Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014 - Kristen Lopez ""

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014 - Kristen Lopez

Kristen writes for a multitude of publications regarding classic film including ClassicFlix and Awards Circuit. She’s also the owner/found of Journeys in Classic Film. You can check out what’s she watching on Letterboxd.
She is on twitter @Journeys_Film.

S.O.B. (Blake Edwards, 1981)
To preface: I didn't intentionally plan the sheer abundance of '80s movies on this list. It's just that, of the several discoveries I experienced throughout the year, many were made in the 1980s. Blake Edwards S.O.B. actually kicked off my trial of Warner Archive Instant, and what a movie to start with! Edwards' bleak Hollywood satire stars a cadre of top-tier talents, particularly William Holden and Julie Andrews, in the process of emphasizing that everyone loves you when you're dead, dying, or willing to show your boobs. I'm a fan of black comedies and Edwards keeps things depressing, yet the humor remains as you watch these characters who've never heard "no" in their lives keep living the dream. And, yes, Julie Andrews shows her boobs.

Radio Days (Woody Allen, 1987)
Twilight Time Studios has released several of Allen's earlier films on Blu-ray and I was delighted by Radio Days. Capturing the heyday of radio shows, Allen also presents a tribute to the family he had, and that maybe we all wish we wanted. Loud, brash, and filled with embarrassing moments for a kid to experience, Radio Days is a hilarious and moving tribute to family and an entertainment format long gone by.

Bachelor Mother (Garson Kanin, 1939)
I covered a lot of best/worst classic films on my blog at the end of the year, but I have to take time to praise Ginger Rogers and David Niven in Bachelor Mother. I missed this when it played at the TCM Classic Film Festival last year, so when it aired at Christmastime I decided to finally sit down and watch it. The humor isn't dated, Ginger Rogers as a shopgirl who ends up with a baby is fun and sweet, and there's no compromisng of Rogers' character's ideals at the end (I expected that considering her female status). The movie is also a taste risque in its sexual politics, with Rogers' character alluding that the baby is Niven's character's "problem," implying a sleuth of cheeky sexual innuendos that's a taste shocking for the year that brought us The Wizard of Oz.

Salvador (Oliver Stone, 1986)
Another Twilight Time discovery for me, Salvador is Oliver Stone's debut film, and I'm shocked that it's not better regarded and known. James Woods plays a weasal of a journalist, covering the genocide and torture of the citizens of El Salvadorduring a governmental shake-up. Stone situates the style of unrepentant, uncompromising realism he would enact in later films, showing scenes of horror in gruesome clarity. The rape and murder of a group of nuns, a true-life event, is shown in a way that's horrific, haunting, and yet not gratuitious. Several images from this film are seared into my brain.

The Ballad of Little Jo (Maggie Greenwald, 1993)
This was a selection we watched in my film class. Greenwald creates a revisionist Western following a woman (Suzy Amis) cast out of her house and taking to moving West. In order to stave off the lechery and assaults of the menfolk, she becomes Jo, a male cowboy starting over in the land of opportunity. Greenwald plays with a lot of Western tropes, and illustrates the male gaze - through a female's eyes - that's ironic. I would never say the Western is my favorite genre, but I love a female presentation of it where the woman isn't a prostitute or a wife.

Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981)
This was one of my first-time Halloween viewings and, boy, I wish someone gave me a little warning. I refuse to spoil anything, leave all you readers in the same place I was, but let's just say this is more than a relationship drama about a squabbling couple played by Sam Neil and Isabelle Adjani.Possession is disgusting, erotic, hilarious, terrifying, and a host of other adjectives that both describe it and utterly fail to capture it. Suffice it to say, you just have to experience it for yourself.

1 comment:

Dick Hollywood said...

Just an FYI... Salvador was not Oliver Stone's debut Film. He Directed two Features before it, "Seizure" and "The Hand". And I do agree that Salvador is definitely an Over-Looked Film. I was blown away by it when I saw in the theaters in 1986.