Of all the lists I’m making for this Top Tens of the Decade feature, I need to explain this one the most. Since the phrase ‘hidden gem’ can apply various different ways to a film and can mean different things: a) a movie you don’t know about that’s great and should be seen; b) a movie you may have heard of but probably haven’t seen that you should see; c) a movie you know and may have even seen, but is being underrated by the film community; d) a movie that straight up just needs to be seen by more people.
Obviously there are way more than just 200 gems from this decade. In my first run-through, simply compiling a list of things I might have on this list, before I considered whether they fit the criteria I wanted to use for it while also trying to be as exclusive as possible, I had over 250 films. I get that this isn’t a be-all, end-all list. These are just the 200 I chose to talk about because they’re the ones I felt deserved the most notice in this particular article and are the ones I wanted to shout out the most.
Now, how I went about the rankings was more vague. Part of it had to be how much I liked each of the films. I don’t see how it couldn’t be. But it’s not just that. Because that’s just a top films list, which I’m gonna do after this one’s done. This one’s also about just how much of a hidden gem I felt the movie is, or how much I wanted to give you that nudge in the direction of, “Hey, maybe you’re wrong about this and should give it a (or another) shot.” Or how much I wanted to emphasize, “You need to see this movie.”
I think it goes without saying – just because something is on this list doesn’t mean I assume you don’t know it. It’s because I figure (or know) there’s a larger percentage of people than I want to guess that either haven’t seen the movie or don’t fully appreciate the movie, and the goal is to introduce it to them. If you’re already in the camp of having seen it, good for you. I’m pretty sure most people reading this will have at least a quarter of this list that they haven’t seen. I suspect it’s more, but I truly don’t know how crazy most people are in relation to me in terms of seeing everything. I think most people will get some cool movies out of this. (more…)
78. “A Lovely Night,” from La La Land
And look who enters the fray. Almost forgot about this one, didn’t you? On the one hand, I feel weird having this as the lowest ranked song from the movie, but on the other hand, all the songs from this movie are in the top 80 of the list. That’s immense respect in and of itself.
This is the weakest of the songs in the movie, to me, because it’s not really about the lyrics so much as it’s about the gorgeous pre-dawn setting and the dancing. This is the Fred and Ginger song. And if only they set up this part of the relationship a bit better (the meet-cute and the initial ‘dislike’), then the song lyrics that talk about how the lovely night is wasted on the two of them, who aren’t in love, might work a bit better. But like I said, it’s not really about the lyrics so much as it’s about the two of them performing the song, doing the tap dancing and the gorgeous view behind them. It’s one of the most memorable film music moments of the decade, but on a pure song level… this spot feels about right for it.