Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2018 - Larry Karaszewski's 50 Favorite Discoveries of 2018 (Part One) ""

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2018 - Larry Karaszewski's 50 Favorite Discoveries of 2018 (Part One)

Larry Karaszewski has been part of this series for six years now. He is one of my favorite screenwriters and a true cinephile's cinephile. He and Scott Alexander have collaborated on many memorable screenplays including one of my personal favorites, Tim Burton's movie ED WOOD. Larry and Scott' also worked the Golden Globe-winning FX series AMERICAN CRIME STORY: THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON and has also seen their Rudy Ray Moore script made into a movie for Netflix.

Larry spreads his love for cinema the whole year round via his Trailer's From Hell commentaries - all of which are recommended:

This year, Larry's list of discoveries was so epic, we are splitting it into two posts (of 25 films each) over two days!

Check out Part One Below!
(Look for Part Two Tomorrow)

Variety (1983)
Bette Gordon’s brilliant 1983 dirty old NYC movie about a young girl who takes a job in the ticket booth at a porn theater. Brilliant lead performance by Sandy McLeod who went on to become an acclaimed filmmaker herself.
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The Grasshopper (1970)
Written and directed by sitcom kings Jerry Paris, Gary Marshall, and Jerry Belson. It’s trying to be a heartfelt coming of age story of a girl making a series of wrong moves in Las Vegas 1969. Almost great but probably not good. Jackie Bisset is too strong for the lead. Her accent is explained away as Canadian. Hairy Corbit Monica is an annoying stand up comic who briefly becomes her boyfriend. But she ends up marrying Jim Brown as an athlete who now greets and humiliates himself for fans at a Vegas eatery. Certainly a lot going on.
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Bad Girl (1931)
An early Best Picture nominee, now forgotten. Terrific pre-code. First section fits perfectly into the #metoo movement.
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The Hireling (1973)
Shared the Golden Palm at Cannes in 1973 with “Scarecrow” - what an eccentric fest that year. Starts slow but builds into a terrific character study. Shaw and Miles outstanding. A great film about class.
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Westward The Women (1951)
Alexander Payne recommended this William Wellman female western to me - so glad I checked it out. Rugged and realistic cross country journey by ladies coming to be brides in California. Real stakes... people die.
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The Ski Bum (1971)
Was there ever a creepier film presence than Zahlman King? I met him once - a nice guy. But on screen he’s way too menacing to relate to in this Graduate-esque “I gotta find myself” 1971 drama. He even kicks a dog. Charlotte Rampling is of course lovely.

Tiger Bay (1959)
Thrilling 60s British film with knock out performance from Haley Mills as a young girl who protects and hides a criminal in a small seaside town
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Wife vs. Secretary (1936)
Just fabulous. GABLE. LOY. HARLOW. Despite the silly title - it’s a very smart and thoughtful examination of work and marriage.
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Girls About Town (1936)
Dynamite pre-code with the always great Kay Francis. A highlight from this years TCM fest.
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Paradise Lagoon (AKA The Admirable Crichton) (1957)
Fascinating 1957 British class warfare dessert island picture. Not quite Swept Away but close.
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The Party’s Over (1965)
This early Oliver Reed/Guy flick was hard to see for years. Censored. But BFI has restored and put it out in home video. Essential.
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What Do You Say To A Naked Lady? (1970)
Candid Camera’s Allen Funt thinks it’s hysterical to put a nude woman in an elevator. A huge hit at the time. Baffling now.
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Going My Way (1944)
It won Best Picture but always looked so square that I’ve avoided it my whole life. Mistake. Just a lovely lovely film.
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The Great Lie (1941)
This is exactly the kind of movie that made FilmStruck indispensable. Mary Astor wins the Oscar as a concert pianist who shares a husband with Bette Davis
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Love With The Proper Stranger (1963)
Steve McQueen and Natalie Wood in a beautiful black and white New York story about a jazz musician and the young gal he got pregnant. I’m a sucker for old time abortion films like this, “To Find A Man” and “Our Time”.
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Two People (1973)
Robert Wise tries to make a now Love Story type film with Peter Fonda and Lindsay Wagner. Almost good. She’s great.

Rapture (1965)
An atmospheric one of a kind thriller/love story with Melvin Douglas and a European cast. The women are wonderful. Directed by Shaft in Africa’s John Guillermin.
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There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)
The writers of Bonnie and Clyde take that violent comedy style and try to pull off a western. Might have worked with someone other than Kirk Douglas. Makes you glad Cuckoos Nest waited for Nicholson
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Show People (1928)
Marion Davies gets a bad rap. But shes delightful in this funny
silent parody of Hollywood
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The Strawberry Statement (1970)
Maybe the best known of the batch of late 60s campus unrest films. All of them were dated on arrival and have not aged well. This ends with a Kent State like confrontation and a powerful freeze frame. Starring the always great Bruce Davison and Kim Darby
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A Star is Born (1937)
Actually watched all the Star is Borns this year. This one has Frederic March as the prick at the top. This version gives Janet Gaynor lots of first act back story. Always fun to look at Hollywood back in the day. Surprising how much the place has physically has not changed.
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A Taste Of Honey (1961)
Dived into Rita Tushingham this year. Great screen presence in this kitchen sink 1960s British film from Tony Richardson.
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The Todd Killings (1971)
Grim little early seventies crime film. Solid performance from Richard Thomas.
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Battleground (1949) 
One of the first films to treat soldiers as regular guys. A Best Picture nominee and a winner for screenplay and cinematography. Cast of young aces - James Whitmore a standout. Another reliable Bill Wellman picture.
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Far From The Madding Crowd (1967)
Epic John Schlesinger late 60s adaptation with Julie Christie coming off her Oscar win and “Doctor Zhivago”. She’s just ok, but Alan Bates and Terrance
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Film Worker said...

Really appreciate your take on these little seen gems. I’ve always wanted to see The Grasshopper, especially because it features Jackie Bisset before she did Day For Night. I personally have a soft spot for There Was a Crooked Man, maybe because I saw it in the theater at an impressionably young age. Kind of love it in spite of itself even though it doesn’t completely work. And the score/song is perfect for it.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the recommendation for Wife VS Secretary. It grabbed me right away, because well.......stars, the kind of performers for whom it seems the term was invented, What starts as light and snappy developes at a realistic pace into something much deeper with a lot of truth. I thought Gable was excellent as a mature man who knows he loves his wife and is confident in it being real, and Harlow and Loy really knocked it out of the park in the final scenes. The two women's characters had layers, especially Harlow. I love that in many ways she is like Gable in her relationship, trust that she has integrity is key, if the other person doesn't see it she has no time for games, and in business and relationships a keen bullshit detecter. Loved it.