From Tony over at milkriverblog. Like Aydin at Snail's Tales, I have several obscure favorites. I'll just have list a few that are nowhere to be found on the IMDB top 250 (there's an extensive list of good obscure films tucked in between the obvious ones).
El Mariachi: Robert Rodriguez's debut. Filmed at a cost of about $9,000 where each scene was shot entirely with one take, this is a treat to watch. Unfettered by too much money, this is what a good action movie should be. A guitar-carrying mariachi singer tries to look for work in a small Mexican border town, while an identically dressed assassin (complete with identical guitar case) breezes into the same town. The mariachi and hit man unwittingly exchange guitar cases and hilarity ensues. Please watch this in the original spanish with english subtitles. Much better.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead: Tom Stoppard's heady, existentialist play turned into a movie. Watching the film after reading the play script, I was able to catch most of the subtle intellectual humor involved, but this movie still provides something new each viewing. Tim Roth and Gary Oldman are well paired as the two Shakespearian bit players, while Richard Dreyfus as "The Player" deftly spins the "life-as-art/art-as-life" motif.
The Snapper: Someone else already mentioned The Commitments, so I'll plug Roddy Doyle's second book/movie in the Barrytown Trilogy. It's funny, but not at the expense of the intelligence of the viewer, or dignity of the character. I haven't actually seen number three "The Van," yet, but it should probably go in with the other two as well.
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai: Forest Whitaker as a mafia hit man (notice a theme in my meme?) who follows the Samurai code. The usual tale of betrayal and revenge are there, but the Haitian ice cream truck driver and the girl with whom he discusses literature make this more of a study of human nature than most action movies.
Himalaya - l'enfance d'un chef Beautiful cinematography, a classic story retold via the Tibetan salt caravan. Go read the outline on IMDB if you want. A beautiful movie - and having read the "Snow Leopard" by Peter Matthiesson gave me a better understanding of the Dolpo region.
Yin shi nan nu (Eat Drink Man Woman): Another good film. A master chef living in Taipei with his daughters, life happens and is filmed beautifully.
Well, that's a bunch more movies than I intended. I'm going to stop now before I waste all my time with this meme.