Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 - Larry Karaszewski ""

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 - Larry Karaszewski

Larry Karaszewski is one of my favorite screenwriters and a cinephile of the highest order. He and Scott Alexander have collaborated on many memorable screenplays including one of my personal favorites, Tim Burton's movie ED WOOD. Larry and Scott did the script for Burton's upcoming film BIG EYES as well, which I am very much looking forward to.
I had the distinct privilege of interviewing him for the GGTMC podcast in 2011 and it was one of my favorite interviews that I've done. I could immediately tell I'd found a kindred spirit in the affection for similar kinds of cinema when I spoke to him. Larry was also gracious enough to allow me to interview him for the Danny Peary documentary I have been working on.
If you haven't checked out some of his Trailers from Hell commentaries you are truly missing out. Do yourself a favor and clear out an hour or two for his wonderful enlightening insights.
I am honored to have Larry contributing a list to this series!

That Cold Day In The Park (1969; Robert Altman)
People act like Robert Altman’s career began with M.A.S.H… but he had been making films for over a decade. This oddity came right before his breakthrough. Rarely screened but very compelling. Sandy Dennis is great as always. A genuinely creepy film.

Norwood (1970; Jack Haley Jr.)
I watched this obscurity because of a piece at Slate about the Charles Portis novel. Portis wrote the book that True Grit was based on and when that film was a huge hit Hollywood snapped up another and brought back the team of Glenn Campbell and Kim Darby. No luck the second time out. But it does feature the acting debut of Joe Namath! Plus the lovely Carol Lynley and Trisha Sterling. And Dom Deluise steals every scene he is in. Skip the film, but read the book.

I’ll Never Forget What’s‘Isname (1967) / The Girl-Getters (1964)
I really only knew Michael Winner from his Charles Bronson movies. And studio hackwork like The Sentinel. But watching his early work with Oliver Reed was a revelation. This guy was a real filmmaker. Girl-Getters is the one to see. Reed so young and full of brio. And not drunk! He has such power. What’s‘Isname’s title scared me away for years… but that film is also quite interesting. Orson Welles in a real role. Add to these the wacky Hannibal Brooks and you’ve got a nice Winner/Reed retro:

Hornet’s Nest (1970; Phil Karlson)
Rock Hudson and a bunch of boys in the forest. He’s a WW2 paratrooper lost and hurt behind enemy lines. They are a group of Italian youngsters who want to take back their country from the Nazis. This came out in 1970… a few years later the formula gets copied a bunch of times - but in the western genre - John Wayne in The Cowboys, Lee Marvin in The Spike’s Gang, etc. Hornet’s Nest is fun, but almost ruined by the lead Italian boy… one of the most annoying characters ever. But the head German is great - feels like Quentin took a bit of Waltz in Basterds from this film.

Bienvenido, Mister Marshall! (1953; Luis Garcia Berlanga)
A small masterpiece from Spanish director Luis Garcia Berlanga (who is way too unrecognized in the U.S.). Feels like a lost Preston Sturges film. A tiny Spanish town after WW2 learns that an American congregation with rebuilding dollars is coming to visit… and everyone tries to get into the action. Director Alex De La Iglesia is a big fan and turned me onto this excellent film.

Brother John (1971; James Goldstone)
After the triumph of In The Heat Of The Night, Sidney Poitier's films got a lot less interesting. Except for this baby. It’s a strange one. Feels almost like an episode of Insight or The Twilight Zone. Is he an angel? Directed by James Goldstone the same year he does Red Sky at Morning. Said to be one of Poitier’s favorites. 

Rififi  (1955; Jules Dassin)
Can’t believe it took me so long to see this. Every frame perfect. A truly great film.

Birth of a Nation (1915; D.W. Griffith)
Can’t believe it took me so long to see this. A truly fucked up film.

Castle Keep (1969; Sydney Pollack)
Another World War II movie. And another weird late sixties tone. But not that successful. An early work from director Sydney Pollack. He made this between reshooting Frank Perry’s The Swimmer and his own first homerun They Shoot Horses Don’t They. Wish I liked it more. But always great to see Al Freeman Jr. in anything.

Fast Five (2011; Justin Lin)
It’s only a year old…but I watched it after Paul Walker’s death. Pretty damn entertaining. A lot of times when I see current big hits, I don’t get the appeal. But this is a hoot.

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