Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '75 - Larry Karaszewski ""

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Underrated '75 - Larry Karaszewski

Larry Karaszewski is one of my favorite screenwriters and a cinephile of the highest order. He and Scott Alexander have collaborated on many memorable screenplays including one of my personal favorites, Tim Burton's movie ED WOOD. Larry and Scott wrote the script for Burton's latest film BIG EYES as well, which is now out on Blu-ray by the way.
I had the distinct privilege of interviewing him for the GGTMC podcast in 2011 and it was one of my favorite interviews that I've done. I could immediately tell I'd found a kindred spirit in the affection for similar kinds of cinema when I spoke to him. Larry was also gracious enough to allow me to interview him for the Danny Peary documentary I have been working on.
If you haven't checked out some of his Trailers from Hell commentaries you are truly missing out. Do yourself a favor and clear out an hour or two for his wonderful enlightening insights.

Larry also contributed a lovely Film Discoveries list to my series this year:

1975 is one of the great years in cinema history.  Maybe even better then 1939... or 1999. "Dog Day Afternoon", "Nashville", "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", "Barry Lyndon", "Jaws" - and that's just what nominated by the Academy for Best Picture!  It was a good year for epics ("The Man Who Would Be King" "The Wind and The Lion"), personal statements ("Shampoo"), and for exploitation ("Death Race 2000")

Here are five that are not discussed enough:

"Cooley High" (1975; Michael Schultz)
The black "American Graffiti" but actually better than "American Graffiti".  Director Michael Schultz does an expert job directing Eric Monte's autobiographical script about growing up in Chicago.  Amazing performance from Glynn Turman... Love his graveside speech. And an insane soundtrack: "It's so say yesterday."   Plus the Four Tops blasting out over the closing credits!

"Coonskin" (1975; Ralph Bakshi)
Barely released.  So rough Paramount dumped it from their schedule.  But a major work of animation from Ralph Bakshi.

"Seven Beauties" (1975; Lina Wertmuller)
No one talks about Lina Wertmuller anymore, but she was a huge force on the art house circuit in the 1970s.  This is her best.  A funny yet powerful concentration camp film.  Great performance from Giancarlo Giannini: What will a man do to survive?

"Love and Death" (1975; Woody Allen)
Woody takes on Russian literature.  Rarely mentioned among his best.  But it's hysterical.
And really smart.  The bridge between the "earlier funny ones" and "Annie Hall"

"Dolemite" (1975; D'Urville Martin)
Just because it exists.  All hail Rudy Ray Moore.

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