We’re often driven by the need to be first. It can overshadow life to the point of distraction. Things like coming in first place in the race, or being first in your class can be a siren call, which obscures the larger meaning in our endeavors. With all the striving to be first, it’s not always appreciated that being last can bring rich rewards.
Sometimes it’s best to be last. When Hollywood tries to entice people to watch a movie, coming in last may be just the ticket for a memorable film. If we recall those movies with a theme about being last, we can name some highly popular films.
The Last Samurai (2003)
Tom Cruise stars in this epic action flick about Japanese samurai, written and directed by Edward Zwick.
Cruise has earned a reputation as someone who’s on the fringe because of his Scientology beliefs or his infamous couch dance and prance on Oprah, however the actor knows how to deliver solid performances. Here, Cruise becomes a samurai warrior and it’s not only engaging, but it’s believable. Japanese Ken Watanabe is mesmerizing as Lord Katsumoto and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award
The Last Starfighter (1984)
A young man’s dream comes true as he’s chosen for duty to pilot the last star fighter.
Stuck in a trailer park, Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) dreams of going off to college to better himself. After learning he can’t get financial assistance for school, Alex gets the highest scores on the Last Starfighter video game. It’s a unique talent which gives him a measure of fame in his rural diggs and attracts attention from beyond the stars. When Centauri (Robert Preston) comes along to recruit him for a real star tripping army against evil aliens, Alex can only hang on tight for the wild ride. The movie is perhaps most remembered as one of the first feature films to achieve nearly all its visual effects by computer. The former groundbreaking visuals look a bit dated now, but the energy behind them is still as infectious.
The Last Dragon (1985)
A young martial artist who idolizes kung-fu legend Bruce Lee, gets his shot to be the best, last dragon.
Energetic martial artist and actor Taimak is the last dragon. He’s the last, best hope to stop a group of marauding street thugs – led by the hilariously over the top Shogun of Harlem Sho’Nuff – from terrorizing his friends and his father’s pizzeria. Motown king Berry Gordy lent production power to this fun flick complete with a hit song “Rhythm Of The Night” by the music group Debarge and written by hit song machine writer Diane Warren.
The Last Unicorn (1982)
The fabled mythological horse comes alive in this story of the last remaining fantasy steed sporting a magical horn of power.
Based on the novel by Peter S. Beagle, the film story may sound as more children’s fantasy, but there’s an emotional depth here that’s much more mature than many movies for children. With a voice cast that includes Jeff Bridges and Mia Farrow, the movie has endured with a loyal fan base and is considered a real landmark in animation.
The Last Picture Show (1971)
Based on a novel by Larry McMurty, directed by Peter Bogdonavich and starring Cybil Shepherd in her film debut, this movie was considered so important and culturally significant, it was included in the National Film Registry in 1998.
Last House On The Left (1972)
Upon release, many critics blasted the film for its ultra violent content. However, respected movie critic Roger Ebert called it a “horror exploitative masterpiece.” Wes Craven’s shocking low budget horror film is getting a remake for 2009.