7 Great Films with Famous Actors We Shouldn’t Ever Forget

Jude Law in eXistenZ. Courtesy of Kew Media.

Tens of thousands of films get released every year, with only a couple of hundred making it to your cinema. Let’s take the UK for example: last year, 916 films were cinematically released, but an average Brit only sees 72. So many amazing movies fall through the cracks: thousands are hardly seen upon their release and even more get forgotten years later, even if they deserve much better. Be it an Oscar winner from 20 years ago, an old film of a now A-list actor, or an indie that didn’t get enough recognition. 

As Filmzie aims to be a haven for under-represented films, let’s take a look at some films worth remembering starring seven of today’s esteemed actors.  

Six Degrees of Separation: Will Smith

Let’s not forget… about the mirror Paul, a con artist played by Will Smith, held up to an upper-class New York couple. It’s a film that proved to many that Smith, back then famous mainly for the sitcom Fresh Prince, can indeed act. Paul appears on Ouisa’s and Flan’s doorstep, bleeding and claiming to have been mugged. He charms the couple with his wit, intelligence, and an amazing home-made meal until they insist he stays over. When they realize they were tricked, they also uncover how skin-deep their lives have become. Six Degrees of Separation is perfect for lovers of conversational, intellectual film – its sharp script digs deep into the overwhelming emptiness we feel in the postmodern world. 

The Believer: Ryan Gosling

Let’s not forget… a brilliant young yeshiva-educated Jew, Daniel Balint (Gosling), who is also a radical neo-Nazi. His mind-blowing performance as an antisemite is so persuasive that it was difficult to process for Hollywood and distributors, despite its Grand Jury Prize win at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. While it never reached a wide audience, it is among the most unforgettable roles of Ryan Gosling, now one of the most popular actors of his generation. 

eXistenZ: Jude Law

Let’s not forget… that there was another legendary film based on virtual reality released in the same year as The Matrix. David Cronenberg, a master of the body horror genre, explored the world of eXistenZ: a game so immersive that even its creator can’t distinguish what’s real. The star-studded cast roams the reality where biological blends with inanimate in the most outrageous and sometimes sexualized ways. For instance, the game itself is entered through bio-ports inserted into one’s body, while guns are made of bones. As the characters enter various layers of eXistenZ and wonder whether they’re still playing, we wonder about human nature, urges and decisions when they’re unbound by the rules we’ve built in our own world. 

Watch eXistenZ on Filmzie. 

Aberdeen: Stellan Skarsgard

Let’s not forget… an emotional road trip of a daughter and her estranged father. Skarsgard, a favorite of the director Hans Petter Molan, portrays an alcoholic whose addiction poisoned his relationships, including the one with his daughter. Kaisa, a confident, successful lawyer, is actually headed in a similar direction: it turns out she likes cocaine and random men a bit too much. As Kaisa’s dying mother wishes to see them reunited, they travel together to Aberdeen and unravel their raw emotions frayed by addiction. 

Four Lions: Benedict Cumberbatch

Let’s not forget… a hilarious film that reminded us that terrorism isn’t always about brilliant masterminds behind sophisticated attacks – it’s, simply put, utterly stupid. Similarly to The Believer, this film is so controversial that some wanted it banned. Not surprising, considering that it’s a satire depicting a group of British jihadists planning a terrorist attack. That doesn’t quite work out, which can be expected from a group which includes a guy training crows to be suicide bombers with someone who wants to bomb a mosque to radicalize fellow Muslims… Cumberbatch appears in a small role as a hostage negotiator. 

My Own Private Idaho: Keanu Reeves

Let’s not forget… a beautiful story of two young male prostitutes and a defining work of the New Queer Cinema movement. Scott (Keanu Reeves) is revolting against his elite roots, but Mike (River Phoenix), a narcoleptic, actually needs prostitution to survive. The two lost souls keep saving each other, but while Mike longs for Scott’s affection, he drifts away into another relationship and the world he truly belongs to. To this day, it is one of the best films Gus van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk), has ever directed, and an immortal testament to Reeves’ and Phoenix’ friendship, which ended two years later when Phoenix tragically overdosed. 

Mr. Pip: Hugh Laurie

Let’s not forget… what Hugh Laurie accomplished on the screen beyond the notoriously famous titular character from House M.D. In Mr. Pip, he portrays a teacher at a school in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, during the war in 1989. One of his students, a young girl named Matilda, is particularly drawn into the book he reads: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The story completely enchants her as she escapes from reality, imagining her own version of Dickens’ novel, including her favorite character, Pip. And that’s exactly where a huge misunderstanding with the government soldiers begins…

Watch Mr. Pip on Filmzie.

To be continued: 7 Great Films with Famous Actresses We Shouldn’t Ever Forget

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