The top ten: Films panned as turkeys that are actually quite good


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The Independent Culture

Here is an idea I borrowed from Richard Kelly's book of alternative movie lists, called 'Ten Bad Dates with De Niro', which includes 'Ten so-called turkeys that are actually terrific'. As he says: 'The game is best played with movies that remain generally dismissed as piss-poor.' Several of these are from his list, but others are new…

1. 'Sorcerer', 1977. Richard Kelly: "A terrific picture in which William Friedkin laid down a template for the future of music video."

2. '1941’, 1979. Pete Hoskin: “Far from being one of Spielberg’s worst films, it’s one of his best.”

3. One from the Heart’, 1982. Richard Kelly: "The film went $11m over budget before it tanked with audiences and Francis Ford Coppola wondered if it was worth it. It was, maestro, it was."

4. 'The King of Comedy', 1983. Nominated by Gabriel Milland: "Wonderful final scene and great performances from three leads."

5. 'Red Dawn', 1984. Alex Massie: "The apotheosis of Reagan-era Cold War ass-kicking. Shamefully under-appreciated.”

6. 'Ishtar', 1987. Richard Kelly: "This colossal commercial failure, funnily enough, is a heartening comedy about failure."

7. 'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’, 1988. Lee Ravitz: "Terry Gilliam’s visual masterpiece", but it cost $47m to make and earnt only $8m at the box office.

8. 'The Hudsucker Proxy', 1994. Joe H of Manchester: "A delightful and hilarious pastiche of the rapid-fire Hollywood classics from the 1940s and 1950s."

9. 'Mary Reilly', 1996. Richard Kelly: "A Jekyll and Hyde movie comes along every year, but this is the only one to conjure the third person enigma of Stevenson’s classic."

10. 'The Big Lebowski', 1998. Borderline. Hardly a turkey, but as Larry Ryan says, "Considered a bit of a dud at the time - and it’s obviously The Greatest."

Next week: Great bands with terrible names

Coming soon: Party conference speeches. Send your suggestions (by 1 October), and ideas for any future Top 10s, to