Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Five Under-Loved Films & Shows

Valentine's Day is all about love, and this month I've been bombarded with posts that detail date night ideas, colour-themed clothing, unique gifts for significant others, sappy movies about love etc etc etc. Not that there's anything wrong with those, but as someone who is currently single, strict with money, and not a fan of rom-coms, none of them relate to me in any way. Instead, as a break from the usual approach to the holiday I've put together a list of films and television shows that deserve more love than they receive.

The Brothers Bloom
I'll admit, I almost always forget about this movie, so it goes underappreciated by me as well. The Brothers Bloom is a dramedy heist movie featuring Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo as brothers who set up elaborate schemes to con others out of their money. They propose their final target to be a wealthy, isolated heiress (played by the always delightful Rachel Weisz), but their plans go awry when the heiress turns out to be much keener than they thought. It's a little quirkier than the average heist movie which is perhaps why it slipped under the radar despite its star-studded cast, but nevertheless makes for a good movie night choice.

The Fall
I'll start with a warning: this is not a happy movie, nor is it really plot-driven. Instead, The Fall is a sprawling, visual feast that was made over four years and shot in over twenty different countries, and centres around the blooming friendship between a paralysed stuntman and a young Romanian fruit-picker with a broken arm. They spend their days in each other's company and spin vivid fantasy stories to pass the time. Despite the adorable, largely unscripted scenes between the two, the movie is overall a sorrowful one, as the stuntman harbours suicidal thoughts and his storytelling reflects his mindset. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful film, and it never got the love it might have from the art crowd if it'd been more widely released.

Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23
ABC's comedy sitcom about two girls with opposite life experiences and personalities sharing an apartment was tragically cancelled after only two short seasons but was one of the best sitcoms I've ever seen. Krysten Ritter (of Jessica Jones fame) plays the aforementioned "B" in the apartment, who constantly carries out ridiculous stunts - often in tandem with her best friend James Van Der Beek (who plays an outrageous version of himself) - in an effort to force her roommate to leave. The show was full of snappy and unexpected humour, and made me laugh out loud several times every episode.

Pushing Daisies
Honestly, I could put every show by Bryan Fuller on this list, as every single one is a masterpiece and yet none of them have made it beyond three seasons. Pushing Daisies has perhaps the loudest fanbase of his shows, with many, many bids for Netflix to revive it. The show stars Lee Pace as Ned, a reclusive piemaker who has a magical ability to bring dead things back to life. His unique abilities allow him to be a valuable asset to Emerson Cod, a private detective, and to bring his dead childhood love Chuck back from the grave. Despite the morbid-sounding plot line, Pushing Daisies is set in a fairy tale like world and plays out like Wes Anderson movie, with centre frame shots, stilted dialogue, and a unique colour palette.

Wonderfalls, another of Bryan Fuller's creations, is by far the most underrated gem on this list. The show moved time slots every week and was cancelled after only four episodes, and was later released in its 13-episode entirety on DVD. Caroline Dhavernas plays Jaye, a recent student of philosophy graduate who gets a job as a sales clerk at a Niagara Falls gift shop. She soon discovers that she can talk to inanimate objects, who speak in cryptic messages that allow her to (reluctantly) help those around her. Wonderfalls is a delightfully dark comedy that was cancelled before it was given a chance to succeed, and deserves just as much love as Fuller's newer creations.

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