Friends With Benefits vs No Strings Attached

(Welcome to Seeing Double, a series where two strangely similar films released around the same time are put head-to-head. This time, we’re letting love take the wheel in honor of Valentine’s Day and looking at a pair of movie twins about sex, love, and the futility of denying your feelings.)

Every week is “Love” week here at /Film, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day this edition of Seeing Double is focusing on the most American representation of love possible – the romantic comedy. Some say it’s the most honest film genre there is while others call it poppycock of the heart, but there’s no denying the popularity of funny movies about love. Audiences and Hollywood alike just love seeing characters laugh and kiss their way to a happy ending.

2011 saw two high-profile rom-coms hit theater screens just six months apart, both centered on an identical premise, and both starring a cast member from Black Swan and That ’70s Show. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Impossible to believe even? But it’s true, I swear. As insane as it sounds, though, there’s an even bigger mystery surrounding No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits. In the seven years since their release, no one’s ever felt 100% confident identifying which romantic pairing of popular young actors is in which film without a quick IMDB search.

That confusion ends now. Keep reading as we put No Strings Attached and Friends Without Benefits head-to-head and end this madness once and for all.

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The Best Netflix Originals You Probably Haven’t Seen

netflix the cloverfield paradox deal

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at the best Netflix Originals that have probably slipped past you unnoticed.)

Netflix pulled something of a fast one Superbowl weekend by not only confirming that they would be premiering the new Cloverfield film, The Cloverfield Paradox, but that it would actually be dropping later that night. No trailers, no previews, and no other marketing beyond this Superbowl ad – all movies should be this lucky. Of course, the one downside to it all is the unfortunate realization that the movie is a bland, poorly-scripted feature manhandled into being a new Cloverfield film. Like Bright and too many Adam Sandler-starring films before it, though, the movie’s quality seems at inverse odds with the attention, clicks, and views it’s gotten.

So let’s give some love to the Netflix Originals that are actually well worth your time! The streaming service releases plenty of great titles from Bojack Horseman and The End of the F***ing World on the series front to movies like Mudbound and I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, but I’m here to recommend six Originals that are both fantastic and sorely in need of more eyeballs.

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The Best YA Adaptations You Probably Haven’t Seen

maze runner

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at the best adaptations you haven’t seen of young adult novels.)

Young adult (YA) adaptations typically fall into two categories – those featuring characters named Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, or Bella Swan, and those that don’t. The movies in the latter group aren’t as well known and haven’t made nearly as much money, and if we’re being honest, a healthy percentage of them deserve that fate. There are plenty of other good ones, though, from The Perks of Being a Wallflower to The Outsiders, but I’m here to tell you there are also some great ones you’ve probably missed.

One such solid YA movie is 2015’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials which in addition to featuring some fun 28 Days Later-like “zombie” assaults also includes some kick-ass action sequences. It’s good! You can skip the dull first installment – teens are forced to run out of a maze, there, now you’re all caught up – and just jump to this second film. Once you do that you’ll be ready for the trilogy’s concluding chapter, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which opens this week. You’re welcome.

In the continuing spirit of identifying YA movies that are deserving of more love, I’ve done what I do best, or at least what I do bi-weekly, and selected a handful of good to great titles that were released and quickly forgotten to time.

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deathtrap

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at some of the best Michael Caine movies you probably haven’t seen.)

Most actors go their whole careers without starring in a film destined to stand the test of time. Michael Caine, though, has more classics on his resume than most actors have films in their entire filmography. Alfie, Gambit, The Italian Job, Get Carter, and Sleuth are just a small handful of his most memorable movies, and not coincidentally, they’ve all been remade in the decades since their original release. Of course, Caine is famously an actor who pretty much never says no to an offer, meaning he’s also made more than a few outright stinkers. Between those two extremes sit a ton of films that range from mediocre to magnificent, but for whatever reason they’ve avoided the reputation as being among his best (Without a Clue) or worst (On Deadly Ground). They’re unappreciated, and it’s time to change that.

Keep reading for a look at some of the best Michael Caine movies you probably haven’t seen.

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The Best Movies of 2017 You Probably Haven’t Seen

super dark times

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at some of the best films of 2017 that didn’t make a critical splash, earned next to nothing at the box-office, and aren’t even being touted as among the year’s most underrated.)

2017, like many of the years before it, has been a pretty great time at the movies. You’re reading a movie site so that isn’t news to you, but while the other writers here focus on the best films of the year, the most successful, the most underrated, and the ones with the most gif-able dance sequences, my job remains the same – highlight the good to great ones that have slipped under the radar and deserve more attention. This column typically looks at movies from years and decades past, but this time I’m focusing on those released over the last twelve months with little fanfare and even smaller reaction.

Keep reading for a look at six of the best 2017 movies that you probably haven’t seen.

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The Best “Last” Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

last jedi

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at some of the best movies you’ve probably never seen that feature the word “Last” in the title.)

A little movie called Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters this weekend, and while I don’t typically like to show off my box-office prognostication skills, I predict that it’s going to do pretty well. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and predict it will end up the highest-grossing film featuring the word “Last” in its title. But does that make it the best? That will be up to each individual viewer to decide, of course, but having seen it, I’m happy to say it’s definitely in the top 20 “Last” movies.

As arbitrary groupings go, this one is home to several fantastic films. The Last of the Mohicans, The Last Picture Show, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Last Starfighter… the list goes on. They’re not all such well-loved classics, though, as some smaller titles have been lost to the shuffles of time. The Last Circus and The Last Wave are both worth seeking out, but I’ve included them in this column before as part of other categories. So the question becomes are there six more good to great movies that you probably haven’t seen with the word “Last” in the title? What am I, an amateur?

Keep reading for a look at six good to great – and otherwise unrelated – films you probably haven’t seen featuring the word “Last” in their titles.

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Best Rance Howard Movies You've Never Seen

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at some of the best movies starring Rance Howard that you’ve probably never seen.)

Rance Howard passed away over the weekend at the age of eighty nine years old. In addition to friends and family – including sons Ron and Clint – he leaves behind a filmography consisting of hundreds of feature films and television roles. Quick, name your favorite film of his. Most of us probably can’t think of one because he almost never played major characters and instead lived in a world of supporting turns and cameos. It’s doubtful that moviegoers sought out his work, but it’s a guarantee that audiences have seen him many times over. He’s there in films as diverse as Nebraska, The Lone Ranger, Joe Dirt, and the Psycho remake, and he was also a steady fixture in Ron’s films from Grand Theft Auto to The Dilemma.

While those are all widely known titles, the vast majority of his appearances were in far smaller productions. Many are forgettable – he pops up in a lot of low budget horror movies for some reason – but there are gems amid his lower profile titles well worth seeking out. His roles are sometimes blink and you’ll miss them fast, but he’s there all the same.

Keep reading for a look at the best Rance Howard movies you probably haven’t seen.

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Olympus Has Fallen vs. White House Down

(Welcome to Seeing Double, a series where two strangely similar films released around the same time are put head-to-head. This time: we get political with two movies about terrorist attacks on the most famous house in America!)

These are trying times for the United States, and depending on your own political awareness you either see that the country is slowly bleeding to death beneath the ignorant and greedy whims of those in power, or you’re wrong. It’s not a pretty picture regardless of which way you look at it, and as is often the case, many of us turn to the movies for a more simplistic and distilled take on the real world’s woes – in this case, that of evil forces attacking America.

With that in mind, we’re revisiting a pair of movies that opened in theaters only three months apart back in 2013 with very similar plot lines. Terrorist forces attack and take over the White House itself in Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, and cinema would never be the same again.

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The Best Train Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

murder on orient express

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at some of the best train movies you’ve probably never seen.)

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is back on the big screen again, and while Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation has received something of a mixed response, it’s a reminder that some of us just love a good train-set movie. From Buster Keaton’s The General to Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, there’s something fairly unique about films that take part at least partly on a train. It’s a contained location, but it’s moving across an ever-changing landscape. Sure, cars and planes do the same, but there’s less opportunity for moving around aboard those vehicles. Trains have different cars, private rooms, luggage departments, and best of all, rooftops on which characters can run, fight, and fall while traveling at high speeds.

There are a lot of train-set movies, from comedies (Silver Streak) to slashers (Terror Train) to nightmarish holiday journeys through the uncanny valley (The Polar Express), but for every one you know there’s a few you probably haven’t seen yet. Some are forgettable, but others, like the ones below, don’t get talked about nearly enough and are well worth seeking out for a good time at the movies.

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The Best American Remakes You’ve Probably Never Seen

Sorcerer

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at some of the best American remakes you’ve probably never seen.)

Remakes are typically derided from the moment they’re announced, and I’d be lying if I suggested the response wasn’t well-earned by decades of lazy reboots churned out of the Hollywood machine. The odds of a remake being fairly worthless seems to double when the original is a foreign film for some reason, but that hasn’t stopped several American films from managing the unexpected and actually matching the original. From The Ring to Let Me In, from Scent of a Woman to The Birdcage, from Sorcerer to Twelve Monkeys, there are good to great remakes out there.

Of course, I just named most of the great ones right there. Lucky for you, as is my goal with this column, I’m here to point to a handful of great American remakes that, for various reasons, aren’t nearly as well known as the likes of The Departed or True Lies. As a point of clarity, I’m calling these remakes as each of them hit the screen in previous foreign-language films, but some of them are also based on initial source novels. Details shmetails. Onward!

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