This Week’s Underappreciated Movies

Every Monday, each of us will suggest a film that we feel too few people have seen.


Windy’s Pick of the Week: Mongol

This Russian film from 2007 is everything you want from an historical epic: sweeping cinematography, a fascinating central character, and the unexpected twists and turns that lead our hero to his fate. I saw this movie at Butt-Numb-a-Thon in 2007, and even years later, those who were there remember what a stand-out film this was. Temudjin, who would later become Genghis Khan, has a very inauspicious beginning to his great career – several defeats, being left for dead, even sold into slavery. What made this movie so compelling though is the central relationship between Temudjin and his wife Borte, and how their love and commitment is their greatest asset even as they are separated time and time again. (When Temudjin is a slave in Tangut, she is determined to get there and travels as a merchant’s concubine in order to reunite with her beloved husband – a fact which is not concealed, and causes no disruption in their relationship. Fascinating!) While the pace is slow, it is well worth the time investment – like chewing on a truly delicious steak.


Melissa’s Pick of the Week: Miami Connection

Look, I’ll tell you right now: this is not a good movie. Yet this is one of those films that I hold near and dear to my heart because it delights me in stupid ways, and there is really nothing quite like it. This film exists because a Tae Kwon Do instructor in Florida was coaxed into making an action film by a friend, so he self-funded the project and cast a bunch of his students. The plot involves a Tae Kwon Do rock band (who all live in a house together) that winds up clashing with an evil ninja rock band (no, really) in Orlando (not Miami). Every scene is baffling in some way, and yet every frame of this movie is completely in earnest. This is a holy relic of so-bad-it’s-great cinema, right up there with Plan 9 from Outer Space and The Room. If you are a connoisseur of schlock cinema, this film is an absolute treat.

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