Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Best Movies You've Probably Never Seen

Ah, those movies that lay quietly on the back rows of small video shops. Some have cult followings, but oh so many go forever unwatched. These movies have alway had s soft spot in my heart. For this reason I lament VHS's demise. So many gems that will never make the switch to other formats and will die in their respective paper sleeves. Mind you the one I've chosen for today has made the leap to DVD, but others in the series will rarely have the benefit of a name like Peter Jackson attached to it.

This Week's Feature:

Forgotten Silver

Forgotten Silver (1995)

Staring: Thomas Robins (LOTR: The Return of the King
Directed and written by: Peter Jackson and Costa Botes

The Gist: 

A mocumentary that tells the story of Colin McKenzie (Thomas Robins), a New Zealand filmmaker long forgotten, who set out to make the greatest epic bible movie in history: the story of Salome. Along the way he has happy accidents that lead him to invent things like the tracking shot and the closeup. To add to the (sur)realism there are cameos from Leonard Maltin, Sam Neil, and Peter Jackson, discussing his life.  We also get to see clips from the movie which has been found after having been lost years ago. While it is a mocumentary, it is played completely deadpan. So much so in fact that when it initially aired on TV in New Zealand, viewers thought it was real and were unhappy to learn the opposite.

Why you should watch it:

The humor is dry and unmistakably brilliant. The direction is fantastic, and the story is so absurd, you'll want to revisit it with friends.

Why you probably haven't seen it:

True Peter Jackson has built a name that made this film accessible to the general public, but it never had a real release here. It toured some festivals and has been on IFC, but that's about it. Sure it's been available for years, but what does that matter if no one knows? Also, brilliant as it is, Mocumentaries are always a tough sell. 

Scene to savor: 

I must now confess to having misdirected you. This particular entry was never about Forgotten Silver. This is about what came after Forgotten Silver on the VHS.

Mind you I don't know if it's on the DVD, as I haven't gotten a copy yet, but originally on video, it was released with a movie at the end. Robert Sarkies' short 'Signing Off' is a sweet 15 minute tale of an old DJ who is retiring and taking requests for his last show. When his faithful fan's requested album goes flying out the window, he chases it down, at one point heading into the sewers after it. All so he can fulfill one last request. It was honestly such a surprise at the end of the movie. It's pure brilliance, and good as Forgotten Silver is, Signing Off made the video.

And is what really makes this VHS one of the best movies you've probably never seen

On a scale of missed gems: 4 out of 5


  1. Hey - I keep visiting your other blog looking for more poetry - please write another one!

    Kitty x

  2. It has been awhile since I wrote a piece. I will have to put something up soon. Thanks.

  3. I worked on "Signing Off"! It was one of my first experiences of making movies. It was most exhausting, but worth the effort.

    By the way, Thomas Robins spells his name with one 'B'.

  4. Seriously? That's awesome. How were you involved in it?

    (Oops, on Robins, I will fix that. Thanks for pointing it out)

  5. I was the storyboard artist, which was quite necessary on such a stunt-filled film, and I assisted with the set painting and special effects, that kind of thing.

  6. That's really fascinating. It's got a really fantastic look. I suppose then you had a large hand in that.

    I also took a look at your blogs and site. You've done some really great looking stuff.


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