Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2018 - Michele Eggen ""

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Film Discoveries of 2018 - Michele Eggen

Michele Eggen started writing about horror films in 2010 on her blog, The Girl Who Loves Horror. She now contributes her writing to the sites Wicked Horror and Ghastly Grinning in between trying to cram as many movies into her brain as she can. Twitter: @micheleneggen Letterboxd:

Check Out Michele's Discoveries from last year here:
This year was pretty amazing for my movie-watching. I managed to work in dozens of amazing first-time watches across all genres and time periods. I could have easily listed 20 or 30 films here, but these ten are very representative of the stuff I really enjoy, and could always use more love. I can only hope that 2019 is just as successful a year for me as 2018 was!

A beautiful thing happened when I watched SANTA SANGRE one lazy Sunday afternoon. The oddness of the movie revealed itself almost right away, but I was into it. About 20 minutes in, I remember thinking, “Damn, I really like this.” As I kept watching, its hold on me got stronger and stronger, and I knew before it was even over that I was completely in love. SANTA SANGRE has a real poetic beauty to it, mixed in with the gruesome and macabre, that makes it unlike anything I have ever seen before. It had been a while since a movie has so entranced and fascinated me like this one did that I almost don’t want to watch it again, for fear that the magic won’t be there anymore (though I’m sure I will eventually). Hands down, this was my favorite movie I watched all year.

ANGUISH (1987)
I have to thank the Shock Waves podcast crew for talking about ANGUISH earlier this year, otherwise I might never have discovered its brilliance. The less you know about this movie going in, the better, because the experience of watching it is so stressful, yet so intoxicating. You might think you know what kind of movie you’re watching when it first starts, but there is an amazing turn that happens about 20 minutes in that I know will completely hook you. ANGUISH is a wonderfully layered, meta, genius film of which I loved every second.

Gangster/crime films are kinda my favorite thing ever. If they’re based on true people or events? Fuggedaboutit, I’m sold. I found DILLINGER through Arrow Video just a couple months ago and I couldn’t believe nobody had ever put it on my radar before! The cast for this movie is absolutely bananas - Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, Richard Dreyfuss, Geoffrey Lewis, Ben Johnson, etc - and they all kill it in their roles. Stanton is especially a joy with his deliveries of the repeated line “Things just ain’t working out for me today.” DILLINGER is surprisingly graphic at times, and there is maybe one character thing that I didn’t like so much, but overall it’s a pretty amazing crime film that is now one of my new favorites.

Another Arrow discovery, THE LOVE OF A WOMAN is a surprising early feminist film from the 50s about female independence. Micheline Presle is a young doctor named Marie who moves to a small island town to take over after the old doctor has retired. It’s a simply told tale, but complex in regards to all of what Marie is faced with - earning the respect of the town and having to prove herself; happy to have found love in her new home, but conflicted with going forward with it because of how important her career is to her. The movie doesn’t really push anything on you, it’s just so interesting to watch a plot like this from this time period and have it be told well.

THE HAND (1981)
This is an Oliver Stone-directed movie starring Michael Caine as a comic book illustrator who gets his hand amputated in an accident, and then said hand comes back to kill the people that piss him off. I mean, I don’t think I need to say more than that, but I will. Caine completely sells the silliness of the movie with his slow descent into crazy town while dealing with his evil hand. His character is not really a good person at all so you’re not sympathetic toward him - you just want to see the crazy hand business, and the movie delivers that amazingly. A great bonkers recommendation if you haven’t checked it out yet.

I’ve been watching a lot more spaghetti westerns of late and I looooove them. DJANGO, PREPARE A COFFIN stars Terence Hill in the titular role, and he is a straight-up badass. The plot centers on Django getting revenge for the murder of his wife five years earlier, but I really liked the tweaking they did to this plot. While working as the local hangman, Django gathers up his revenge posse by only pretending to hang those he knows are innocent of their crimes. The fight scenes and gun battles include some very cool and unique stunts, and there is a spectacular final showdown.

My Letterboxd review for BLIND FURY simply says “Pure joy”, and that’s exactly what this movie is. Rutger Hauer is a blind swordsman traveling with a kid to Nevada to save his old army buddy (the kid’s father) from a crime syndicate. The movie is cheesy and ridiculous in the best possible way; its 90-minute runtime flys by with nary a boring second to be found. Hauer plays his character Nick Parker with a wonderful sense of humor, and his relationship with young Billy is itself often hilarious, yet endearing. The action is about as amazing as you’d expect with Hauer and his swordplay (he slices a guy’s EYEBROWS off with his katana) and it only gets better as the movie goes on. I’ll say it again: PURE JOY.

This popped up in my Amazon Prime suggestions and based purely on the title and cast, I was in. Mickey Rourke is a biker cleverly named Harley Davidson and his BFF is cowboy Don Johnson, or Marlboro Man. These two have great chemistry together and are clearly having fun in this gloriously offbeat 90s buddy action movie (another of my favorite things). It’s also a movie that sort of lives in its own reality, as it seems normal enough on the surface, but there are definitely some weird things (like the character names) thrown in there. It’s basically just full-on macho fun and I had a great time with it.

What an absolute delight. I had a smile on my face for practically the entirety of THEY ALL LAUGHED, thoroughly enjoying the quick-witted dialogue, John Ritter’s clumsiness, and the all-around enthusiasm of the entire cast. This is a comedy with heart and spirit, though not without its moments of sadness. Scene-stealing Colleen Camp as Christy has an amazing energy about her, and her and Ritter’s characters are a great contrast to the brilliant subtlety of Ben Gazzara and Audrey Hepburn. I’m still catching up on Peter Bogdanovich’s work, but this is pretty high up on the list of favorites already.

RIO BRAVO (1959)
And to end the list, I’ll give you something totally obvious. I love westerns with all my heart, yet I had not seen the stone-cold classic that is RIO BRAVO until about two months ago. I loved the plot, I absolutely ADORED Dean Martin, and I’m just so happy to have this movie in my life now that I had to include it here.

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