Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2015 - Matt Lynch ""

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Film Discoveries of 2015 - Matt Lynch

Matt Lynch is Marketing Co-ordinator at the wonderful Scarecrow Video, one of the greatest stores known to cinephile-kind(It is a place I have yet to visit myself, but I hope to correct that before the year 2020). To say Matt watches a metric shit-ton of movies would be an understatement. Following his film watching exploits on twitter,tumblr & Letterboxd, is highly recommended. You should also listen to this interview I did with him a back in 2012:
Matt also occasionally reviews movies for and The Stranger.

Here's his lists from 2012, 2013 & 2014:

1. PAROLE VIOLATORS (1994; Patrick G. Donahue) 
The rare trash extravaganza that actually transcends the "so bad it's good" descriptor that often follows its tantalizing combination of sheer ineptitude and balls-out ambition. A lot of junk cinema makes claims to WTF holy grail status. This is maybe the only true Carpenter's Cup, simultaneously ridiculous and thrilling. I was lucky enough to put this in front of a packed Drafthouse audience this year, and I know for a fact some lives were changed.

2. Regina Baff
Mostly known as a Tony Award-winning theater actress. But I found her and her sad-eyes and restless spirit this year in two films, 1974's ROAD MOVIE and 1980's BELOW THE BELT. In the former she's a jaded prostitute who gets tangled up with a couple of novice independent long-haul truckers (or they get mixed up with her, depending on how you feel like looking at it). The film itself is really bleak stealth exploitation, loaded with depressing verisimilitude. Individuals chewed up by a system, WHITE LINE FEVER-meets-SALESMAN, just pounding endless cheap miles of miserable tarmac and signs and rot. BELOW THE BELT is maybe the best regional kayfabe picture (see also BLOOD AND GUTS or ALL THE MARBLES), centering on a group of female wrestlers. Has all the usual wintry highways, grungy locker rooms, and practically criminal working conditions, but mostly this is a really kind, plain portrait of camaraderie, with a lot of its energy devoted to fear of missed opportunity and regret over busted expectations, everyone's half-life endlessly expending, ticking off one electron at a time.

3. Animerama 
A burn-out-rather-than-fade-away anime company formed in the late 60's by Osamu Tezuka and Eiichi Yamamoto, Animerama produced three incredible feature-length sexploitation cartoons. ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS is an unruly, goofy artifact focusing elements of the Arabian Nights folklore into a saga of the power of female sex throughout history and the naive blindness inherent in male desire. CLEOPATRA, QUEEN OF SEX is one of the weirdest films I've ever seen, a slapstick period-epic melodrama laced with sci-fi, boner jokes, and topless women. And then there's out-an-out masterpiece BELLADONNA OF SADNESS, a proto-feminist phantasmagoria based on a 17th century French philosophical text called "Satanism and Witchcraft" that makes analogues of the history of capital, power, and misogyny.

4. John Hayes
I encountered the work of this totally unheralded trash auteur thanks to a recommendation from my good friend Laird "Hot Grits" Jimenez after he saw Hayes' truly unique SWEET TRASH, a fragrant little gem that plays like Al Adamson directed an Arthur Miller adaptation of ALPHAVILLE. Hayes' ambition may have exceeded his limited talent, but his best films share a focus on men being incrementally poisoned by their own thwarted, meager desires, and an almost quotidian bleakness created by his accidental combination of cheap ineptitude, stilted earnestness, and generally unvarnished inhumanity. SWEET TRASH, THE HANG UP, and FIVE MINUTES TO LOVE (starring an incredible Rue McClanahan, who almost married Hayes) are essential, and I also highly recommend GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE and downright Tashlin-esque slapstick comedy THE FARMER'S OTHER DAUGHTER. I could write a book about this guy.

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