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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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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The Best End of the World 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 you’ve probably never seen about the end of the world as we know it.)

Geostorm hits theaters this week, and if you’re not even a little bit excited then I have to assume you’re dead inside. Gerard Butler shoots storm fronts in the head and kicks tornadoes in the crotch… what’s not to love?! The film promises some of that good old fashioned Roland Emmerich-esque nuttiness, blending massive amounts of CG destruction, an ensemble cast of somewhat recognizable faces, and some poor shmuck’s sacrifice in an effort to save what’s left of humanity. (My money’s on Butler as the shmuck.)

Of course, not all end of the world movies are traditional disaster films. Some destroy cities like Emmerich’s 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. Some focus on a handful of people fueled by rumor but reacting as if it were fact (Miracle Mile). Some unleash a viral plague that wipes out most of mankind (28 Days Later). And some feature massive demon with giant… Err, some are This Is the End. The common thread between them, whether they feature massive amounts of destruction or not, is the suggestion or reality that humanity is on the way out or at least in store for a world-changing shake up.

Keep reading for a look at six terrific movies you probably haven’t seen about the end of the world as we know it.

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the money pit

(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 about people trying and sometimes struggling to make a new home.)

As anyone who’s done it before knows, the prospect of moving to a new home can be a daunting one. From the investment of time and money to the physical reality of finding yourself in unfamiliar surroundings, trading the comfort of the known for the potentially harrowing unknown is ultimately a crap shoot. You’ll most likely end up happy and relieved at having made the change, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out like you planned.

/Film’s own Jacob Hall is in the middle of moving to a new house as I write this, and while it’s been a bumpy process, it has also been free of extreme home improvement snafus and vengeful ghosts upset with their new guests. Not everyone’s as lucky, though, and the movies are filled with examples of people finding their dream home turn into a nightmare. Things fall apart in The Money Pit and Funny Farm, things go bump in the night in hundreds of haunted house movies, things literally go to hell in Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond… you just never know what you’ll find in a new home until you’ve spent a few nights under its roof.

Keep reading for a look at some of the best movies you’ve probably never seen about the highs and lows (mostly lows) of trying to make a new home. There’s not a single ghost story among them!

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breaking away

(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 underdog sports movies you’ve probably never seen.)

I’m not a big fan of sports films in general, and it’s due at least in part to my disinterest in the sports themselves. The only ones I actively participate in, as a player and/or spectator, are tennis and racquetball. Neither sport has exactly lit up the multiplex, and while I have a soft spot for the goofiness of Wimbledon the dearth of truly good tennis movies means I don’t see my sporting interests represented up on the screen.

That changes, though, when the subject is tweaked a bit into the form of underdog sports movies. That’s a subject even someone like me can fully get behind, and thankfully filmmakers are happy to oblige. Were this a “best of” list with no other qualifiers, it would include the two actual best, but I think enough of you have seen Breaking Away (1979) and Lucas (1986) that adding them to a list of movies you haven’t seen would be preposterous and unsportsmanlike. You have seen them right? Right?! Breaking Away is among the very best American films, period, and Lucas stands tall as an underdog sports tale that succeeds while subverting the myriad tropes of the sub-genre. Seriously, seek them out immediately if you haven’t already seen them as they will re-calibrate the meaning of pure joy for you.

Keep reading for a look at the best underdog sports movies you probably haven’t already seen.

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The Best Creepy Clown Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

it

(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 creepy clown movies you’ve probably never seen.

Clowns are terrifying, even when they pretend otherwise. Sure some are sad, some are goofy, and others are disturbingly pleased with themselves, but beneath the creamy, sticky white makeup sits someone who knows they scare you… and they like knowing that. It’s no surprise then that, like scarecrows and pastors before them, clowns have become a go-to horror movie villain over the years. Most aren’t all that memorable, but one sits atop the heap of the best and scariest.

Stephen King’s It opens in theaters this week, and I can confirm that it’s a creepy, scary delight that nails both the novel’s horror elements and its character beats. At its core sits Pennywise, and while the nostalgic among you will fight to hold onto Tim Curry’s rendition, there’s a new clown in town when it comes to scenes of pure terror. The movie works like creepy gangbusters, and Bill Skarsgard’s new – and dare I say, improved – Pennywise is a big reason why.

He’s not the only creepy clown we can find onscreen of course. Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Stitches remain favorites while others love the clown-filled filmography of Rob Zombie, but while most clown lovers are familiar with these and others like Killjoy, Amusement, and Vulgar, there are a few actual worthwhile ones I’d like to point out instead.

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the villainess

(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 underseen Asian action films from the past ten years.)

2017 has already been one heck of a year for action movies with the likes of John Wick: Chapter Two and Atomic Blonde delighting theatrical audiences while others including Free Fire and Plan B (my favorite action film of the year so far) wowed festival goers. The rest of the year holds promise as well, with the upcoming release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Jackie Chan’s The Foreigner, and Gerard Butler’s Geostorm…never mind. I can’t even finish that joke.

One of the year’s best, Jung Byung-gil’s The Villainess, is hitting theaters in limited release this week, and if it opens near you I must insist you buy a ticket, have a seat, and prepare yourself for two hours of beautifully choreographed action, ridiculous plot turns, and even more fantastically entertaining action. It’s a memorable ride and adds to the argument that we’re in the heyday of action cinema with many of the best coming our way from Asian shores. Keep reading for a look at some of the best recent action films from Japan, Cambodia, China, and elsewhere that you probably haven’t seen.

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the only living boy in ny

(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: the best movies named after a song title – intentionally or not – that you’ve probably never seen!)

Pop culture crosses streams all the time both in an effort to increase profit and benefit from name recognition. Adaptations, brands, and “cinematic universes” are the most obvious examples, but sometimes it’s as simple as a song. From Stand By Me and Bad Boys to Pretty Woman and Soul Man, some films are titled with the clear goal of reaching instant familiarity with potential viewers. They typically go the expected extra step of licensing the song for use in the movie itself, but sometimes the title itself – which I don’t believe counts as copyright infringement – is more than enough.

The latest film to go this route is the indie drama, The Only Living Boy in New York, which opens in limited release this week. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m betting it includes the Simon & Garfunkel song because they’d have to be fools not to. It’s a great song.

For every American Pie or When a Man Loves a Woman though, there are probably half a dozen far lesser known films also named after songs. Some are forgettable of course, but the six films below are all very good to great movies worth seeking out for fans of their respective genres.

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