The State Of The Union Address is on tonight, and I need something to watch. It’s not that I don’t care about the US, it’s that this speech that is more pomp and circumstance than information is best boiled down by the talking heads and consumed later. All the major channels will be running it, so our only choices are to turn to Netflix and binge The Office again or stream one of these fantastic forgotten gems. These are the types of movies people tend to watch and enjoy but then promptly forget. It isn’t that they weren’t great, because they all are, it’s just that they get relegated to the back of the line for some reason. Now is the time to dust off these classics and get your thinking cap on. All of these movies work on both the political allegory level as well as are just plain fun, so sit back relax and use your time more wisely than watching our government frown and clap on cue.
Of course, it would be easy to include Jordan Peele’s brilliant Get Out or the entire Purge Franchise, but this list is about those you forgot or never saw. The People Under the Stairs is a blunt social commentary on Regan-era social economics and Candyman so sharply contrasted the inequality of wealth and power in colonial America that continues in urban America today. Here are the best political options to remind you things could be way worse.
If you have never seen this Canadian film about a communication-spread virus, you are in for a treat. A disease is spread through verbal language and turns all who hear it turn into zombies. This is not The Walking Dead, but a truly thoughtful look at what communication is and how it affects people told through the lens of a zombie movie. In much the same way as gossip spreads and mutates so does this virus. A terrorist attack launched between the French-speaking and English-speaking groups in Canada likely led to the apocalyptic disaster. Another theory posited is the shock jock himself spewed so much hatred he is patient zero. What better time to watch a movie about miscommunication then right now when our government is just coming off a shutdown and another looms dangerously close. Maybe the President should watch this movie instead of giving the address and regroup? With Valentine’s day only one week away it fits that need too as the whole thing takes place on February 14th.
Tales From The Hood Parts One and Two
This excellent anthology could not come at a better time as it is Black History Month. It deserves a place among greats like Trick ‘r Treat and Creepshow yet it is almost always forgotten. All of the stories put a fresh paranormal twist on all too real things like police brutality, societal inequalities, and child- abuse. The original 1995 film had five stories with my Personal favorite being Hard-Core Convert. The Clockwork Orange mindfuck scene is horror at its best. You won’t soon forget that short. The 2008 film features more politically relevant scary stories. Everything from our broken prison system, #Metoo, and racial caricatures are on display. With the recent pictures of Democratic Virginian Governor Ralph Northam appearing in blackface this is unfortunately still very relevant.
If ever there was a time to assume that all rich people were aliens it would be now with President Trump’s odd choice in orange makeup. Just what is he hiding with all that pancake and does he think it looks natural? The aliens in John Carpenter’s They Live are much more adept at hiding their true nature and if not for the ability of one amazing pair of sunglasses no one would be the wiser. This sci-fi thriller is cutting and subversive. The dystopian world of They Live exists in a future not too distant from our own where only extreme wealth and poverty exists. The Middle Class doesn’t exist anymore only the haves and the have not’s, and the haves are not human. It sounds kind of hokey and in parts it is, but it is also wildly intelligent. Carpenter is advancing concepts like “fake news” and consumer compliance decades before it was a thing. It also features one of the best lines of cinematic history uttered by Roddy Piper, “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass- and I’m all out of bubblegum.”. Where’s the Hubba Bubba when you need it?
This is one of my favorites of all time. Talk about clever. At first glance, this is a super dumb bro movie, but look a little deeper, and it is far more intelligent than it appears. Our hero Joe(Luke Wilson) and a prostitute played by Maya Rudolph get accidentally zapped 500 years into the future. In a consumer, corporate-driven society mass stupidity is the inevitable conclusion. In Demolition Man every restaurant became Taco Bell, and in Idiocracy everyone gets dumbed down to the point of near-stagnation. Brawndo, an energy drink stand-in, is used to irrigate fields, children are exclusively named after corporations, and our hero who was just a schlub in his time becomes the smartest person on the planet. Through a series of nonsensical but hilarious events, he eventually becomes President. I really don’t need to make any comparisons here do I. If a movie star and reality star can be President just about anyone can?
If you think you have seen it all, you haven’t if this isn’t in your list of oddball favorites. David Cronenberg does what he always does by serving up red hot madness. This weirdly sexual horror movie has an increasingly pervasive icky feel or maybe it is its star and protagonist(sorta) James Woods. He plays a tv exec searching for the next great show on his pornographic station. This 1983 classic predicts things like sex addiction and the impact of technology on sex and society as a whole. The danger of instant, anonymous information is explored as well as obsession and greed. You can’t hardly get on the internet now without some porn site spamming you, so this film is eerily omniscient.
Wow but this movie has one hell of a bite. Sorry…. I couldn’t resist. This movie about a teenager who discovers she has teeth in her nether regions when she is brutally attacked is equal parts funny, endearing, and terrifying. It isn’t just a coming of age story, but a coming into your own power story. It deals with issues of female sexuality, empowerment, rape culture, and traditional gender roles. Ridiculous double standards are shown between male and female sexuality. This is the type of movie that makes you cross your legs and hide your eyes, but it is well worth a watch. Who wouldn’t want to see a certain someone try to grab this girl?
That should keep us all busy for several hours. Even the State Of The Union, which tends to go on forever can’t outlast this list. Watch them all this week and catch the President’s highlights on the news the next day. If you don’t get how a horror movie is a good alternative click here for the 5 Ways The State Of The Union Address Is Like A Horror Movie.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.