Rupert Pupkin Speaks: May 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Wes Anderson Hierarchy

 Wes Anderson has been a personal hero of mine for some time now. I remember circa 1997,  I was working at a video store in Madison, Wisconsin when a little film called BOTTLE ROCKET hit VHS. One of my coworkers and I checked it out and it was love at first sight for me. There was just something so quirky and funny and deliberate about the voice behind the film. I'd not really seen anything like it before and it became an instant classic to me. That set the stage for RUSHMORE. When that film came out, it just blew me away. It hit me in just the right place and I was completely hooked on Wes Anderson's films. Basically for life. His quirky aesthetics, attention to detail and use of music still excites me as a film lover. So when I was working in another video store, this time in Los Angeles, right around the time the Criterion Rushmore DVD came out, and Wes Anderson came into our store...well I was kind of speechless. I got a couple copies out of the back(the dvd hadn't come out yet) and got him to sign one. I remember he was really jazzed to see the artwork on the disc and the map inside. He said his brother had drawn it and I guess he'd not seen the packaging in it's finished form. I still have that dvd(see below) and the film is still a favorite for me. I recorded the commentary onto an audio cassette and used to listen to it a lot. I tracked down every film that he and Owen Wilson referenced. I believe it was because of them that I first saw THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP(and listened to the wonderful Criterion Laserdisc commentary with Scorsese). I have been a gigantic fan of the Archers ever since. Anyway, I remember reading that Tarantino used to keep scrapbooks of all the De Palma interviews and stuff that he could find each time he had a new film coming out. He had a ritual of seeing the new De Palma film on the first day it opened, the first show. He had to go by himself to see the film that first time(so nobody could taint the viewing experience). He would then perhaps see a midnight show with someone else to see it through their eyes. I always loved the idea of the ritual he had with De Palma. I really kinda feel the same way about Anderson. I wasn't always able to go to his films the first day they opened, but I tried to make an effort to see them opening weekend for sure. I sometimes get a little jaded about films these days. Like so many of you, I've seen many, many movies and it starts to dull the magic a bit somehow over time. It wasn't until this week that I realized how I can still really have a great deal of enthusiasm and anticipation to see a film in the theater. How moved I can be when I see images put together with a really good song. Wes Anderson's collaboration with his music supervisor (the amazing Randall Poster) is one of the greatest in modern cinema. I truly love the way they marry music and picture in such a remarkable and memorable way. MOONRISE KINGDOM is gonna be a film I just love, I can tell already. I cannot wait. And with that I give you my Wes Anderson hierarchy...
(BTW, this ordering is almost kind of arbitrary as I truly adore ALL of his films)


1. RUSHMORE


2. BOTTLE ROCKET


3. FANTASTIC MR. FOX


4. THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS


5. THE DARJEELING LIMITED


6. THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU















Friday, May 18, 2012

MGM and SONY MOD Sale at Warner Archive

Ok, so I had been waiting on a sale like this for a little bit. There are oodles of good titles out from both Sony and MGM in the MOD dept and Warner Archives is running a sale(3 for $45) until 5/20. I couldn't resist picking a few things up myself. Here's what I went with:






Underseen 80s relic directed by none other than Sidney Poitier as you can see. Some Ohio kids who fancy themselves dancers take a trip to the Big Apple to try to win a talent competition. Got kind of a FAME-y sort of vibe. Silly 80s cheese. Only ever on VHS.



This one is just a curiousity I've heard mentioned a lot in a "one of the worst films ever" kind of context. I was of course intrigued. Pretty remarkable cast, combined with supposedly awful musical numbers makes it hard for me not to want to check it out. Plus, it's from the director of CONDORMAN so there's that.



I'm on record as not being a huge fan of MEATBALLS. I revisited it a few years ago and found it to be just as bland as dry toast. Of course I love Bill Murray and Chris Makepeace, but neither can elevate this flabby boring crap. So many better summer camp movies were made. Even something much darker like say SUMMER CAMP NIGHTMARE (which is almost a thriller) blows MEATBALLS away as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, this sequel is much wackier, stupider and more entertaining for me.



I think I first discovered this one from the checklist in the back of Peary's Guide for the Film Fanatic. If I recall he had marked it as a 'CM'(cult movie). Written and directed by the always interesting Larry Cohen, this film stands out as one of his best efforts. The cast is excellent:  Broderick Crawford(as J. Edgar), Michael Parks, Jose Ferrer and Rip Torn. I still haven't bothered with Eastwood's biopic. I see no need after seeing this.



Totally forgotten TV-Movie which features an early role for Patrick Swayze. Babara Eden is aided by a reunited aging motorcycle gang when she starts to take a lot of guff at the campground she operates.



Saw this one on laserdisc 10 plus years ago and really enjoyed it. Director Sturges(whose Criterion LD commentary for BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK is a must listen) carries off an effective thriller that was one of the earlier 'Disaster' type films. Certainly an influence on Soderbergh's CONTAGION. Solid cast includes: Dana Andrews, Anne Francis, Richard Basehart and Ed Asner among others.



If you are looking for more MOD titles I recommend, check out this list of some of my favorites!


Monday, May 7, 2012

A Year in Film: My Favorites of 1991


1991, was really a fertile period for movies for me. I started working in a video store around that time(a job that I would continue on with in one form or another for basically the next 10 years) and I was watching movies a lot. VHS was still big and I had started collecting tapes a few years prior with my first purchase being THE TERMINATOR. I was a huge fan of the film and couldn't have been more excited for the sequel to hit theaters. There was quite a nice smattering of different stuff in '91. An excellent mix of arthouse, action and silliness. That BARTON FINK, DELICATESSEN, SLACKER, DEFENDING YOUR LIFE, COOL AS ICE and HUDSON HAWK all came out in the same 12 months is pretty spectacular.


THE ADJUSTER


AFRAID OF THE DARK


BACKDRAFT


BARTON FINK


BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY


BODY PARTS


BOYZ N THE HOOD


CAPE FEAR


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



CITY OF HOPE



COOL AS ICE


DEAD AGAIN


DELICATESSEN


DEFENDING YOUR LIFE


DELIRIOUS


DOGFIGHT


DON'T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER'S DEAD


THE DOORS


DROP DEAD FRED


EVE OF DESTRUCTION


F/X 2


THE FISHER KING


FLIRTING


THE HARD WAY


HUDSON HAWK


IF LOOKS COULD KILL


JFK


L.A. STORY


LIFE IS SWEET


LUNATICS: A LOVE STORY



MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO


NAKED GUN 2 1/2


NAKED LUNCH


NEW JACK CITY


NIGHT ON EARTH


NOTHING BU TROUBLE


OUT FOR JUSTICE


THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS


THE PERFECT WEAPON


POINT BREAK


POISON


PROBLEM CHILD 2


RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RICKY


THE ROCKETEER


RUBIN & ED



SHOUT


SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO


SILENCE OF THE LAMBS


SLACKER


STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY


STONE COLD



THE TAKING OF BEVERLY HILLS


TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY


TOY SOLDIERS
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