Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '86- Samuel B. Prime ""

Friday, April 29, 2016

Underrated '86- 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.

Check out his Underrated '96 list here:
SALVADOR (Oliver Stone, 1986)
To his detriment, Oliver Stone's work - as writer and/or director - tends to be a little self-conscious. Even great movies like SCARFACE (1983) and WALL STREET (1987) have an ego and swagger that extends beyond the narrative. That is kind of annoying. SALVADOR, on the other hand, is fearless, important, and immersive storytelling without pretension. James Woods performance in the lead role fuels a kind of journalistic desperation which carries the movie through El Salvador during the time of its 80s military dictatorship: a brutal and bloody time. The movie is just a powerhouse. From its first moments, as the title scrolls by to stroboscopic machine gun fire accompanied by documentary footage of people being shot down in the streets, it takes you there.

SLEEPWALK (Sara Driver, 1986)
Long underrated, but wonderfully subject to a recent reappraisal thanks to a new 35mm print and DVD release. A dark fairytale version of New York where phantom dogs roam the streets and towering men ask women to translate ancient Chinese manuscripts. Makes New York feel like a place defined by urban magic. Due in part to the widescreen cityscapes captured from Bowery rooftops, this is a film that has to be seen on 35mm. Driver is a supremely talented filmmaker of the highest order.

OUT OF BOUNDS (Richard Tuggle, 1986)
A high concept shotgun blast of a movie concocted somewhere in a Hollywood lab, designed to strip Anthony Michael Hall of his typecast nerd persona. This is a strange beast. It moves quickly and almost carelessly - the finer details of its simplistic narrative are mere skeletons, structures without much substance. Although true, this does not matter much. AMH runs, guns, falls in love with the first punk chick he sees, and commits murder all in the first fifteen minutes. Looking forward to one day positing this as a surreptitious sequel to THE BREAKFAST CLUB via a double bill.

DREAM TO BELIEVE (Paul Lynch, 1986)
What's this? A Canadian feel-good gymnastics movie financed by Hong Kong's Golden Harvest Company? How did this get here? Olivia d'Abo is a tomboy. Keanu Reeves - looking more than a little like Jane Birkin - is her fella. And Rita Tushingham is here, too, with a Diamond Dogs haircut. Not your average kid flick. Deals head-on with a lot of dark, tumultuous stuff without sanitizing the subject matter. And there is an inexplicable scene where the movie almost becomes a horror film.

WHERE'S OFFICER TUBA? (Ricky Lau and Philip Chan, 1986)
You would think that the whereabouts of Officer Tuba might be in question. You would be wrong. False advertising aside, this is a (sort of) spooky slapstick picture about a bumbling, cowardly cop (Sammo Hung) who gets haunted by a spectral super cop who went down in the line of duty. The gags eventually wear out their welcome, but this film is bookended by dangerous, outrageous stunts that make the whole escapade worthwhile. I'm pretty sure the stuntman who kicks through a moving truck's windshield in the opening sequence shattered his hip. I've never seen anything else like it.


Unknown said...

Hello Samuel B. Prime, This question has been bothering me weeks. What was your source for watching "Die Katze" from '88. I saw your review of it on letterboxd and I can seem to find an English sub or English dub version of it.

S.B. Prime said...

DIE KATZE Eng. subs here:

Unknown said...

Thanks much!!!