Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Cinema Du Meep's Favorite Older Films Seen 1st in 2011! ""

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cinema Du Meep's Favorite Older Films Seen 1st in 2011!

Cinema Du Meep is one of most my regular blog reads. Every time he posts, I head on over there to see what undeservedly obscure movies he's covering. Add him to whatever feeds you've got set up and I guarantee some film discoveries. Now read his new list!(or his 201o list!)


Here are 12 of the better Films I've seen for the first time in 2011. Considering that I have watched so many Movies in my life, what the heck took me so long to get to these, anyway?

Author! Author! (1982)
Alllllll Pacino is back, and this time he's got kids. A lot of them. I'm not sure why I've passed this one up on the shelves of the Video Stores for all these years. Perhaps I feared it was going to be a bit too cutesy? Author! Author! turned out to be a surprisingly charming Film. And one grounded in authentic early 1980's New York. Though we should all dream to be successful playwrights with their own West Village Townhouses...

The Four Seasons (1981)
Simply put, Alan Alda is god. The Four Seasons isn't my favorite of the Films he Directed, but it's pretty good, and clearly very well cast. I so wish Alda stepped behind the Camera more. Like his buddy Woody, he has a knack for Directing comedy and getting really good performances from all his actors.

The Big Fix (1978)
After Jaws, The Goodbye Girl and Close Encounters turned Richard Dreyfuss into a bonafide Movie star, Dreyfuss starred in this rather small but quirky Mystery. Of course in the 70s, a rather small but quirky Film could also be a Studio Production. In this case, from Universal. Ah, the 70s... In a few ways The Big Fix reminds me of Robert Altman's PI flick, The Long Goodbye. That is a great company to be in. Both would make a great double feature, actually.

The Nesting (1981)
I've always been curious about this one, and 2011 saw a first time release of this Film on both DVD & Blu-ray. The Nesting is really a Movie about atmosphere. It's creepy house (located in Westchester New York in Irvington by the Hudson) is one of the most memorable I've seen on Film. Though the Picture has some real shortcomings (the leading actress really isn't very likable) the rest of the Movie still holds 30 years or so later.

Windows (1980)
Windows kind of blew me away. This Film, along with Cruising, were two Films that were crucified on it's release for portraying gay characters as killers. While everything in life is debatable, I've always been in the camp that Cruising was an excellent police thriller that just happened to have a gay killer and explored a subculture not really seen on film and with no negative agendas. In that regard, Windows is a very similar case. While Windows doesn't dive into a subculture, it does explore obsession, and goes to some pretty dark places. Elizabeth Ashley is really frikkin' scary in this Movie. You just never know what to expect from her. I also appreciated seeing all the Brooklyn Heights locations of the time as well as the Ennio Morricone score.

Cold Feet (1983)
An Independent New York Romantic Comedy with an emphasis on dialogue and character. Though the Film takes a little time to pick up some steam, once it gets going, I found myself enjoying it. Cold Feet really benefits from it's engaging leads... what ever became of the cute and charming Marissa Chibas? Also co-stars Blanche Baker, the pill popping sister from Sixteen Candles. She has a very unique comic timing, and it's used well here (the writer/director was married to her at the time)

Natural Enemies (1979)
Oh geeze, how do I explain this one? Anyone up for a Movie about a Family man who's so tired of his life that one day he decides to hire 5 hookers and then kill his entire Family? Natural Enemies is probably the strangest, most intense Film I saw in 2011. Hal Holbrook is mesmerizing, as always.

Street Smart (1987)
I really should have seen this one by now. I started to way back when it came out on VHS, but never did get around to finishing it. Thankfully, all these years later, I have. Street Smart is a very satisfying tale of a Reporter who gets in over his head when he starts making up facts about a pimp. It should be noted that Christopher Reeve had wanted to do this project for years, but couldn't get it financed until Canon Films picked up the rights to Superman 4, and Reeve struck up a deal with them to get this one made as well. Directed by Jerry Schatzberg (Panic In Needle Park, Scarecrow)

Back in the 80's Christopher Reeve starred in a Movie called The Aviator, but, that one isn't on my list. This one is...

The Aviator (2004)
For a long time I hated Bio-Pics. I avoided them like the plague. Lately I've warmed up to them slightly, and decided to finally give The Aviator a spin. I liked that Scorsese focused on Howard Hughes' early years, and he does give the Film more of a personality than the usual bland Bio-Pic. DiCaprio is very good in the role, as he was in the recent J. Edgar.

Sweet Dreams (1985)
Speaking of Aviation and Bio-Pics, I finally got around to seeing the Patsy Cline Film. Jessica Lange is really terrific in the role. I've always been a HUGE fan of Coal Miner's Daughter (A Movie that breaks all the boring Bio-Pic rules) and this one was also a satisfying look into the life of a country singer, with the focus is on the rocky relationship Patsy had with her husband. Directed by the great Karel Reisz (The French Lieutenant's Woman, Who'll Stop The Rain, Saturday Night And Sunday Morning)

And why not a double feature of direct-to-video second sequels?

Stepfather 3 (1992) & Warlock 3 (1999)

Both The Stepfather 3 and Warlock III lost their leading men (Terry O'Quinn and Julian Sands respectively) went Direct-To-Video and Cable, but somehow don't suck (and yet never had anymore sequels since). I was actually surprised that I enjoyed either of them as much as I did.

The Stepfather 3 is a bit cheesy and overlong (something like 110 minutes) but it's effective, and very much in the vein of Fill In The Blank From Hell Movies that I adore so much. It's essential viewing if you ever had any suspicions that the man your mother married may actually be related to Ted Bundy.

Warlock III finds Bruce Payne (he who didn't bet on black in Passenger 57) filling the role of Warlock nicely. This sequel Finds the Warlock in Ireland (he doesn't run into the Leprechaun, sadly) haunting some hot Twenty-somethings at a creepy old house. I actually think the Movie might not be set in Ireland, but it sure was shot there. Definitely adds another level of atmosphere you don't see in the casual Direct-To-Video sequel. The Picture stars sexy Ashley Laurence from Hellraiser. Pinhead sadly doesn't make an appearance. Damn.


Ty said...

Natural Enemies looks pretty interesting. Hal Holbrook is always good.

Tom said...

Been meaning to see a bunch of these. Thanks!

highwayknees said...

But where can you find most of them? These 80's vids have fallen thru the cracks since video stores all closed!I''m particularly interested in WINDOWS, and NATURAL ENEMIES.

MrJeffery said...

awesome list. meep is one of my favorite bloggers!

Cinema Du Meep said...

Thanks guys!


Windows and Natural Enemies can as of right now be found in their entirety on Youtube. You may able to snag a VHS of Natural Enemies.

I purchased VHS tapes of Cold Feet and Stepfather 3. I bought the DVD for Warlock 3 and Four Seasons. I watched The Aviator, Street Smart and Sweet Dreams on Cable. And I caught The Nesting, Author Author and The Big Fix on Netflix.

Unknown said...

Love AUTHOR! AUTHOR! and it's good to see someone else who digs it as I don't think there are many of us! Heh. Weird to see Pacino in a family comedy but he makes it work. The chemistry between him and his kids is excellent. He doesn't talk down to them and really seems to listen to their problem, which I like.

Ned Merrill said...

Still have not seen all of AUTHOR! AUTHOR! so I really can't judge it, but I always chuckle when I recall a comment I read on someone's blog, originally said after they left the theater showing the film back in '82: "Awful! Awful!" I love KRAMER VS. KRAMER, NYC-set movies from this era, the Dave Grusin score, and Eric "Horowitz" Gurry so I'll probably enjoy this film when I actually sit down and watch it.

Just got a copy of WINDOWS...been wanting to see this for years.

Unfortunately, missed STREET SMART when Jerry Schatzberg was hosting a screening recently at one of the NY rep houses.

Very intrigued by your write-up of NATURAL ENEMIES. Love Holbrook.

Saw THE BIG FIX this year for the first time via an HD stream on Netflix Instant. Interesting, but I didn't love it as much as you or Rupe.

Have never seen THE FOUR SEASONS in full, but it goes down as one of my earliest HBO memories...I recall seeing the preview a bunch when it premiered on HBO when I was a kid.

As for THE AVIATOR, the Scorsese one, try as I might, I just don't believe Di Caprio as Hughes for a second. To borrow (and tweak) a line from Hank Kingsley..."I think one of Hughes balls is bigger than Di Caprio."