Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '96 - Samuel B. Prime ""

Friday, March 25, 2016

Underrated '96 - Samuel B. Prime

Samuel B. Prime is a writer, film curator, and archivist based in Los Angeles. He recently served as one of the producers for Etiquette Pictures' Blu-ray of CATCH MY SOUL and also worked on the special features. Otherwise, he deeply admires Dick Cavett's savoir faire and his favorite Sonny Chiba film is Kazuhiko Yamaguchi's perpetually unavailable WOLFGUY: ENRAGED LYCANTHROPE (1975). Find him online at for essays and free streaming movies.

BIO-DOME (Jason Bloom, 1996)
I am not going to win over anyone by publicly professing my sincere love of BIO-DOME, but consider this: however silly it gets, the film at its core is about boundless, unbridled friendship. On the surface, it may seem aggressively dumb, but it is pure of heart. Also, Bud (Pauly Shore) and Doyle (Stephen Baldwin) are secret cinephiles. What other low art comedy can you name that features references to Fassbinder (Kylie Minogue's character is named Dr. Petra von Kant) , Lynch (Blue Velvet is mentioned as the leads get high on nitrous oxide), and Vadim (Barbarella is discussed)? Tied only with John Lafia's MAN'S BEST FRIEND (1993), this is the film that I rented most often from my local video store in Bay City, MI. There is more here than meets the eye. And it is damn entertaining.
UNITED TRASH (Christoph Schlingensief, 1996)
The late German filmmaker Christoph Schlingensief creates films that are the equivalent of rabid animals embroiled in the achingly slow process of going insane, leaving a rainbow spray of bodily fluids wherever they go. Like many of his films, UNITED TRASH is simultaneously an exploitation film and an investigation of the exploitation sub-genre from the inside out. The result is a film that for most audiences is incomprehensible or that simply grosses them out too much to properly engage its subterranean ideas, themes, and concentrations. That said, while I haven't yet seenevery single film he made, his films always - most importantly - seem to me celebrations of life.
PRECIOUS FIND (Philippe Mora, 1996)
This is an outer space remake of THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948). If that doesn't make you want to immediately see this movie, I can't help you. Well, now that I think about it, I can. Back in November, I compiled a 5-minute supercut of the film in hopes of exposing more people to it: A rather "precious" word is repeated throughout. Also: Rutger Hauer stars as an interstellar samurai.
The first DVD that I ever bought (and before I even owned a DVD player). Martian colonies, a villain named D'anclaude, characters voiced by Kiefer Sutherland and Elizabeth Berkeley. This movie is a meditative echo of Blade Runner (1982) with some key differences. It is A) animated, B) opts for clarity rather than ambiguity about its protagonists, and C) it is a buddy cop picture. I was all about this movie when I was 13 or 14. I haven't watched it since then. I hope it holds up.

The three objects that defined Sam Fuller's life and career lend a structure of thirds to this simply great - if conventional - documentary about the only man I feel comfortable calling a "maverick." Relatedly, Sam Fuller's exceptional TV-movie Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street (1972) comes out on Blu-Ray - in its director's cut form - on April 19th via Olive Films. I contributed an essay to the release. Dead Pigeon is a detective story, but Fuller knew what other directors don't: that the job of a detective is dirty, dull, dangerous work. Dead Pigeon is the most realistic detective movie I have ever seen. The feature and the documentary would make for a sumptuous double feature.

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