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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2003!
This week's
La Floridiana
Movie Review
Ashley's Hollywood
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On the CF Homepage:
Florida Filmmaker Update

New Schlockarama! --
"Hot Rod Girl"

  Number 166  (Vol. 4, No. 22). This edition is for the week of May 26--June 1, 2003.

Matrix spell over
"Bruce Almighty" big kahuna


•  Mike's Challenge: The Top Ten Cult Movies Of All Time!


•  Preparing for Renegade

The Jim Carrey comedy "Bruce Almighty" reigned at the box office in its opening weekend, taking in $86.4 million and easily surpassing "The Matrix Reloaded" as the No. 1 movie of the Memorial Day weekend. "The Matrix" sequel earned $45.6 million to place a distant No. 2 in its second week of release, according to studio estimates Monday.

Attendance for "The Matrix Reloaded," which has collected $209.5 million since its powerhouse debut May 14, shrunk by 60 percent -- suggesting "The Matrix" is unloading quickly. The 60 percent plunge in attendance was steeper than other blockbusters, including last year's "Spider-Man" and "Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones," which saw second-weekend ticket sales fall by only 38 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

But "Spider-Man" was rated PG-13 and "Clones" was PG. The R-rating for "Reloaded" skews the potential audience numbers by limiting it to those over 17-years-old without an attending parent or other guardian. Also skewed are numbers for repeat business of disgusted movie-goers like myself who were profoundly disappointed in the movie, so therefore didn't return---but I digress.

"Bruce Almighty" stars Jim Carrey as an everyman who is given umlimited powers by God himself to see if he can do a better job. Please see This Week's Movie Review for Mike Smith's appraisal of the film.

Here's the poop for last weekend as liberated from an MSN page:
1. "Bruce Almighty," $86.4 million.
2. "The Matrix Reloaded," $45.6 million.
3. "Daddy Day Care," $18 million.
4. "X2: X-Men United," $13 million.
5. "The In-Laws," $9.1 million.
6. "Down With Love" $5.1 million.
7. "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," $4 million.
8. "Holes," $3 million.
9. "Identity," $2.6 million.
10. "Anger Management," $2.4 million.

Preparing for the third Renegade Film Festival
The first one from last August I couldn't attend at all. The second one from last November I could only attend about the first half, but I did review what I was able to see in PCR #141. This time however, I have cleared my schedule to take in the full length of this all-day-and-all-night affair, sub-titled "Saints & Sinners III", this Saturday, May 31. I hope to meet and interview all the folks I couldn't see last time, and hopefully in the process establish some new contacts. The itinerary looks pretty interesting and I especially look forward to Andy Lalino's gross-out creepfest, FILTHY, and Rick Danford & Co.'s WEB OF DARKNESS, a horror-thriller involving movie legend Tom Savini, both debuting close to midnight. Local actor and Florida Folk Hero Gustavo Perez will be my driver and film-going companion for the event. Look for a full Saints & Sinners write-up from me in next week's PCR!

Mike's Challenge: The Top Ten Cult Movies of All Time!!    Regular readers may recall in last week's Mike's Rant, Mike Smith commented on the "Top 50 Cult Movies of All Time" list as published by Entertainment Weekly magazine. He commented on how different their choices were from the ones we'd likely make. Naturally, he smelled a new Top Ten Challenge aborning, so asked PCR readers to send in their Top 10 Cult Movies of All Time. Note: As usual, your "favorite" may not match what you think of as "best", so when conflicted, err on the side of "favorite"!
   And now, I owe TWO apologies, one to a seldom-heard-from-but-extremely-valued contributor, Count Poffula, who was actually the first to send in his Top 10 list sometime last week, and the other to Vinnie Blesi, who sent in his right after. In the melee of work, website, and illness, they got overlooked in the upload process. In the earlier edition of PCR this week, I listed our first response as being from Brandon Jones (who was right behind C.P. and V.B.). The order is now corrected.

I'm not sure of the exact definition of "cult" movie, or at least not how others define it. I usual think of it as video tapes that are a little harder to find like..."Fritz the Cat", "Heavy Metal" was not easy to get at the time, Frank Zappa's "200 Motels","Rocky Horror" (though when I did finally get a decent copy I found that it's not as much fun without the audience participation, it is almost as though fate made them leave big gaps in the dialouge for future greatness, haha), the rotoscope "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit/Return of the King" cartoons. But this is what I might consider my cult movies:

1) Baby Snakes (Zappa, mostly live on stage, awesome, and mixed with this crazy claymation and backstage goofing off.)
2) Blade Runner (What a great movie, huge. It kinda started all the "cyber-punk" , but it stands miles above all that crap, ie. "Matrix/Matrix Reshoved down your Throat")
3) Rocky Horror (I went and saw this every weekend for about a straight year (also saw Nolan's band open the show) a lot o" fun)
4) The Wall (Pink Floyd, what a cool movie, great animation coming from "Pink's" mind mixed with his story/mental breakdown told in live action. And the Killer soundtrack.)
5) Brazil (Terry Gilliam has such a way of looking at things. Wow this really messes with your head, I think of this movie all the time. Kate Bush sings the title song on the soundtrack. Time Bandits is great too.)
6) Jesus Christ Superstar (Not so much a good movie as a "Great Soundtrack with OK visuals to watch when listening".)
7) Highlander (This is cool; as a stand alone it's awesome, I just wish they had not ruined it with sequels and the TV shows so that might get it knocked out of the cult thing, I don't know.)
8) The Redheaded Stranger (Willie Nelson. This was finished years after the hit album and thus missed its window, it gets terrible reviews, but I love it.)
9) Clerks (Kevin Smith, I thought this was great, so funny, so fanboy, so familiar feeling.)
10) Young Frankenstein (This just kills me. What a well-made... I don't want to call it "spoof" because it's so much more than that. You can see they are fans of the genre that can poke fun and laugh at it without being disrespectful. I've heard that Gene Wilder wrote the whole thing and to get Mel Brooks to film it gave him half of the writing credits.

Oh and just a funny side note: Mike, yes, Billy Corgan has made little movies since he was a little kid some of which are on the Smashing Pumpkins video tapes in between the songs.

Count Poffula :)

"Information is not knowledge/Knowledge is not wisdom/Wisdom is not truth/Truth is not beauty/ Beauty is not love/Love is not music/Music is THE BEST!"
       --Frank Zappa 1940-1993

THE TOP TEN (well, EIGHT) CULT MOVIES OF ALL TIME         Vinnie Blesi

1) Eraserhead, a movie only a cultist could love.
2) Rocky Horror Picture Show, 'nuff said.
3) The Wicker Man, one of my favorite movies of all times, you rarely, if ever see this one on cable. A pagan tale that mixes a detective story with religious issues(pagan vs christian) and sexuality. The DVD was available in a collectable Wicker Man box which is cool!
4) The Evil Dead Trilogy, the movies that now big time director Sam Raimi cut his teeth on, and turned Bruce Campbell into a legend in his own mind. The classic unseen thing in the woods coming for you and the bad dialogue and acting from Campbell make these classics(not to mention the 3-Stooges homages)
5) Videodrome and all Cronenberg films before this. What can I say about Videodrome, a movie where video tapes are inserted into the body(insertion being a common Cronenberg theme), snuff films on tv, and punk princess Debbie Harry, all enough to rate this one of my cult classics. Vinnie as a DroogHowever I could list all of Cronenberg's early films as well, but Videodrome seemed to be a culmination of his vision.
6) Monty Python and the Holy Grail, any movie where people are still reciting the lines from some 30 years later is a cult classic, "I'm not dead yet".
7) Brazil, Terry Gilliam's master-work, it pissed off the studio so much they just had to butcher it. Well worth getting the dvd on this one. I could write a lenghty article on the this movie's greatness. Lets just say, I was at the eye doctor the other day and was just a little concerned about the sitting in the chair.
8) A Clockwork Orange, by Stanley Kubrick, one of the best films ever made. I was in the cult and have photos to prove it. (See included pic.)

Cult films elicit a distinct fire and passion that drive devoted fans to repeatedly viewings. The cult followers will argue their favorites based on individual merit. Cult is not untalented filmmakers: Coppola, Scorsese, Cameron, Dante, Demme were, at one time, in the services of the “Godfather” of cult - Roger Corman. “The Blair Witch” nullifies the “low-budget argument” and commercial success dictates a “phenomenon.”
   Cult films transcend expectations or perceptions and make personal connections with the audience. They are addictive. They become an obsession. Some transition into a fabric of popularity (Star Trek TV series), finding a niche audience, while some mock that which is sacred to us: “Spinal Tap” and “Thumb Wars.”
   Society associates cult with “bad” movies, but “Troll 2”, “It’s Pat”, and “Battlefield Earth” aren’t cult, they are just crap.
   So, what is cult? Well, here are my add-ons to the Entertainment Weekly list:

10. Bottle Rocket: Screenplay homework. Yep, you wanna’ write a screenplay? Go out and get this script and watch the movie about ten times in a row - you should get a film school credit for doing that. That’s the magnitude of how great this Wes Anderson story with Owen and Luke Wilson.
9. Kentucky Fried Movie: Forget “Airplane”, this is the Zucker masterpiece. Pure zany, insane and tasteless jokes that culminate with the news broadcast team spying on a couple at home. They have a more intense climax than the participants.
8. Tremors: The attack of the giant earthworms with two rednecks who make their decisions by playing “fistees” in a town called “Perfection.” Wow - an to think there were sequels (“Tremors 4” is in post). Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross led this B-movie to a poor commercial turnout. Ron Underwood delivers a fast pace of action and jokes and is loved by many.
7. Bound: The Wachowski’s break thru picture has enjoyed heightened popularity since the Matrix phenomenon. A great piece of film noir that is more than just a “lesbian movie.” A fact remains that’s how the Wachowskis got $5 million of their budget. They just remembered to include a great story, romance, suspense and Joey Pants. Did I mention the sex scene with Jennifer Tilly?
6. UHF: Yep, that Weird Al Yankovic. The man has this HUGE following, hence the polkas that keep coming (currently “Angry White Boy Polka”) Twinkie weiner sandwiches and Harvey the Wonder Hamster hit the big screen with Al, taking ownership of a small television station. Oh, forget it, there plot was crap, but the gags were so stupid, but Michael Richards was amazing. The multitude of spoofs still crack me up.
5. Caligula: It’s hard to accept the realization that Malcolm McDowell was somewhat responsible for my introduction into pornography. This movie was shocking and exhilarating. People were and are disturbed the sex and violence yet that’s what makes it so incredibly unique. “Eyes Wide Shut” rode the controversy express and wasn’t half of Tinto Brass’s “Caligula.” Did I mentioned that I fear anal fisting because of this film - McDowell would be proud.
4. Real Genuis: Cool for its time. Amidst the John Hughes pictures and other “geek” pictures - this one has always been a favorite. Forget the popular obvious comment that Val Kilmer was in it (he was also in “Top Secret”) this is a great script with a ton of laughs. Goofy slippers, exploding popcorn, driving a six-inch spike through a 2x4, Hollyfeld living in the closet and a “penis strectcher” are the gags here - a lot of fun. It is a moral imperative to include it on this list. BTW: Jesus knows if you’ve been touching yourself.
3. Rope: As a Hitchcock nut, this one has always been one of my favorites. Jimmy Stewart leads a great cast, but the genius here is that the film is shot in “real” time. Forget flashbacks, cutaways etc…you follow the action and intrigue along side of the actors. Hitchcock shot entire rolls of film - there was no cutting. The edits are extreme close-ups of actors moving past one another or the still objects in the room. Pure genius.
2. Heavy Metal: From the pages of a great mag to a rockin’ movie with a soundtrack that even better. This was a late night staple with the “Rocky Horror” adventures. Science fiction, horror, and eroticism - this had it all.
1. Monty Python: “Holy Grail”, “The Meaning of Life”, “The Flying Circus” - pick your favorite in the insanely hysterical universe from this comedy troupe. I experienced a midnight showing of “Grail” at the defunct Varsity 6 with the audience quoting every line - it surpassed my “Rocky Horror” experiences. I performed skits from the “Circus” for a theater final exam and I still am in contact with Craig Kellem, writer on SNL and one of the creators “The Rutles” starring Eric Idle.

Honorable Mentions: Qualified but not quite cult: “Metropolis”: Fritz Lang’s masterpiece finally gained some popular recognition as it hit #6 on EW’s Top Sci-Fi movies of all time (issue #454, 1998). “The Conversation”: The Oscar nominated, star-studded Coppola film has fallen into relative obscurity and mires in the shadows of “American Graffiti.” “Requiem for a Dream”: incredibly disturbing and yet I can’t shut it off. Too recent for cult status and has lost some of its buzz. “Pi”: I just don’t think people get Aronofsky. Love, religion, chaos - this is life. “Highlander”: The television series hindered the legacy of the original film. Amazing, but has drifted into mainstream with a couple of crappy sequels. When will they learn - there can be only one.

Woo hoo! I love it when a challenge is accepted. Below is my list of what I consider "cult" films.........movies I enjoy that very few people may have heard about. I made sure NOT to list anything that was mentioned in the recent Entertainment Weekly listing. Obviously, several of those films ("Rocky Horror Picture Show," "This Is Spinal Tap") would have easily made my list. But since they've already been mentioned, here are the others, in no particular order:

KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE: Possibly one of the funniest films ever made. From the movie being shown in "Feel-a-round," to the "Catholic High School Girls In Trouble" coming attraction; from "Rex Kramer - Danger Seeker" to the hilarious "Enter the Dragon" parody, this movie is non stop funny. Extra points for our friend Tom Bowles being a dead ringer for the evil Dr. Klan! You have my gratitude!
REAL GENIUS/BACHELOR PARTY: A great double feature that I lump together for one reason: Robert Prescott. Prescott was the bad guy in each of these movies - the kiss ass Kent in "Real Genius" and the jealous Cole in "Bachelor Party." I learned in 1987 that Prescott had gone to college outside Philadelphia with one of my fellow theatre managers, Jeff Park. Last thing I saw him in was an episode of "The Sopranos," so it's good to know he's still acting. As for the movies, what can I say. The earliest proof that Val Kilmer and Tom Hanks were no flukes when it came to comedy. Favorite lines: "Genius": "Your mother puts license plates in your underwear?" "Bachelor": a tie - "Look at the cans on that bimbo"/"I just bet my balls..........and shook on it."
DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID: Caught this with Matt at the old Horizon Park theatre. A great idea for a film: take the great actors from the 40's and 50's and script a movie around them. Then add Steve Martin, Rachel Ward and Carl Reiner and sit back and laugh. My favorite scene in the film caused Matt and I to laugh uncontrollably for so long that they threatened to throw us out of the theatre. In a clip from "Johnny Eager," Edward Arnold begins to scold Martin about dating his daughter. "You leave my daughter alone," he yells. "Don't call her, write her or try to see her." To which Martin replies, deadpan, "Can I still use her underwear to make soup?" I almost peed my pants. I think Matt did.
BACKBEAT: A little seen story about two young men from Liverpool who wanted to change the world, Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon. A great look at the birth of the Beatles with the scenes in Hamburg spot on perfect. Stephen Dorff is typically thoughtful as Sutcliffe but it is Ian Hart as Lennon that steals the show.
PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE: Between "Sisters" and "Carrie," Brian De Palma decided to team up with Paul Williams and update the classic story of love, music and betrayal. Williams was the evil record executive, Swan. William Finley was the Phantom and the beautiful Jessica Harper played Phoenix, the Phantom's love.
USED CARS: The second film directed by Robert Zemeckis. A comedy that stands alone with Kurt Russell giving one of his best performances EVER. Add Jack Warden as twin brothers and great supporting work from Garrett Graham (who played the outrageous rock star Beef in "Phantom of the Paradise") and the always great Frank McRae and you've got a classic. Funny exchange: "Hell, we even had nuns protesting us. I had to have Jeff turn the firehose on them." "Yeah, and I knocked those mother fuckers on their ass!"
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Based on a play by David Mamet, basically a story about what happens when a one night stand turns into something more. Stars Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Elizabeth Perkins and the great Jim Belushi. This is the film that convinced me that if a movie was ever made of my life, Belushi would have to play me. My favorite line, delivered by Belushi as he talks to a very bitchy Perkins: "You know what, Joan? If you didn't have a pussy there'd be a bounty on your head!"
THE EXPERTS: Best known as the film that introduced John Travolta to Kelly Preston, this limited release was a lot better then reported. Convinced that the training methods of the Soviet Union are ancient, a KGB agent comes to New York and convinces Travolta and his partner, Ayre Gross, that they are needed to come open a new disco in a small American town. Extra points for the inclusion of "Real Genius" alum Deborah Foreman. She was the one who asked Val Kilmer if he could "nail a six inch spike through a two by four" with his penis. I also loved her in "Valley Girl," which almost made this list.
BILLY JACK: Come on! Everyone loves "Billy Jack." Though I was puzzled that a pacifist like Billy Jack did nothing but kick ass, I thought this movie was the greatest thing ever made when I saw it. Basically a family project, star Tom Laughlin directed under an alias and the film starred his wife, Delores Taylor. Also remembered for not only the song "One Tin Soldier" but for an early appearance of the Howard Hessman led comedy troupe, The Committee. Extra credit for the marketing approach Laughlin developed. Rather then have the studio and theatre companies book the film, Laughlin "four walled" the picture. That means that he rented theatre auditoriums for a set price and then kept all of the profits. Smart guy. Much smarter then that damn Bernard, who drove his Corvette into the lake.
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE: A big movie with a big following. In California, they run midnight shows similar in style to "Rocky Horror." Everyone dresses up as their favorite character and they act out the film in front of the screen. Not sure if they have anyone drop from the ceiling. This film, and "JAWS," cemented my friendship with Matt. When things got boring during P.E., Matt would hang on the uneven bars and recite, word for word, Gene Hackman's last speech. When he screamed, "Take Me!" he would then flop onto the mat as if he had just dropped into the water. Pretty funny to watch. Guess you had to be there.

(The preceeding list also appears in this week's "Mike's Rant"--Nolan)

OK,here we go,My top 10 cult films of all time! In no particular order,of course. (An aside to Mike Smith: Yeah I remember that summer. You and Ben Gregory were living on Rio St. And remember that stuff we found, and put it all in the bathtub to dry, and ummm...never mind.)

10-"Eating Raoul" -1982-Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel(who also wrote and directed) are the Blands,a boring couple living in a swinger's apt. building.Without revealing too much about the film,they recruit Raoul (Robert Beltran) as their partner in crime to finance the restaurant they dream to own. A darkly funny,fast-paced movie with a (almost) surprise ending.
9-"Gummo" -1997-A strange and off-putting tale about a small town in Ohio that has been ravaged by a tornado,and the strangely disturbed teens that don't give a crap about the equally strange residents.No plot as such, just randomly connected incidents. Some images are stuck in my head forever. A must for lovers of the unusual.
8-"This is Spinal Tap" -1984-With songs like "Lick my love-pump",and "Break like the wind", what more can I say about this great fake "Rockumentary". Director Rob Reiner nails it.
7-"The Rutles" -1978-Another fabulous "mockumentary" about the Pre-fab Four,totally ripping on everything Beatles. A wild conglomeration including members of Monty Python,Saturday Night Live,and even George Harrison. Ron Wood has a great bit as a Hell's Angel,and Bill Murray still cracks me up as "Bill Murray the K". The soundtrack is spot-on as spoofs of Beatles songs.
6-"Donnie Darko" -2001-A strangely under-rated movie about a kid who has to change time to save the world, aided by an evil looking giant rabbit named Frank,who tells him to create mayhem. Some of which affects the outcome in his parallel universe. Hard to describe without giving too much away,but definitely a must-see.
5-"Edward Scissorhands" -1990-A sentimental,personal,cult fave of mine because it was filmed partly in west central Florida. A gorgeous "Frankenstein as fairy tale" fable that is quite moving. The art direction,soundtrack by Danny Elfman, are all incredible. (Although it does remind me of "Mon Oncle" a 1958 French film by Tati.)
4-"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" -1975- Brutally funny. One of the movies with the best quotes of all time. 28 years later,it still hasn't shown its age. "Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" "Bloody peasant!"
3-"Dr. Strangelove" -1964-One of Kubricks' finest,this has to rank as one of my top 20. I watch it every year. Its biting (though humorous) commentary still holds up today,and the song at the end,"We'll meet again", with the accompanying visuals, finishes the movie in grand style. Thanks,Stanley.
2-"Spaceballs" -1987-A timeless Mel Brooks (President Skroob!) classic that I never get tired of. Again,an oft-quoted movie with a great cast and plenty of parody on anything sci-fi. "I'm a Mog! Half man,half dog. I'm my own best friend!"
1-"Ghost World" -2000-Achieved cult status with me because I read the original comics by Daniel Clowes in his "Eight-Ball" comics years ago. Imagine if Holden Caulfield from "A Catcher in the Rye" was a girl (Thora Birch),and combine that with an excellent cast,and a "faithfully followed the comic" sensibility,and it's a winner. I always see or feel something different every time I watch it.(Honorable Mention:Chasing Amy.)

Well,that's mine Love to see what you have on your lists. Might be time to dust off my BlockBuster card.

Richard Sousa.

Good, solid picks by Brandon and Mike...a little light on the horror side, but, hey! That's okay! They're plenty of good comedies (esp. from the '70s) to go around. I just want to take a moment to comment on Brandon & Mike's picks:

10. Bottle Rocket: Haven't seen it, but want to now after reading your comments.
9. Kentucky Fried Movie: Total agreement! See also "The Groove Tube" & "Mr. Mike's Mondo Video"!
8. Tremors: Brandon - there is no such thing as a cult movie after 1986.
7. Bound: I just saw Gina Gershon in The Cars' "Hello Again" video on Classic VH-1.
6. UHF: I can't sit through it for some reason...and I do like Weird Al...can't understand...
5. Caligula: Embarrassed to admit I haven't seen it in its entirety.
4. Real Genius: I can think of funnier '80s Teenage Sex Comedies: "Hardbodies", "My Tutor", "Hot Chili", "Private School for Girls". Bubba Beauregard rules. 3. Rope: Good pick.
2. Heavy Metal: Rock on, Brandon. The ultimate movie.
1. Monty Python: Godlike status.

DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID: My favorite scene was when Steve Martin poured the coffee out of the bag and it wouldn't stop coming out...I was on the floor!
BACKBEAT: Have not seen.
PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE: Great pick. "Brian dePalma's Home Movies" is another hilarious winner.
USED CARS: Haven't seen it, but lots of people I know swear by it.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Have not seen.
THE EXPERTS: Have not seen, but to be honest it really doesn't seem to interest me.
BILLY JACK: Absolutely! Also check out "The Born Losers", Billy's first appearance. David Carradine/"Kung Fu" seemed to draw a lot of inspiration from the Billy Jack films.
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE: Infinitely better than "Titanic".

I was surprised at the similarities between the two lists. Good picks in all. Since Nolan posed a challenge to his readers, I'm willing to take him up on it, even though there is no definitive "Top 10 Cult Movies of All Time" list. The choices are subjective. It irks me when I thumb through a generic movie magazine and read some of the "writers" picks. I think they pick some of them just to tick the readers off. To me, a cult movie is that special film that has a devoted following (a cult, duh), be it a big-budget blockbuster or the grand guingol sickie at the local grindhouse. Some movies, like "3 Men and a Baby" are big moneymakers, but are as easily forgotten as what you had for dinner last night, and they are not to be confused with cult films. Since I'm more the horror fan, my list is heavier on sci-fi, horror & fantasy. Andy Lalino's Top 10 Cult Movies of All Time:

10. "Over the Edge" - The ultimate teen angst film. I drop whatever I'm doing when this movie is on, and I've seen it about 25 times. It stars Matt Dillon, Vincent Spano and a cast of great young actors that trap their parents and teachers in their school overnight. Kind of "Night of the Living Dead", but with '70s kids. This is one incredibly well-made film that you could tell the director would go places. He did. Eventually Jonathan Kaplan went on to direct "The Accused". This remains his best film.
9. "7 Doors of Death" (aka "The Beyond") - I was one of the few people to see this in the theaters when it played in '84. I loved it back then and was thrilled when years later it was regarded as an overlooked classic. In my opinion it's no work of art, but an atmospheric, stylish gorefest that satisfies at every turn. Even has Lovecraft references.
8. "Demons" - This is one horror movie that you have to see in a theater, because that's where all the great horror action takes place (a' la' "Night of the Living Dead"). What a movie. The demons were scary as hell (especially the black hooker) and I loved the concept of the weapons the heroes fought the demons with were located in the actual lobby of the haunted "Metropol" theater! Claudio Simonetti's theme song is one of horror's best. It wreaks of '80s and New Wave, but that makes it all the more enjoyable. Don't miss it!
7. "Heavy Metal" - 1980 groundbreaking sci-fi animation. 6. "The Road Warrior" - Actually, I saw this before MM at the movies back in '83. Mel Gibson plays one of the screens greatest anti-heroes, alongside Kurt Russell and Harrison Ford. Gas being the wasteland's most precious commodity is one of the great ideas of sci-fi filmdom.
5. "Mad Max" - Barely beats out it's sequel "The Road Warrior". Great filmmaking, unforgettable characters, boss dialogue. An incredible film that is so good it's inhuman.
4. "John Carpenter's The Thing" - JC nearly outdoes himself, right after EFNY, mind you! Carpenter & Russell team up again (thankfully) in this gooey gorefest that I snuck in to see back in the great summer of '82. Had I known what I was in for, I wouldn't have eaten before the show.
3. "Escape From New York" - Just saw it again on cable, all cleaned up and looking better than ever before. John Carpenter at his imaginative best, creating a cinematic anti-hero in the great Kurt Russell that to this day is the finest characters in all science-fiction. Dark, honest, inspired, well-cast - a perennial masterpiece.
2. "Return of the Living Dead" - Another film I can watch again and again and never tire of. More zombies than you can shake a stick at - and boy, are they bad news. After watching it several times, I think it less a funny film and really admire how scary they managed to make zombies. No longer were they slow and silent, they were now mad, bad, and dangerous to know. ROTLD broke new ground, for example when they interrogated the female zombie and re-invented the zombie lore that you had to chop them up into bits to finally kill them.
1. "Star Wars" - Still my favorite film of all time, and one of the great cult movies. Talk about a following; in time it may even surpass "Star Trek". Nothing compares to that moment when as a 10-year-old boy seeing the Star Destroyer pass overhead firing at Princess Leah's ship. Most kids/teens who saw this film back in the day will never, ever forget that. Nothing makes me sadder than to see its legacy tarnished by "The Phantom Menace" and it's follow-ups, unless you count "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" and the Indiana Jones sequels.

Honorable Mentions: ED WOOD, LOCAL HERO, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (everyone puts that on their list), DAWN OF THE DEAD, THE EXORCIST, BLUE VELVET, PIECES, and too many to list.

Rock on, cult rules!

- Andy

Well, I shoulda known if I didn't hop right on this bandwagon, most of the more obvious good choices would be taken and even the not-so-obvious would get covered a little. But I simply couldn't get to it before now, so here goes with what impressed me as "Cult-like": good, solid cinema, that likely didn't do all that well at the box-office, but enjoys a constant popularity anyway due to....SOMETHING special.

10. PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. Basically a rock-spoof of Phanotm of the Opera. Paul Williams had never been weirder. Heavy-Metal-ish pop track was a moderate success.
9. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. You're right, Andy, this appears on many lists and it should. Before "Rocky Horror", it pretty much defined the "cult film". The ultimate zombie movie from which all other would descend. But speaking of R.H....
8. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. When I first attended this, I didn't really get it. It takes repeated viewings (and audience abuse) to truly take in the mania. A complete flop at the box office when it opened originally, it went on to share (or usurp) the midnight-show circuit previously held by "Night of the Living Dead". And yes, my band, "Blade", performed before that live zoo at University Square Mall for several performances between 1985 --1989. In fact, our final performance was at the RHPS on Halloween night, 1989. And yes, Count Poffula was there, still in his mid-teens (I musta sneaked him in....heh heh).
7. HARDWARE WARS. The first famous Star Wars spoof, circa 1978, filmed in 16mm by fans for other fans, only 20 minutes or so in length but began what in my mind the "modern age" of the genre-related fan film. (Star Trek fan films preceeded that, but not to such a pervasive degree).
6. TERRORVISION. One of the weirdest movies I've ever seen, starred Garret Graham as a suburban father whose life is interrupted by an alien invasion through his satellite dish antennae. I attended this movie every day for 4 straight days at Britton Cinema in the late '80s. Virtually lost now.
5. DEEP THROAT. Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems broke ground with this little porno gem from the early '70s. Yes, I saw it, yes, I loved it, and yes....I read the novel! (Haha, I'm not kidding.) Triple-X cinema now had a new template.
4. THE EVIL DEAD. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell re-wrote the rules for the zombie thriller with this ultra-low-budget horror yarn from around 1982.
3. 2001: A SPACE ODDYSEY. Subsequent commercial success does not dim the fact that it nearly bombed when it first opened because nobody got it. Imitated but never surpassed. Today's CGI-laden pictures still wish they could hold a candle to this 30+ year-old masterpiece that defines the great science fiction epic.
2. HEAVY METAL, the 1980 animated feature based on the then best-selling comic magazine which itself was based on the French mag Metal Hurlant. Hit me right between the eyes at a time I was vulnerable to it. Virtually life-changing, its CGI-laden year 2000 "sequel" (FAKK) was a visually advanced but substantially pithy cousin.
1. JOHN CARPENTER'S THE THING. 1982. I don't think Carpenter ever reached these heights again, with the arguable exception of "Starman" albeit more introspectively. Amazing how a director who could make so many great films could produce an even greater number of turkeys afterward. The teaming of Rob Bottin and John Carpenter was lethal for this subject matter.

Honorable Mentions: another Carpenter film I would add to the aforementioned "Starman" might be "Christine" and of course "Halloween". I would also add "They Live" which I thought was cool except for the over-reliance on wrestle-mania culture.
   "Zardoz" with Sean Connery in an alternate future was pretty weird. With no spoken language I still feel "When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth" was Jurassic Park before there was one, and more attractive for the Jim Danforth stop-motion. Anybody besides me remember when "The Incredible Melting Man" premiered at Twin Bays Theater?
   I certainly agree with Count Poffula about "Baby Snakes" and "Clerks". And to this day we call each other on "Groundhog Day" because of our endearment to that movie. I watch it every time it's on.
   And last but not least, "Buckaroo Banzai" to whom me and my staff have been compared (favorably)-- a group of wildly different individuals (some more eccentric than others) with common interests working together as a group toward common goals. Yes. I can identify.

La Floridiana
This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
One of the most important La Floridianas to come down the pike yet, this will explain a lot of our current grief here at Crazed Fanboy, why I became so confident in our growth earlier in the year, followed by the dashed dreams, unfortunate postponments, and delays now. First of a TWO-PARTER that explains it all. ---Nolan ..............Click here for more.

Ashley Lauren's Hollywood
This week's issue
Hollywood by Ashley Lauren


Splash Page
This week's issue
Splash Page by Brandon Jones
The Punisher, The Hulk
The Slush Pile. Reviews --Heavy Liquid
One Shots. The latest news on comics, movies, and comics-to-movies!.... ..............Click here for more.

Matt's Rail
This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg

The Wisdom of Sir Charles (aka Matt's Sports Implosion)

Movie Reviewmovie review
This Week's Movie Review:

"Bruce Almighty"  reviewed by Michael Smith

The Digital Divide
This week's issue
The Digital Divide by Terence Nuzum


Creature's Corner
This week's issue
Creature's Corner by John Lewis
Tales of independent movies and Supergirls! Installment number four is here.... ..............Click here for more.

Mad Matt
This week's issue
Mad Matt's Plastic People by Matt Cerrato

No column this week

Mike's RantMike's Rant
This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
A REAL "JAWS" FAN ........ HELLO, GOD? IT'S ME, MICHAEL ........ MOVIE NOTES.... .... SEPARATED AT BIRTH ........ THAT"S FUNNY ........ SPEAKING OF FUNNY ........ HEY, YOU'RE NOT BATMAN! ........ CULT MOVIES ........ ..............Click here for more.

Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
I actually enjoyed your points in the response to Brandon - most of them echo my own (Re: last issue's Lettercol.--N). Discussion about cinema is never futile; it's kind of like the war against terrorism, you have to change people's minds one at a time. Only by being inspired by what comes from the heart can an artist ever hope to communicate to their audience, and when that communication occurs, things will change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. In my opinion, we're long overdue for a pop culture shift back to what was once cool.

Always remember that art and exploitation are blood brothers. They both share the independent spirit on the badlands outside Hollywood. They often feed off of and are inspired by one another ("Carnival of Souls", Corman's "Masque of the Red Death"). In the '60s, '70s, and early '80s indie horror was the cash cow, but in the late 1980's when films like "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" came along, audiences began preferring the art film to the independent horror film. That trend still exists today.

As a filmmaker, I am personally more influenced by the exploitation directors (Corman, Lewis, Waters) than yourself, and yes, I believe that one can enjoy dissimilar films such as "Two Thousand Maniacs" and "Howard's End" simultaneously. To be a responsible cinema viewer, however, it's one's duty to choose carefully what they'd like to see. I would never pick up the movie section to see when "The Real Cancun" plays; I'd opt to go see David Cronenberg's "Spider". It's a much cooler film. I think that's the element that's missing here; the COOL factor. Back in the day, I wouldn't dream of seeing a movie unless it has some cool element to it. That usually meant something outside the mainstream, or a movie by a really good director (DePalma), or starring a cool actor (Harrison Ford) or a horror/sci-fi romp. So little is cool nowadays. I'm kind of surprised that young people don't rebel against the "Lizzy McGuire's" more than they do and want to see something more exploitive. That's what being a teen is all about - wanting to see what's taboo, which is often sex & violence (and sometimes religion). They actually seem to be content with movies like "Lizzy McGuire" - that's truly scary. In '78 I was watching "Tourist Trap"; in 2003 kids are watching "Lizzy McGuire". I can't for the life of me understand that mentality.

I agree that movies are more genericized and homogenized to the point that you can't tell what director (or even care) made the picture. As I've stated before in previous letters, back in the '70s/early '80s you had the best directors at the top of their careers (Tobe Hooper, Cameron, Fulci, Argento) making unforgettable films; now I'd be hard-pressed to name off even 10 up-n-coming directors with a signature style. I feel the same way about CGI. Sure, the stuff looks neat, but can you name one CGI artist? Years ago we used to delight in the works of SPFX and horror make-up artists such as Tom Savini, Rob Bottin, Rick Baker, John Dykstra, Albert Whitlock, Doug Trumbull, etc. CGI is a faceless, cold form of special effects. The models in the original Star Wars had more heart and personality than a million "Starship Troopers". I do concur that CGI is a powerful tool, best used by artists who know what to do with it. I even agree with your assessment of "Gollum", however, consider this: didn't you remember Yoda (a puppet back in '80) more than you did the CGI'd Gollum?

Here's a good rule of thumb: I always ask myself if I want a model of a spaceship in a sci-fi picture if I like it enough. I want an X-Wing model. I do not want a spaceship from "Independence Day" model. The same holds true for action figures. I want a "Buck Rogers" action figure (actually I'd prefer Princess Ardala). I do not want a "Men in Black" action figure.

I still maintain you're tough on Spielberg, Lucas, and Cameron (for cryin' out loud; the man worked on "Escape From New York!). Sure, nowadays their movies are throwaways, but their resumes shined back in the day, and I'm proud to be influenced by their early work.

- Andy Lalino

Andy, Nolan here...

Re: CGI. The gang and I have been around this topic so hard and so long it's incredible and it devoured an entire episode of The World of Nolan public access show last year.

Briefly I agree, ESPECIALLY about the audience identification part--Corey and I discussed by the hour how, altho technically superior in some weird kind of bench-test way, CGI effects would NEVER affect people on a personal level like hands-on make-up or -----GOD HELP ME -----stop-motion animation.

Like you, we grew up with monster mag cover stories on Rick Baker, Ray Harryhausen, etc., that gave faces to behind-the-scenes personnel, in effect making them stars, too.

Nowadays, a magazine like "Cinefex" is wall-to-wall "here's-how-the-computer-guys-pulled-this-off".

I'm on record in the PCR back issues as regarding this development as behind-the-scenes process alienation----Mike "Deadguy" objected once to me calling these guys "banks of nameless, faceless computer geeks", because he's one of the few fans who identifies with them at all (he's studying 3-D graphics for professional video-gane design). What I fear is that as the current generation grows up, they will become accustomed to the idea that being one of the nameless, faceless computer geeks is some lofty ideal.

With the exception of the current crop of make-up artists, the day of hand-crafted effects is virtually over. And its the current crop of big-time producers and directors that has seen to it: it's just too easy, fast and cheap to conjure up effects in a machine, than to risk waiting for a craftsman to create something that may or may not work, but more important, if it does work---HAVE TO SHARE THE CREDIT FOR.

Never underestimate the Hollywood ego. Too many directors despise sharing credit for success---better if it's a bunch of geeks.


To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

"Mike's Rant" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2003 by Matthew Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2003 by William Moriaty    This week's movie review of "Bruce Almighty" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith    "The Digital Divide" is ©2003 by Terence Nuzum    "Mad Matt's Plastic People" is ©2003 by Matt Cerrato    "Ashley Lauren's Hollywood" is ©2003 by Ashley Lauren Lewis    "Splash Page" is ©2003 by Brandon Jones    Add'l thanks to Andy Lalino for his input in "Letters"      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova
Thanks to everone who contributed to the TOP TEN CULT MOVIES OF ALL TIME!

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