20 Hidden DVD Gems to Seek Out: Part One

Ever had that vein in your forehead swell as you look, in frustration, at the hundreds of titles at your local video store? Ever been filled with mass confusion or paranoia that your hard earned bucks may be spent on yet another title starring Michael Dudikoff or Shannen Doherty? Well this little article is here to save you from that extra strain.

Over the course of this week, we will uncover twenty titles you need to seek out at your local DVD store. 

I have suggested range in all sorts of categories and will appeal to a large assortment of movie fans. The unique things about all these films is that they are limited or non theatrical releases and were probably abandoned by some studio head who didn’t believe in the project. When viewing these twenty films remember there must have been a reason to be released just to video and that they aren’t Academy Award winning films. I personally enjoyed each and every one of them on some level or another. Write me and let me know if there is a classic direct to video flick you really enjoy.

The list is laid out something like this. The title, year it was made, genre, synopsis and finally my rating. I hope to do more of these lists as I uncover some of the treasures hidden at the local videostore.

20. 61* (2001-TV) (Drama)

Roger Maris (Barry Pepper) and Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) race to break Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record.

This Billy Crystal directed film is one of the most delightful and pleasant surprises to come to the silver screen about the sport of baseball. You can really tell that when they made this film the people behind it loved the game of baseball.

The attention to detail and historical accuracy is very rewarding as Crystal gets two incredible performances out of the film’s stars Pepper and Jane. HBO has done it again. (4 of 5)

19. Beast, The (1988) (Action-Drama)

During the war in Afghanistan a Soviet tank crew commanded by a tyrannical officer find themselves lost and in a struggle against a band of Mujahadeen guerrillas in the mountains.

This little “tank” film is an incredible look at the struggle between the Russians and the Afghans. The performances from lead actors Steven Bauer and Jason Patric are filled with passion and frustration as the director brings you deep inside what is going on their minds. Think “Das Boot” in the desert.

Special note: This movie is really hard to find! If you find it message me! (4 of 5)

18. Chase, The (1994) (Action-Comedy)

Jack Hammond (Charlie Sheen) is sentenced to life in prison, but manages to get away from the police as he takes a girl (Kristy Swanson) hostage and drives off in her car.

The girl happens to be the only daughter of one of the richest men in the state. A chaotic chase begins which is filled with comedy, stunts and excitement.

“The Chase” reminded me a lot of those old “Smokey and the Bandit” films with a modern twist. The chemistry between Sheen and Swanson is superb, as the script and director don’t sway away from comedic elements.

The comedy is the real gem in this piece. (4 of 5)

17. Cutting Edge (1992) (Comedy)

DB Sweeney stars as Doug Dorsey, a hockey player forced to retire after an injury.

His only way back onto the ice seems to be to assist Kate (Moira Kelley), a spoiled brat figure skater who is trying to fulfill her dream of winning Olympic gold.

If Doug plays his cards right he might just get the gold medal that eluded him in hockey.

“Cutting Edge” is quirky, hilarious and is a pure delight. The film proves when you have two leads that have magical chemistry then you have one hell of a movie. (3.5 of 5)

16 . Dark City (1998) (Sci-Fi)

John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) awakens alone in a strange hotel to find that he has lost his memory and is wanted for a series of bizarre murders.

While trying to piece together his past, he stumbles upon a seedy conspiracy controlled by a group of beings that possess the ability to put people to sleep and alter the city. Now Murdoch must find a way to stop them before they take control of his mind and destroy the very world he knows.

“Dark City” is one of those unique science-fiction films that are so very original you really have no idea what you are getting yourself into. It blends the power of “film noir” with conspiracy-oriented science fiction.

It is almost Kafka-like and really a sight to behold. Also “Dark City” director Alex Proyas (Crow) is one of those gifted visionaries that a lot of people don’t know about. Proyas could be the next Tim Burton if Hollywood would give him a chance. Can’t wait to see what he will do next.

If you can seek out the Blu-Ray version of this film, especially the director’s cut which gives more details on this captivating film.  (4 out of 5)

One thought on “20 Hidden DVD Gems to Seek Out: Part One

  1. Talk about a blast from the past — I fell hard for “Cutting Edge” when it came out 17 years ago (damn, I feel old) and it has stood the test of time. It is an excellent and totally enjoyable romantic comedy that more people should know about.

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