Dress Down Friday

Obscure flicks

As a recent subscriber to Netflix.com, I am on the lookout for obscure and unheralded films that I may have missed (or may not even have heard of) but would nevertheless enjoy.

To start things rolling, I’ll mention three movies which I’m pretty sure most of you haven’t seen (or even heard of). I wouldn’t call any of them great, but each in its own way deeply impressed me.

Baby It’s You. Any flick that opens with Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ “Wolly Bully” and closes with the Shirelles’ song of the title has a lot going for it anyway. But John Sayles’s second film (from 1983) is the funny and touching story of a doomed high-school romance between an upper-middle-class Jewish girl (Rosanne Arquette) and a working-class Italian-American guy (Vincent Spano) in Trenton, New Jersey, circa 1967.

Who’ll Stop the Rain. Again, a terrific soundtrack (featuring the title song and others by Creedence Clearwater Revival) and terrific cast (Nick Nolte, Michael Moriarity and, yes, Tuesday Weld) in a powerful post-Vietnam war movie from 1978.

The Summer of Aviya (Ha’kayitz shel Aviya). This 1988 Israeli movie tells the story of a traumatized survivor of the Holocaust and her 10-year-old daughter trying to make a new life in Israel in 1951– among the hundreds of thousands of immigrants adjusting (some better than others) to life in the new state. I was particularly moved by the reminder of Israeli radio broadcasts of the time, in which the names of Holocaust survivors were read in hopes of reaching relatives who also survived and made it to Israel.

Your turn. If you’re having trouble remembering titles, actors, plot details, etc., the Internet Movie Database can help.

Update: Thanks for all the suggestions.