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The Best Film You've Never Seen
The Best Film You've Never Seen

The Best Film You've Never Seen

35 Directors Champion the Forgotten or Critically Savaged Movies They Love

PERFORMING ARTS

304 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, PDF, EPUB, Mobipocket

Trade Paper, $16.95 (CA $18.95) (US $16.95)

Publication Date: June 2013

ISBN 9781569768389

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Jun 2013)

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Overview

A critical discussion with modern filmmakers about the brilliant but obscure films they love

Revealing a festival of guilty pleasures, almost-masterpieces, and undeniable classics in need of revival, 35 directors champion their favorite overlooked or critically savaged gems in this guide. The list includes unsung noir films The Chase and Murder by Contract, famous flops Can’t Stop the Music and Joe Versus the Volcano, art films L’ange and WR: Mysteries of the Organism, theatrical adaptations The Iceman Cometh and The Homecoming, B-movies Killer Klowns from Outer Space and The Honeymoon Killers, and even Oscar-winners Breaking Away and Some Came Running. The filmmakers, including Guillermo del Toro, John Waters, John Woo, Edgar Wright, and Danny Boyle, defend their choices, wanting these films to be loved, admired, and swooned over, arguing the films deserve a larger audience and their place in movie history be reconsidered. Some were well-loved but are now faded or forgotten, others ran afoul of critics or were just buried after a dismal opening run, and still others never even got proper distribution. A few of these titles qualify as bona fide obscurata, but now most can be found on DVD or streaming from Netflix or Amazon. The filmmakers are the perfect hosts, setting the tone, managing expectations, and often being brutally honest about a film’s shortcomings or the reasons why it was lost in the first place.

Reviews

"How necessary this book is! And how well judged and written! Some of the best films ever made, as Robert K. Elder proves, are lamentably all but unknown."  —Roger Ebert, author and film critic

"I hate Robert Elder. While the rest of us struggle to come up with compelling content, he follows The Film That Changed My Life with another must-read for the novice and hard-core cinephile alike. Anyone who is passionate about art must be prepared to abandon the comfort of conventional wisdom to defend the denigrated and the dismissed; Elder and his impressive cast of commentators inspire us to continue battling for our beloved personal treasures."  —Adam Kempenaar, critic/host, Filmspotting

"Sometimes it can be more of a pleasure to hear someone discuss a movie with love than it is to see the movie itself. The thoughts and enthusiasms of Richard Linklater, Guy Maddin, John Waters, and others are alone worth the price of admission—and Steve James describing a movie I already love is no less instructive."  —Jonathan Rosenbaum, author and film critic

"It's always fascinating to learn which films filmmakers themselves admire, and even more so to read about movies they regard as underrated or virtually lost. Robert K. Elder has managed to coax absorbing, candid comments from directors as elusive as John Dahl, Steve James, and Alex Proyas."  —Peter Cowie, author and film historian

"Anyone who loves movies should find fascinating stuff here."  —Hollywood & Mine

"For a movie lover who enjoys discoveries and challenges, its 260-ish pages combine into something resembling sheer joy. Is it too early to ask for a sequel?"  —Oaklahoma Gazette

"Elder is successful in pulling thoughtful, stimulating commentary from an impressive group, which makes for an illuminating look at eight decades of cinema across a variety of genres including musicals, comedies, thrillers, and theatrical adaptations.Verdict: A well-written, lively read for pop culture fans and cinephiles alike. Film buffs especially will enjoy this foray into the fascinating world of cinematic shadows."  —Library Journal

"It's a fascinating read . . . You can read it in easy chunks, or, as I did, devour it because you can't stop checking out what one more director had to say."  —Omaha World Herald

Author Biography

Robert K. Elder is the author of The Film That Changed My Life, It Was Love When . . ., It Was Over When . . ., and Last Words of the Executed and the editor of John Woo: Interviews. He is a journalist and teacher and has contributed articles to the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Onion AV Club, and many other publications. He lives in Chicago.