Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 - Mitch Lovell ""

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013 - Mitch Lovell

Mitch can be found and read at The Video Vacuum:
also on twitter @TheVideoVacuum.

His 2011 and 2012 discoveries are here:
2013 was a great year for film discoveries for me because it was the year that our local movie palace, The Clayton, started playing “Classic Movie Mondays”.  I caught as many films in the series as I could and by and large, I loved nearly every single film they showed.  I guess I could’ve waited around and caught some of these eventually on Turner Classic Movies, but honestly, the small screen doesn’t do these films justice.  To see these films on the big screen for the first time was a real treat, and I am greatly indebted to them for exposing to me all these classic films.  In addition, I saw a lot of great films on TV and DVD as well this year.  So without further ado, here are my…


10.  CITY LIGHTS  (1931)
As far as Charlie Chaplin films go, I’d rank this one as my third favorite, right behind The Gold Rush and The Great Dictator.  It features some of Chaplin’s best physical comedy bits.  Not to mention one of the most famous endings of all time.

Seeing Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in a theater was a real revelation.  For years, I’ve only seen Jimmy Stewart on TV and video.  To see him on the big screen, at the height of his game, was truly a special experience.

As a lifelong Elvis fan, I’m ashamed I hadn’t seen this until now.  Aloha from Hawaii was filmed at the time where the Badass Elvis was handing the baton to Caricature Elvis.  In fact, you can almost see the transformation happen before your eyes.  Not only that, but it features one of the best live performances he ever gave.

Here’s another one I got to see for the first time on the big screen.  Again, you really can’t appreciate the awesomeness of James Cagney until you see him up on the big screen; larger than life.  And to see him dancing too was a special treat.

I am an absolute sucker for trailer compilations and The Best of Sex and Violence is one of the greatest trailer compilations of all time.  John Carradine hosts iconic trailers for Zombie, I Spit on Your Grave, Truck Stop Women, and countless others.  But it’s the inclusion of some oddities like Beyond Atlantis and The Single Girls that really makes it memorable.

5.  HOUSE  (1977)
Of all the films in my Top Ten, this is the one that made my jaw drop the most.  It’s definitely one of the strangest haunted house movies ever made.  I won’t spoil a thing about it for those who haven’t seen it.  And if you haven’t I suggest you do so on the double.

Somehow The African Queen has passed me by all these years.  I’m glad I got to see the film on the big screen.  It played beautifully to a packed house that ate up every second.  Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn star as the most unlikely romantic duo on screen.  And once they fall for one another, it’s pure movie magic.

3.  COOL HAND LUKE  (1967)
Cool Hand Luke contains a quintessential badass performance by Paul Newman, and it’s one of the greatest outcast/loner/rebel movies of all time.  Watching it, I was quite amazed by just how much One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest borrowed from this film.  Trade out mental patients for prisoners and Louise Fletcher for Strother Martin and it’s pretty much the same picture.  That is to say, it’s awesome.

2.  SOME LIKE IT HOT  (1959)
I thought I understood the Marilyn Monroe mystique until I saw Some Like It Hot on the big screen.  Watching her on television is one thing, but to see her thirty feet high, oozing pure unbridled sexuality is another.  The fact that the film itself is one of the funniest ever made was an added bonus.

I’ve never felt so sick watching a movie.  Prince of the City made me truly sick to my stomach.  It’s a truly heartbreaking, devastating film.  It punches you in the gut repeatedly and once you’re in its grip, it doesn’t let go.  Prince of the City is a film about corruption, doing the right thing, and the way the lines between “good” and “bad” get awfully blurry.  This is far and away Sidney Lumet’s best film, and Treat Williams gives what has to be the most unsung performance in screen history.  If you see only one film in 2014, make it this one.

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