UHF (1989)

Weird Al Yankovic wanted the title to be “The Vidiot” but the studio preferred “UHF,” despite being an obscure reference* to foreign audiences and a now obsolete reference to modern ones. Much of this movie’s slapdash humor was ad-libbed and many incidents and reactions were completely unscripted. Movie references abound, as do sight gags, most of which are without special effects, e.g. the “Wheel of (live) Fish.” With the likes of such a zany ensemble, expect the unexpected.

*Ultra High Frequency (TV broadcasting wavelength for cable, which has since been replaced by satellite)

The Truman Show (1998)

What was ahead of its time—many people dismissed the premise of a TV studio adopting a child, around which a reality show would be taped, as ridiculously exaggerated—may now seem trivial or irrelevant. The lengths to which The Entertainment Industry will go for an audience (not to mention advertising, including product placement) always surprise us for some reason. In light of the births of current celebrity babies—the mothers of whom take future brand identity into consideration when naming them—it might be wise to revisit this movie and consider the impact of a scenario that’s not likely to be hypothetical for much longer.

Parkland (2013)

I’m always wary of a movie with a plethora of seasoned actors; it has the potential to feel like a required class, in which Hollywood’s upperclassmen sit around chewing scenery. In this instance, I was pleasantly surprised. The true unsung hero, however, is the screenwriter, who not only chose to focus on overlooked perspectives of JFK’s assassination (a story that’s threadbare from handling) but who also prepared a medium through which the stars could best showcase their craft. Texas’ historically underappreciated hospital finally gets its moment in the sun.

Brother’s Keeper (1992)

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”  –Aldous Huxley

Tension escalates in this disquieting documentary following the death of the oldest of four elderly brothers. Neighbors from the rural town, who’ve known “the boys” since they were born in the house in which they still live, insist it was an accident, more than likely natural causes. The media refuses to believe a sinister motive wasn’t a contributing factor.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” He said, “I don’t know; am I my brother’s keeper?” –Genesis 4:9