Being There

Being funny is never easy, especially when you’re being funny about unfunny things. As far as dark humor goes, death is actually a rather simple topic to cover. However once you start getting into the meaning of death, or mass genocide, or the afterlife, that’s when things start getting a little tricky. Sometimes you have to stop worrying about offending the people who won’t get it and start worrying about entertaining the people who will. So here are some movies that, no matter what your feelings on them are, managed to successfully make a mockery out of something quite serious.

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As movie-goers, we are all familiar with that excruciating moment when you are watching a movie and the action is so horribly uncomfortable that you actually feel the need to cover your own face. It’s this nonsensically powerful moment when you actually feel embarrassed for a fictional character because of some terribly awkward scenario that you’d rather watch a murder than bare witness to. It’s like a horror movie almost – it’s that same turtle reaction where you just want to shrink away. And like horror, it’s either done really well or it’s abused, which is why I want to share with you the films I think did it the very best. Oh, and if you are wondering why I only picked 9 – it’s the most awkward number I could think of.

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Over Under - Large

When thinking about which films I consider to be overrated, I keep coming back to two different categories. First there are the art films that get embraced by the movie geek community and praised to high heaven for their crafting, whether they really makes for an exceptional overall movie-going experience or not. And then there are the movies that get overrated by the mainstream. They’re mostly sentimental movies that tug on the heartstrings, with characters that hit low lows, but then achieve some new victory. Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump is definitely the latter. It’s a movie that seems designed solely to make parents and grandparents nod knowingly at historical incidents they remember and then tear up when a sad part rolls around; but they love it for it. Being There was nominated for the Palme d’Or and even won Melvyn Douglas an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor back when it came out, but it’s a movie I never hear mentioned these days. As a matter of fact, other than the little bit of nostalgia that remains for Harold and Maude, I would say that Hal Ashby is a director whose career has been kind of forgotten by my generation of film fans. That’s a shame, because the man did some great work, and this film in particular has one of the last great performances by the legendary Peter Sellers.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Today’s trailer is a simple gardener who gets mistaken for so much more. Maybe it’s true: All you have to be is white in America to get everything. Peter Sellers crushes every single scene he’s in without batting an eye or letting a smile slip. Of course, it helps that he can walk on water. Life is a state of mind. Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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Chances are that you stumbled upon this list while googling “Amber Heard Clothed.” It’s okay. We get mistaken for The Huffington Post all the time. Our feelings aren’t hurt at all. Cases of mistaken identity are not a daily occurrence (unless wrong numbers count) for everyone. They’re something we shouldn’t be able to relate to in any way, something relegated to the world of secret agents and people with houses on top of Mount Rushmore. Yet, for some reason, they work incredibly well as a plot device – most likely because they represent one of our greatest fears. Being mistaken for someone else robs us of our own identity, places our sanity into question, and can lead to physical danger if the person we’re being mistaken for is in trouble. Movies that use them well ask a question of how quickly your life can change because of someone else and how far reality can be turned on its head. In celebration of reality being called into question, we present the list of The 10 Most Confusing Cases of Mistaken Identity.

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“I don’t understand the concept of bad masturbation,” is how Rob Hunter responded to me pitching this list, and he’s right. No one should understand that concept unless they have the tragic disease known as Sandpaper Hands. However, there is a certain challenge in filming someone masturbating that separates the men from the boys, and the women from the girls. Thus, while bad masturbation may be unfathomable, a bad masturbation scene is easy to imagine. “It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can’t masturbate without lust,” is how Senate-seat-seeker Christine O’Donnell responded to an interviewer discussing pro-abstinence groups and their mission not going far enough. These cultural phenomena are colliding in an explosive way. So, in honor of Ms. O’Donnell, we’d like to share the lust in our hearts and a few great masturbation scenes on film.

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Our Culture Warrior Landon Palmer digs into next month’s Cannes line up so you won’t have to. Learn what to look out for when they hit the states and feign sounding cultured at parties!

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Top5Dunstan

Six years ago, Marcus Dunstan was working at Blockbuster Home Video. Within the past four years, he and writing partner Patrick Melton have become major go-to’s in the horror world. On Friday, his directorial debut opened on 1,325 screens. Today, he shares his Top 5 Films with The Rejects. And now, in his own words…

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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