Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '89 - Brandon Smith ""

Friday, October 18, 2019

Underrated '89 - Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has been a film junkie since the yesteryears of VHS and Laserdisc, also a hardcore advocate of physical media. @bsmith8168 is dedicated to seeking out any under seen and underrated film from around the globe. In his spare time he helps out the good people at AGFA to help in the preservation and distribution of many of oft talked of titles that many thought lost in the malaise of the grindhouse era.

Later film with Paul Newman playing Louisana governor Earl Long who fell in love with stripper Blaze Starr that almost cost him his government career. Starr is played by Lolita Davidovich and is basically the focus of the film as it starts with showing her life as she went from simple farm girl to working in seedy lounges to becoming an adult performer sensation in New Orleans where she meets Long. This covers the dynamics of the political life and how you always have to keep a favorable image or you can not give a shit like Long and still come out on top. Well acted all around and a 69 year old Newman as a middle aged man seems almost unbelievable until you see him start running around and it’s insane how limber the man still was, a true legend of cinema.
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Pow Wow Highway
The Native American road film that deserves much more recognition then it gets. The film follows two Native American men the first is Buddy a war veteran turned activist that is hot headed and won’t back down to anything and then there is Philbert who is more the pacifist and just wants to get more in touch with his ancestors and his heritage. Philbert buys an old beat up car and Buddy’s sister gets busted in New Mexico with a pound of marijuana in her trunk that seems like a set-up. So Philbert and Buddy decide to go on a trip from Montana to New Mexico to bust her out. The film is very personal and doesn’t sugar coat any of the series of mistreatments that Native Americans have and still face. At the same time the film works wonderfully as a solid buddy road film that makes the two men work through their differences to achieve the same goal and find out that they are not all that different along the way. A cult classic ready for rediscovery and is dire need of a BluRay release.
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The Package
The Package has all the components to be a great action romp, but instead falls a little flat with a plot that needs a little more enlightenment. TLJ as a villain and Hackman as the good guy, am I sober? The Cold War is wrapping up and a bunch of militant lunatics aren't sold on the idea and a plot to rapidly reverse the situation begins. Not once is there any explanation of why this military men want to do this is ever explained and Pam Grier is utterly wasted. Why? I want answers. Either way The Package builds until the final showdown that includes TLJ with a sniper rifle in downtown Chicago with a great deal of tension that is similar to director Andrew Davis’ bigger Chicago set thriller The Fugitive.
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Last Exit to Brooklyn
Brooklyn in the ‘50s set during a strike is the setting of this absorbing, however pretty intense and at times very rough watch. Director Uli Edel’s follow-up to equally disturbing Christine F. has about the same intensity of Selby’s source material and doesn’t shy away during any of the unsavory segments. The film follows a handful of characters in the same style as a Robert Altman ensemble cast film. The main focus is Jennifer Jason Leigh who plays hustler Tralala who runs with a gang of greaser’s that help her scam drunken sailors looking to get their rocks off. Everything is going great until Tralala sort of falls for one of her clients and her cohorts have seemed to move on to other ventures. Then there Harry Black that runs a union office and thinks real highly of himself until he finds out that he is a homosexual which leads to him be late for work on a key day and his dismissal that results into a rapid descent into Hell. Not the most pleasant experience, but looks great and is very well acted. There is also a bevy of young stars throughout that are on the rise and is about as close to the source material as anyone could hope for.
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Gnaw: Food of the Gods 2
The film looks like a shot for cable film and for some reason someone thought that this needed a really good score, it doesn’t. The film follows a university that is testing a growth hormone on animals to end world hunger, but of course there are activists everywhere to try to thwart these plans. Instead the activists release giant man eating rats that terrorize the city. There is also a doctor that used the hormone on her son that has turned little Billy into a giant asshole. Laughable from top to bottom in that special unintentional way. Thanks to this film it was responsible for my second most favorite no talking PSA at the Alamo Drafthouse.
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Dr. Caligari
This is one of the most bizarre films ever made. A strange mash-up that is equally a homage to the silent classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and also a complete critique of sexual politics of 1989, while doing all of this is the strangest ways possible. Throughout the film it seems like it could turn pornographic, but it does not. Dr. Caligari is a woman this time and she experiments with her patients that include a wild cannibal that seems like he just walked off a John Waters set from the ‘70s. The weirdoes come and go and the set pieces look pretty solid all things considered. This is one that needs to be seen to be believed in all of it’s subversive practical effects glory. This also really needs a Blu-ray.
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Lady Terminator
As crazy as Indonesian rip-offs come, Lady Terminator is the holy grail. An anthropologist is researching the witch of the South Seas and becomes possessed by the entity and goes on a full blown rampage. First rule of business is to find some new threads via some punks on the beach that she also has sex with, which results in their deaths by penis removal and blood loss. Once all leathered up its time to hunt down some singer that has some sort of tie with the witch. The film is what I believe to be partially dubbed and it is hilarious. Somehow the special effects are pretty spot on and as the film progresses and the terminator starts to show some wear that looks pretty good. All around a perfect midnight movie and a blast for everyone.
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Next of Kin
If you can get past all of the terrible accents throughout this film then you are in for pretty solid late ‘80s R-rated action. Swayze plays a hillbilly turned cop in the big city and everything is going great until his brother played by Bill Paxton is killed by the mob. After the funeral Swayze’s backwoods other brother played by Neeson decides to go get revenge the old fashioned way while Swayze wants to do it by the book. The conflict goes back and forth until it turns into a last man standing scenario. Solid vehicle for Swayze who doesn’t fully pull off the hillbilly vibe, but does rock a stellar mullet ponytail and Neeson completely sells the backwoods killer mantle. Who would of thought of seeing Ben Stiller as a gangster, 1989 what a wild ride.
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Meet the Feebles
Somehow this isn’t on BluRay, I think I read something recently that this was getting restored and a possible BluRay in the works. I mean come on this is not only one of Jackson’s best of his early work, it’s a pretty amazing film as far as puppetry goes, and most importantly it is fucking batshit crazy. The film takes place in a theatre with an acting company that is lead by a drug dealing Walrus, it’s main stars are a wash-up singing Hippo and a sex crazed rabbit that may have just contracted a serious STD. There is also a perverted anteater, a shit-eating fly journalist, a whacked out heroin junkie Vietnam veteran frog knife thrower, and our lead a newly hired shy Hedgehog that is both overwhelmed and taking aback by this theatrical company. The music is great throughout, the gore, the violence, and the wackiness are all in top form. A cult classic that is due some sort of ultimate edition.
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1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

Powwow Highway is great.