Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '96 - Dani Manning ""

Friday, April 1, 2016

Underrated '96 - Dani Manning

Dani Manning is an LA native working as an Art Director and Fine Artist. She has done production design on shorts for Crypt TV like this one:
and this one:
I was nine years old in 1996. What did I know about movies at that point in time? The answer is nothing conscious. I can’t recall what I was doing other than walking around looking like Dawn Wiener and getting bullied but here are the movies from that year that I’ve come to seriously love over the last two decades:

Welcome to the Dollhouse (1996; Todd Solondz)
Check out that foreshadowing. This movie is horribly great. Never has there been a better depiction of being an ugly awkward kid with clueless parents. What were certainly painful years for me is captured here in one of the funniest and most dead-on movies about the miseries of junior high. Heather Matarazzo’s performance as Dawn is heartbreakingly perfect. My only wish is that I’d seen this movie when I myself was in middle school.­
The Dentist (1996; Brian Yuzna)
Responsible for a few of my favorite horror films, Brian Yuzna directed The Dentist, working with writers Stuart Gordon and Dennis Paoli (both of Re-Animator). It’s a completely schizophrenic film starring Corbin Bernsen who is a ridiculous joy to watch. Shot with a soft filter over pastel palettes with an overly dramatic score, one might feel like they’ve huffed laughing gas themselves while watching. This film is not meant to be taken seriously, and that’s why it’s so much better than a lot of the shitty horror movies churned out in the 90s.

Susie Q (1996; John Blizek)
Allow me this one nostalgic pick. Opening with a Pretty in Pink-esque montage of Amy Jo Johnson (Susie Q herself) pulling on nylons and doing her makeup for her 1955 winter formal-she’s anything but Molly Ringwald in a pink prom sack. I can see why a lot of guys I know say Johnson was one of their first loves. As for me, looking as Wienery as previously mentioned, I simply watched in awe. This was an original Disney Channel movie and I remember them airing it CONSTANTLY. It’s not perfect, but it’s nice to see a kid’s movie address subjects like the loss of a loved one with respect to children viewers.
Brain Candy (1996; Kelly Makin)
While the Canadian sketch troupe certainly plays better in short form this movie has the ability to make me laugh no matter how many times I've watch it. A lot of people forget about this film and it certainly doesn’t get the love it deserves.
Crash (1996; David Cronenberg)
I first saw Crash when I was working for a private film collector. My job was to organize his dvd and blu-ray collection, find information on rare bootlegs, and enter this data into his computer database. If that sounds boring, it was. Except that I could watch any movie I wanted while I was at work. Crash was a movie I should not have watched at work.

I’m trying to keep this PG but it’s hard when I’m talking about Cronenberg and when I consider this to be the sexiest film I’ve ever seen.

Watching this film again was something of an experience for me as I got into a bad crash at the beginning of last month. I was wondering if I would even be able to finish it. But heaven help me, I love it just as much as I did before. The cast, the score, production design, make-up -everything is brilliant in this movie.

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