An Obscure Letter! Yes, Obscure But Terrific “Q” Cinema!
As movie theaters slowly begin to re-open across the country and around the world, I am eager to get back to the darkened theater and experience the joys of moviegoing – but for now, let’s discuss the letter “Q!”
Some letters are filled with great films – some less so – but my “Movies A-Z” continues with a quirky list of “Q” films that will make you laugh, cry, cover your eyes and so much more!
And yes, you get some vintage Zsa Zsa Gabor science fiction as well!
Let’s get started with one of my favorite comedies – a strangely under-appreicted film from one of our favorite performers:
10 – “Quick Change”
In 1990, Bill Murray directed this great comedy about a trio of friends who pull off the perfect crime – they just can’t find the airport!
Any movie that begins with the line “Clowns Welcome!” works for me!
Here is the trailer:
Geena Davis and Randy Quaid are also great in the movie, which didn’t do well when it was released, but there is so much to love – it was Murray’s directorial debut and he made a funny yet touching crime caper…see more great trivia about the film by clicking on my story here:
Next up is a really fun “B” movie – the late Director Larry Cohen’s ode to classic horror monsters:
9 – “Q, The Winged Serpent”
In 1982, Cohen unleashed a dragon onto New York City – and had a great time doing so! Here is the trailer:
Larry Cohen has made some of the most enjoyable films around – including the classic movie with one of the best tagline of all:
“There’s only one thing wrong with the Davis baby…”
He also made some great blaxploitation as well – see more about this eclectic Director by clicking on my story here:
Time to head back to a simpler time, when Americans gathered around their black-n-white TV to watch the smartest people compete on “Quiz Shows”:
8 – “Quiz Show”
Robert Redford directed this 1994 film that looks at the infamous “Quiz Show” scandals o the 50’s.
Ralph Fiennes, Rob Morrow and John Turtuirro star…here is the trailer:
Rob Morrow is a young lawyer working for a Congressional subcommittee in the late 1950s, who discovers that TV quiz shows are being fixed. His investigation focuses on two contestants on the show “Twenty-One”: Herbert Stempel, a brash working-class Jew from Queens, and Charles Van Doren, the patrician scion of one of America’s leading literary families.
This is a terrific film, especially Turturro’s performance as Stempel, who is forced to let his competitor win simply because he was better looking and therefore more appealing to the TV-watching public. But guess what?
No part of the game show cheating was against any law!
Instead, the participants were prosecuted for obstruction of justice and perjury for lying about it. It led to massive changes in laws regarding contests and competitions on TV!
From one bio-pic to another, thanks to an Oscar-winning performance by Helen Mirren:
7 – “The Queen”
Mirren won Best Actress in 2006 for her portrayal of “The Queen”, and how she reacted to the death of Princess Diana…here is the trailer:
Director Stephen Frears got an amazing, nuanced performance from Mirren as a Queen who finds herself out of touch with a public who loved the former daughter-in-law she didn’t.
Helen Mirren has had a great career so far, filled with provocative performances across many genres..here are some highlights, which I shared to celebrate her birthday in July:
Next up is another Queen, not quite as “royal”:
6 – “The Queen Of Versailles”
Jackie Siegel and her husband had a lavish lifestyle – until the economic crash of 2008 tore their life apart, and put their “castle” at risk…check out the trailer:
This is a terrific 2012 documentary that follows the couple as they build a mansion inspired by Versailles…and as you watch them spend money and exude privilege, you realize this isn’t a film about them: it’s a story about America, money and status…
It’s eye-opening and surprisingly poignant as well…
Now, time for a powerful, raucous movie based on a double album by The Who!
5 – “Quadrophenia”
Pete Townsend wrote an amazing concept album about a group of mods and rockers in London – and in 1979 it was made into a great movie and yes, that’s Sting!
Here is the trailer:
Pete Townsend’s songwriting is superb – this is a really great film that captures a unique time in England’s history of upheaval – oh, and 50 years on, The Who are still on tour!
Here is a look at their incredible career:
Heading back to the states from England, we “saddle up” and ride into the wild wild west:
4 – “The Quick And The Dead”
Call her the “lady with no name” – Sharon Stone rides into town like Clint Eastwood at his best and takes on the most ruthless gunslingers in the west – check out the trailer:
Director Sam Raimi assembled a “once in a lifetime” cast: Sharon Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gene Hackman and Russell Crowe!
This is a really good western – we need more of them!
What we don’t need is this – a sub-par 007: every James Bond craps out at least once, and it was no different for Daniel Craig:
3 – “Quantum Of Solace”
Daniel Craig was coming off a fantastic re-boot of the Bond series with “Casino Royale” – so I want to know this: why make an installment where he does nothing but seek revenge – over and over and over – and with the most dour expressions and humorless approach possible…here is the trailer, more akin to a Bourne film than a Bond:
Luckily, they quickly moved past this somber exercise and gave us the terrific “Skyfall”, but then left us with “Spectre.” We will see if “No Time To Die” ends Craig’s time as 007 on a high note or not.
Want to weigh in on the best and worst Bonds of all time? Take a look at the contenders here and let me know your vote:
Director Sidney Lumet made such great movies as “Dog Day Afternoon” and “The Verdict”, but he directed many others as well, like this obscure film that is terrific as well:
2 – “Q & A”
A young New York DA goes after a corrupt police detective in this 1990 drama – here is the trailer:
While not one of his best, Lumet always got terrific performances out of his cast…in that regard, I’m not sure our last “Q” movie NEEDED a great performance, because it had the one, the only:
Zsa Zsa Gabor!
1 – “Queen Of Outer Space”
What better way to wrap this list than with a clamp classic! Zsa Zsa Gabor stars as, who else, the “Queen Of Outer Space!”
Here is the trailer:
Well now you know, in the future – that’s right, 1985 – we are landing on other planets, including one run by women – and only women!
I love this movie so much – I mean, it was Zsa Zsa!
If you don’t know who Zsa Zsa Gabor was, imagine a Kardasian at that time: famous for being famous.
I love all kinds of film: Oscar winners, and those that aren’t – just entertain me, that’s all I ask!
As we look at the movie alphabet, I have had fun with films with the letter “J”, like this classic:
You can see the other nine that joined Bruce the Shark on my list by clicking on my story here:
And I had a great time running down “Movies With An M” as well:
So many to choose from, check out what I chose by clicking on my story here:
I’m making my way through the entire movie alphabet – and you can easily catch up, just go to my main page and click on the “Movies” tab!
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