Death Proof (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
Known for: Pulp Fiction (1994), Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 (2003, 2004), Reservoir Dogs (1992)
What it’s about: Two groups of women find themselves stalked by the scarred, former Hollywood stuntman, “Stuntman Mike” (Kurt Russel), who uses his “death proof” stunt car as means to execute and fulfill his murderous ambitions.
Why it’s worth watching: A part of the unusual “Grindhouse” theatrical phenomenon, Tarantino’s unorthodoxly edited Death Proof was the least favorite of all of his films. Many fans agreed with that notion, finding the straightforward story and strange appearance unappealing and outlandish. But Death Proof proved to be, at least, a well-executed experiment, as Tarantino demonstrates his love for film here perhaps more directly than any of his other projects.
Key Largo (dir. John Huston)
Known for: The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
What it’s about: Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) travels down to Key Largo to honor the memory of a fallen soldier in his WWII unit, where the man’s widow, Nora (Lauren Bacall), and her wheelchair-restricted father (Lionel Barrymore) run a hotel. Also staying in the hotel is the dangerous mobster, Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson), who, after a hurricane assaults the island, takes control and holds the other guests hostage.
Why it’s worth watching: Hiding somewhere within the legendary collaboration of Bogart and Huston is Key Largo. Made shortly after The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, this thriller was lost beneath the now classic, with only film and Bogie fanatics (for the most part) finding and watching it. Bogart and Bacall once again demonstrate their remarkable chemistry here, and Robinson delivers a brutish performance as the gangster and leads the remarkable supporting cast. Though not as popular as Casablanca, or many of Bogart and Huston’s other works, Key Largo is still a remarkable film noir.