Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '97 - Samuel B. Prime ""

Friday, December 15, 2017

Underrated '97 - Samuel B. Prime

Samuel B. Prime is a moving image advocate, writer, and curator based in Los Angeles. He spends his days working at Annapurna Pictures in West Hollywood, CA. He is also a contributor to MUBI, The Village Voice, and LAist (R.I.P.).

HIGHBALL (Noah Baumbach, 1997)
An underrated, sadly disowned micro-budget feature shot in six days. Fast, loose, ugly, messy, fun.
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Ernest Borgnine tours America in his treasured luxury coach 'The Sunbum.' Not really a movie in any traditional way, but who cares! He's hungry for Dairy Queen, wistful about all that life has to offer, and gives the best, simplest advice: "Have fun. That's what it's all about. You'll last longer, believe me."
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NOWHERE (Gregg Araki, 1997)
Is this actually underrated? I can't tell. It's such a part of my DNA at this point in my life, I don't have the necessary critical distance to gauge whether this is the queer-pop fantasia everybody secretly loves (as with 1987's BORN IN EAST L.A., minus the queer-pop fantasia angle) or it's what everyone's aching to discover. No film out there better captures the isolationist era of Nineties teendom and its corresponding cultural implosion.
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NIAGARA, NIAGARA (Bob Gosse, 1997)
Earlier this year, I caught this incredible film on a double bill with WICKED (Michael Steinberg, 1998) at the New Beverly and it was love at first sight. Like BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) and even Sam Fuller's THIEVES AFTER DARK (1984), this is a story of a hopelessly passionate, criminal romance. Here's my one-sentence pitch: "Two young shoplifters meet cute, break bad, and embark on a romantic road trip to Canada from whence there is no return." So damn good.
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SPAWN (Mark A.Z. Dippé, 1997)
Even Roger Ebert wasn't immune to the demonic charms and fart humor of SPAWN. Fight me.
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