Last October, Paramount released a new YouTube Channel, the Paramount Vault, a collection of clips and feature films designed to showcase the studio’s movie history (and maybe generate a little goodwill in the process). While the studio has done little to no marketing for the channel, they have continued to update the offerings with a freely rotating slew of films from their catalogue.
Some of these films are thankfully resurrected gems from the past … others should probably have stayed buried. Not to worry, though, the beautiful thing about the Paramount Vault is that the studio really has included something for every kind of film fan. From sophomoric comedies to real, live art, the Paramount Vault has you covered.
So, sit back, keep reading, and get ready to stream your face off.
For Those Jonesing For Some Violence
Wrong Turn At Tahoe
The odds are good that unless you frequent the Action section of Netflix, you’ve likely never heard of Wrong Turn at Tahoe. However, if you’re the type of viewer who’s willing to forego a little bit of “oh, I’ve seen that before,” then this gangster thriller starring Cuba Gooding Jr and Harvey Keitel may be just what you’re looking for.
Missing in Action
Chuck Norris in mid-eighties prime heads up this gun-battling ode to our soldiers in Vietnam (and how we really should have just thrown Chuck Norris and his machine gun at them the whole time). While it may be light on political relevance, Missing in Action rollicking adventure is still good fun when you just want to watch men being men while shooting other men.
American Ninja I & II
How is it possible that Michael Dudikoff never won an Oscar? I mean, what’s not relatable about *American Ninja’s storyline? A martial arts-trained fella working against his will on an army base in the Philippines runs up against a drug peddler with an army of ninjas who’s hell bent on picking a fight with the American government? I mean, that’s Best Screenplay fodder, at least, right?
King Solomon’s Mines
This 1985 remake of the silver screen classic never really got the respect it deserved. Richard Chamberlain’s inspired performance as iconic fortune hunter Allan Quartermaine makes King Solomon’s Mines well worth a watch, even if you’re one of those Raiders was better naysayers.
For Those With a Taste For the Otherworldly
Master of the Universe
If you grew up in the eighties, you need no motivation to watch Dolph Lundgren swing a sword in his underpants. Masters of the Universe is the straight shit, not least because the casting director somehow tricked Frank Langella into playing Skeletor. Courtney Cox is also there doing an unconvincing impression of someone capable of sympathy. It’s pure eighties goodness from beginning to end.
If you missed out on last year’s low budget sci-fi thriller, Area 51, it’s well worth 90 minutes of your time. An exercise in tension that leads to an explosive payoff, this found footage film is definitely a cut above the rest of the low budget horror so popular these days. If you enjoy a slow burn horror flick, check this one out.
You know you’ve seen Nickelodeon’s Clockstoppers, just admit it. You freaking loved it, too, didn’t you? Well, if you somehow missed it because you were outside playing or reading a book, Clockstoppers is a worthwhile trip back to a time when everyone going through puberty was sure Jesse Bradford was going to be a star. What? He was in Swimfan.
For the Types Who Want Raw, Human Drama
Don’t go into Defiance expecting a war film. It’s an Edward Zwick joint (he did The Last Samurai), so it’s plodding and thoughtful, not action-packed. That said, the well cast film features a variety of great performances set amid the real life struggles of two Jewish brothers struggling to find some kind of normalcy in the chaos of World War II.
Mel Gibson’s crazy eyes are in full effect as Hamlet the Danish prince who’s like 98 percent convinced his uncle offed his dad so he could bed his mom. This Zeffirelli film also sees the Aussie backed by a crazy amount of talent (Glenn Close, Ian Holm, Helena Bonham Carter, etc.) as he looks for the truth behind his father’s death. Even if you’re not a huge fan of Shakespeare’s hero, this is still a worthwhile film to check out.
The Foot Fist Way
Ever wonder why Danny McBride got so popular so quickly? Because Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller were one of the three people who actually saw The Foot Fist Way, a darkly comic movie about an oblivious Tae Kwon Do instructor. Technically, you’ll find this one in the comedy section, but it seriously pulls no punches when it comes to shitting on Danny McBride, so be warned.
The Palate Cleanser After All That Other Heady Crap
Year of the Dog
Molly Shannon gives the best performance of her career in Year of the Dog, a dramatic comedy that finds a lonely forty-something struggling to get her life in order after the death of her beloved dog Pencil. Her turn is nuanced in a way the talented actress isn’t typically afforded while the story itself will keep you immersed from beginning to end.
Michael Keaton plays the middle man between a Japanese car company and the workers at an auto plant theyve just purchased. Gung Ho might be a standard fish-out-of-water film, but the jokes are still sharp thirty years later (even if they’re not 100 percent PC). What’s more, Michael Keaton manages to anchor the film (crazy as it gets) in a sense of real world immediacy that lends real weight to the story.
The Devil and Miss Jones
The very probable inspiration for Undercover Boss, The Devil and Miss Jones is a quick-witted romantic comedy from the 1940’s that sees a tycoon go undercover at his own department store in order to ferret out agitators. What he learns instead is that the people at the bottom are still just as human as the people at the top. Shocking, right?