We’ve done a few of these now, you know the drill! Each month we crack open the ICM Film vault and inside are underrated gems aplenty. Films that we feel just don’t get enough attention and are definitely worth your time. This is probably the last time we’ll do this in 2018 as next month we’re going to be very busy putting together an article on the year’s best films. Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin.
Frank (2014): If you’re a music fan, you’re probably familiar with films such as School of Rock, Walk the Line and 8 Mile. There’s something so exhilarating about watching musicians on the cusp of their careers, blending a great narrative with catchy tunes and solid performances. Frank, however, is a little out of the ordinary.
From the director that gave us ROOM (2015), Lenny Abrahamson provides us with a rather unusual insight into the most bizarre band in the world, the ‘Soronpfbs’. Jon Burroughs (Domhnall Gleeson), an eager songwriter from the UK, is scouted by the band’s manager only to discover that this intense troupe of musicians are deeply troubled, out of touch with reality, and led by a frontman who refuses to take off his Papier-mâché head. What unfolds is a darkly humorous and intense journey into the realms of making really odd music and forming unique relationships with complex people. Touching on topics surrounding mental health and self-expression, Frank is a beautiful film with penetrating performances that are both comical and deeply moving.
The Florida Project (2017): Some people refer to it as the sunshine state, a holiday destination that so many families from far and wide will travel to every single year. It’s a place synonymous with happiness and making people’s dreams come true, but here in Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” we get to see the other side. Streets that once flourished due to the tourism industry have now become forgotten, local businesses struggle to stay afloat in the shadow of the ever-expanding Disney complex.
It’s a fascinating piece of filmmaking that showcases two completely different worlds just a few miles apart from one another. Director Sean Baker truly ferments himself as someone to be watched very closely. His understated approach with this particular film somehow makes it all the more striking.
At the centre of its story, we have this precocious six-year-old girl called Moonee and her rebellious mother living in one of these old run down hotels. You become something of a fly on the wall with “The Florida Project” watching their lives unfold over the course of a few days. If you ever sit down one night sick to the stomach of all the Hollywood fanfare then this is unquestionably the film for you. There’s no in your face monologue, at no point does it try to spoon feed you exposition and there’s not really any big names in it either other than Willem Dafoe. It’s just realistic and beautifully humanistic.
Adventureland (2009): For me, there is so much to enjoy about this film, I loved it from the very first viewing and have seen it multiple times since. Set in the summer of 1987, a college graduate aspiring to take that next academic step and go to university ends up having to take a summer job at this local amusement park to save some money. ‘Adventureland’ is as tacky as they come, a fairground where all the games are rigged and the rides could break down at any given moment.
This comes from “Superbad” director Greg Mottola and actually has a very similar feel to it in the sense that yes it’s funny, but it’s also surprisingly deep in places, probably even more so than “Superbad”. If the star-studded cast and zany setting don’t do it for you then maybe the soundtrack will. It features artists such as Lou Reed, The Replacements, Crowded House and The Cure!
Written by Mac Spain & Mo Bayliss