“I watch bad movies so you don’t have to.” That mantra has turned Richard Crouse, “Reel to Real’s” bespectacled film critic, into the movie guru Canadians turn to for the lowdown on new Hollywood releases. Now Crouse serves up a century’s worth of lesser-known, eye-opening pleasers in his new book, “Son of the 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen” (ECW Press). A sequel to his 2003 hit, “The 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen,” the Canada AM movie critic delves into those entertaining but under-appreciated film gems that fell by the wayside at the box office.
Crouse’s top 100 includes:
* “The Cameraman’s Revenge” (1912)
Calling this flick “13 minutes of sheer cinematic joy,” Crouse says this melodramatic love-triangle surrounding a philandering couple predates the juicy, adultery-filled novels of Jacqueline Susann by 50 years.
* “The Crime of Dr. Crespi” (1935)
Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Premature Burial,” Eric von Stroheim plays a chain-smoking doctor out to ruin the husband of his former flame. As Crouse says, “The film movie makes an impression because of the twisted story and even more twisted performance from von Stroheim.”
* “On Dangerous Ground” (1952)
Martin Scorsese calls this taut drama about a jaded cop one of his biggest influences. Directed by Nicholas Ray (“Rebel Without a Cause), Crouse says this film’s shy psychopathic killer character may have partially inspired the portrayal of Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”
* “Black Christmas” (1974)
“Without this groundbreaking 1974 Canadian horror film there might never have been a Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers,” says Crouse. Shot in Toronto on a $600,000 budget, this horror classic about a psycho terrorizing sorority girls will make your skin crawl.
* “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” (2006)
“This is one strange movie,” says Crouse. In it an expert perfumer kills virgins to harvest their scent and make the ultimate fragrance. “This film isn’t for everyone, but should thrill adventurous viewers,” says Crouse.
Like its predecessor, “Son of the 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen” is peppered with detailed plots, memorable lines and trivia tidbits. From the 1923 classic “Safety Last!” – which Premiere Magazine called on of the 50 greatest comedies of all time, to 2007’s “Akeelah and the Bee” Crouse’s witty compilation makes it easy for film lovers to make informed choices at the video store.
“Son of the 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen” also includes interviews with Billy Bob Thornton on the movie that has most inspired him. Francis Ford Coppola discusses his grief after “One from the Heart” tanked. Even Mario Van Peebles’ shares his feelings on portraying his father, Melvin Van Peebles, in the original Blaxploitation flick “Baadasssss!”
“I didn’t want these movies to be so impossibly obscure that people would never have heard of them. That’s why you’ll find everything from Henry Fonda to Edward Norton. If you haven’t heard of the movie you’ll recognize the actor,” says Crouse.
Of course, Crouse’s definition of a great movie may not please all readers.
“People today will go and see Shia LeBeouf in ‘Eagle Eye’ because they liked him in ‘Indiana Jones.’ Sadly moviegoers who get sucked in by celebrity alone won’t give a more obscure film or actor a chance and that’s a shame,” says Crouse. “You’ll miss out on so many great movies if you only watch films that way.”
As Crouse says, “You can love my movie picks or hate them. That’s okay by me.”
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