Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014 - Andrew Wickliffe ""

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014 - Andrew Wickliffe

Andrew Wickliffe has been blogging about film and comic books for almost ten years:
1. Dear Heart (1964, Delbert Mann)
I ordered Dear Heart just because Warner Archive had it up and I'd never heard of it. I thought it was another version of Lonelyhearts (which I've never seen). When I ordered the movie, I only knew the basic concept and that Geraldine Page stars in it. I didn't even know Glenn Ford was the other lead until after it shipped. I just read the description and wanted to see it.

It's a fantastic film, though it does play to a number of my interests--contained locations (in this case, a hotel during a convention) and New York City. And, of course, Page and Ford. It actually reinvigorated my interest in film blogging, which was going through a bit of a lull at the time I saw it in February.

As a discovery, it's a great one. I tend not to see many studio sixties movies; I should see more.

2. The Bohemian Life (1992, Aki Kaurismäki)
The Bohemian Life blew me away. I had been hearing from a friend I should see an Aki Kaurismäki movie for months and I kept not seeing them; they never fit my schedule. Finally she gave me The Bohemian Life, figuring I'd feel guilty and finally watch it and I did and it's a fantastic film.

There's a mystical realism quality to the film; it's not modern people living in the modern day. I remember, as I watched the film, I kept wondering why I was only seeing it now but also why hadn't I heard about it much sooner. Like in 1993 or 1994. Why weren't people raving about it all through the nineties?

Maybe they were and I just didn't pay attention.

But Sam Fuller does a cameo and I still didn't know about it, even after years of reading about Fuller. So glad I finally saw it.

3. Lovesick (1983, Marshall Brickman)
I don't know when I first heard about Lovesick. I like Dudley Moore, but I wasn't really on a Dudley Moore kick this year--my wife and I both like him and occasionally watch one of his movies, but I think for Lovesick, I just happened upon it being on iTunes for rent.

It's from Marshall Brickman, who's mostly known (at least in film) for his work co-writing a few Woody Allen movies, and it's an early Elizabeth McGovern performance. I was a big McGovern fan in high school (we're both from Evanston, IL) but I never saw it then.

Lovesick's a smart, sensitive, little New York film. Gentle might be an even better way to describe it.

There's a pan and scan DVD release from Warner--so I was real excited to discover the widescreen iTunes copy. I occasionally obsessively try to find new OAR transfers on iTunes.

4. Sabotage (1936, Alfred Hitchcock)
I may have seen Sabotage before, but it's on my list of 2014 discoveries because I certainly don't remember seeing it. Back in the late 1990s, I tried seeing all of Alfred Hitchcock's films but had a hard time finding the British stuff from the 1930s. I never remembered any of it being particularly great until The Lady Vanishes.

But Sabotage is great. It's got a wonderful moral complexity (which Hitchcock never could have done in the States with the production code) and the way the narrative moves is utterly fantastic. No one
could make a film break out in scenes like a play but feel like a film more than Hitchcock. It's a fantastic slice of life mixed with unbelievable intrigue.

And the suspense sequences--there are three or four--are utterly
phenomenal. Hitchcock never lets up, never lets the viewer catch his
or her breath. It's just wonderful.

5. Working Girl (1988, Mike Nichols)
Speaking of wonderful... my most unexpected surprise of all my 2014 film watching. With Working Girl, I have definitely seen it. About twenty-three years ago and I remembered nothing about it. I kept waiting for the John Cusack cameo (but it's in Broadcast News).

I went into the film expecting an eighties fish out of water comedy with Melanie Griffith with big hair, competing with Sigourney Weaver for Harrison Ford. Instead, it's this intense character study of Griffith (with big hair for a while); her character is fantastic, her acting is fantastic (which I also wasn't expecting).

At one point I had the impression the film was regarded as a minor modern classic, but it actually seems forgotten these days. But I just saw it got a blu-ray release so hopefully more people will discover (or rediscover) it. And not ignore it for two decades like I did.

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