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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the lost boys

(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 vampire movies you’ve probably never seen!)

Vampires are one of the horror genre’s more bland and uninspired character types, but even as I believe that to be true, I also find myself to be a big fan of dozens of vampire films. I promise this is less about me being a hypocrite than it is a response to the abundance of lazy filmmakers out there, as the movies that stand apart from the pack for one reason or another entertain by being different (or simply better) than the norm. Some deliver the goods with a smart script and loads of personality while others simply find fresh ways to tell a vampire story… even if that means chucking the fangs, bats, and magic eyes right out the window.

This month sees the anniversary of two such standouts – it’s the 25th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 30th for The Lost Boys – so I wanted to take a look at some other good to great vampire movies that deserve a bit more attention. Great titles like The Lair of the White Worm, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Lifeforce, Vampire’s Kiss, Near Dark, and Cronos have been covered enough by this point, all well-deserved, but here are seven more that you probably haven’t seen that are still worth the effort of seeking out.

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War For the Planet of the Apes sequel

(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 about apes and/or monkeys you’ve probably never seen!)

War for the Planet of the Apes hits theaters this week and promises to be the biggest (and possibly best) movie yet about our brothers and sisters from hairier mothers and misters, but it’s just the latest in a long line of films centered on monkeys, apes, and other non-human primates. From King Kong to Congo, moviegoers are fascinated by mankind’s interactions with species so close to our own and yet still so far away.

Films focused on these simian creatures typically fall into one of three categories. Some see the animals as threats (Monkey Shines, Blood Monkey), others as comic relief or sidekicks (Dunston Checks In, Every Which Way But Loose), and the remainder as test subjects (Outbreak, 28 Days Later). There’s also what ever the hell Monkeybone is. Most of these are fairly well known, and many of them are beloved to boot, but as is always the case there are a handful of monkey/ape-centric movies that are worth watching despite their general lack of popularity.

Speaking of which, here are six such movies – ones featuring monkeys, apes, or something similar as major parts of the narrative – that you probably haven’t seen.

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despicable me 3

(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 animated kids movies you’ve probably never seen!)

There are currently three animated kids movies playing in theaters, two in the top ten at the box-office, and this week also sees the release of Despicable Me 3. This isn’t a bad thing, as kids need entertainment too, but there’s an argument to be made that far too much of Hollywood’s kid-friendly fare is aimed specifically at very stupid kids. Okay, fine, maybe they just treat the kids as stupid. The end result is the same, in that too often the movies ask nothing of its young viewers and give even less in return.

There are better alternatives out there in animated films that entertain while also delivering substance, weight, and wit beyond mere fart jokes, with stories and characters that succeed without turning the volume all the way up to “constant noise.” Wall-E and Zootopia are two popular examples, but they get enough press and praise. No, we’re here to talk about the films you and yours haven’t seen. Some simply failed to find an audience, some are foreign productions, and some are simply decades old. All of them though are worth a shot at family film time.

So gather the young ones around the screen as we take a look at some great animated kids movies that you probably haven’t seen.

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47 meters down

(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 shark attack movies you’ve probably never seen!)

Shark attack movies bit into the public consciousnesses in 1975 with Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, and while no other film has come close to matching its quality or sheer entertainment value, that hasn’t stopped filmmakers from trying. That’s a good thing. Because when done right, shark attack films can be terrifying and/or immensely fun to watch, but when done wrong, we get most of the shark movies that have been produced in the past decade. I’m looking at you Sharknado, 3-Headed Shark Attack, and Snow Sharks.

It’s worth wading through the bad to get to the good though, as Jaws 2 is an okay sequel, Deep Blue Sea is a ton of fun, and Open Water is an utterly harrowing experience. Last year’s The Shallows was a hugely entertaining surprise too, and this week’s 47 Meters Down is hoping to follow in its sandy footsteps. I’m staying optimistic, but seeing as the film was released on DVD ever so briefly last year before being pulled for an eventual theatrical roll-out, I don’t think I’ll be holding my breath on it.

So there are the good to great shark attack movies you already know and love and abysmal ones with cheap, intentionally (?) terrible CG effects and zero effort towards suspense or thrills. (There’s also the Bollywood shark movie, Aatank, which I so wanted to include here but couldn’t bring myself to do in good conscience. It’s a two hour movie, and only about five minutes of it is shark related… but what a five minutes. Oh my.) There are also good to great ones that somehow slipped through the cracks, and while I expect a couple of the ones below have already graced some of your eyeballs, I’d recommend seeking out the others for some good old-fashioned elasmobranch fish fun!

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