Have You Seen Me? - Movie recommendations beyond the latest blockbusters
The purpose of “Have You Seen Me?” is very different from most movie columns. From me you will never hear a negative review. I only suggest that you see these movies I enjoyed. My advice to anyone is to see a movie if someone suggests it, and always see for yourself if someone discredits a film. Even if you don’t like it, you will have seen it and you’ll know why. Take suggestions, but for the most part formulate your own opinions.
Summer of Sam (July 2, 1999)
We have all seen countless films centered around, more or less, “factual events.” In 1999, director Spike Lee deviated from what we expect when he released a film that introduced me to his work. Whereas most films that are titled for a notorious serial killer focus solely on that one aspect, Lee’s film sports a much more relatable cast of believable characters. It depicts realistic people and focuses on how they deal with life in the South Bronx in the midst of the murders. The tale follows best friends Richie (Adrian Brody) and Vinnie (John Leguizamo) through friendship, fear and distrust. In the summer of 1977, the city of New York faced the Son of Sam. During that very same summer Richie met Ruby, and for everyone involved life could never be the same.
Drop Dead Fred (April 19, 1991)
In April 1999, director Ate De Jong released what was one of my very favorite childhood films and an inevitable cult classic. When Elizabeth Cronin’s (Phoebe Cates) imaginary childhood friend Fred (Rik Mayall) becomes an extreme nuisance, Liz’s mom decides it is time for him to go and locks him away. But when Liz one day inadvertently releases her troubled companion, his childish antics are more than she can handle. Unfortunately for Liz, whose life is already in shambles, she has grown, and fortunately for Fred, he has not. In this classic comedic tale Liz juggles an uneasy love life, an inconceivably difficult mother and a real blunder of an old companion. We all have that friend from which we wish we could distance ourselves. For most people, however, that unfortunate friend isn’t imaginary.
City by the Sea (September 6, 2002)
Well before his hilarious role in Pineapple Express as the drug-dealing, dim-witted Sal, James Franco co-starred with possibly my favorite actor, Robert De Niro. Together with De Niro, Franco showed that he could play nearly any role. Like most movies starring De Niro, City by the Sea further demonstrated his talent.
In this film director Michael Caton Jones tells a gritty tale of addiction and murder, in a story of failure and redemption. When detective Lamarca (De Niro) discovers his son Vincent (Franco) is involved in a murder case, a routine investigation spins wildly out of control. The movie centers on multiple characters and their struggle to overcome past mistakes. With its powerful theme and emotionally complex characters, this film is one that I strongly suggest you check out.