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Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

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Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Old 10-16-20, 01:18 PM
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Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

I was on a video chat at work the other day where a number of us joined in early. While we were shooting the breeze, the subject of movies came up, and one guy said that he could only watch movies that have big name stars. I mentioned that there are perfectly good films with solid actors who haven't gotten the spotlight for whatever reason and that famous stars are perfectly capable of making bad movies. Buddy would have none of it, insisting that movies with unrecognizable faces are just not worth watching. The meeting started soon afterwards, and that was that.

I was wondering if anybody here holds the same view, that scripted features are only 'good' if they have some star power to them. I obviously don't believe that since I'll watch foreign and independent movies along with big budget blockbusters that have famous headliners, but I wouldn't mind hearing the opposing view and why some of you prefer to watch movies with big name stars.

In terms of films I've watched recently with no marquee names, I would recommend the following:

Ginger Snaps (2000) - absolutely amazing coming-of-age flick that seamlessly blends lycanthropy with puberty.

The Stepford Wives (1975) - who needs big stars when you have a creepy premise and a killer ending?

The Farewell (2019) - only about 20% of the dialogue is in English with the rest subtitled but still a charming family drama for those who can get past subs. And I know Awkwafina is a star on the rise, but she's still not an established name like Meryl Streep.

Hard Eight (1996) - P.T. Anderson's first feature that follows a veteran gambler and his protege. This one might be a bit of a cheat because it has John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson, and Gwyneth Patlrow in its cast, but the movie wasn't marketed on them because these actors weren't big at the time.

Starlet (2012) - a young woman forms an unlikely friendship with an old lady after buying items from her during a yard sale. This is a no-budget drama with some rather eye-opening surprises.

Crush the Skull (1& 2) (2010 and 2013) - these are really entertaining short films for people who like thrillers blended with dark comedy. They're available on Youtube and are less than 10 minutes a piece. The same filmmakers made a Crush the Skull feature in 2015, which is good but nowhere near as tight and zippy as the shorts.

Dave Made a Maze (2017) - really odd indie in which the title character gets trapped inside a cardboard maze he built in his apartment (spoiler: it only looks small from the outside--it's massive on the inside).

Coherence (2013) - four couples attend a dinner party on the night a comet passes overhead, and the group start to encounter shockingly bizarre occurrences. This movie should be the blueprint for how to make a very good science fiction movie with no money.

If anyone has anyone star-free recommendations, please feel free to share. Conversely, if you're never going to watch a movie that doesn't have at least one big star in it, I'd love to get your perspective as well.
Old 10-16-20, 01:27 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Your friend is a philistine. The end.
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Old 10-16-20, 01:53 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Yeah, what dex14 said.

I mean, if some star gets big, and he goes back and watches an older movie with that star, does that make it better?


As for me, I don't follow stars or directors. I lean towards fantasy/sci fi, and can enjoy "bad" movies if the setting, tone and acting are good enough to overcome a thin story and dodgy FX.

Oh, a recent example - I just watched Gravity a few weeks ago, and loved the hell out of it. I recognized George Clooney since he's so well known it's hard not to, but for most of the movie I couldn't figure out if the leading lady was Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts (in fact, I just had to google it again to remember it was Bullock). But I loved the movie regardless of who she was.
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Old 10-16-20, 02:21 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Unfamiliar faces help me get into their characters a bit more easily because I don’t have previous associations with them.
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Old 10-16-20, 02:28 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
Unfamiliar faces help me get into their characters a bit more easily because I don’t have previous associations with them.
I think if the writing is good, yes. But if it's a little dodgy or has a slow beginning, a recognizable face can get help me build a connection faster.

I think it depends entirely on the actors' abilities. Often times, they went unknown for a reason. But I can still totally get into movies without big stars. I've been trying to watch more foreign films the past few years, and I never recognize anyone in those.
Old 10-16-20, 02:34 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Your friend is missing out on some of the best movies ever made. There’s tons of movies with no “big name” actors. I bet your friend doesn’t care for movies “you have to read”, aka subtitles either.
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Old 10-16-20, 02:48 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

How does your friend feel about animated movies?
Old 10-16-20, 03:22 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?


Old 10-16-20, 03:23 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Doesn't matter to me for movies, but I prefer unrecognizable actors for TV shows.

Old 10-16-20, 04:56 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

So he wouldn't have seen The Force Awakens if Harrison Ford wasn't highlighted in it?


Hell, the only "famous people" in the original Star Wars were a couple of gray haired side characters. Plenty of people in 1977 didn't care.
Old 10-16-20, 05:48 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

I only watch movies that star Tom Cruise, Vin Diesel or Shaquille O'Neal. So no.
Old 10-16-20, 06:06 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Lucky for your buddy, Hidden Figures had that guy from Big Bang Theory in it. Otherwise, he would have missed it.
Old 10-16-20, 06:32 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Usually not since that probably means most of the people are shitty actors.

Horror movies are famous for that.
Old 10-16-20, 08:28 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

As long as the casting is appropriate I donít care if theyíre a famous face or not. Of course, I could come up with examples where a movie was better for not having a famous person and when they are better with a famous person.

I will say that if an actor I really like is in a movie, it would most likely push me to see it when I otherwise wouldnít have had any interest.

Old 10-16-20, 08:31 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Originally Posted by TomOpus View Post
How does your friend feel about animated movies?
This is an instance where I much prefer non-famous actors in the roles. In rare instances a famous voice works (Toy Story) but the majority of the time I find famous voices distracting. Particularly sort-of-famous voices who arenít A-list but still have a recognizable voice. I spend most of the movie wracking my brain trying to figure out who the actor is.

Most of the classic animated movies Iíve seen in my life are voiced by people Iíve never heard of. And theyíre all the better for it.
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Old 10-16-20, 08:39 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

If reviews (mostly non-professional because professional movie reviewers and I don't normally see eye to eye) reveal a movie is exceptional, I don't think it matters to me who stars in it, although I really enjoyed Spring, The Endless, and The Void despite mixed reviews, just because they promised to be strange, and they definitely delivered.
Old 10-16-20, 11:23 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

I like good movies
Old 10-17-20, 06:30 AM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Originally Posted by GuessWho View Post
So he wouldn't have seen The Force Awakens if Harrison Ford wasn't highlighted in it?
That's a really good point. The guy works in a department that I don't normally have contact with so I'll drop him an e-mail asking him about TFA...if I have nothing better to do.

I hardly know the guy, but I suspect he watches movies casually. Just going off his comments during the video chat, he strikes me as the type who'll watch something based on brand recognition. So despite his claiming that movies with no famous actors are worth his time, he probably watched TFA, Star Trek 2009, etc. because of they're part of established brands.

My guess is that buddy would also watch something everyone is talking about, like The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity back when they snowballed into legitimate pop culture phenomena. That's essentially the same thing as branding since those became recognizable franchises as a result of their initial success.

As for animation, I haven't the foggiest idea how he feels or if he even watches animated movies. Personally, I just want a good voice actor who fits the character, which typically means someone who isn't a marquee star.

Old 10-17-20, 10:43 AM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Back in the old days of black-and-white second features, kung fu movies, Italian westerns, Japanese monster movies, British horror, French crime, Filipino action, etc., half the time we went to the movies we didn't know who the actors were. The genre was the star. Also, if you like Asian films you're often seeing movies, at least in your initial discovery, without recognizable stars. PARASITE was a big hit but none of the actors would have been recognizable to anyone who hadn't seen previous films by the same director.

But as for Hollywood films and indie American films, if the subject matter, director or genre interest me, I don't need stars. I remember liking PUNISHER: WAR ZONE (2008), to name one, a great deal and I don't recall being aware of any of those actors before.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 10-17-20 at 12:55 PM.
Old 10-17-20, 12:13 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

I canít tell you how often Iíll watch an animated film and then read all the voice cast and be surprised by whoís in there, even super famous names. I just donít always connect with actors if the character is well done.
Old 10-17-20, 01:49 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

I don't need big name actors in movies to enjoy them, but if a movie stars an actor I very fond of I am more inclined to watch it, even if the movie is crappy. For a long time I've watched every new Mickey Rourke movie. The 90s have been a difficult time for a Mickey Rourke fan and I haven't seen one of his movies since SIn City 2.
Old 10-17-20, 05:15 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Obviously there will be plenty of examples, but since you mentioned Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity... the horror genre is basically the embodiment of no-name actors. It seems to be a genre where actors cut their teeth but don't go back to once they're famous. Just look at the "Big 3" thread. Halloween, F13 & Elm Street wouldn't exist without no-name actors. Evil Dead also comes to mind (although is Bruce Campbell a huge name? He returned to that role) Skip to the 90's and you have Scream, Final Destination, The Ring and the aforementioned Blair Witch. More recently, how about IT?

Which leads to movies starring children; The Sandlot, Stand By Me, ET, Goonies & Gremlins come to mind. Did anyone go see Home Alone for Joe Pesci?

Sounds like really dumb stance to take and a way to miss out on some great movies.
Old 10-17-20, 05:52 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

I watch movies if it looks interesting to me. I don’t really go for who’s in it. Sure, I have my likes and will try to see their stuff, but I wouldn’t say I would go to a movie just bc Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence or Matt Damon is in it. A director is different. If fav director like Tarantino, most Eastwood, Chan-wook Park, maybe Ang Lee, John Woo perhaps. Shane Black. Ridley Scott, Scorsese to name a few, then I would see it based on director, but could careless who they cast in it. Big name star or no name or forgotten former star (like Tarantino does so masterfully). Which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy immensely when those directors use big name stars I love in their movies. Love continually appearances of some actors in many Scorsese and Tarantino movies...

Last edited by OldBoy; 10-17-20 at 05:58 PM.
Old 10-17-20, 05:56 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
Back in the old days of black-and-white second features, kung fu movies, Italian westerns, Japanese monster movies, British horror, French crime, Filipino action, etc., half the time we went to the movies we didn't know who the actors were. The genre was the star. Also, if you like Asian films you're often seeing movies, at least in your initial discovery, without recognizable stars. PARASITE was a big hit but none of the actors would have been recognizable to anyone who hadn't seen previous films by the same director.

But as for Hollywood films and indie American films, if the subject matter, director or genre interest me, I don't need stars. I remember liking PUNISHER: WAR ZONE (2008), to name one, a great deal and I don't recall being aware of any of those actors before.
I love that movie and ever since it, Ray Stevenson been in so much.
Old 10-17-20, 08:42 PM
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Re: Do you like movies with no recognizable stars?

Yeah, that ended up being way better and had some really mindless fun and violence to it.

If anyone wants to watch a couple of good films without any "big name" stars, I'd suggest Radius, a low budget film that really does skirt low budget but has a really great concept for a story. Freaky and fun. Another is Sputnik, a Russian film - with subtitles - that's very much akin to Alien with almost as much intensity.

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