Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 - Cristina Cacioppo ""

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 - Cristina Cacioppo

Cristina Cacioppo is part of the Alamo Drafthouse team in New York. Prior to that she worked with 92YTribeca where she programmed screenings over five years.
She can be found on Twitter @PiercingScreen

1. Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)
My #1 favorite of the year, no doubt. Jim Van Bebber made something so visceral and raw, it makes me sad that current low budget filmmaking never dares to go in a similar direction. It is written and directed by AND starring Van Bebber as a gang leader trying to leave the violent lifestyle behind who goes on a rampage after his girlfriend is murdered. As an action movie it delivers, but it is so dead serious and sincere, you can't help feeling it way deep in your gut.
2. Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)
I am a known Hanks-hater, so it was nice to be reminded that he doesn't always have to be middlebrow. This movie surprised me - it was an unpredictable ride with wonderful details and visual treats. It also got at something about overcoming sickness of the soul, I swear you can use its lessons to be better at life.
3. Drunken Master 2 (1994)
Watching this movie was an absolutely blissful experience, the kind when you smile so hard your cheek muscles give out. I've been late to the party on Jackie Chan, but that's fine because now I have such a wealth of insanity to behold. This one stands out so far above the rest because it is nonstop action, astonishing and so very silly.

4. Design for Living (1933)
A 1933 Hollywood movie that essentially condones a threesome relationship? More, please! This was so full of wit and unorthodox ideas about relationships, I wanted to memorize the language and imitate the bohemian romance of it.

5. Starstruck (1982)
An Australian 1980s new wave musical starring sunburst-haired Jo Kennedy as an aspiring singer totally willing to do all kinds of sneaky business in order to get famous, STARSTRUCK is full of glowing color and colorful characters. And the music is actually damn good! It breezes by so fast - I wanted to live in that world for longer.

6. Emma Mae (1976)
I was amazed by what this movie actually is and who the character Emma Mae turned out to be. She is way more complex and interesting than blaxploitation heroines because although she can kick ass, you can see her pain as she does so. It was also interesting to see the dynamic of a Southern black woman entering the hip scene of Los Angeles. Jamaa Fanaka crafted something really special here.

7. The Killing Kind (1973)
A very creepy and often sleazy thriller from Curtis Harrington, this stars John Savage as a disturbed man with an unwholesome relationship with his mother. Just out of prison, his uncomfortable encounters with women result in their grisly murders. The movie is near-camp but far enough from it so that the nastiness has a real impact. 

8. Skin Deep (1989)
A late career directorial effort by Blake Edwards, this movie seemed very personal while also having some really great laughs. John Ritter plays a novelist who can't hold a relationship together because of his two addictions: women and alcohol. His life falls apart, and he has writer's block which drives him deeper into his vices. This sounds like a very serious movie, and it is, but there are so many hearty laughs through it all, plus hilarious sight gags involving glow in the dark condoms. 

9. Turkish Delight (1973)
Rutger Hauer stars in this Paul Verhoeven-directed film about artist Eric who picks up and discards women after he is deeply hurt by his lover Olga. The depiction of the love between the two is powerful - at one point after Olga fears she has cancer because of an unusual bowel movement, he examines her shit to let her know it's okay, it was just from the beets they ate! Hauer is someone I almost always enjoy, and getting to see him emote unhinged is scary and satisfying. 

10. No Retreat No Surrender (1986)
I thought I was going to be watching a Jean-Claude Van Damme polished action flick, which of course would have been great, but instead this movie is a very earnest low budget martial arts movie in which JCVD happens to make an appearance (and a very attention-grabbing one, of course). A young below-average karate student moves to Seattle after his father is attacked. With local bullies picking on him, he conjures the spirit of Bruce Lee (buried nearby) to train for a tournament. This is the kind of movie that people typically would love to enjoy on a "bad" level, but for me it is just so sweet and clearly made by sincere people, it made me feel good to see something that captured a kind of teenage purity. At one point our hero gifts a bunny to the girl he likes on her birthday, and the scene is played like its no big deal!

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