Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Gem Streams - Cool Movies to Watch Right Now ""

Friday, April 22, 2016

Gem Streams - Cool Movies to Watch Right Now

Years ago, I used to do a regular column called "Netflix Instant Gems", and I think I'd like to bring it back. I don;t kno about you, but I regularly find myself pretty overwhelmed by the amount of movies (and other content) out there to watch instantly at any given moment. Because Netflix is far from the only streaming service that folks use for movie watching these days, I'll try to add other places you can check stuff out like Hulu, Amazon, Crackle, Warner Archive Instant, Vudu and so forth. As with most things related to this site, the movies I will be suggesting will typically be older, but there will be occasional newer stuff too. Hopefully you enjoy these recommendations! Let me know!

-This documentary about Peter Bogdanovich, his film THEY ALL LAUGHED and his relationship with Dorothy Stratten (who was murdered shortly after the film wrapped) is a must for cinephiles.

3 WOMEN (1977; Robert Altman)
The possibly apocryphal tale about how this film was made is that Altman had a dream about it and pitched the dream (and got a green light) the next day en route to taking a friend to the airport. Regardless of if that's true, this dreamy film is quite remarkable and certainly owes something to Bergman's PERSONA.

CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (1948; Henry Hathaway)
An ambitious journalist gets talked into investigating a decade-old cop killing conviction by the convict's mother. Early docudrama type film, great ensemble including James Stewart, Richard Conte, Lee J. Cobb and more.

DETROIT 9000 (1973; Arthur Marks)
An interracial pair of cops uncover more than they bargained for as they navigate an urban underworld of call girls and corrupt politicians. Tarantino is a big fan of this one as he released it on DVD years ago as part of his Rolling Thunder Video Collection. Cast: Alex Rocco, Hari Rhodes, Vonetta McGee, Scatman Crothers.

THE ENEMY BELOW (1957; Dick Powell)
Tense little naval warfare flick (German sub vs Navy ship) starring Robert Mitchum and Curd Jurgens. Pretty sure that Tarantino made reference to it in his uncredited rewrite to the script for CRIMSON TIDE. Notice that actor Dick Powell directed.

HOMBRE (1967; Martin Ritt)
Paul Newman worked with director Martin Ritt several times (HUD and THE LONG, HOT SUMMER being two high-profile examples), but this taught and well-made western with a racial angle really gets short shrift in terms of their collaborations. Great supporting cast includes Fredric March, Barbara Rush, Cameron Mitchell and the always deliciously evil Richard Boone.

I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES (1982; Herbert Ross)
Herbert Ross and Neil Simon together again for this story of a young girl (Dinah Manhoff from GREASE) who goes to Hollywood to see her estranged screenwriter dad (Walter Matthau). Not perfect, but funny and who isn't down for a Matthau movie they haven't seen?

PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK (1971; Jerry Schatzberg)
The sordid story of two junkies in New York City. One of the more depressing movies I've seen, but still great and supposedly the thing that made Coppola cast Pacino in the godfather.

THE PHANTOM (1996; Simon Wincer)
This movie came up A LOT in my recent Underrated '96 series. Check it out for yourself.

UNCOMMON VALOR (1983; Ted Kotcheff)
Ted Kotcheff is an extremely underrated director these days. He made a ton of interesting movies in the 70s and 80s (NORTH DALLAS FORTY and FIRST BLOOD among them), but this one doesn't get much attention. Gene Hackman plays a retired U.S. Marine colonel who puts together a group of fellas to go back into Vietnam ten years after the war to get his son (a P.O.W.) out. This cast is ridiculous: Patrick Swayze, Fred Ward, Robert Stack, Tim Thomerson, Reb Brown, and Randall "Tex" Cobb.

VON RYAN'S EXPRESS (1965; Mark Robson)
One of Sinatra's better films. He plays a tough guy Colonel who leads a group of allied POWs to escape a an Italian prison and commandeer a German freight train. One of the "Guys on a Mission Movies" that many folks haven't seen.

THE NOOSE HANGS HIGH (1948; Charles Barton)
Delightful and underseen Abbott & Costello film. The duo play window washers mistaken for gangster messengers and hilarity ensues.

I WALK ALONE (1948; Byron Haskin)
Great little noir with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Lizabeth Scott & Wendell Corey.

BILLIE (1965; Don Weiss)
Cute little film starring the late great Patty Duke.

UP THE CREEK (1984; Robert Butler)
I always say that this movie is kind of like ANIMAL HOUSE meets RACE FOR YOUR LIFE CHARLIE BROWN. If that appeals to you (and it should), then check it out.

THE JOY OF SEX (1984; Martha Coolidge)
Sex comedy that Martha Coolidge made between VALLEY GIRL and REAL GENIUS - featuring a couple actors from those films - Cameron Dye and Michelle Meyrink - also: Colleen Camp, Ernie Hudson and Lisa Langlois.

FREEWAY (1996; Matthew Bright)
This movie is nutty. From IMDB: "A twisted take on 'Little Red Riding Hood' with a teenage juvenile delinquent on the run from a social worker traveling to her grandmother's house and being hounded by a charming, but sadistic, serial killer/pedophile." Reese Witherspoon is the girl and Keifer Sutherland is the pedophile. I sometimes think of this as the female version of BAD BOYS (the Sean Pean prison movie).

CHEAP THRILLS (2014; Evan Katz)
A harrowing tale (and sometimes funny) tale of two old friends who find themselves in a competition to do terrible things for money and the amusement of a rich couple. Great turns from Pat Healy and Ethan Embry. 

EQUINOX FLOWER (1958; Yasujiro Oz)
Colorful and slightly underrated 50s Ozu film. I recall this was a favorite of one of my film professors in college. Solid, as Ozu always is.

FIEND WITHOUT A FACE (1958; Arthur Crabtree)
One of the movies I'd most love to see Criterion upgrade to Blu-ray. Any movie that features flying brain creatures that strangle their victims is a classic in my book.

Outstanding early feature from Jim Jarmusch - also in dire need of a Blu-ray upgrade!


HEAVY METAL (1981; Gerald Potterton)
South Park did an entire episode that was a loving homage/parody of this amazing and weird, sexy, pulpy cartoon. It's a cult classic for a reason. Watch it soon.

DRUNKEN MASTER (1978; Yuen Woo-Ping)
One of the best Jacki Chan films out there. Do yourself a favor.

Warner Archive Instant:

EMPLOYEE'S ENTRANCE (1933; Roy Del Ruth)
A skeezy Warren William plays the head honcho at a department store who is lusting after one of the girls (Loretta Young) that works for him. Sharp precode film.
(in HD) 

FREEBIE AND THE BEAN (1974; Richard Rush)
One of the prototypes for the modern buddy cop movie. Totally not PC and hilarious. James Caan and Alan Arkin are amazing.

THE LATE SHOW (1977; Robert Benton)
One of my favorite throwback noir. Carney is an old school detective put on the case to find Lily Tomlin's missing cat and things get complicated. Carney's character call's women "dollies". Released about a month before STAR WARS in 1977.

SKYSCRAPER SOULS (1932; Edgar Selwyn)
Similar to EMPLOYEE'S ENTRANCE, Warren William plays another power hungry rich fella who will stop at nothing to acquire a 100-story office building. Also stars the lovely Maureen O'Sullivan.
(in HD) 

While I know Vudu is not a subscription service, they do have a ton of older movies that are great and can be rented or purchased cheaply. Many of them aren't on Blu-ray but are available to stream in 1080p via the site.

INTO THE NIGHT (1985; John Landis)!content/5356/Into-the-Night

1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

Glad you're doing this! I did it for a while after you, but it's been a long time since I've posted.

I only have Netflix now, but have looked at the others. Can't afford more than just one for a few more years. I'd probably get Warners if it was just me. My wife (and to some degree the kids) is more into TV series so she likes Netflix.

Retro Hound