Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - Spenser Hoyt ""

Friday, February 15, 2013

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012 - Spenser Hoyt

Spenser Hoyt works at world famous Scarecrow Video where thousands of movies live. Thanks to co-workers, customers, oversized VHS boxes and blogs like Rupert Pupkin speaks he has a never ending list of movies to see. What a lucky fellow.

The Cassandra Crossing (1976)
It was a fun summer of international disaster movies with enjoyably absurd films like The Bees (thanks Mexico) and City on Fire (thanks Canada) but it was this British/Italian co-production that stood out. It’s got your typical all-star cast, a truly horrible song (thanks Ann Turkel…I guess) and an overstuffed plot centered around a plague-ridden train traveling from Geneva to Stockholm.

They Came To Rob Las Vegas (1968)
Speaking of international co-productions we have this above-average caper about the theft of an armored car while in route between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. While many of the film’s gadgets and gimmicks haven’t aged well the schemes, twists and cast are quite fun.

Flooding With Love For The Kid (2010)
Not only is this an ambitious one-man production it is also a one-apartment show. That doesn’t stop Zachary Oberzan from making this obsessive, inventive and highly entertaining adaptation of the novel First Blood.

The Marathon Family (1982)
Made back when Yugoslavia was still one county this film tells an allegorical story about a family of morticians. It shares a lot of its style and tone with the better-known works of Emir Kusturica. The video tape I watched looked terrible and I hope that someday The Marathon Family gets a decent DVD release.

Heroes Shed No Tears (1986)/Eastern Condors (1987)
These two Hong Kong films feature similar plots of commandos going behind the lines in Vietnam and are directed by auteurs John Woo and Sammo Hung respectively. As you could probably guess Woo’s is grittier and Hung’s is kickier. Both are classics that I can’t believe I put off until 2012.

Happiness (1934)
Oddball silent Russian wackiness. It’s an anti-Bolshevik slapstick comedy based on Russian folklore but you don’t need to be a historian to enjoy this hilarious surreal masterpiece. An obvious inspiration for filmmakers like Terry Gilliam and Jan Svankmajer.

Show People (1928)
The reputations of William Haines and Marion Davies overshadow their cinematic achievements, which is a damned shame. King Vidor’s cameo packed showbiz satire showcases the two at their best. This silent classic is a winning combination of slapstick, romance and parody.

All Over Town (1937)
While All Over Town isn’t Olsen and Johnson’s best film (that would be the magnificent Hellzapoppin’) this is still a funny and brisk comedy about a goofy comedy team (with a seal) who try to “put on a show” at a cursed theater. Olsen and Johnson remind me of a combination of The Marx Brothers and Abbott & Costello and only made a handful of films. All Over Town features James Finlayson, one of my favorite comedic second bananas, in a small role. He doesn’t get to do much but he does exclaim “D’oh!”
Can be seen on YouTube Here:

Runner Ups (picked by others so you can read about them elsewhere)
Union Station(1950)
Snake Eater Trilogy

1 comment:

SteveQ said...

I'd forgotten "Happiness." I saw it in a collection of experimental films by Chris Marker and was thoroughly confused for a bit, until I realized it was not Marker faking a silent Russian film. I should see it again.