Rupert Pupkin Speaks: William Goss' Top 5 Older Films Seen 1st in 2011 ""

Monday, January 23, 2012

William Goss' Top 5 Older Films Seen 1st in 2011

Austin resident William Goss is a film critic for, The Playlist and Orlando Weekly, in addition to covering news for MSN Movies. Find him on twitter here. Good with puns.


The Great Dictator (1940): Charlie Chaplin's wartime farce feels bold even now, whether as a mockery of fascist rule in the midst of it or as the silent star's first full-blown talkie. There's plenty of classic slapstick in here, but none of it compares to the writer-director-actor's climactic speech, which substitutes silliness for sincerity to still-sobering effect.

Rio Bravo (1959): Howard Hawks' classic Western isn't just as noble and influential a small-town standoff picture as one imagines, but it's funny and sensual to boot (due credit to Walter Brennan and Angie Dickinson, respectively -- emphasis on "respectively"). John Wayne's great in it, Dean Martin holds his own and the film only makes "Blazing Saddles" even funnier in hindsight.

Forgotten Silver (1995): If I hadn't been aware going in that Peter Jackson and Costa Botes' mockumentary about unknown New Zealand film pioneer Colin McKenzie was exactly that, I surely would've been fooled. Cheeky and charming, and it doesn't overstay its welcome.

The Sugarland Express (1974): At the start of the summer, this was one of four Steven Spielberg films that I hadn't seen, and considering that it came on the heels of "Duel," my expectations rested at about the level of "good or very good TV movie"; after all, it doesn't seem all that heavily revered in his canon. Color me surprised as I was taken in by the deft mix of human stakes and small-town spectacle, impressed by the palpable eagerness with which Spielberg conducts his camera in every scene, allowing shots to run long and often inviting characters and cars to fill the frame. The performances by Goldie Hawn and William Atherton remain winning to this day, and the ending -- inevitably though it was -- still hit like a gut punch.

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995): Horror junkies are usually pretty good at keeping one another appraised of the underseen and underappreciated, so coupled with a usually broad definition of what constitutes "fun" horror, I was surprised that this energetic horror-comedy didn't have a slightly more elevated profile among geeks ("It's a supernatural 'Assault on Precinct 13'! Ergo, it's a supernatural 'Rio Bravo'!"). It's livelier than I might've expected from the Crypt banner, thanks in no small part to a giddy yeah-why-not performance from Billy Zane.

1 comment:

MrJeffery said...

'sugarland express' is pretty incredible. and 'demon knight' is hilarious!