Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - Joe Gibson ""

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - Joe Gibson

Joe Gibson is a Very Serious Cinephile living in Austin, T. He can be found on twitter @Karatloz and on Letterboxd(a highly recommended follow) here:


At the request of friend @bobfreelander, I have at great expense compiled a list my favorite pre-2000 features I watched for the first time during 2012 (shorts are being mercifully excluded). I guess people (or, person, anyway) are interested in this?

Note: I realized about halfway through that he said he wanted it between 10 and 25. So there are some absolute masterpieces I left out, and this is heavily weighted towards movies I saw in the first half of 2012. Still, these are all great and come highly recommended by me.

  • Black Sun 1964 ★★★★★

    A quasi-sequel to The Warped Ones. One of the craziest and ultimately most devastating movies I've ever seen. And almost no one has seen it!

  • Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip 1982 ★★★★★

    Seen on a double bill with Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, and it made me realize just how much of a genius Pryor really was. Many of the same incidents are relayed in both this stand-up film and that fictionalized narrative, but in the stand-up they're unbelievably warm and dimensionalized portrayals with almost equal parts humor and insight - the implication is clear: Pryor is a born genius of stand-up comedy, but a mere mortal filmmaker.

  • Los Olivdados 1950 ★★★★½

    An early (and much more conventionally dramatic) Bunuel movie, but it has one of the quintessential Bunuel shots: An egg thrown right into the camera and splattering against the lens.

  • Land of the Pharaohs 1955 ★★★★½

    Howard Hawks fans tend to dismiss this one, but I liked it quite a bit. It's not "Hawksian" in any typical sense, but he does bring his expert sense of pacing to a genre that is often sorely lacking in that department.

  • A Colt is My Passport 1967 ★★★★½

    The opening and closing set-pieces: A methodical assassination of a high-level businessman from the apartment building across the street, and a shootout in an open field, respectively, are worth the price of admission alone - absolutely masterful.

  • That Obscure Object of Desire 1977 ★★★★★

    Another Bunuel, this time his last one. Here he's at the absolute peak of his powers.

  • High Crime 1973 ★★★★½

    AKA Franco Nero Slapfest. Pretty much a masterpiece of the Italian police drama form.

  • Dune 1984 ★★★★½

    I went in knowing nothing of the books and having 0 expectations of a conventionally entertaining space opera, and guess what I found? A movie almost as unsettling and unique as David Lynch's best movies. If he'd come up with all of this on his own as some kind of bizarre riff on Star Wars, it would be heralded as a masterpiece.

  • Cocksucker Blues 1972 ★★★★★

    Yes, it's kind of a slog to sit through. But is there a better encapsulation of the rock star life, captured by those directly in its orbit?

  • The Deadly Spawn 1983 ★★★★★

    Has to qualify as the best "homemade horror" movie I've ever seen. Unbelievably inventive and fun.

  • Emma Mae 1976 ★★★★★

    One of the greatest of all blaxploitation films, with a breezy naturalism that many of them lack.

  • Séance on a Wet Afternoon 1964 ★★★★★

    I knew of this movie due to its being remade by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, but I was delighted to find out that this version is just as good in its on way - almost unwatchably suspenseful at times. My favorite kind of movie.

  • We’re Going To Eat You 1980 ★★★★★

    Kung-fu Evil Dead, with a pinch of James Bond. Yes, it is that good.

  • Tokyo Drifter 1966 ★★★★★

    For my money, the best Suzuki movies. For me, neon Technicolor just suits his style better than black and white.

  • Magnificent Butcher 1979 ★★★★★

    A collaboration between Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo-Ping, and it's every bit as fun, exciting, hilarious, and weird as that combination would suggest.

  • Le Mystère Picasso 1957 ★★★★★

    An unprecedented look at the artistic process. Or is it? Picasso can just crank them out like I'm cranking out these short remarks, but I don't know if many other painters could.

  • Paths of Glory 1957 ★★★★★

    An unassailable classic. Kubrick's chilly visual style is in full force, but in service of a story that will have you shouting at the screen. Probably the best antiwar movie.

  • Tarzan’s Desert Mystery 1943 ★★★★½

    Not one of the more acclaimed Tarzan films, but there is so much to love here. Not least of which is a giant spider! Still not over the giant spider here, people.

  • The Honeymoon Killers 1969 ★★★★★

    To me it's the perfect marriage (ha) between exploitation and art, so of course it's going to be one of my favorite movies.

  • The Scarlet Claw 1944 ★★★★★

    I'd be remiss if I didn't include an entry in the Universal Sherlock Holmes series, probably my favorite discovery of this year.

  • La Cérémonie 1995 ★★★★★

    I haven't seen a ton of Chabrol yet, but this is definitely my favorite. Suspenseful, chilling, heartbreaking, and thoughtful. Try to watch it without knowing any of the plot!

  • Killer of Sheep 1977 ★★★★★

    Wonderful. What can be said about it at this point? I hope I see it dozens of more times.

  • Savage Streets 1984 ★★★★½

    The loathsome descriptor "so bad it's good" might be applied here by some. I prefer "so special some people think it's bad because they're unimaginative and they aren't paying enough attention."

  • Rolling Thunder 1977 ★★★★★

    Like Taxi Driver if Scorsese had been under orders to produce an action movie instead of a Bressonian masterpiece. We just got a (slightly) different kind of masterpiece.

  • The Man with a Movie Camera 1929 ★★★★★

    It's like having cinema mainlined directly into your brain.


SteveQ said...

Some great choices! "That Obscure Object of Desire" is probably in my top 10 films of all time. The way he cinematically solved the "two-faced woman" problem was genius.

Ned Merrill said...

A COLT IS MY PASSPORT was my favorite in the Eclipse Nikkatsu Noir series by a longshot when I picked that up a few years ago. The progression of the form from the earlier films in that package to COLT (the latest film in the box, IIRC) was eye-opening to me.

Robert M. Lindsey said...

A few years ago I watched a bunch of Japanese Yakuza movies in a row when I'd never seen one, and A Colt is My Passport was my favorite.