Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '87 - Joseph Gibson ""

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Underrated '87 - Joseph Gibson

Joe is one of the most veteran of all RPS contributors and has done oodles of lists over the years. Check them out!

1987. The year of my birth. Also the year a bunch of movies came out, including these which I rather like. Do all of them hold up as well as I do? Impossible, but I'd say a good 50 percent come close.
This is frequently located near the bottom of any Bond ranking (note to self/interested readers: "Bond ranking" sounds like some kind of financial term, huh) but if you see it in a theater you'll realize it's actually pretty great. Like Moonraker, it has some absolutely incredible airplane stunts that have to be seen on the big screen. The downside to this is that you may come to feel that watching Bond movies on TV is kind of a waste of time.
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INNERSPACE (1987; Joe Dante)
One of Joe Dante's dark horses, but also one of his most ambitious and successful movies, a scifi Lewis & Martin riff that explores an unusual romantic triangle like only science-fiction can.
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ENEMY TERRITORY (1987; Peter Manoogian)
I saw this one at Weird Wednesday, and I'm sure I'm not the only person to put it on their '87 list, but whatever. I'd like to focus my time/space here on Tony Todd, who plays one of the all-time great bad guys with such infectious relish that it almost (scratch that) definitely seems unfair to the protagonists.
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A RETURN TO SALEM'S LOT (1987; Larry Cohen)
Larry Cohen! I've been evangelizing for Number One Larry for what feels like 10-15 years now on this blog, but this movie is underrated even within the Larry Cohen canon, aka the Cohon. People HATE this movie, I suppose because the movie it's nominally a sequel to is so beloved, and this has next to nothing to do with any of it. What it is, though, is like thick, creamy lifeblood for Larry Cohen converts, riffing as it does on virtually every aspect of the "American vampire" concept he's working with here. Sam Fuller plays a Nazi killer, and he's great, but don't sleep on Andrew Duggan, who gets to deliver the line "VAMPARS" decades before True Blood.
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BEST SELLER (1987; John Flynn)
This is another Cohen movie, although he just scripted. Unlike some of the other films made from his screenplays, it actually feels like a Cohen movie, a toxic love letter to capitalism and the unique pleasures and dangers of selling out. James Woods plays one of his patented supercreeps, and Brian Dennehy is his unwitting buddy, in the generic sense.
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SIGN 'O' THE TIMES (1987; Prince)
If it's possible for a movie to be underrated by design, it's this one, because despite the fact it's one of the best things EVER, it's never been widely available and I'm pretty sure there are even a few moderate Prince fans out there who don't even know it exists. I know he wouldn't approve, and Jehovah forgive me for saying so, but try to get your hands on it through whatever unethical means are at your disposal. Sheila E for President.
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I'm looking over my list, and it occurs to me there might be too much Larry Cohen on here.
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EASTERN CONDORS (1987; Sammo Hung)
Here's where I have to qualify my categorizing this movie as "underrated," since I have never actually met anyone who doesn't like this movie. Sammo Hung directs and stars in his own men on a mission Vietnam pulse-quickener, and it's even better than that sounds - light on comedy unlike a lot of Sammo's other work up to that point, and heavy on intense, sometimes full-contact fights and stunts. This is one of those movies I'm going to wish on my deathbed that I spent more time watching.
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FACELESS (1987; Jess Franco)
Jess Franco was by most accounts not in a great place in the late 80s, taking whatever low-rent porno work he could get just to be working behind a camera. He somehow got to make a moderately slick horror-thriller during this period, though, and the result is this vaguely De Palma but really unmistakably Franco semi-remake of Eyes Without a Face.
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DEADLY ILLUSION (1987; Larry Cohen)
That damn Joe Gibson had four Larry Cohen movies on his list of underrated 1987 releases, what the hell is his problem? NOT! SO! This is really only half a Cohen, since he got fired and they brought in some other guy to finish. What can be said about this movie? Billy Dee Williams plays an unlicensed private dick named (one sec, I want to confirm the spelling) Hamberger. As fellow Rupert Pupkin Speaks contributor Ira Brooker used to say ... if you need more than that, we're very different people.
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1 comment:

Ira Brooker said...

I can't imagine a prouder scenario for seeing my semi-retired catchphrases resurface.