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Strangest Mainstream Movie


#1

No wrong answers. What do you think has been the strangest mainstream movie to ever actually make it all the way to cinemas? Not movies that were meant to be eccentric (to say the least) like 2001, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN or BRAZIL, but movies that were meant to appeal to general and wide audiences, but turned out to be way too weird.

For a few examples, another Gilliam movie famously fits the bill (even this trailer seems predicated upon the idea that the studio had no idea how to sell it):

And of course, in retrospect, his TIME BANDITS was absolutely not the sort of “family film” we’d think would fly today (though it ended up being extremely successful):

Even his most popular movies THE FISHER KING and TWELVE MONKEYS are “strange” of course and we’ll probably not see their like for a long time, but they still don’t really match the blinking, “e before i” weirdness of Munchhausen or Bandits.

However, for my money (of which I’ll give you nothing! Not one red Indian cent!), I think the strangest movies to ever be made for a mainstream audience generally have Jim Henson involved.

But the one that stands out in my mind has to be a film that seemed almost intentionally designed to scar children (by being more faithful to the original material, mind you):

And Jim Henson’s son Brian was one of the puppeteers, so there is a Henson connection.

Though Return to Oz must be the all time champ of big, mainstream movies that were just too weird for audiences, there must be more.

What do you think? HOWARD THE DUCK? LEGEND? TWILIGHT?


#2

I directed a weird bmovie where I mixed all the genres. Weirdly enough it got a small theatrical release in Belgium and France.


#3

Cool! What’s the title, it sounds like something that’d appeal to me.


#4

I’d say Donnie Darko…
Love it, but it was a strange STRANGE movie… :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


#5

here it is

Unfortunately the release stopped at Belgium, France and Indonesia as there were internal fights and sadly the movie got out of the market. Which is too bad as it did well in festivals and theaters. I think there is still a torrent around the place somewhere.

btw is has nothing to do with Reiki.


#6

I think Donnie Darko is kind of the opposite of what Jonny described - a deliberately weird, small-budget indie movie that somehow ended up with a big mainstream audience, despite its best efforts to scare people away :slight_smile:


#7

Cool, the trailer looks a lot of fun. Maybe I’ll manage to grab hold of it, cheers!


#8

thanks Christian!

If you like weird: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6LTDsPMDLY


#9

Fight Club - The movie got wilder and stranger as it went on.


#10

‘Dark City’.

Strange but very effective.


#11

I do like that, too!

Yeah, that’s a great example, also because it had the studio panicking when they saw what they had there, and was a bad commercial failure (at the time) because of its weirdness.


#12

Dark city is another one I’d say was never a mainstream movie. It was a genre movie intended for a smallish audience, in spite of some relatively big names involved.


#13

I wonder if we’re really talking about the way movies were sold to audiences, and whether that’s at odds with their true nature. It would be easy to point to stuff like Being John Malkovich or Mulholland Drive or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but I think those were always sold as quirky and offbeat, so there was no confusion over what kind of movie audiences were going to get.

I’d maybe suggest Eyes Wide Shut, for being sold as a straightforward erotic thriller with two big (and married) stars of the day in the lead roles, but being something far stranger and unconventional than a lot of people were led to expect. The way it veers into dreamlike territory and some genuinely disturbing ideas took a lot of people by surprise.


#14

[quote=“DaveWallace, post:13, topic:7545, full:true”]
I wonder if we’re really talking about the way movies were sold to audiences, and whether that’s at odds with their true nature. [/quote]

Well, Jonny defined it thusly in his post:

Not movies that were meant to be eccentric (to say the least) like 2001, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN or BRAZIL, but movies that were meant to appeal to general and wide audiences, but turned out to be way too weird.

And yeah, I’d say that the result of this was quite often that the studio didn’t want people to realise how weird the movies were, and tried to market them as something else. And Eyes Wide Shut is probably a good example of that, too. I don’t think a lot of people realised that it was an adaptation of an early-twentieth century novella by Arthur Schnitzler, either.


#15

I remember watching Return to Oz in grade school and it scared the shit out of me.

Eyes Wide Shut was definitely an odd one. I thought it was 3 hours of soft porn in soft focus all so Nicole Kidman could say, “fuck” at the end. :wink:


#16

Vanilla Sky.

And…

Umm…

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Pacific Rim


#17

Martin Scorsese directed two films that I think fall into this category: After Hours and Bringing Out the Dead. I love the former for its quirkiness, but the latter just gets too weird at points.

I assume John Landis’ Into the Night was supposed to be mainstream, but it’s as quirky and over-the-edge as a Spike Jonze film, with the added benefit of some surprising cameo roles by various film directors.


#18

I saw that ages ago (because of Cage) and I’m still a little confused about it all.


#19

Genre movies ARE the mainstream.

Even back then it was released in 2000 screens. These days you could probably double that.

EDIT:
According to Wiki it GOT a small audience, but given he budget and the scale of the release I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the plan. :frowning:


#20

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. The show was weird, and the movie confused everything even further.