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10 movies you likely missed and might want to watch (or, if you didn’t miss, then watch again)

From left: Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, and Kirsten Dunst in "Bachelorette."
From left: Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, and Kirsten Dunst in "Bachelorette."Radius

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent the past few days binge-watching “I May Destroy You,” Michaela Coel’s outstanding/distressing HBO series and one of the best new things on a screen this year. I’d write about it, but Matthew Gilbert’s already on the case and he’ll have more perspicacity on the matter than I. Instead, I offer up my latest helping of “10 Streaming Movies You May Have Forgotten About That Ty Really Liked Sometime in the Last 20 Years.” It’s an irregular event that I vow to keep up until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine good enough to get us back to movie theaters.

Bachelorette (2012) – I always thought this got skunked by the popularity of “Bridesmaids” (2011), compared to which it’s a meaner, rawer, and, for my money, funnier take on the same subject. Kirsten Dunst leads a troika of back-biting bridesmaids, all Queen Bees in middle school, all hitting the wall in their 30s. Writer-director Leslye Headland is a much bigger deal now, thanks to HBO’s “Russian Doll” (currently tied with “Palm Springs” for second-best time-loop comedy after “Groundhog Day”), and she’s been signed to do a “Star Wars” series for Disney+. Explore her funky roots here. (Available on AppleTV, Fandango Now, GooglePlay, Vudu, YouTube)

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Big Fan (2009) Patton Oswalt was still best known as a stand-up and the voice of Remy the rat in “Ratatouille” when he starred in this acrid comic character study of “Paul from Staten Island,” an outer borough nebbish who’s a sports radio call-in fanatic. What happens when the participatory stardom in his head collides with real life isn’t pretty but director Robert D. Siegel – he wrote “The Wrestler” – keeps us on our toes throughout, and Oswalt commits hard to the role, nailing every delusion of bar-stool blowhard grandeur. (Available on Amazon, Hoopla, Kanopy, Peacock, Vudu)

Russell Crowe (left) and Art Binkowski in "Cinderella Man."
Russell Crowe (left) and Art Binkowski in "Cinderella Man." GEORGE KRAYCHYK

Cinderella Man (2005) As time passes, this period boxing flick increasingly looks like one of the best things Ron Howard has ever done. It may resonate even more now: The depiction of the Great Depression and the despair it engendered in a washed-up pug and family man named James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) feels suitably apocalyptic. Paul Giamatti delightfully channels Ned Sparks (look him up) as Braddock’s manager. Back in 2005, I wrote “‘Cinderella Man’ re-creates a time when fear was the governing emotion of American daily life and says it was possible, with luck and gumption, to fight back.” Which sounds like news we can use in 2020. (Available on Amazon, AppleTV, Fandango Now, GooglePlay, Vudu, YouTube)

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Columbus (2017) A delicate, visually bewitching drama about two strangers coming together in the living museum of modern architecture that is Columbus, Ind. John Cho plays a conflicted son who arrives to care for his father, a visiting South Korean professor who has fallen ill; Haley Lu Richardson is a young local woman at an early crossroads of life and career. It’s about what we owe our parents and the past – as well as what they might owe us – and it’s one of those movies that seems slight on viewing but keeps expanding in your head. (Available on Amazon, AppleTV, Criterion Channel, GooglePlay, Kanopy, YouTube)

A scene from "Marwencol."
A scene from "Marwencol."Mark E. Hogancamp

Marwencol (2010) Now that we’ve cleared the smell of the 2018 Steve Carell film “Welcome to Marwen” out of our nostrils, it’s time to revisit (or be introduced to) the inspiration for that movie: Mark Hogancamp, who in Jeff Malmberg’s quietly jaw-dropping documentary created an entire fantasy World War II village in his backyard after recovering from a brutal beating. Hogancamp’s “action” photographs, using retrofitted G.I. Joes and Barbies, are clearly art, and the film explores the line between appreciating a sweet, damaged man and exploiting him. (Available on AppleTV, Fandor, Kanopy, MUBI)

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Amy Acker in "Much Ado About Nothing."
Amy Acker in "Much Ado About Nothing."

Much Ado About Nothing (2013) In 2020, this looks like Joss Whedon’s idea of Quarantine Theater: a version of the Shakespeare play shot (in luminous black and white) at the director’s Santa Monica house in 12 days. As frivolous as that sounds – and often, delightfully, is – the film captures how close the Bard’s comedies dance toward the edge of the pit before the inevitable all’s well that ends well. Amy Acker provides the role of Beatrice with the proud, honest emotions of a Jane Austen heroine, and, as Dogberry, Nathan Fillion is every idiot authority figure you’ve ever laughed at (and more likable than some). (Available on Amazon, AppleTV, DirecTV, GooglePlay, HBOMax, Vudu, YouTube)

On the Seventh Day (En El Séptimo Día) (2018) This never made it to Boston theaters and I only caught up with it recently – but what a find. Observant, full of heart, and at times unbearably suspenseful, it’s about a Mexican immigrant delivery man (Fernando Cardona) in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, his weekend soccer games in which he’s the team star, and the conflict that arises between his job and the league finals. Writer-director Jim McKay and his marvelous cast give faces and souls to people many of us look through each day. (Available on AppleTV, DirecTV, GooglePlay, Kanopy, Vudu, YouTube)

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Rescue Dawn (2007) Why would Werner Herzog make a dramatized version of a story he’d already told in a documentary, 1997′s “Little Dieter Needs to Fly”? Perhaps to bring the material in line with the director’s own career-long obsession: the ways in which man fights nature and the ways nature inevitably wins. Christian Bale is strappingly vivid as Dieter Dengler, an American pilot in Vietnam who spent six grueling months as a POW before escaping. The film’s an action koan about how a man came out of the jungle but the jungle never came out of him. (Available on Amazon, AppleTV, DirecTV, Fandango Now, Microsoft)

Tim Jenison in "Tim's Vermeer."
Tim Jenison in "Tim's Vermeer." Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Tim’s Vermeer (2013) Can you reverse engineer genius? That’s what Tim Jenison, a Texas software tycoon, tries to do by painting Johannes Vermeer’s 1662 masterpiece “The Music Lesson” a second time, using mirrors and optics that, he claims, allowed Vermeer and his Dutch peers to replicate reality in nearly photographic ways. A witty documentary portrait of a man with a bee in his bonnet, it opens up endless questions about art, science, talent, and worth. Featuring Penn Jillette and directed by Teller with sly sleight-of-hand. (Available on Amazon, AppleTV, DirecTV, Fandango Now, GooglePlay, Vudu, YouTube)

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Western Noir on the Criterion Channel – If the classic Hollywood western is about upholding America’s myths of itself, how do you explain the run of dark, even brutal horse operas that came out in the decade following World War II? Taking visual and thematic cues from the era’s crime films, with their psychologically damaged heroes, corrupt institutions, and spasms of violence, films like “Blood on the Moon” (with Robert Mitchum) and “The Naked Spur” (which revitalized Jimmy Stewart’s career) filled a wide-open genre with angst and doubt. The series, programmed and introduced by critic-historian Imogen Sara Smith, features 11 movies that, in her words, “ride into the sunset and go past it into the darkness beyond.”


Ty Burr can be reached at ty.burr@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @tyburr.