Sunday, June 03, 2012

Watching cult movies with someone watching them for the first time.*



I recently struck up a friendship with a young man who is fresh off the boat when it comes a lot of the movies I taken for granted that people have seen.  It's not that he is disinterested in movies (he loves them) he just didn't have the opportunity or exposure to most of the stuff I've seen.  Also, during the 90s I didn't have access to the internet and so was constantly finding out about new stuff from friends - in particular my buddy Mike who introduced me to wild and wooly world of HK cinema and a slew of 70s & 80s stuff I had missed(1).

So my new friend and I are watching a documentary about Troll 2  last night titled The Best Worst Movie.  It's basically about the resurgent popularity of the movie among a demographic - mainly the Upright Citizen's Brigade/Alamo Drafthouse/Ain't it Coolers as shown through the eyes of the cast as they meet again after nearly twenty years to do openings and cons.  It's a pretty depressing documentary filled with failure and sadness.  He was asking me questions about what "cult" movies were (let me say that trying to explain what cult movies are by saying, "Uh, y'know - cult movies" isn't a good explanation).  Then we watched a martial arts movie Bodyguards and Assassins which had Donnie Yen in it and wasn't bad but wasn't great.  He had never seen a martial arts movie either (ay dios mio).

So I was thinking about it and I am putting this post together as a primer for the guy with a shout out for your input.  I know more about some areas more than others (weird action movies vs Pink Flamingo-esque) and different decades than others (classic 80s Hong Kong Action vs HK from the 00s).  So if we brain storm we can come up with a pretty good selection.  After all it takes a virtual village to educate a promising film buff:

I'm gonna start with a couple of categories and titles but I'm hoping you guys will pitch in, if not here than on the FB group.

Carpenter and Russell:  Lightning in a bottle
  • Escape From New York (1981)
  • The Thing (1982)
  • Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Cronenberg: Humans are made of meat.
  • Scanners
  • The Brood
  • Videodrome
  • The Fly
John Woo: before and after his stint in the US
  • The Killer
  • Hard-Boiled
  • Better Tomorrow I & II
  • Bullet in the Head
  • Red Cliff
Tsui Hark: Wuxia Master
  • The original Zu Warriors from the Mystic Mountain
  • Once Upon a Time in China I & II
  • The Blade
Ringo Lam:
  • Destruction of the White Lotus Temple (aka Burning Paradise aka Burning Paradise in Hell)
  • City on Fire
  • Full Contact
Alex Cox:
  • Repo Man
  • Sid & Nancy
  • Straight to Hell
  • Walker (which is actually really fucking good)
John Waters:  You fans will need to help me out.  I only really like his one man shows.

Troma Pictures:  Mark - this is your area of expertise.

Martial arts movies of the new Century: need some reminders, preferably sans wire work
  • Yimou Zhang
    • Hero
    • House of Flying Daggers
    • Curse of the Golden Flower (boring but real nice to look at)
  • Tony Jaa will fuck your day up
  • Even though I hated it, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
I'm gonna kick off the bizarro road movie category with:
  • Six-String Samurai
  • Rubin & Ed
  • Kalifornia
  • Easy Rider (I'm not a fan but it is kind of an important movie in American cinematic history - overblown importance but still)
Similarly I am gonna kick the "WHAT THE FUCK ARE THE JAPANESE THINKING?" category:
  • Damn near any Takashi Miike movie (except the monumentally good 13 Assassins)
    • Particularly Happiness of the Katakuris
  • Tetsuo & Tetsuo II
  • Biozombie
  • Mermaid in a Manhole
  • Hanzo, the Razor
  • Tokyo Zombie
  • Lone Wolf & Cub (though the manga are excellent)
I realize this doesn't scratch the surface of 80s kids movies, sci-fi actioners of the late 80s/early 90s, 70s creature features (aka pollution makes animals kill people), giallo, and the insanity of the Corman empire. 

Guess I might have to unbox my VCR in order to rewatch some of these movies.  God only knows how some of these bootlegs of bootlegs are gonna look on a HD tv. 







*This headline was inspired by Spacemen 3's Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs to (1990).

(1) Additionally, during the late 90s I "worked" at the Key Theater in DC for a couple of years (by worked I mean was a useless, shitty snot of teenager) an art theater that showed all kinds of films.  When I moved into Austin I lived two blocks away from Vulcan Video and watched about a half dozen movies a week while ordering in books about Asian and Cult cinema at work.  Man, I watched a lot of crap.  During the late 00s I started being less hardcore about my movie watching and stopped reading most of the blogs and assorted sites.  Since living alone again I've been watching more movies.  Man, I'm watching a lot of crap.


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