Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2018 - Samuel B. Prime ""

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Film Discoveries of 2018 - Samuel B. Prime

Samuel B. Prime is an LA-based writer, curator, and moving image advocate. He spends his days working at Annapurna Pictures. He is a contributor to MUBI, The Village Voice (R.I.P.), and LAist (R.I.P.), as well as others.

1. SWIMFAN (John Polson, 2002)
Exquisite trash. A high school thriller dressed down in baggy khakis and a puka shell necklace, but perhaps intended for the most discerning 21+ sleaze baron. Pure chaos, played straight.
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2. BORN UNDER CROSSED STARS (Seijun Suzuki, 1965)
Did you know: that Seijun Suzuki made a 1920s period piece teen boner comedy? Now you do.
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3. SHOWGIRLS 2: PENNY’S FROM HEAVEN (Rena Riffel, 2011)
Rene Riffel, best known (if at all) for her minor supporting roles in SHOWGIRLS (1995) and MULHOLLAND DR. (2001), proves herself an art-trash auteur by loosely remaking both films under the guise of a sequel to the former. It's her opportunity to be at the center of everything instead of on the sidelines as its multi-hyphenate actor-director-writer-producer-composer-editor. At two-and-a-half hours long, the experience feels impossible and yet somehow proves sincere in its perversion of wish fulfillment (as it relates to fame and success in Hollywood). It is a pair of boiled hot dogs sensually rubbed together and ingested over cheap white wine - tasty, probably, if you're drunk enough, but not exactly doctor-recommended. Certainly one-of-a-kind.
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4. PARK ROW (Sam Fuller, 1952)
Martin Scorsese said it best: “If you don’t like Sam Fuller, you just don’t like cinema.”

The only thing Sammy knew more about than war, detective work, and filmmaking was the newspaper business. If you don’t trust a man who once upon a time was a sixteen-year-old crime reporter in the big city to tell a story rooted in the foundation of American journalism, you’re better off playing tiddlywinks. - THIRTY -
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5. DROP DEAD GORGEOUS (Michael Patrick Jann, 1999)
A near-masterpiece of small town satire, lent further agency by its faux-vérité approach, about the downright agonizing social politics of any place where local, self-acknowledged big fish flop around in small ponds, leaving no room for anyone else. One of the funniest (and dirtiest!) films I saw all year. Hard to believe that this isn't talked about as a contender for 'Best Film of 1999.'
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6. THE CRYING GAME (Neil Jordan, 1992)
Extremely late to the party on this one. Somehow, I made it into my thirties without having the "twist" spoiled for me, so I won't say more than that the wait was worth it. A damn fine movie.
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7. HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Jodie Foster, 1995)
Nothing lasts forever. Nobody lives forever, either. Follow your heart instead of your head, for once, and see what happens. You may find that you like being yourself after all. I hope you do.
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8. CONTROL FACTOR (Nelson McCormick, 2003)

A light sci-fi film of modest means, but high concept ideas that are unusually well-executed. Don’t forget your tin foil - I mean, copper-lined - hat. You're gonna need it for this one, pals.
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9. LOWBALL (Demian Lichtenstein, 1996)
I bought this movie for a dollar at a local flea market, thinking it was a piece of shit street racing flick that I could have on in the background while wrapping presents or cleaning up around the house. Turns out that it is actually a filthy little nineties undercover / buddy / dirty cop yarn that co-stars white rapper Everlast and where the lead character (Peter Greene) nearly ODs halfway through the film. It's a sick picture that almost seems like a lost seventies artifact, covered in grime and the epitome of bad taste. A tremendous surprise. I loved every rotten second of it.
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10. THE COUNSELOR (Ridley Scott, 2013)
Monte Hellman told me personally that Ridley Scott's director's cut of THE COUNSELOR was the only competent American film of the past decade (other than Hellman's own ROAD TO NOWHERE, one assumes). If that isn't enough of a recommendation, I don't know what to tell you. It's an all-time stunner that luxuriates in its every moment, in spite of its bad reputation.
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1 comment:

SteveQ said...

So glad I'm not the only one that loves "Drop Dead Gorgeous." I was on set - accidentally - for scenes shot in Rosemount, MN ("Mount Rose" in the film). It makes a nice pairing with "Smile," which cover similar ground, but not nearly so venomously.