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With movies so plentiful these days, it is easy for small gems to slip between the cracks at the box office. To remedy that, we have prepared a list of ten niche films that you should see. Rev up your Netflix queues and let’s dive right in.
10. ‘ ‘Snatch’ is a crime action comedy about a group of characters all related to a stolen 86-carat diamond. The cast of characters includes two underground boxing managers, a four-fingered thief with a gambling problem, a mob boss who feeds his enemies to pigs, a Gypsy bare knuckle boxing champion, a New York crime boss, a borderline immortal bounty hunter, an Uzbekistan assassin, and three idiotic small time crooks. Sound interesting? If that didn’t pull you in, the casting will. The film employs Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Benicio del Toro, Dennis Farina, Stephen Graham, Jason Flemyng, and Alan Ford.
The brilliance of the film stems from its multiple plot threads that are engaging, funny, brutal, and action-packed, and the way they tie into each other is nothing short of genius. Many Guy Ritchie fans consider this to be his Magnum Opus, but the film is largely unknown due to it being one of his earlier works. Its sharp dialogue, gritty environments, and diverse characters will easily pull you into the story and leave you breathless by the end of it.
9. ‘Stick It’ (2006)
‘Stick It’ is an American teen comedy about Haley Graham (Missy Peregym), a disgruntled former gymnast champion who is unceremoniously thrown back into the world of gymnastics after a stint with the law. She is universally hated by all other gymnast for walking out on the Worlds’ competition years earlier and thus causing the team to be disqualified. However, as she gets back in shape and softens up around her fellow gymnasts, she realizes that she may be able to succeed in changing the harsh rules and regulations associated with the gymnastics world for the better.
The film is on par with teen classics such as ‘Mean Girls’ (2004) and ’10 Things I Hate About You’ (1999) because of its realistic characters, witty dialogue, and unforgiving irreverence. Unfortunately, it was not advertised well when it came out and most people thought it was aimed at too narrow a demographic. In reality, the film does not have a learning curve and can be enjoyed by anyone who has quick wits and likes a sarcastic female lead.
8. ‘Waitress’ (2007)
‘Waitress’ is a dramedy about a “pie baking genius” named Jenna (Keri Russell) who is stuck in a small town diner and gets knocked up by her abusive man-child of a husband. Jenna does not want to be a mother but she reluctantly keeps the baby out of motherly duty. This leads her to Dr. Jim Pomatter (Nathan Fillion), her new gynecologist, and the two enter a steamy affair that makes her slowly regain her zest for life and eventually grow to care for her baby.
The film takes care in examining how adultery, while morally wrong, can often have interesting side effects on the downtrodden. It also deconstructs the typical thoughts of how motherhood is supposed to be a beautiful thing when in reality there are many women who feel alone, victimized, and trapped by their unwanted children. The careful writing, excellent casting, and beautiful cinematography create a unique experience with plenty of laughs, tears, and surprises at every turn.
7. ‘I Think I Love My Wife’ (2006)
‘I Think I Love My Wife’ is a comedy about the pitfalls of marriage, single life, and sex in one man’s life. Richard Cooper (Chris Rock) is married with two children but his wife (Gina Torres) suddenly stops having sex with him and refuses to explain why. In the midst of struggling with this issue, one of Richard’s old friends, Nikki True (Kerry Washington), saunters back into his life and starts a flirtatious friendship with him. He begins grappling with the secret attraction shared between them and starts down the slippery slope towards adultery.
The movie makes an uncanny portrayal of a husband trying his best to do right when he is given every opportunity to do wrong by his wife. Chris Rock is known for his stand up material addressing the boring routines in a long marriage and he uses his knowledge to its best effect in the dialogue and the realistic problems that occur between married men and their single women friends. While it keeps a comedic tone throughout, there are some excellent dramatic moments caused by the sexual tension and Richard’s desire to remain devoted to his difficult but loving wife.
6. ‘Idlewild’ (2006)
‘Idlewild’ is a musical drama about a small town called Idlewild in Georgia, 1935. It tells the tale of a repressed musician, Percival Jenkins (Andre Benjamin), his popular but irresponsible best friend Rooster (Antwan Patton), a dangerous crime boss who oversees their club named Trumpy (Terrence Howard), and a beautiful singer, Angel Davenport (Paula Patton), who starts singing at the club and changes their lives. Angel and Percy fall in love while Rooster gets in trouble with Trumpy as he tries to extort the club due to a failed deal between he and the club’s former owner, whom he murdered.
The biggest attraction advertised for this movie was the music, which features songs from Outkast’s albums ‘The Love Below’ and ‘Speakerboxxx’, but the true brilliance of the film comes from the stand out performances of Andre 3000 and Paula Patton. The love story is built up carefully and has a classic feel to it while keeping a tragic undertone.
Furthermore, the supporting cast features plenty of familiar faces like Ben Vereen, Ving Rhames, Faizon Love, Paula Jai Parker, Macy Gray, and Cicely Tyson. Fans of Outkast’s music will be thrilled but fans of musicals in general will also be enraptured in the vibrant dance sequences and the powerful love story.
Stay tuned for Part 2!