Straight to Hell is maybe the most characteristic. Most of Miike's films also fall in this category.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:26 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Alex Cox's Repo Man is particularly successful in this way I think, but Sid & Nancy and Walker are worth checking out as well.

I would never call Dario Argento "garbage," but his iconic films have aged kind of strangely and might scratch the itch?

Alejandro Jodorowsky?
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 2:27 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]

Oh! Oh! And Cemetery Man / Dellamorte Dellamore.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 2:40 PM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

Starship Troopers
posted by unknowncommand at 2:42 PM on June 20, 2016 [11 favorites]

Sorry, but I can't agree with you that Bryan Fuller's Hannibal is garbage or anywhere near garbage or halfway between garbage and anything else. It's firmly in the great zone.

As an alternative, may I offer you Michael Mann's Manhunter?
posted by tel3path at 2:45 PM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

Brian DePalma's Phantom of the Paradise.
posted by Huck500 at 2:46 PM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]

Buffalo 66. I hated it and Mrs. cnc liked it.
posted by cnc at 2:53 PM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

I second Beyond The Valley of the Dolls

Return of The Living Dead - written and directed by the script writer of Alien!

Toxic Avenger rises above it's material, it's got heart.

Bubba Ho-Tep
posted by bobdow at 2:54 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

House was the first thing that came to mind.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:59 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]

(I'm strictly in the 'great' camp on this movie, but it is a very odd movie in a lot of ways)
posted by Bron at 3:04 PM on June 20, 2016 [14 favorites]

I feel like the Corman/Price Poe movies should go here. I'd specifically recommend Haunted Palace and Masque of the Red Death.

Especially Masque of the Red Death.
posted by darchildre at 3:18 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Brian DePalma's Phantom of the Paradise.

This is my favorite movie. Not because I think it's the best movie I've ever seen, or because I've enjoyed it more than any other movie, but because it is the movie that most favors me. (Definition 4)

And how about The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension? Or indeed its spiritual successor Big Trouble in Little China?
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:28 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

The Wicker Man.
Joe Vs. the Volcano.
Logan's Run.
The Warriors.
posted by miles1972 at 3:39 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

Dementia 13. The Dimension Travelers (japan). Head (the monkees movie). Cutie Honey (japan, 2004). All of these are IMO bad movies that somehow succeed in elevating themselves to art.
posted by jabah at 3:52 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Phantasm The Never Dead
Bad Taste
Tongan Ninja
posted by Sebmojo at 3:56 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wilder Napalm! Vince Gilligan's crowning achievement.
posted by Flannery Culp at 3:58 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I know we're still in the hagiography stage of mourning, but Purple Rain is definitely in this category. Also the original Hellraiser.

I think you'll find movies to be the most prevalent example, because there's something about a piece of art that require eighty to 120 minutes to experience that lends itself to this liminal quality. Bad writing is bad writing, and TV retains nearly all of its commercial radio DNA. Low-budget films can transform bad writing into compelling events with the right actor, and a commercial focus into something profoundly funny, disturbing or empathetic through cheap, brutal, and insightful special effects or editing.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:58 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

Twilight of the Ice Nymphs.

I can't recall the source, but I remember hearing it described as "The kind of bad movie only a genius could make." IMO, that's 100% accurate.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:01 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Most of Croenburg's body horror movies.
Peter Greenaway's weirder movies.
Some of David Lynch and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's works.
The Last Circus
Holy Motors
Depending on one's point of view, Jim Jarmusch or Lars von Trier's works.
posted by Candleman at 4:12 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh YAAAAS QUEEEEEEN to the Wicker Man BOTH versions.
Psycho II and Psycho III
Event Horizon
The Exorcist III
The Night Gallery (TV)
Tales from the Crypt (TV)
The Twilight Zone (TV)
Return to Oz
Sleepaway Camp (although has an undercurrent of trans and homophobia)
Any movie by M. Night Shyamalan. Admit it: they're terrible. But also so re-watchable. Especially The Happening, which continues to tickle me to no end.

The animated films of Ralph Bakshi

There's a Danish series called "The Kingdom" directed by Lars Von Trier - very melodramatic but also very early Von Trier.

Legend (The Director's Cut)
The Ninth Gate (although I can't watch Polanski movies without quease anymore... enhhh)
The Others (with Nicole Kidman)
Secret Window.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 4:13 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Liquid Sky
Bad Boy Bubby
posted by KateViolet at 4:15 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

tel3path, you're right that Hannibal doesn't quite fit with most of the answers here. There's something full-bore gonzo about it that made me want to include it in my list, but it's much more mannered (and well-mannered) than a lot of these others. It's really never trashy. I retract the example.

palmcorder_yanja, I love "the kind of bad movie only a genius could make"
as another way to think about this category of thing.

All of these responses are wonderful. Thanks for reminding me of the ones I know and turning me on to the many I don't!
posted by scarylarry at 4:15 PM on June 20, 2016

Maybe The Fall, which stars a Bryan Fuller favorite.
posted by Candleman at 4:17 PM on June 20, 2016

Lair of the White Worm!
posted by zinful at 4:21 PM on June 20, 2016 [10 favorites]

Aronofsky is the patron saint of this space. I'd also put Pitch Black in this category -- artsy use of color, great framing, classic suspense formula, and Vin Diesel.
posted by bfranklin at 4:55 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

If you find that you like Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, most of the rest of Guy Maddin's films might also be up your alley. Brand Upon the Brain! contains a heady mix of schlock, camp, and art, and My Winnipeg and The Saddest Music in the World have some of the same elements too.
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:55 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

A lot of Japanese films from the 60s fall into this category, like Seijun Suzuki's Tokyo Drifter and Koreyoshi Kurahara's The Warped Ones.
posted by Chenko at 5:01 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm embarrassed to say I've seen and loved most of the recommendations here.

Came in to say LIQUID SKY.

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is the absolute best movie on this list. It stands up to multiple watchings, is a cult classic, and I saw it on its first run through the theater back in the 80's. It was thrilling!

I'm enjoying this thread! Thank you!
posted by jbenben at 5:07 PM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]

Pretty much everything by Paul Verhoeven; he manages to make pretty "mainstream" movies but I feel like he's a master of this.

On the more self consciously art but speaking the language of camp side, I'll add Love Witch by Anna Biller to the list.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 5:47 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

All of Verhoeven's pre-Black Book English-language movies use American stereotypes to make fun of America. Total comic-book art, of which "Starship Troopers" is a masterpiece of the style. I will go to my grave saying this.

Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, which blew me away, is very much in this vein.

In the "genius in hindsight" department, The Siege exists as an incredible document of pre-9/11 attitudes toward terrorism.

I always say that The Brady Bunch Movie is the best reboot of all time.

Joe Versus The Volcano was written by John Patrick Shanley, so that's all you need to know about that.


You could also look into Tarantino influences: Love Camp 7, Assault on Precinct 13, etc.
posted by rhizome at 6:27 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

Most of my favorite movies are on this list already (*bows deeply toward Guy Maddin*). For some more self-aware good/bad movies, I'd suggest Barbarella and Gothic.

John Frankenheimer's Seconds might fit the bill here too (though I think it's amazing, & not garbage at all). Rock Hudson + paranoid Twilight Zone plot + psychedelic beach freakout = the best kind of weird.
posted by miles per flower at 6:37 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Rubber, by Quentin Dupieux

2nding Starship Troopers, Zardoz, & Barbarella.

Lots of the reccs so far are from a sci-fi / fantasy / horror angle. In a different style, I'd argue for Ishtar (Elaine May) and Damsels in Distress (Whit Stillman).
posted by yesbut at 7:09 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ishtar was two movies spliced into one: a pretty funny character comedy about two failed songwriters in New York, and its absolutely dreadful misguided sequel in which the characters are sent overseas for cheap laughs.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:18 PM on June 20, 2016

I know it's not an art movie, but would an enjoyably terrible non-campy movie nominally about art count? Not movie schlock, but actual schlocky art? A flatfooted religious parable with Chris Elliott in it somehow? Because that would be Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage, and wow is that a trip.
posted by miles per flower at 7:20 PM on June 20, 2016

Danger: Diabolik
The Stunt Man
Dark Star
Creation of the Humanoids
Brimstone & Treacle
Street Trash
Dust Devil
The Warriors
The Big Crimewave
Edge of Sanity

I love this question. I think you never find the art that fits your life and your mind most closely unless you look away from the best-of lists and dig through the trash. If you want to find more, I recommend you get your hands on Michael Weldon's Psychotronic Movie Guides, because they mention a whole hell of a lot of movies that fit your description.
posted by heatvision at 4:07 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Warriors suggestion reminded me of Walter Hill reminded me of Streets of Fire.

"Weird art trash musical movies" then reminded me of The Apple.
posted by hilatron at 5:02 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think the utterly berserk hard-boiled crime novels of Jim Thompson fit this category.

Also the Parker novels by Richard Stark.
posted by riddley at 6:17 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sam Fuller's White Dog!
posted by Chenko at 6:29 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Maybe Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi? The sequels were bigger and slicker and had Antonio Banderas but the first one was made for the direct-to-VHS Spanish language market and Rodriguez allegedly sold his own plasma to pay for it. It looks like it's made out of cardboard (you see henchmen get killed more than once, they use the same machine gun sound effect multiple times...) but I've always found it compelling.
posted by dismas at 7:06 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ooh, and seconding The Warriors, except not the weird re-release with the bad comic book transitions thrown in.
posted by dismas at 7:06 AM on June 21, 2016

I think Harlequin falls firmly into this category.
posted by nixxon at 8:24 AM on June 21, 2016

Southland Tales is a mess. It's the followup to Donnie Darko, and you can tell Richard Kelly is trying hard to meet that same level, but just not quite getting there. The plot is a jumble, there are some bizarre (but I would argue good) casting choices, and the whole thing just never really comes together.

However, it really nails the 2006 feeling of America under Bush. The sort of high gloss paranoia and smug neo-con triumphalism that hadn't yet been gutshot by the housing collapse. Constant, incomprehensible spectacle. Musical numbers with JT and The Rock! I love it. There're clearly way more ideas trying to be presented than Kelly was able to fit onto the screen, but if you sort of let your mind go in terms of following the plot, it's a very interesting and (usually) well made movie.
posted by codacorolla at 8:49 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

The Amityville Horror
Not good movies by any stretch, but they succeed in spite of themselves.

Also, going real deep here : The Beat. (the entirety of which is on YouTube) Surprised this one hasn't been discovered by the midnight movie crowd.

Horror House on Highway Five. To my mind, art, despite (or perhaps because of its 1-star nature). This one's too obscure even for the Rifftrax crew. Definitely one that make you wonder how it even got made in the first place.
posted by panama joe at 10:46 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I want to second codacorolla's recommendation of Southland Tales; from a technical standpoint it is not playing by the rules of good cinema, but I definitely find it intensely artful. Perhaps reading some of Steven Shaviro's commentary on it can help contextualize why it would fit this category, see this essay and his book Post-Cinematic Affect. Which reminds me, Gamer might count as a bad film/art film too.
posted by jrb223 at 12:41 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Roadie. Starring Meatloaf, featuring Art Carney, Don Cornelius, Alice Cooper, Blondie, Roy Orbison, Asleep at the Wheel, Hank Williams Jr., and others I'm not remembering right now. Meatloaf is a Shiner delivery driver found to have preternatural roadie abilities and he falls in love with a young "Lola Bouillabaisse" played by Khaki Hunter. I don't really know how to describe it beyond that. It's totally insane, and I am genuinely baffled that it seems to be considered among the worse movies ever made. I mean... It's not good, and it's not art, it's... I think it's what you're looking for.
posted by cmoj at 1:19 PM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

Every Gregg Araki movie from the 90s. Is this campy genius, or shit, OR BOTH SIMULTANEOUSLY?
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 2:07 PM on June 21, 2016 [7 favorites]

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, starting with the title, continuing with Nicholas Cage's performance, to say nothing of the iguana.
posted by crookedneighbor at 2:28 PM on June 21, 2016 [10 favorites]

By the by, Cop Rock was just released on DVD.
posted by rhizome at 3:54 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

El Narco / El Infierno
Army of Darkness
Tesis, which is not a bad movie, but since someone above mentioned Lars von Trier, who is a great filmmaker, I figured it would be OK to share.
Also every movie by Gaspar Noé (I think he's trashy af, but many people swear it's art).
posted by nikoniko at 4:25 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was really surprised by how weird Crank was when I finally saw it, especially a very arty scene near the end that I won't spoil further.
Sugar Hill is a super fun feminist blaxploitation movie from the 70s... it has unusual themes and cool magical imagery.
The Devil's Rejects is a pretty interesting film, and definitely on that arty/trashy line, but it's extremely violent and gory (I watch a lot of horror, and it still really bothered me) so YMMV.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 5:12 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

Also, every Andrzej Żuławski movie.
posted by nikoniko at 5:15 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding Spring Breakers. It's lost somewhere in the uncanny valley between sincerely bad and provocatively ironic.
posted by dephlogisticated at 3:33 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Freeway might fit
posted by rhizome at 4:30 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

> Southland Tales is a mess.

That would be understating it. Is it a good movie? I would say no, but damned if there aren't a few parts that I can't get out of my head. This sentence from this review pretty much sums it up (spoilers?); There are political intrigues, time-space-continuum-rips, revolutionary counter-forces, echoes of 9/11, and it ends when SPOILER ALERT two Seann William Scotts hold magic hands and cause their ice cream truck to rise into the sky where a kid in a doo rag can shoot a missile launcher at a Zeppelin.

Thirding Spring Breakers, which I expected to hate but most emphatically did not.

Two-Lane Blacktop, maybe?
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:46 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

The TV show Seventh Heaven is ... Aaron Spelling (Melrose Place, Models, Inc., Beverly Hills 90210) producing a dramedy soap opera about a Christian minister and his family. The explicit religious element combines with the usual Spelling schlock to make something I think you'd like to try.

Books: I haven't read Jonathan Livingston Seagull, any of the works of Chuck Tingle, or Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, but I wouldn't be surprised if they fit this category -- also Atlas Shrugged and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Music: Stalin Claus Superstar.

Other: Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark (which I never did see).
posted by brainwane at 7:14 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

You want Incubus. It's in Esperanto. It's black and white. It stars William Shatner. According to the wikipedia article on films in esperanto, "Though the film is admired for its stark artistry, most Esperantists find that the actors spoke with poor pronounciation."
posted by SandiBeech at 9:19 AM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Bliss. I've seen it several times and I always walk out with the same question on my lips: 'is that incomprehensible because it is high art, or because it's bad?' Still haven't figured it out.
posted by googly at 2:35 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I will second Crank, I had hoped it would usher in a new kind of action movie but it did not. Apart from Crank 2, which is also brilliant.
posted by biffa at 2:57 PM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

Crank 2 is so loathsome in every aspect that that it sort of passes out the other side. I still feel kind of unclean having watched it, but it has the courage of its convictions. Or possibly just the liquid courage of its convictions.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:25 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

With reviews like that I'm going to try to watch both tonight!
posted by rhizome at 5:32 PM on June 22, 2016

Straw Dogs
Toys in the Attic
The Blob
posted by jamjam at 8:56 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

No one's mentioned Black Swan yet?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:26 AM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Demolition Man! The director makes amazing video-art collages now.
posted by oulipian at 2:45 PM on June 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

I would put a lot of Terry Gilliam in this groove, particularly Time Bandits.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:38 PM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Try Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning - way better than it has any right to be.

Or from the husband and wife team that would give us Howard the Duck, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, Messiah of Evil. The film is riffing on Lovecraft, Polanski and the 70's Devil worshiping zeitgeist but it is a fairly unique psychedelic horror / art film worth checking out. It also may have some connections with the Shining.

One of my all time favorites for this "genre" is the ever idiosyncratic Doris Wishman's experimental slasher film A Night to Dismember. Noel Murray of the Onion AV describes it thus: "could almost be an avant-garde Guy Maddin homage to wincingly awful cinema" What happened is that much of the raw footage was destroyed in a fire in the film lab started by a disgruntled lab employee (that Onion AV article says that the film was stolen) and being unable to reshoot Wishman pieced together a story with outtakes, assorted bits & pieces and post-synced the thing and voila - an avant-garde masterpiece!

I'd also argue that any and all of the films of Ray Dennis Steckler or Andy Milligan would fit this genre nicely. Few filmmakers are nearly as distinct as those two.

How about a couple punk rock movies that transcend the filmmakers abilities: Desperate Teenage Lovedolls (featuring punk band Redd Kross) and The Sore Losers (watch for legendary exploitation director David F. Friedman in a bit role).
posted by Ashwagandha at 3:28 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding Holy Motors and the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Holy Mountain, El Topo, Santa Sangre, and more recently The Dance of Reality)
posted by taltalim at 4:32 PM on June 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have seen Crank. I have no idea how I forgot about it, but it's awesome!
posted by rhizome at 10:59 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Possession - At times schlocky, but in many ways genuinely disturbing, it's the first movie I thought of that meets that description of "the kind of bad film that could only be made by a genius." And you will never see Sam Neill the same way again.

Funeral Parade of Roses - a black and white 1960's microbudget Japanese homosexual take on Oedipus Rex that influenced Stanley Kubrick. Since the actual story takes maybe half an hour, there's a large amount of surreal filler material, including an extended sequence in which the cast and crew get high and have a dance party. It really is both great and garbage at the same time.
posted by Ndwright at 2:07 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Going out on a limb here, but: Trapped in the Closet
posted by unknowncommand at 8:35 PM on June 25, 2016 [5 favorites]

Also, maybe, The American Astronaut

And if you're gonna Guy Maddin it up, I'm gonna have to say Cowards Bend the Knee
posted by unknowncommand at 8:39 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Beyond the Black Rainbow.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:58 AM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Tony Scott's Domino. Playful, post-modern, silly as hell, high-fructose mayhem.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 6:33 AM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Incredible Melting Man

O Lucky Man - Trailer on yt, Part 1 on yt. (Warning: contains Malcolm McDowell who is not to everyone's taste. I am not a McDowell fan but love this movie.)

Possibly Von Triers The Idiots, although it is very odd, and I am not quite sure how I feel about it. I loved Europa, and The Kingdom, but The Idiots is a Dogme 95 movie.

A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) by Goddard, possibly.

Ultrawarrior - although this is possibly just bad. It has a sex scene that looks spliced in from another movie, and you can actually make out the loop in the audio. (yt - The best 4 minutes in cinema history, the whole move)

Cherry 2000 - Melanie Griffiths steals the show! Trailer on yt. Also, contains Morpheus!
posted by marienbad at 11:49 AM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

OMG, how did I forget about Twixt? It's basically Francis Ford Coppola proving that you're never too old to make a student film-- just this lush and incoherent sprawl full of Twin Peaks-esque goth kids and long riffs about writing anxiety and creative failure.

It is a terrible, terrible movie that I love with the entirety of my being. I think I need to watch it again right now.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:04 PM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Seijun Suzuki's relatively recent Princess Raccoon.
posted by wintersweet at 3:05 PM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

King Kelley
Chuck & Buck
posted by xammerboy at 7:41 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Some of David Lynch and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's works.

Specifically, Wild at Heart and Alien: Resurrection. The former is Lynch's take on grindhouse cinema; being Lynch, he has to throw in Wizard of Oz references, for reasons. (Plus cameos from Twin Peaks actresses.) The latter is a great example of a horrible mismatch between a great script and a great director that are utterly unsuited for each other.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:00 PM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Rubber, by Quentin Dupieux

Dupieux's follow-up Wrong is also a wonderful absurdist comedy with intentional "bad-film" elements.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:36 AM on June 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

Just wanted to pop in and say I'm still checking this thread and constantly adding to my list of movies to watch. I hesitate to mark any answer 'best,' because they're all great, and I don't want to stop the momentum. Thanks for your replies, and keep 'em coming! I have a few lifetimes of movies to watch.
posted by scarylarry at 12:53 PM on June 27, 2016

I was really surprised by how weird Crank was when I finally saw it, especially a very arty scene near the end that I won't spoil further.

Do you mean Crank 2? The fight is what wins it for me as a work of genius, its an amazing solution to the problem of a potentially banal scene.
posted by biffa at 2:40 PM on June 27, 2016

If you like Guy Maddin, try to search out the films of John Paizs, an early influence / contemporary of Maddin, particularly Crime Wave (not the similarly titled Sam Raimi film). Viewing Crime Wave for the first time is one of my personal ecstatic film moments.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:52 PM on June 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

Most of Miike's films also fall in this category.

Takashi Miike might be the most prolific of all of the directors listed here. At his early 2000s peak, he was making between 4-8 films a year, all of them either delightfully or off-puttingly warped in some way, with wildly varying levels of "arty"-ness and "bad"-ness. I'd guess that everybody who's familiar with Miike already knows Ichi the Killer or Audition, but I also strongly recommend:
  • Full Metal Yakuza, which does a good job of applying superhero tropes to the gangster genre.
  • The Dead or Alive trilogy, the first installment of which has the greatest ending in all cinema.
  • The Happiness of the Katakuris, a lower-key take on the sort of supernatural goofiness seen in Hausu.
  • Sukiyaki Western Django, an attempt at a hybrid samurai western with an entirely Japanese cast speaking phonetic English.
  • 13 Assassins, which might be Miike's masterpiece, or at least his best "conventional" film, with a few touches of grindhouse surrealism here and there.

posted by Strange Interlude at 8:35 PM on June 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Happiness of the Katakuris, a lower-key take on the sort of supernatural goofiness seen in Hausu.

You neglect to mention that this is a musical.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:38 PM on June 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh my goodness yes the Happiness of the Katakuris is a FASCINATING train wreck. I would definitely put it in the same category as Holy Motors of "was it a bad movie, or am I, personally, just not good enough for it?"

Repo! The Genetic Opera, on the other hand, I feel goes a couple of steps in a different direction, well into straight-up "bad enough to be interesting" territory.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:48 PM on June 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

And if we're talking about Miike, we really need to discuss Yakuza Apocalypse.


Good god, do I love that movie.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:38 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

You neglect to mention that this is a musical.

What? And ruin the surprise?
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:09 AM on June 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

Look up some of the stuff Drafthouse Films (the distribution offshoot of the Alamo Drafthouse cinema) has been resurrecting and putting out there lately. Such as The Visitor and Roar.
posted by dnash at 8:28 AM on June 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

YMMV, but Timecode and Russian Ark were two movies with ambitious, novel ways to tell stories; but the stories themselves fell flat for me. Meanwhile, I like Toys quite a bit, and at the very least its set design and costume design are artful, but a lot of people don't care for it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:45 AM on June 28, 2016

John Waters -- his "Multiple Maniacs" is being reissued by Criterion Collection

Yes, I'd say all the pre-1980s John Waters movies qualify as answers here (e.g. Pink Flamingos).
posted by w0mbat at 11:56 AM on June 28, 2016

A friend once caused me to watch the musical episode of Lexx and I think that might fit in this set.
posted by brainwane at 7:46 AM on June 29, 2016

After Last Season. Like many on this list, it really has be seen to be believed. The hilariously bland and incompetent trailers are very representative of the film, although the effect of the whole is surprisingly unsettling, compelling, and provides much more food for thought than meets the eye (or at least that's the way it worked for me).
posted by treepour at 2:10 PM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

A friend once caused me to watch the musical episode of Lexx and I think that might fit in this set.

You know it is surprisingly good. And Mr. Lahey from Trailer Park Boys is in the musical numbers!
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:05 PM on June 29, 2016

I haven't seen it, but I've heard Jupiter Ascending being described like this.
posted by divabat at 11:04 PM on June 29, 2016

Jupiter Ascending is exactly like this.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:17 PM on June 29, 2016

I did not quite understand the question until Jupiter Ascending example, just love love love that film, well would if it was the film that I wanted it to be, so so bad. Bad. BADBAD.

Try Crossworlds for a cheesy many worlds view.
posted by sammyo at 5:02 PM on June 30, 2016

I get this vibe off Jumpin' Jack Flash, but it's been awhile since I've seen it so it may just be a good movie.
posted by GrapeApiary at 11:25 AM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

As in Whoopi?
posted by rhizome at 5:42 PM on July 1, 2016

Blood Feast

Seconding Phantom of the Paradise (one of my favorite movies, and the soundtrack cd was the first purchase I ever made over the internet) and Lair of the White Worm.

Also Lisztomania

posted by Hal Mumkin at 7:31 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't put Jumpin' Jack Flash in ths category (it neither transcends into art nor descends into garbage; it's just...a movie), but I would definitely throw Ghost into the mix.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:11 PM on July 24, 2016

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