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.
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