Rupert Pupkin Speaks: October 2011 ""

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Netflix Instant Gems Vol. 29

Man does life get in the way of loving movies sometimes! Work and family have taken an even more prominent front seat for me lately and that's as it should be. That said, don't be surprised if I drop down to about a post a month on my blog here for a bit. Another factor is lack of inspiration for new film lists(feel free to leave a comment with some ideas please!) and an drop in movies being put up on Instant. I have assembled a small list here for your enjoyment though. I am a fan of all of these films!

BABE: PIG IN THE CITY(1998; George Miller)
A film not mentioned nearly enough alongside GODFATHER II and perhaps ALIENS as a sequel that trumps its former. I was totally captivated by it when I first saw it in the theater upon its initial release and am still in love with it to this day. George Miller is really channeling Terry Gilliam here in the best possible way. Gloriously stylized and wonderful. Showed my little girl and she of course loved it so we moved backwards and watched the first one.

THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA(1954; Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
Ok, this film I must admit I have not yet seen. Been meaning to forever though. I hope to watch it very soon!

CHILD'S PLAY(1988; Tom Holland)
This has really become a classic of sorts. I think those of us of a certain age all recall being drawn in by it. Our discomfort with dolls began with POLTERGEIST(or perhaps MAGIC) and was tapped into in this movie.

CHINATOWN(1974; Roman Polanski)
Polanski's masterpiece. A perfect film. How can you not love this?! Those who've not been entranced by it must do so forthwith. This had a perennial spot on my employee pick's shelf back in my video store days(along with THE THING, THE APARTMENT, THE KING OF COMEDY and THE 'BURBS for whatever that says a about me).

THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY(1978; Michael Crichton)
I was along for the ride with Crichton as a director from the word go. WESTWORLD became an instant favorite for me and I began to look into what else he'd done. This was a surprise as I liked it way more than I ever thought I would from the outset. Great cast, check it out!

HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE(2004; Hayao Miyazaki)
I remember seeing PRINCESS MONONOKE right around the time it came out. Loved it. Didn't follow through with watching too many more Miyazaki films after that though. STILL have not seen SPIRITED AWAY(shameful I know). I guess my aversion to the anime style in general must have derailed me. Nonetheless I have now fully boarded the Miyazaki train. It took the influence of my little girl to truly grab my attention. We showed her MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO and though it wasn't an immediate hit, it has truly become her go-to favorite right now. Branching off of that I've shown her KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE and PONYO as well. I have truly fallen under Miyazaki's spell of fantasy and wonder. He is just an amazing filmmaker. I remember actually seeing HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE several years ago and really enjoying it. I am anxious to revisit.

INTERIORS(1978; Woody Allen)
I am always fascinated by the fact that Woody followed-up ANNIE HALL with this stark, serious chamber drama. It's jarring at first to even try to watch it if you're used to Woody's comedies, but I have grown to have a great appreciation for it over the years. I think I was first turned onto it my Mr. John Waters himself when he mentioned several of Allen's films that he loved and that he like his Woody "Serious as a heart-attack". It also always alarms me how liberally Todd Solondz borrowed from this film for HAPPINESS and how infrequently that is mentioned.

JACKIE BROWN(1997; Quentin Tarantino)
Don't get me wrong. I love all of Tarantino's films. Even the less popular stuff like DEATHPROOF(really do have a fondness for this-might have a lot to do with Kurt Russell). I know it's not uncommon for folks to call this out as their favorite of his films, but I have to agree with that. It hooks me emotionally so much more than anything else he's done. I guess as I've gotten older I find my emotional connection to films to be more and more important. I know QT said he wanted to show people he could make a mature film like this early in his career(and not later as many filmmakers do), but I really would love to see another one like this. Pam Grier and Robert Forster totally hook me and I am with them to that final shot that goes out of focus(great stuff).

LONELY ARE THE BRAVE(1962; David Miller)
For those of us who were introduced to Kirk Douglas via the 80s classic TOUGH GUYS, it's quite an amazing journey back through his filmography. Some really amazing stuff there. Cynical stuff like THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, ACE IN THE HOLE and OUT OF THE PAST. I love all those films. This one too. It's not cynical like those films are. It's different. It celebrates the western hero while trumpeting his demise. Douglas made some great films in his day and this is one of them.

STRANGE BREW(1983; Dave Thomas/Rick Moranis)
The phrase "Take off you hoser" has not been as completely assimilated into the vernacular of popular culture as I would like. It was the first line I ever heard from this film and that was years before I would see it. One friend of mine in middle school used to quote it quite often. "What's a hoser" I would always wonder. As a kid I recall seeing some reruns of SCTV on late night television, but for some reason I always missed the Bob and Doug sketches. Regardless, when I finally did see the film, it's cult cache became stunningly clear to me immediately. So quotable, so wondrous, so sublime. Watch it now.

TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.(1985; William Friedkin)
I am not myself a big fan of CSI. I am however quite curious if William Petersen's popularity in that show has caused a ton of people to go back and seek out this film and MANHUNTER. If this is the case, it's not nearly as prevalent as I'd like it to be. I still think that neither film gets talked about enough considering how good they are.

VAMPIRE'S KISS(1989; Robert Bierman)
I have become something of a Nicolas Cage apologist. I sometimes try to conceal the fact that I enjoy most of his films on some small level or another. We've all heard of the levels of "Cage" that he brings to each film that he does. I think we are all secretly hoping for that FULL "Cage" to rear his head again each time we sit down to take in one of his schlockfests. Well look no further than VAMPIRE'S KISS my friends as it has some serious full Cage action to offer. Truly bizarre film.