Junk Thief just got in from downtown for drinks and dinner with a friend and did a little DVD shopping before heading back home. He was in one of those, "let's see what I can nab for under $35 at Virgin." Try these three: Cleopatra Jones, Mulholland Drive
(even though I've yet to watch my copy of Inland Empire
) and The Day of the Locust.
See a trend there? All set in L.A. All feature strong, quirky women. All feature a certain calamity and cultural clash in the land of sun and fun. Junk Thief actually loves a lot about L.A. He has long said that while San Francisco is the most pretentiously unpretentious city in the U.S. L.A. is the most unpretentiously pretentious city of the nation. It celebrates and does not apologize for its gloss and glitz, yet some of the brightest and most sensitive people I have known are from there.
San Francisco on the other hand...Oh don't get me started. I even get into trouble when I say I am going "downtown." Well, there really isn't such a place here. I usually mean that when I am going in the general vicinity of Union Square to Embarcadero
. I got into the same problem when I called Midt
own Manhattan the same.
Nabbing (yes, I actually paid for them) three DVDs got me to thinking about a comment from someone the other day who said "You can get anything on DVD now." Sorry, not true. While you can find the first couple of seasons of C.H.I.P.S. on multi-disc sets, there is still a number of things that border on criminal for their lack of release. I could give a long list, but here is my current top five.
(1980) directed by William Friedkin
. I sort of cringe putting this on the list. I may or may not buy it when it's released on September 18. Yes, it's hard to watch but in a train wreck kind of way. I actually saw it just before it was released when I was working for a movie theater circuit. I saw it in a screening room with a group of 20-25 straight men in gray suits, grunting and smirking and making snide remarks. It's often very bizarre yet still captures the vibe and scene of a very specific time in a way that those who were there say for all its wrongheadedness is often accurate at capturing a long lost era and many people on the screen who likely died within a few years after its release. The flick's not without its laughs, such as the scene of the cop/Honcho
magazine model bitch slapping Pacino who seems to have gone into denial that he ever made the film.
4) Berlin Alexanderplatz
(1980) directed by Rainer W. Fassbinder. After a highly praised screening in New York this spring, this epic swan song of one of German's five greatest directors is supposedly being released by Criterion "this fall," but I have yet to see a release date. At five and a half hours, I can't imagine the price tag. Since many single disc Criterion's can fetch $36, I may need to take out a second mortgage for this one. But I can guarantee I will buy it.
3) Die 3groschenoper
by G.W. Pabst. Okay, this one was likely to be my #1. Arguably the greatest pre
-war German director (I put him far above Lang), the greatest piece of musical theater of the 20th
century (Sorry, Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady
don't come close) and Lotte Lenya
all in the same screen is
more than I can stand. It's a flawed adaptation of the Brecht-Weill stage version, missing many key songs, but still often brilliant. I actually have a VCR to VHS to DVD copy of a late 1980s WNET
-TV broadcast that is of surprisingly decent quality (even featured in an episode of Junk Thief TV), but I've longed for the day when a nice print might be available. If there were justice, KINO
might take a crack of it. Knowing it will never happen, I did a quick search, and effing mother of god!!! A Criterion release is coming September 18. Eight days before my birthday. Thanks for considering buying it for me, but I've already pre
red it. There is a God after all.
2) Looking for Mr. Goodbar
(1977) directed by Richard Brooks. Okay, okay. This is almost up there with Cruising,
but it too is a key product of its times. Keaton was brilliant in it. It was Richard Gere's first significant role
. And Tuesday Weld was...well some say she should have played the lead. The soundtrack is pretty good too, certainly evoking the era, although already a bit dated (some going back to 1974) even when it was relased. I don't even have a VHS copy of it. Pity.
1) Play It As It Lays
(1972) directed by Frank Perry. Alright. I have four words to say: WHERE. IS. THE. OUTRAGE. You can't find this on any format anywhere. It never airs anywher
e. Tuesday Weld in the lead. Supporting work by Tammy Grimes and Anthony Perkins. Based on a book by Joan Didion
. Never mind the lack of outrage about Iraq. Where is the outrage that we are denied this key important work of the late 20th
century! I mean, you can get Mel Gibson in Tim, It's Pat,
the Care Bear
movies, but not this? Unite, take action, demand your rights. I refuse to leave this earth until I have a pristine print of this puppy to put in my highest definition, 70 foot wide, plasma, state of the art player. I just pray that it comes out before my eyesight and hearing give out.
Labels: DVDs, Hollywood, movies, Shopping, southern California