Films I’ve forgotten, and why

01 Nov

I got a bit bored today, so inbetween a couple of failed attempts at writing new blog posts, I went to Swedish movie site Filmtipset, which is my main record-keeper as fair as what movies I’ve seen is concerned. I noticed that I had commented on some 500-odd films during my time there, so in lieu of anything better to do, I read through them all. It turned into a fun little trip down memory lane. Sure, the actual comments weren’t very enlightening (“[Actor] and [Actress] are pretty good, but the story isn’t anything special”), but I was reminded of the existance of plenty of films I had forgotten ever seeing.

Why did I forget these films? Most of them are, simply speaking, unremarkable. Not terrible, not great, maybe kind of decent. They may have a generic title. Perhaps the premise is just something seen many times before. A lack of big names attached is another possibility. But I believe the main reason is just that they’re never talked about. Nobody mentions them when discussing awful films, or great films, or underrated films. Few people see them, so theres no random “Hey, I just saw this film, anyone else seen it” conversations. Even just a passing mention of a film at some point can be enough to refresh its presence in one’s memory banks for a long time. When no such mention is made, the movie fades from memory.

Rick Kirkham, TV Junkie

I there’s one of these films I rediscovered that you ought to see, it’s definitely TV Junkie. It’s a documentary on TV reporter Rick Kirkham, who for 14 years filmed himself every day of his life. The footage of these personal recordings make up the bulk of the film, and it’s quite harrowing. His drug addiction takes a tremendous toll on both his career and his family, and we see it all just as it happens. It culminates in a really uncomfortable domestic arguement, as Rick and his wife scream and fight right in front of their kids. It’s a shame this one has slipped my memory for so long, beause it’s a really good film that I remember reacting very strongly too. I’d love to call it unforgettable, but that’s obviously not the case. Definitely worth checking out, though.

The Dark Hours was a real headscratcher for me when I came upon the title. More so than any other film on here, I really struggled to remember anything about it, even reading the short plot synopsis on the site. It took a trip to IMDB for even the vaguest of bells to ring, and I still can’t really tell you anything about it. It’s a thriller, at least. Canadian. Wikipedia says it made $423 at the U.S. box office, so it’s no wonder it’s rarely talked about, I guess.

A movie that should have been memorable is Danny Deckchair. Rhys Ifans plays a man who, after having his vacation unceremoniously cancelled by his girlfriend, attaches a bunch of helium-filled balloons to his deckchair and just flies away (think Up on a smaller scale). A novel idea, but it all devolves into a fairly standard romantic comedy as it goes along, unfortunately. Not a bad film by any means, as far as I recall, but not worth going out of your way to see either.

Knockaround Guys has a fairly star-studded cast (Vin Diesel, John Malkovich, Dennis Hopper, Barry Pepper and more), but all I can really remember about it is that Seth Green‘s character loses an important briefcase at some point. Hospital horror Sublime is another one I can’t recall much of, except that it careens off in a weird direction towards the end. At least the DVD box art is kind of nifty. And The Salton Sea has Val Kilmer playing a saxophone. Possibly in a burning building. Drugs might be involved at some point. That’s about it as far as my memory goes.

Pathfinder I can’t remember anything about except that it was really damn boring. American Crude has some degree of name value to it (Michael Clarke Duncan, Rob Schneider and John C. McGinley), but it has a muddled plot with weird characters that obviously failed to leave much of a lasting impression. The Deaths of Ian Stone, meanwhile, is a god-awful horror fiilm, and I’m glad it had managed to drift out of my memory for so long.

Love Object at least has a neat-sounding premise about a guy who buys a custom-made sex doll based on the appearance of a co-worker he has the hots for. Complications arise when he finds himself starting a real relationship with said co-worker, however. The comment I made on this film at the time was actually fairly positive, so maybe this one’s unfairly forgotten.

One film that actually did cross my mind briefly just the other week is Lost in the Dark, a movie about a blind girl who ends up alone in a cabin with criminals soon popping in to harass her. It briefly came to mind when I was watching Audrey Hepburn-flick Wait Until Dark, in the form of “Hmm, didn’t I see another thriller once about a blind girl?”. Well, Lost in the Dark was it. An okay film, as I recall, but Wait Until Dark is definitely superior.

An interesting case here: The Girl Next Door. No, not the teen comedy with Elisha Cuthbert. No, not the horror film based on a Jack Ketchum novel based on a true story either. This one’s a documentary on adult actress Stacy Valentine. You’d think I’d remember a film like that, but apparently not. I assume title confusion is part of why this has gone forgotten. I can’t recall any other trio of films I’ve seen that all share the same name.

Kristen Stewart, Speak

Last on this list are two films featuring now-famous actresses early in their careers. Speak stars Kristen Stewart and arrived two years after her initial breakthrough in Panic Room. In Speak, she plays a teenager who stops talking upon returning to school after a summer holiday. An intriguing little film, actually. I recall liking this one. And then there’s The Last Supper, only the second movie in the career of Cameron Diaz. A very black comedy in which five friends invite guests for dinners and, if they deem them “bad people”, kill them. The film is a bit stiff at times, but at least it presents some interesting questions and has a fairly delightful supporting turn by Ron Perlman.

Time will tell if I’ll forget these movies again. Maybe some film I saw just the past week will meet a similar fate. With the exception of TV Junkie, there’s none of these that I’d call essential viewing, so it’s not a big crime that I haven’t remembered them. But forgetting TV Junkie is bad enough. If there’s one think to take away from this blog post, it’s this: Remember to talk about good films! Don’t let yourself forget them. They deserve better.

Have you seen any of the films I’ve mentioned in this post? What did you think of them? Have you had any similar experiences yourself with remembering long-forgotten movies? Leave a comment!


Posted by on 1 November, 2011 in Misc.


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19 responses to “Films I’ve forgotten, and why

  1. Travis McClain

    1 November, 2011 at 00:09

    I have seen none of these, but I’m aware of the phenomenon itself of not recalling what a movie I have seen is actually about. I’ve found it happens less frequently with movies I’ve seen since I began discussing them online, though; particulars may fade from memory, but I tend to at least retain my overall impressions and a workable sense of the premise.

    • Emil

      1 November, 2011 at 00:15

      Most of these I at least had memories jolted of when I actually saw them listed today (The Dark Hours being the sole exception, as I still don’t really know what that film was like). They were still in my brain, but not in any active part.

      Due to the nature of how I was reminded of these, they were obviously seen in my online-era (the vast majority of my movie-watching has in fact taken place during the last few years). I haven’t even really reflected on what movies from way back in the past i might have forgotten. Probably a crazy amount. Time, time, time, see what you’ve done to me.

  2. Movies - Noir

    1 November, 2011 at 00:54

    Interesting post, as always, and one I really haven’t thought about myself. However, I’ve started making a “need to re-watch” list of movies I don’t remember enough, but know I like (or I didn’t like as much as I think I should).

    Of the movies you mention, I’ve seen:
    The Salton Sea (as I remember, it wasn’t all that bad, but nothing memorable)
    Pathfinder (but it’s the Norweigen movie from 1987 aka Ofelas)
    The Deaths of Ian Stone (I actually saw this in Hong Kong of all places, haha. I remember it very clearly, but the movie wasn’t very good)
    Speak (this one was pretty good as I remember it, but not great)

    A couple of titles you mentioned that could be interesting:
    TV Junkie (sounds pretty depressing, but interesting)
    Love Object (could be something. Btw, have you seen the Japanese movie Air Doll (2009) ?)

    Don’t think I’ve heard of any of the others, but doesn’t seem like I’ve missed too much.

    • Emil

      1 November, 2011 at 01:58

      “Good but not great” is a fitting description of many films I mentioned, at least as far as I can remember or as far as my past opinions can be trusted.

      The Pathfinder I was talking about is the 2007 Marcus Nispel film. Not a very good one.

      TV Junkie sure is a tough one to watch at times, but it is a really good one. It’s a unique circumstance (how many people have filmed themselves every day for 14 years AND have a worthwhile story to tell from it?), so odds are there’s no film quite like it anywhere. It’s not a perfect movie, but it doesn’t deserve to be forgotten or overlooked.

      My memories really are hazy on Love Object, so I can’t recommend it too strongly. Hopefully it will be to your liking. I haven’t seen Air Doll, no, but it’s been added to my watch-list. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Sammy V

    1 November, 2011 at 08:59

    Along with Travis, I haven’t seen any of these films. Aside from TV Junkie, the only other film from the post that “speaks” to me is Speak (I couldn’t resist. It’s late). I remember wanting to see it.

    Great post, and I’ll be sure to check out TV Junkie.

    • Emil

      1 November, 2011 at 09:04

      Thank you, Sammy! I hope TV Junkie will be to your liking.

  4. Joel Burman

    1 November, 2011 at 10:34

    I need to find that TV-junkie film. Wait until dark is an awesome film! I’m kind of suprised it hasn’t been remade?

    • Emil

      1 November, 2011 at 11:28

      I really liked Wait Until Dark too. Wasn’t too sure how well a stage thriller would translate to film, but it certainly worked. Plenty of clever little touches present throughout, things I certainly wouldn’t have thought of. And it was actually my first Hepburn film too.

      I could easily see a remake happening at some point. It’s a simple premise that would work just as well in a modern setting. Maybe put Thora Birch in the lead, Cillian Murphy replacing Arkin, get Peter Sarsgaard in there too somewhere… Yeah, sure. Would be unnecessary (as are most remakes), but could work.

    • Movies - Noir

      1 November, 2011 at 15:20

      Oooooh, no no no ;) I would hate to see a remake of Wait Until Dark.

      Why not remake one of these instead ?

      • Emil

        1 November, 2011 at 23:36

        Oh, don’t get me wrong: I don’t WANT a remake of it either. The original is still great, after all. Just pointing out that it seems like a film someone might remake anyway, considering its source (“readaptation” isn’t as ugly a word as “remake” is) and it’s simple but effective premise. Maybe its one sole location is what’s scaring people off these days. Since it seems like every movie is getting remade nowadays, it’s a little surprising that nobody has tried their hands on this one yet. I’d probably see it if a remake was ever made, even if it wasn’t likely to be as good as the original.

        Wish I could comment on your suggestions of films to remake, but I’m afraid I haven’t seen a single one of them. :|

        • Movies - Noir

          2 November, 2011 at 02:35

          No, I knew you didn’t WANT a remake, but I had to voice my concerns if one was made. But I agree with you that the story is there and the movie does have over 40 years on it’s back so why wouldn’t Hollywood remake it ? ;)

          Regarding the ones I suggested, those are movies that aren’t as known to the wide audience, aren’t good enough as they are but have a lot of potential and a good or great story. I dislike remakes, but I made that list to show people what I could accept and understand for a remake.

          Unfortunately they remake classics that don’t need a remake. I mean, leave great movies alone, right ? ;)

          • Emil

            2 November, 2011 at 09:32

            The nice thing about remakes is that they bring the originals back into discussion, in what ever limited ways. Some people might check out the first film if they liked the remake, or become aware of the original’s existance at all (I don’t think the average movie-watcher today even knows that Wait Until Dark exists). So a remake can serve a noble purpose, even if it’s unintentional. And it’s not like a great film becomes worse just because there’s a lame remake of it out there, so I don’t have much problem tolerating remakes.

            Plus, there are some genuinely good ones out there. I personally prefer Scorsese’s Cape Fear over J. Lee Thompson’s, for instance.

            • Movies - Noir

              2 November, 2011 at 14:35

              You have a point about people becoming aware of the original with the remakes, no doubt about that. However, and I guess I’m kind of old-school about it, I rather people find those classics and gems the hard way (as I have). But I guess that’s just me cause it’s one of the delights as I see it, to find the movies no one is talking about (or classics of course that not many people know about if they’re not really interested).

              I agree with you that some remakes are good and perhaps even superior to the original. Cape Fear is one where I like both versions and both have their positives and negatives. One that comes to mind is The Ring which I like better than Ringu, but that might be because I saw the remake first…

  5. Scott Lawlor

    1 November, 2011 at 11:31

    HAHA Great post Emil.

    I have not seen any of the films on this list…..or at least I cannot remember seeing them

    My memory is shocking though. I always have IMDb open on my phone just so I can find out where I have seen this actor from!!


    • Emil

      1 November, 2011 at 12:03

      Thank you! And you’re not the only one with a shaky memory. I’m terrible when it comes to actors too, and like you I tend to abuse the IMDB iPhone app during films. “Who’s that? I know I recognize them from somewhere!”. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen Brian Cox in a film without realizing who he is…

  6. Nostra

    8 November, 2011 at 22:15

    Man, I’ve been swamped in other things, so haven’t had much time to do my usual rounds to other blog sites. This is very recognisable. I recently looked through my list of everything I have seen this year and even then there are titles which don’t ring a bell…but that also might be the result of getting older ;)

    • Emil

      8 November, 2011 at 22:25

      Haha! True, age might be part of the problem too. I’d like to think I’m not that far gone yet, though. ;)

      • Nostra

        8 November, 2011 at 22:37

        Haha, you know that the first stage is denial right? ;)

        • Emil

          8 November, 2011 at 23:00

          I heard about that, but I refuse to believe it! :P


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