Rupert Pupkin Speaks: James McCormick(of the Criterion Cast)'s favorite older films seen 1st in 2010 ""

Thursday, January 13, 2011

James McCormick(of the Criterion Cast)'s favorite older films seen 1st in 2010

The Criterion Cast is a great podcast and I am an avid listener. I must say that James McCormick likes good films! Check out his top 10!


Top 10 Newly seen films of the year

Writing and podcasting for the Criterion Cast has brought me into the world of film bloggery (a word I like to use) which has also brought me great friends this past year in the community. I'm thankful for it and love that having film discussions with people who know what I'm talking about makes James a happy boy. When it comes to this list, here's the thing. Most of these might end up being Criterion releases, mainly for the fact that it's a gateway drug for us film lovers out there. Sadly, I can't even remember what I ate the other day, so I'm attempting to my best ability what I have seen in these last 12 months. This is the best I could come up with. This is why my Tumblr will be better suited for next year's list.

10 The Fury - The underseen gem of Mr. DePalma's freaky gal films, it's one that I instantly fell in love with. Especially with sleazy John Casavettes in tow. Also, it does have a better 'blow you the hell apart' scene than Scanners. Hands down.

9 In the Mood For Love - As I said, a lot of Criterion films will be in this list. Wong Kar Wai is a film maker who I've finally been watching, and when we covered this on the podcast, I couldn't wait. I knew it would be beautiful, but I was blown away by how heartbreaking a love story this film truly is.

8 The Green Slime - Warner Archive finally put out a print of the film that I could sit down, watch and enjoy. I had seen this film before (a bit of a cheat) but it's my list and this version of the film wiped away the original viewing (which I had sort of forgotten) so this is in fact the first time I watched it and loved it. And boy is it a crazy film. What's even more insane is that the director went on to make one of my favorite films in 2000, 30 or so years later, Battle Royale. Insanity! And the new print, again, is one that is quite amazing. Check it out.

7 Wild Strawberries - Again, doing the podcast has given me reason to check out films that I would have seen but probably many years away. Bergman was a director I was only familiar because of films such as The Seventh Seal and The Virgin Spring, which is sad because he is one of the greatest directors of all time. I guess it's what people go through when all they think of Hitchcock is Psycho and The Birds. Wild Strawberries hit me hard, showing me a life of regret, but ultimately learning from all this and the joy from the people around you. Also, for a black and white film, I saw such beauty and color within this film, which I can't help but love about it. My favorite Bergman.

6 Monsoon Wedding - That sense of joy, that sense of glee that this film still gives me is one of such euphoria, I can't help but smile thinking about it. Again, Criterion blasted me out of the water with this film. When we covered it for the podcast, we couldn't help but all love it, talk so highly of it and that soundtrack that just sticks with you to the point of you having to download it so you can listen to it more. Nair made a masterpiece, showing us life in India and shutting people up who think films that are Indian mean dance numbers for no reason (which I love Bollywood films). The beauty, the secrets, everything about this film is amazing.

5 Pretty Maids All In a Row - Warner Archive came through with this amazing release, one in which is written by Gene Roddenberry himself (yes, Star Trek's Roddenberry) and directed by Roger Vadim. You also have Rock Hudson with the most manly of all mustaches as a gym teacher/coach/dean of sorts who likes to get to know his students a bit better than most. Throw in Angie Dickenson (who just looks ravishing) and a serial killer subplot (investigation headed by Telly Savalas) and we have a film you need to own. Now!

4 House/Hausu - Criterion again, but no matter who put this out, I was going to be addicted. Yes, that's right, addicted to this film. I had bought the Masters of Cinema release without a second thought, before Criterion's, and just fell in love with the insanity of this haunted house story. That imagery and the kinetic style that it is brought to the screen shows why a commercial director is sometimes the best for a film of this stature. When Criterion brought out there release, I was in love with the film even more because the colors punched me in the face with such a barrage of wonder, I can't help but want to show this film to everyone now.

3 Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence - A David Bowie film I was not aware of? How could this be? And it's a World War II film without actual fighting but more about the inner struggle people go through in a POW camp? Sounded intriguing. Wait, is that a young Takeshi Kitano in it? Holy shit, I'll take this film now. It just has so much going for it, and it's a great tale with some trippy visuals (watch the trailer to see one of the more out there ones). Bowie is magnetic, two colored eyes working wonders in the new print Criterion came out with. It's a film I'm glad I know about and will spread the good word about for years to come.

2 Walkabout - A film that I had seen little bits, here and there, but never sat down to watch. No reason, just never felt like the right time. So when this was the film that was to be my first episode for The Criterion Cast, I had no more excuses. And boy, did it hit me for a loop. A coming of age story set in the outback? With some dark imagery and survival in general? I was hooked and have watched it another 3 times since, taking in Roeg's sights and the minimalist techniques he was using. A wonderful film.

1 Bigger Than Life - James Mason is amazing in this film, that depicts the wholesome American family unit as not being all it's cracked up to be. Walter Matthau is also fantastic in this, another Criterion release (which I should have just made a Criterion/Warner Archive list). The colors are amazing, and we have a dark tale about the use of drugs, even when they're prescribed to you by a doctor. A test drug it was, and the madness Mason goes through is one that will terrify anyone who has seen this occur with someone in their lives. A gem that came out of nowhere for me, and one I want everyone to watch. Do so right now!


Grady Hendrix said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE is a movie that never gets enough attention. While it's got flaws (some of which are cringe-worthy) it's such an intense experience overall that they're just part of its charm, rather than problems.

Oddly enough, I watched the American videotape of this for years and years and then, when I was in Hong Kong, I rented a laser disc of the movie that was a much different cut. Has anyone seen two cuts of this film before? It was so long ago that I can't remember all the differences but some scenes were missing completely and some were greatly expanded. And the whole Bowie flashback came much earlier in the film

SteveQ said...

I just did my 10 Films First Seen in 2010:


Ned Merrill said...

I like and have seen many of these on your list already. Saw THE FURY a bunch of times when I was young, up-and-coming's been years, but I never found it to be so much a De Palma "underseen gem," more just "underseen."