Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 - Tim May ""

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 - Tim May

Tim May is co-founder and writer at VHShitfest:
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Tim is also an occasional writer for Intercut Film Magazine(intercut.net).
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I mostly failed in any attempt to seek out older films this year, but I was still able to scrape together a handful. None of these are particularly obscure. Some filled holes in the filmography of favorite directors; others were my introduction to overlooked auteurs. Had I not already written about The Devil Commands and Twilight of the Cockroaches in my underrated horror list earlier this year, they would be present here.

Leningrad Cowboys Go America (Aki Kaurismaki; 1989)
A surreal cult object which succeeds because it’s actually funny,Leningrad Cowboys Go America is a great weirdo road movie. The band’s absurdly earnest take on early rock ‘n’ roll is endearing, and the film is filled with brilliant sight gags.Kaurismaki’s 1994 sequel Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moseswasn’t as immediately arresting, though it may be a more rewarding film on second viewing.

Billy Liar (John Schlesinger; 1963)
This film initially struck me as too smug and self-satisfied before eventually winning me over. The eponymous protagonist,portrayed slyly by Tom Courtenay, begins the film as a folk hero and ends it as a human being—a scared little boy, unable to take the next step.

Another Day in Paradise (Larry Clark; 1998)
Kids marked a major paradigm shift in terms of my taste in film when I first saw it in high school. While I also loved Larry Clark’s Bully, his then current film Wassup Rockers left me cold and I never pursued any more of his films until this year when I finally caught up with Another Day in Paradise, his immediate follow-up to Kids and perhaps his second best movie. The film is anchored great performances by James Woods and future Angel/Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser and Clark’s ability to find the beauty in even the grimmest (and the strangest) of life circumstances elevates what could have been a standard issue ‘70s crime period piece.

Magnificent Obsession (Douglas Sirk; 1954)
Douglas Sirk's deeply affecting and lushly photographed tale of the redemptive power of altruism is a rare Christ parable that isn't an obvious one-to-one allegory. Bob Merrick's life isn't changed simply by the guilt he feels over Wayne Phillips' death, but by the help of a stranger. It's a film about the power of sharing yourself with the world--your ideas, your help, yourlove.

Sabrina (Billy Wilder; 1954)
This film is brisk, romantic, and funny. It has a lightness of touch rare in romantic comedies today. Hepburn is utterly (unsurprisingly) charming in her titular role, and it's nice to see Bogart in this sort of part. Their scene together in which he tells her what he intended to do with the tickets has a real emotion--muted, but true. A near-perfect example of the form, from one of its great masters.

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