Ten Great “K” Films!
A theater full of laughing patrons is something that we are NOT seeing right now due to the pandemic – and so we are all watching films at home.
Time now to continue my alphabetical look at film – this time with the letter “K” – a couple of the movies beginning with “K” are among the funniest of all time – but I’ve got thrillers, action films and searing human drama as well – so let’s go!
I’m counting down Movies from “A-Z”, NOT the ten best films with that letter, just ten I love – and this edition focuses on the letter “K”, beginning with a mesmerizing documentary that looks at our world speeding out of control:
10 – “Koyaanisqatsi!”
Godfrey Reggio’s 1982 documentary is a visual masterpiece, and with our world currently turned upside down, perhaps more prescient than ever!
The word “Koyaanisqatsi” means “life out of balance,” and this compelling documentary uses incredible images from our world to show us how it has happened.
Here is the trailer:
It’s a hypnotic portrayal of collective life on Earth in the 20th century, building up from awe-inspiring natural panoramas to the time-lapse insanity of urban life, set to an incantatory score by Philip Glass.
Mind-blowing in all the best ways!
The “Qatsi” Trilogy!
The film has been released by The Criterion Collection as a box set of all three films in the trilogy – all “must sees” to be sure!
Next up is a superb 1971 detective thriller with an Oscar-winning performance by Jane Fonda!
9 – “Klute”
It begins with this confession from Prostitute Jane Fonda:
“And for an hour… for an hour, I’m the best actress in the world”…
Great news for fans of classic movies. A recent blu-ray release from The Criterion Collection showcases an intense, award winning performance by Jane Fonda.
Fonda gives one of her most personal, candid and honest performances in the 1971 thriller “Klute” – a role that would win her the Best Actress Oscar.
Fonda is Bree Daniels, an aspiring Actress who makes her living as a Prostitute in New York. Donald Sutherland plays the small town Cop who arrives to find a missing friend.
This is a terrific film, and you can see the trailer – plus find out all of the great new bonus features from criterion, just by clicking here:
OK, enough with the serious stuff – time now for what is arguably the funniest film of all time – from the guys who made another finalist in that award, “Airplane!”
8 – “Kentucky Fried Movie!”
The Zucker Brothers are best known for the comedic masterpiece “Airplane!”, but they warmed up with this classic comedy from 1977 – a series of sketches with a ton of great Guest Actors…here is the trailer:
There are great comedy sketches that come fast and furious – like the classic ad for dating help from who else but “Big Jim Slade”:
“Kentucky Fried Movie” is raucous, offensive, and REALLY REALLY funny – and the film includes a brilliant 30-minute, scene-for-scene parody of the great Bruce Lee film “Enter The Dragon” – called “A Fistful Of Yen!”
If you don’t laugh at this film, then you need to try harder – check out the hilarious trailer and see more about the guest stars who pop up in the movie by clicking on my story here:
Next up: John Woo has directed some terrific action films, like “Face/Off” with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage – but his action thrillers from Hong Kong are mind-blowing!
7 – “The Killer”
John Woo blew away audiences with this incredible action thriller about a hit man who – of course – makes just one mistake, and it comes back to haunt him. This is an action masterpiece, with a compelling lead performance by Chow Yun-Fat.
Here is the original Asian language trailer – trust me, you don’t need english for this:
This, along with John Woo’s “Hard Boiled” and his American film “Face/Off” are a triple bill of action that simply can’t be topped – click here to see more of Woo’s terrific work:
From brilliant action to intimate drama – a love triangle with Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Annette Bening!
6 – “The Kids Are All Right”
This powerful 2010 film was directed by Lisa Cholodenko, and stars Moore and Bening as a lesbian couple who have their lives turned upside down when their two children – conceived by artificial insemination – bring their biological father Mark Ruffalo into their non-traditional family life.
Here is the trailer:
So what happens when your kids invite your sperm donor over for a bite to eat? From that setup, this film explores love, fidelity, family and so much more – and the cast is stellar…a truly special film.
“The Kids Are All Right” is also a masterclass of acting…just as my next “film with a K” is:
5 – “Killer Joe”
William Friedkin directed such classic films as “The French Connection”, “The Exorcist” and “To Live And Die In LA” – but this recent outing was one of his best – and most provocative:
“Killer Joe” sports a great cast including Matthew McConaughey, Gina Gershon, Thomas Hayden Church and Juno Temple – and the film is dark dark DARK, but the entire cast digs in and delivered a black comedy that was so wild it was rated NC-17!
Read more about the film and see the trailer here:
Friedkin released his autobiography, and it’s a terrific read as well – an honest, candid and fascinating look at his life in movies.
Another brilliant Director also has an amazing body of work, including this dark dark DARK comedy with Robert DeNiro:
4 – “The King Of Comedy”
This 1982 film was trashed by Critics when it was first released, but is now considered a prescient masterpiece….first, see the trailer:
Robert DeNiro gives a great performance as Rupert Pupkin, a delusional comedian who will do whatever it takes to become famous. Along with help from his friend Sandra Bernhard, he fulfills his dream…
Scorsese’s masterpiece also starred Jerry Lewis as a late night Talk Show Host who meets Pupkin – and everything escalates from there.
In a world of “instant celebrity” – as well as being “famous for being famous”, this movie captured this world before anyone could imagine how real it would become…and it shows the power of television in creating stars.
There was an anniversary screening lately – and a new blu-ray with tons of great extras – check it out here:
Another legendary Director is next up on the list – Sam Peckinpah directed “The Wild Bunch”, “The Getaway” with Steve McQueen, and this 1975 action thriller starring James Caan and Robert Duvall:
3 – “The Killer Elite”
James Caan is great a government Agent who’s betrayed by a co-worker, Robert Duvall. Check out the vintage trailer:
Duvall and Caan are both great, and there are several terrific action sequences as well – Peckinpah was known for his “ballet of violence” – and you can see more about him here:
Time to step away from Hollywood for our next film – very far away from Hollywood – like the middle of the Pacific Ocean!
2 – “Kon-Tiki”
Adventurer Thor Heyerdahl decided to see if South American explorers could have travelled more than 4,000 miles from Peru to settle islands in the South Pacific. So he did it! Here is the trailer:
The Kon-Tiki expedition led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl happened in 1947, and the documentary was released in the United States in 1951. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
It’s a fascinating trip, with footage shot by the team while on the ocean!
Back on dry land, here is my last film with a “K”, and it’s one of the funniest and most under-rated comedies ever – about bowling!
1 – “Kingpin”
After “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary”, the Farrelly Brothers win streak continued with this hilarious 1996 bowling film, starring Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and Bill Murray.
Here is the trailer:
Harrelson is Roy Munson, who loses his chance at bowling stardom when he loses his hand!
Redemption comes via Randy Quaid, who plays Ishmael – who is Amish and sneaks away from the farm to bowl.
Ultimately, they go up against champion bowler Ernie McCracken, played with a brilliant deadpan and magical comb-over by Bill Murray.
Murray is clearly having a blast, but Woody Harrelson also is hilarious as Roy Munson, a bowl who lost it all and just wants a shot at redemption:
ESPN Announcer: So Roy, where have you been for the last fifteen years?
Roy: Well, I uh, well, ya see, I uh… Drinking. Lot a drinking.
ESPN Announcer: I see. Well, are you still drinking?
Roy: No. I uh… I put… uh… Why, you buying?
There is SO much to love about “Kingpin”: terrific acting, hilarious set pieces, memorable characters, and of course, BOWLING…see more great bowling films here:
There is a list of ten great movies that begin with “K” – and of course there are many more…also, if you missed my list of “J” movies, you didn’t see my love for this gem:
Yes, “Jackass!” Hilariously funny and profane – just one of the movies beginning with a “J” – and you can see them all here:
I have missed a ton of great movies on my “Movies A-Z” list, like this great film:
That’s right – “Boogie Nights” is one of my all-time favorite movies, but it wasn’t on my “B” list! However, here are the films that DID make my lists of “A-F” movies – check them out here:
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Of course, there are so many “films with a K” that could have been included:
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Kill Bill Vol. 1
Kramer Vs. Kramer
Kung Fu Hustle
Just to name a few! What else did I miss?
If you enjoy these posts, please help me get the word out and share on social media and and with your friends – and leave a comment to let me know your favorite film with a “K”!
Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Books / Media, Comedy Movies, Cult Movies, Director Martin Scorsese, documentary films, Exploitation films, Extreme Asian Cinema, Film Fight Club, Great Films, Hollywood, Movies, New York, Obscure Movies, Politics, Pop Culture, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities