Beowulf (2007); Robert Zemeckis, director.

There could be no Avatar without Beowulf.

It looks horribly dated now, but in 2007 this was cutting edge. It was the first really big “holy, wow, 3D!” movie to come out (along with Journey to the Center of the Earth) and it actually was pretty good. Not terrific, but testosterone-heavy enough for a post-300 audience. It is violent, sexy, a little vulgar and can even impress your 8th grade history teacher. It made a $196 million gross on a $150 million budget, so I don’t know if this is considered a win or a dud, but I think we can all agree that this is a movie that nobody talks about anymore.

Thirst (2009); Park Chan-wook, director.

I don’t know how much it costs a film studio to rent out Hall H, fly a director and his cronies in from Korea and throw a little party, but I imagine that it was a large enough chunk out of Thirst’s eventual domestic take of $318,000 that somebody had some splainin’ to do.

Thirst is a delightful and strange look at the urban vampire – but it’s hardly for the Team Edward set. It offers a challenging narrative mixing themes of religion, relationships, madness and interior design. That it was directed by the dude who made Oldboy should have been enough to get a crossover audience more interested.

Extract (2009); Mike Judge, director.

Extract was actually a flick that made it in the black, but many were hoping it would be a big enough success to launch Mike Judge into a new level of filmmaking success. Not sure what they were thinking. Extract is very much in line with Judge’s other cult favorited Office Space and Idiocracy in that it has just enough of a capital P premise to kick it in gear, and then it just vamps with its characters for a while. Some felt this made Extract a too-mild film, but take a look at it again and you’ll find that each of the scenes have a nice rise and fall, and while there aren’t giant belly laughs, it is all very funny.

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