The Bothersome Man (Norwegian movie, 2006, Den brysomme mannen), on the topic of the afterlife, is great watching. Here I compare it to The Good Place (American TV series, 2016), also about the afterlife.
The Bothersome Man is about a man in the afterlife who is stuck in “The Medium Place”, craves “The Good Place”, and ends up on a doomed bus ride to “The Bad Place”. “The Good Place” is hinted at by the aroma of breakfast pastries and sound of children on the other side of the wall, tormenting him and convincing him there’s a better place. Just as “The Bad Place” of Eleanor Shellstrop’s world is ominously implied as the destination of an old-fashioned train ride, here it is implied as the destination of a bus driving off into the barren snow. The places in The Bothersome Man are not named, there is a bus not a train, and the movie is sombre, but the theme resemblance is otherwise uncanny.
Interestingly, Wikipedia treats the setting as present-day, not afterlife: The story is about a man suddenly finding himself in an outwardly perfect, yet essentially soulless dystopia, and his attempt to escape. … The two dig frantically, in secret, through the wall and discover it leads into a house, presumably back in the real world.
I disagree, Wikipedia.
See it for the sombre and nuanced depiction of the afterlife
The Last Winter stars Ron Perlman as an oilman whose corporate intentions threaten the pristine icy setting. Pretty soon, people start dying. A scared and dwindling set of survivors are set against the frigid north. At first no one knows what the source of the problem is, except that it comes from the ice. I liked The Last Winter a lot, because the terror was largely psychological. Make no mistake, there is a lot of gore/grossness, but it starts really slowly and builds up to it.
Subtract points for a little heavy-handed “don’t spoil nature” message. Add points for the suspense and building dread. Compare and contrast with these other horror movies and tv.
See it for the slow-building mood and fine characters
The Thing is great watching
Remember that gory horror classic from 1982? Remember how awesome it was when the man’s head turned into a hellishly-creepy spider? If you recall that fine piece of cinema, the source of the bone-chilling gross-out was somewhere deep in the ice of a remote Antarctic outpost. Here was another film set in cold, snowy conditions. Compare and contrast with these other horror movies and tv set in a frigid environment.
See it if you don’t mind gore
See it if you like docudramas
Steal This Movie is a pretty good informative look at the life of 60’s radical Abbie Hoffman. The character (played by D’Onofrio) becomes more interesting as the movie progresses; it starts out with a bit too-much-information. Janeane Garofalo is great as Anita Hoffman. Sadly, I have been deprived of the last fifteen minutes through an evil conspiracy of VCR and DVD players.
[EDIT] When did I have a VCR? Not in many moons.
See Nunzio’s Second Cousin if you can handle a downer.
In Boys Life II, Nunzio’s Second Cousin (short), Vincent D’Onofrio plays a gay cop who terrorizes some would-be gay bashers, forcing one to have dinner with him and his wacky mom. Harsh, interesting, unpredictable, and very well-acted. I found it hard to watch, a little gut-wrenching, but worthwhile.
See it, for the love of all that’s good in movies!
Happy Accidents is an extremely quirky romantic comedy with Morisa Tomei and D’Onofrio as the leads. D’Onofrio plays a sweet-hearted guy trying to win his girl’s heart, but her doubts grow as he tries to convince her that he’s a time-traveler from the future. His excuses and stories get more complex over time, causing her to become more frustrated despite her attraction.
I usually hate romantic comedies, but this one has a sci-fi bent to it that takes it completely 180 degrees. The chemistry between them is palpable. Everyone is completely believable, including D’Onofrio’s crazy. There is also a cameo that I won’t spoilerize for you, but it’s a good one. This is on my top ten list of movies. This movie’s a real sleeper, I’m not sure why it’s not more famous. Very well written and unpredictable.