A lot of people think that television movies are inferior to their theatrical counterparts, but these fantastic TV films tell an entirely different narrative.
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Overall, television movies have a negative reputation and tend to be disdained. There’s a general belief that because they weren’t good enough to be released on the big screen, they were relegated to smaller and less stunning screens at the theater. And certainly, there are many movies made for television that aren’t quite as good as those aired in theaters for a variety of reasons. For other films, though, that isn’t necessarily true.
In the last few years, the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu has challenged the idea that only movies released in theaters are of high quality. Netflix, for example, has developed and made available dozens of original movies that have become massively popular. Let’s take a look at some of the best television movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes, to see if they’re as excellent or better than their theatrical equivalents.
1. Room 237 (2012): 94%
Films by Stanley Kubrick, such as2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, andFull Metal Jacket, have made him a household name in Hollywood.
“The Shining” is one of Stanley Kubrick’s most well-known works, and the film’s relevance is as pertinent as it was 30 years ago.
Room 237 is a documentary that focuses solely on the interpretation of the film’s supposedly hidden meanings and cryptic allusions. The subject is approached from a variety of angles, making for a fascinating read.
2. The Return (2003): 95%
In this Golden Globe-nominated film, two young Russians embark on an unexpected trek in the forest. As their long-lost father reappears, Andrey and Ivan are forced to confront a whole new set of feelings and thoughts.
As these three men’s stories weave together over the period of six days, it’s safe to say that no one in the audience will emerge unscathed.
3. Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008): 95%
In general, the 1970s were an exciting time, but in the Australian film business, they were particularly so. Australian films at this time saw an extraordinary increase in violence, sex, over the top action, and horror in their content.
Ozploitation! is a 2008 documentary that takes a closer look at this period, recognizing the incredible talent of the people who worked in the business and educating the next generation of filmmakers about their country’s rich filmmaking history.
4. Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey (2011): 95%
Elmo is a well-known and beloved puppet. Even if you’re a tween or an adult, chances are you’ve encountered Elmo at some point in your life.
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey takes a playful and heartwarming look at the life of Kevin Clash, the man behind the puppet, who brings Elmo to life.
5. Behind The Candelabra (2013): 95%
One of the most talked-about romances in the ’50s was Liberace’s frenzied and complicated romance with a young Scott Thorson, which lasted for half a decade.
Matt Damon and Scott feature in 2013’s Behind the Candelabra, which won two Golden Globes for its depiction of this complicated love story.
6. Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003): 96%
L.A. is known as both an angel and a star-studded metropolis. Los Angeles has been the setting for countless films, and the film Los Angeles Plays Itself tries to capture that feeling.
Thom Andersen examines Los Angeles through the lens of the film industry, revealing how the city’s inhabitants and the landscape have been distorted in the process. A heartfelt ode to one of the world’s most iconic locations.
7. A Film Unfinished (2010): 97%
Historians were shocked to uncover, after the Second World War, an incomplete film depicting life in the Warsaw ghetto, only to learn just how much shady dealings were going on in the film business prior to WWII.
With the help of historical documents and a reel from the infamous unfinished film, A Film Unfinished explores the contrast between the way Jews were portrayed onscreen and behind the camera.
8. 49 Up (2005): 97%
There are few documentaries with a more intriguing premise and a more rewarding conclusion than this one. A group of seven-year-olds were the subjects of a series of films directed and produced by Michael Apted back in 1964. As they got older, he continued to see them every seven years until they were 49 years old.
In other words, 49 Upis an honest and unvarnished look at the lives of a diverse group of young people as they enter puberty and then adulthood. You can’t see this movie without feeling connected to some of the characters’ experiences, hopes, and woes as seen through the lens of a camera.
9. Life Itself (2014): 97%
Roger Joseph Ebert, who was born in 1942, is regarded by many in the film business as one of the greatest and most well-known film critics of all time. He was able to create a career as a movie critic because to his connections with notable directors, performers, and producers, which culminated in him winning a Pulitzer Prize.
Many people were saddened and delighted to learn about Roger Ebert’s life after his death in 2014, when his autobiography, Life Itself, was published.
10. Afghan Star (2009): 100%
Attempts to find the next big star have been around since the dawn of time.
There have been countless incarnations of American Idol, The Voice, and X Factor in the West over the years, each with a distinct focus on finding the next big pop star.
Unlike the UK, US, or Europe, the stakes are far higher in Afghanistan for the contestants of the show it’s named after. Finalists make a strong case for sticking together and going after their dreams even though just being on the show is enough to put them in jeopardy.