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Here’s a movie that takes the amusing fantastical elements of Home Alone and runs uncontrollably amok, in a film from Patrick Read Johnson (written by John Hughes) that follows a baby and his adventures alone lost in the city. Well. maybe not lost, but wandering. It follows a trio of inept crooks, led by (Joe Mantegna) who want to kidnap baby ‘Bink’ (Adam Robert Worton, Jacob Joseph Worton) but just can’t seem to get their hands on him after he escapes their clutches, ending up exploring the city, hitting the sites he’s seen in a picture book read to him by his nanny. This is a spectacularly bad movie with moments of infuriating mind-melting lapses of logic that test the very limits of what could be considered common sense. So naturally … we can’t stop watching it.
To be one hundred percent clear, this is going to be the strangest movie on this list, a decidedly love it or hate experience that will test one’s resolve, especially if you have familiarity with who or what a Tim and Eric are. They are Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, two sketch comedies from late night TV who specialize in cringe humor and here make their feature film debut about a pair of wholly unqualified filmmakers who get a billion dollars to make a movie but of course waste it immediately and end up on the run, hoping to renovate a nearly abandoned mall to earn back what the owe. Be prepared, this is unsettling stuff, but it has Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and an astonishing mix of celebrity cameos that make this a funny if not uncomfortable bit of weird. Try but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
This gem of a farce is a comedic tour-de-force from one of our favorites, Stanley Tucci, and while it earned mixed reviews and disappeared into the cinematic ether, this is a truly funny and inspired bit of lunacy that ought to be seen. It’s a simple story about two out-of-work actors in the 1930s (Tucci and Oliver Platt) who stowaway on a cruise ship and do their thing. Clearly a revival of classic Laurel and Hardy comedies, it’s got men in drag, lots of pratfalls and guffaws, rapid-fire dialogue, slapstick and an inept mad bomber. While it purposefully tunes itself to be out of date, it is nonetheless a pretty funny ride and worth it just to see Tucci ham it up.
A major box office failure on release, absolutely eviscerated by critics, this curious comedy was a ten-year pet project for director Barry Levinson and is without a doubt a strange brew, a film obsessed with its lavish production design and less so with its plots. However, as a small-screen movie, it works just fine, with star Robin Williams having some clear fun as the childlike toy maker who bands together some friends to stop his family toy factory from making war toys. Honestly, it is the sets and amazing production that make this worth a look and while it won’t be for everyone, it’s always fun to watch Robin Williams be, well, Robin Williams.
Don’t let the subtitles throw you. This mixed-language French film from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a dream inside a fantasy wrapped around a candy-induced hallucination. It’s a sugar shot of pure happiness. Following the adventures of young Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou), a sprite who is unleashed by her imagination, she discovers a hidden box of memorabilia in her apartment and tracks down the owner, inspiring her to devote her life to bringing joy to others. That includes the audience as the clever visuals (a combination of practical and CGI) and whimsical narrative, mixed with Tautou’s infection charms, makes this a delightful watch, over and and over again.
By 2004, Bill Murray was having a bit of a resurgence, or maybe renaissance, as his appearance in Lost in Translation the year before seemed to redefine our expectations. So it was when this minor masterpiece from Wes Anderson hit theaters that he cemented that perception, playing the titular character, an undersea explorer searching for a mysterious new breed of shark that ate his best friend. Another film that features incredible production design, this decidedly odd comedy is also a touching story of relationships, love and loss. Once you get pulled in by the visuals and are hooked by the peculiar narrative, there’s no turning back and before you know it, you’re smiling along in this truly innovative movie experience.