As Hollywood has proven time and time again, there is an incredibly fine line between madness and genius, and for every ambitious project that hits the mark, there are countless failures that fly too close to the sun.
These 15 movies, among some of the most ludicrous and challenging ever made, succeeded with critics and audiences alike in spite of their often bizarre narratives and eccentric styles. Some, on the other hand, were simply inconceivable feats in terms of their technical mastery and the fearlessness with which they broke new cinematic ground.
The sheer economics of filmmaking dictates that most of these demented visions aren’t high-budget affairs, but a few blockbusters did make the cut regardless. It’s probably fair to say you didn’t catch many of these movies in cinemas, though.
If the tone was slightly different or the performances weren’t quite so committed, these films could so easily have failed, but thanks to the gusto of those in front of and behind the camera, these 15 cinematic oddities endure as cult classics and surprise smash hits all the same…
15. Rubber (2010)
On paper, Quentin Dupieux’s surreal comedy-horror movie sounds more like a parody of art-house horror than a legitimate exercise in its own right, but rest assured, Rubber is a real movie, and a damn fine one at that.
Centered on a rubber tire named Robert that miraculously gains sentience and uses its psychic abilities to explode people’s heads, Rubber states from the outset that it’s a film governed by the notion of “no reason”, and duly lives up to that claim.
While it would’ve been easy for this 82-minute romp to feel like a clever short film idea stretched past breaking point, the oddly involving nature of Robert’s journey and the absurd interludes which throw clear shade at the nature of movie-going itself make Dupieux’s film an against-the-odds success.
14. Mulholland Drive (2001)
Widely touted as David Lynch’s cinematic magnum opus, Mulholland Drive is a surrealist drama about a woman (Laura Harring) suffering from amnesia following a car crash, and the ingenue actress (Naomi Watts) she teams up with to figure out her identity.
The film is so much more than that synopsis, though: a gorgeous, transfixing celebration of anti-narrative, where Lynch deftly threads seemingly unrelated plots through the core story, before completely flipping the script with a stunning rug-pull of a third act.
Originally envisioned as a TV pilot, it’s easy to see why executives passed on something so aggressively against the grain, but TV’s loss was cinema’s gain. Though finding concrete meaning in Lynch’s lunatic odyssey isn’t always easy, the depth of feeling and stunning performances make it a ride well worth taking.
13. Boyhood (2014)
Unlike many movies on this list, the actual narrative content of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood isn’t especially ambitious or controversial, but rather the means through which he sought to execute it.
Boyhood is a coming-of-age story following a young boy, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), as he transitions into adulthood over the course of 12 years. What distinguishes the film is Linklater’s decision to shoot the film in real-time, meeting up with Coltrane and co-stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette every year to shoot new material.
The discipline required to pull the feat off is nothing short of mind-boggling, and though there were dozens of logistical problems which could’ve ruined the project – Coltrane dropping out or people dying – the final result is a beautiful monument to the power that time exerts on us all.
11. Holy Motors (2012)
Leos Carax’s black comedy about a performance artist (Denis Lavant) who portrays various different roles over the course of a day – for no discernible reason, it seems – is essentially a highly entertaining series of skits tied together by the loosest, vaguest narrative thread.
The nature of the man’s performance is never explained and the audience is generally left to their own devices to figure it out, with the most prominent theory being that the film is a commentary on the nature of Hollywood itself.
There’s bizarre motion-capture sex, talking cars, a Kylie Minogue cameo, and Lavant kidnapping Eva Mendes while performing as a crazed, red-haired, flower-eating maniac called Monsieur Merde (yes, that’s “Mr. S***”).
If you’re craving a clearly coherent story, Holy Motors isn’t the film for you, but considering how easily such a bold, uncompromising vision could’ve gone so appallingly off the rails – or worse still, boring – it’s impressive how smoothly controlled and consistently engrossing it is.
(Excerpt) Read More at: WhatCulture.com