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Favourite low budget movies....

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Tom Sefton
Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 30, 2013 at 9:30:26 pm

Another OCD list based question for you. What are your favourite films that have been made for less than $10m? This seems like a reasonable figure, you could make 20 of these gems for the same price as Battleship....there's a thought.

1. Little Miss Sunshine - I love this film. It's got heart. Steve Carell has got some serious acting chops.

2. Dead Mans Shoes - Shane Meadows best film - Paddy Considine delivers a menacing and increasingly unhinged performance. Brutal Revenge. "I'm not threatening you mate, it's beyond f*****g words...."

NSFW






3. Control - Joy Division and Ian Curtis. Beautifully shot.

4. This is England - Shane Meadows again. Skinheads and ska in Thatchers Britain.

5. The Descent - claustrophobic and terrifying.

6. Memento - I quite like this film.....

There are more - I love small and independent films. One of my favourite books is Down and Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind - a mecca of film geek trivia.


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Kylee Peña
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 30, 2013 at 11:43:23 pm

I did NOT know The Descent was less than $10 million. That makes it way more awesome.

Moon
Amelie (I looked, it was listed AT ten, but maybe they rounded up instead of down!)
Once
Primer ($7000 or something. Amazing film.)
Brick
And breaking the one word titles (maybe they couldn't afford two words?) is Garden State.

Just kidding, I also add Run Lola Run.

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twitter: @kyl33t
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Tom Sefton
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 30, 2013 at 11:54:46 pm

I started watching the reboot of Spider-Man tonight. It cost nearly quarter of a billion dollars to make and it is a steaming pile of crap. Depressing.

Great call with moon.

Reservoir dogs - too obvious to remember first time round
Rocky
Layer cake - bond is born...


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Tom Sefton
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 31, 2013 at 12:29:21 am

Oh and pi


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Tim Wilson
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 31, 2013 at 4:35:00 am

Tom, I LOVE that you mention Control. I wish this had gotten more attention here. Directed by the photographer Anton Corbijn (his directoral debut), and shot beautifully (in color, printed to black and white) by Martin Ruhe. Anton paid half of its 4.5 euro budget himself -- unheard of.

(The two collaborated again on The American, starring George Clooney.)

One of the most famous of the micro-budget pictures in the US was El Mariachi by Robert Rodriguez. It was one of the first films financed by a series of, uhm, creative, uses of credit cards that got widespread attention. The seams show really clearly, and Rodriguez's DVD commentary on the plethora of cut corners and outright mistakes is priceless, but it's immediately obvious why Columbia picked it up for distribution "as is." They paid many times more than its $7500 budget just for theatrical prints of course.

It's a shame that Blair Witch Project's reputation hasn't weathered better, but what an amazing movie. $600K budget, returned something like $250 mil. Not that that's what qualifies the movie as successful for me, but a then-towering feat of imagination.

One of its progeny, Paranormal Activity, was shot for $15,000.

Clerks -- $28,000. DAY-yum I love this movie.

Evil Dead -- $400K-ish

Rocky was $1m, which was considered low-budget even at the time. American Graffiti was $770K.

It kind of raises the question of what we mean by low-budget. Little Miss Sunshine is a terrific movie, but at $8m, puts it next to 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, and American Psycho (all also $8m), Donnie Darko ($4.5), Lost In Translation ($4m)...

...but Pi at $70K or Once at $150K or Brick at $175K is a different story than those....but all pretty good stories. :-) These and the others on this thread so far are gems.


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Kylee Peña
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 31, 2013 at 5:02:41 am

Yeah, true. If you look at SAG guidelines for example, they consider low budget to be under 2.5 million. Obviously not all of these are SAG, but that's pretty far from $10 million.

EL Mariachi is maybe the definitive low budget success story.

I also submit Napoleon Dynamite to this thread. Nothing like making a movie for less than half a million and having it become one of the most merchandised and quoted films I can remember this century.

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twitter: @kyl33t
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Michael Phillips
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 31, 2013 at 4:01:22 pm

One False Move ($2M)
The Last Seduction ($6.1M)
Red Rock West ($2.5M)
Millions ($6.5M)
Shallow Grave ($2.88M)
Bernie ($9.8M)
Mulholland Drive ($7.2M)
Lost Highway (3.8M)
Blue Velvet ($8.5M)

etc, etc, etc,

I think things get more interesting if listing movies below $2M. The difference in many of these films is the above the line talent costs - I suspect below the line are all pretty close.


Michael


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Tom Sefton
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 31, 2013 at 4:10:07 pm

Very true about $10m not really being low budget - it was as much a comment on the poor state of the film industry that $10m could be even considered as low budget! I'd love to see any of these films again, whereas the list of films made for 10 times this amount that hold any value or merit is very small. Inception....not much else.

True about Blair witch project - it was a great idea and well delivered.

Forgot about easy rider- $360,000 and it influenced a generation.

I suppose a flipside to this question would be the best big budget films - $100m and more.....


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Tim Wilson
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 31, 2013 at 6:43:08 pm

[Tom Sefton] "I suppose a flipside to this question would be the best big budget films - $100m and more....."

Quick! Start that thread before I take this one off topic!!!

Michael, I'm really glad you mentioned The Last Seduction. In a thread where Battleship came up, I mentioned that I miss seeing Peter Berg as an actor. He's terrific in this, as is Linda Fiorentino, who should definitely be working more. (Stellar in Dogma, btw, one of my favorite movies.)

I also like calling $2m the ceiling for low budget. Kylee mentions that SAG calls it $2.5, writers guild calls it $1.2.

Here are some others to put in the pile of under $2m. I've tried not to mention movies we've already talked about...but who knows. Once you start looking in this narrower range, though, some of these are a little easier to see.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail $350,000
Living In Oblivion $500,000 (hilarious, heartbreaking picture by Tom DeCillo of indie moviemaking, starring Steve Buscemi, Katherine Keener, Dermot Mulroney, Peter Dinklage and James Le Gros sending up Brad Pitt, who DeCillo previously directed in Johnny Suede, also for $500K)
Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels $1.35m
Beasts of The Southern Wild $1.8 million
Aguirre The Wrath Of God $350,00
Swingers $250,000
Slacker $23,000
Blood Simple $1.5m
Rocky Horror Picture Show $1.4m
She's Gotta Have It $185,000
Stranger Than Paradise $100,000 (shot, interestingly enough, to me anyway, by Tom DiCillo
Welcome to The Dollhouse $800,000
Enter The Dragon $850,000
Open Water $500,000
Eraserhead $100,000
The Brothers McMullen $25,000
Sex Lies & Videotape $1.2m
Buffalo 66 $1.8m (I think this movie is passed over because Vincent Gallo is such a creepy dude, but this one is really good)
24 Hour Party People, estimated at $1-2m
Squeaking in at $2m, 2 all-time classics: Ghost Dog: Way Of The Samurai and Go.


I keep leaving off documentaries, which can sometimes be done on a shoestring, but some of those have higher budgets than you'd think. Bowling for Columbine is one of my all-time favorites, and that was $4m. Of course, another of my favorites is Roger & Me, and it came in at $140,000, so this is fair game.

Other favorites:

I can't find a number for Fog Of War -- surely under $2m?
Encounters at the end of the World and Cave of Forgotten Dreams, both $1m-ish
An Inconvenient Truth $1m-ish
Hoop Dreams $700,000
Supersize Me %65,000...although By The Numbers and Wikipedia call it $1m. Wha..?? But still.


There are a whole bunch of horror movies in here -- Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, etc -- all under $1m, as were both Mad Max and Road Warrior, but none of these are even close to my favorites list, whereas many of the above ones are very much on my favorites list, regardless of budget.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 31, 2013 at 7:09:27 pm

And I'm glad you mentioned Living in Oblivion - certainly in my list of favorites regardless of budget. Did you know that the first part that is black and white was the original film done as a short? When the discussion came up to turn the short into a feature, he made the great decision to pick up from there. Just love that movie and how close to the bone it is for anyone who has jumped into low budget filmmaking.

I like all of John Dahl's films and a fellow film school student at Montana Statue University back in the day... he was three years behind me if I recall.

Another one of my favorites is Diva by Jean-Jacques Beineix and was made for $108K. And how about Chinatown for $6M!

Movies over $100M is a good discussion - so much of those are based on trying to please as many people as possible that they become generic.

Very few of the top 50 box office of all time are over $10M budget. That is pretty eye opening.

Here's a list of most expensive films to start choosing from... I would have to say Dark Knight, Avengers, Toy Story 3, WALL-E, UP, Inception, are the ones I would watch a few more times. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_films


Michael


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Tim Wilson
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 31, 2013 at 8:36:47 pm

[Michael Phillips] "Did you know that the first part that is black and white was the original film done as a short? When the discussion came up to turn the short into a feature, he made the great decision to pick up from there. Just love that movie and how close to the bone it is for anyone who has jumped into low budget filmmaking. "

I didn't know that! I love it!

One of my favorite parts is a bit where they're trying to get 60 seconds of room sound. They fail the first few tries of course, but they play out the 60 seconds in real time, making you realize that you may never have seen 60 ACTUAL seconds playing the PART of 60 seconds in a movie. Excruciating. Another of the humiliating details of low-budget filmmaking that will nevertheless bring a smile to anyone who's been part of this world.

Another terrific movie that started as a black and white short is Bottle Rocket. Directing debut of Wes Anderson, as well as the feature debuts for Luke and Owen Wilson, the latter of whom co-wrote it with Anderson.

Alas, the budget was $7 million and returned only $500,000 and change. OOPS! If only those numbers were reversed. LOL In any case, a low enough budget to have made the first iteration of our list, available in a really nice Criterion Blu-ray and DVD edition that also includes the B&W short. Scorsese called it one of the best movies of the 90s, and I agree completely.

And things turned out just fine for Wes and the Wilson boys.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 31, 2013 at 8:46:48 pm

Bottle Rocket is a great little movie. I worked on the original short and did all the matchback negative cut supervision for what was still at that point in time, "new" technology.

:)


Michael


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Tim Wilson
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Mar 31, 2013 at 11:30:48 pm

[Michael Phillips] " I worked on the original short "

Okay, now THAT's cool. :-)

And I really do like that movie a lot.

Matchback negative cut sounds like a professional figure-skating move. "Look at that, Dick - she's coming out of the matchback negative cut and STRAIGHT into a triple Salchow. Unbelievable."


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Stephen Smith
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Apr 1, 2013 at 3:10:10 pm

Saints and Soldier was made for I recall $500,000. It is a WW2 film which I think would be very challenging to do at that budget. It felt like a multi-million dollar film. They relied heavily on story instead of SFX. It was made in 2003 and and worth your time if you can find it.

Here is the trailer: http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2829887001/


[Kylee]
I also submit Napoleon Dynamite to this thread. Nothing like making a movie for less than half a million and having it become one of the most merchandised and quoted films I can remember this century.

I loved Napoleon Dynamite. I still quote it every now and then. I haven't had Tater Tots since Elementary School and was reminded about then when watching the film. Not bad.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Apr 1, 2013 at 3:40:58 pm

Living in Oblivion is one of my all-time faves.

I also really like "The Kid Stays In ThePicture".

For micro-budget, can you beat the original "Little Shop Of Horrors"? Really, fifty percent or more of Roger Corman's movies would probably fit the micro-budget category. "Battle Beyond The Satrs" is one of Rogers' that particularly am fond of: few movies have so many old and new stars crossing paths in them as that film.


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Scott Roberts
Re: Favourite low budget movies....
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:37:05 pm

Troma Entertainment has been producing terrible low budget horror movies since the 1970s. I've somewhat grown out of them, but they were prominently watched during my high school and college days. Are they the best movies ever? Not at all, but they aren't trying to be. But honestly, these kinds of movies tend to get teenagers interested into going into filmmaking just as much (or more?) than most other genres of films. They're like a gateway drug.

I imagine since Troma is still producing films on a regular basis, they should be considered something of a success story. They did have a hand in a few filmmakers' development, including James Gunn (director of the upcoming Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy) and Trey Parker (who had his first film Cannibal The Musical distributed through Troma).

It's all immature violence and nudity, for sure, but that has its place in society as well. And Lloyd Kaufman recently announced that Hollywood will be making a PG-13 adaptation of The Toxic Avenger! I'm down. I wonder how much that will cost...?







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