The Other List

Okay, last week I daringly shared my list of 30 quality movies I fully intended to watch (or rewatch) in the coming year, with a rather optimistic goal of watching half of them by the Summer.  I also made oblique mention of another list.

Look, I can’t go cold turkey off the stuff I usually watch. Can’t, and won’t. I fully realize that watching every single Kubrick film in one go is a dangerous enterprise. All that clinical artistic detachment would be likely to start a horrific (but meticulously controlled) psychotic episode. So there is an alternate list of more questionable *harrumph* fare that I can use as a safety valve.

Again, the ground rules are similar. All are movies I own (in some cases, for years) . I must have not seen it – no dispensations for viewings a decade or more in the past, as with the Quality List. There are some movies on this list that could have easily gone on the former list, but are marginal enough that I plopped them on this one.

1. Americathon – the first of several Warner Archive discs on this list. Rather surprised no one’s attempting a remake of this one yet, given the events of the past decade.

2. The Big Doll House – well, I saw The Big Bird Cage  years ago, it’s high time I did the predecessor.

3. The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here! – What has to be my favorite Andy Milligan title, for a movie I’ve never seen. I enjoy Milligan’s threadbare period pieces far more than I should.

4. The Cell – so I can finally get Dave off my ass about not having seen it.

5. Jackie Brown – yeah, yeah, for a Tarantino fan, I sure have dropped the ball on this one. On top of that, it’s the one everybody seems to love. The first one that easily could have gone on That Other List.

6. Cleopatra Jones and The Casino of Gold –  another Warner Archive offering.

7. Big Bad Mama – Angie Dickinson and William Shatner embarrassing themselves  in a Corman-produced Depression crime/exploitation flick? Sign me up. I have the disc that identifies this as one of “Roger Corman’s early films”. Should really try to get the Shout! Factory version.

8. El Mariachi – I know, I know, what rock have I been under.

9. Drive Angry – picked up the Blu-Ray at a Black Friday sale for like 4 bucks. Screw you, I like Nic Cage. Speaking of which:

10. Bad Lieutenant, Port of Call: New Orleans

11. Vigilante – a part of exploitation cinema I’ve been missing out on.

12. Fight for Your Life – same as the above. Also similar in that I only theoretically  own them, as I am still waiting for them to arrive from the legendarily tardy Horror Movie Empire.

13. Eyes Without A Face – I am told this also could go on the Quality List. Having not seen it yet, I can’t really say.

14. The Fountain – I’m told this should be on the Pretentious List, but I don’t have one of those.

15. Johnny Firecloud – owned for years. An incredibly mean-spirited revenge drama, by all indications.

16. Dark of the Sun – Warner Archive again. Some revival showings in LA got good press, and I tend to like movies about mercs.

17. Major Dundee – proving there’s still some Peckinpah I’ve never seen.

18. Machete – I know, right? I been busy.

19. The Reaping – another sub-sub genre I like but rarely see done well: biblical prophecy coming true.

20. Ravenous – shut up. I been busy.

21. [REC] – ain’t bothering with the American re-make. Ain’t gonna do it.

22. Shaun of the Dead-  Shut UP.

23. Hot Fuzz – see number 22, above.

24. Snakes On A Plane – can you really blame me for not seeing this yet? Was there ever any way it was going to live up to that title?

25.  Sucker Punch – then there are movies that I hear terrible, horrible things about, and I still have to see them because I have to make my own decision about things. I would really like to join in on the general lynch mob, but I have to actually see the movie first. Jonah Hex, for instance, is a total waste, but I still say nice things about Star Trek V and Robocop 2.

26. Then Came Bronson – yet another Warner Archive disc. I actually remember when the series, short-lived as it was, played on TV. Don’t remember anything else about it. And I really like Michael Parks.

27. Vanishing Point – the original version, dammit. Yet another I cannot believe I have spent my life not watching.

28. The Good, The Bad, The Weird – You knew some Asian oddity had to show up, didn’t you?

29. Ronin – One of John Frankenheimer’s last films, this has also been on the “to watch someday” list for a long time.

The more astute at this point might say, “But wait – this list is only 29 movies long, and The Other List was 30! Aren’t you short-changing yourself?” Well, thank you for being astute, but no, I haven’t. This is because last weekend I watched number 30 on that list, Horror Express.

Horror Express was pretty hard to miss on TV runs in the 80s, I’m told. Apparently it was on Elvira’s show more than once, in which case I probably passed over it. I was reasonably certain it would be cut under such circumstances, and TV cuts of horror movies usually wind up being worse than useless. Also, with the advent of VCRs and then DVDs, commercial interruptions to a movie’s flow became ever more onerous to me.

I found  Horror Express to be a delightfully odd movie. The suspense was fairly nonexistent for the first act, but picked up considerably once the creature started moving through the train, and the eventual veering into science-fiction territory was very fresh, even if there was some questionable science on display. Christopher Lee was his expected powerful monolith, letting Peter Cushing have all the good lines. Telly Savalas was even more off the rails (so to speak) than usual. Still not certain about the rationale behind the resolution, but what the heck. An enjoyable 90 minutes, and the Blu-ray from Severin Films was absolutely gorgeous, showing only occasional damage around the reel changes.

Now the increasing pressures of the last few weeks and having a sick kid this week are beginning to show: a mild tickling in my throat is turning into a full-bodied cough, and I’m feeling a bit light-headed. I’ve informed my body it cannot get sick until next Tuesday, and even then there are scheduling pressures, but it doesn’t seem to be listening.

In other words, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Have a nice weekend.