Monday, 9 March 2009

Richard Crouse's Son of the 100 Best Movies You've Never Seen

Photo Credit: TINARS (from Richard's website)

I think the Fates conspired to bring film critic and author, Richard Crouse to where he is today. His parents moved from the US to his birthplace of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, and Richard grew up in a house that was once a vaudeville theatre. The boom that was supposed to bring big development to Liverpool never happened, but the opera house they built became a movie theatre that exposed Richard to a variety of film genres. He could watch an art house, mainstream and kung fu movie all in one day, and living in a small town, Richard went to the movies a lot. See what I mean about the Fates? His destiny may have been predetermined, but hard work also played a part in Richard's professional achievements: 10 years as the host of Reel to Real, author of 6 pop culture books, film critic on Canada AM, and host of his new show, "Richard Crouse's Movie Show".

I had such a great time talking to Richard about his latest book, Son of the 100 Best Movies You've Never Seen, that I didn't get a chance to talk about all the films that I had intended to discuss. Loving films as much as I do it was great to prep for this interview. Like his first book, The 100 Best Movies You've Never Seen, the sequel is a fantastic resource for anyone. The films range from mainstream films that didn't get the box office attention that they should have to cult films that are just plain weird; you can also find out what people in the film industry think is a forgotten gem (Deepa Mehta's choice is a film called Ajantrik; one of Danny Boyle's three choices is the Russian film Solyaris).

I went to Bay Street Video, rented some films and had a wonderful time watching films like the 70's girl-gang movie, Switchblade Sisters, seeing Barbara McNair singing on the floor in Venus in Furs (this whole film is a trip!), and the women in prison film, Caged. We also discussed the Carole Lombard classic, Twentieth Century, and the life of Latin spitfire, Lupe Valez (The Girl From Mexico)who allegedly planned a photo-op suicide that went very wrong.

Tura Satana, star of the ultimate bad-girl movie, Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! had to be mentioned during this show which was high-lighting some of the films in the book that featured women. I've been calling Richard "Mr. Tura Satana" since seeing him gush over the legendary cult-movie actress last summer when her film screened at the Festival of Fear. Turns out he fell under her spell over a very candid dinner conversation prior to the screening's Q&A session. He's still captivated by the septuagenarian even though she hurt him while demonstrating a martial arts move in front of the audience.

Richard's list is narrowed down from an original list of 300. 100 hundred made it into his first book, another in this second book, and maybe there will be a third book. All the films are his personal choice, and are not a result of any formulated structure. One of the things that the books made me do, was think about what would be on my list. A few titles I thought of are:

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the Carole Lombard film directed by Hitchcock, not the Brangelina version)
Bowfinger (I don't usually flock to Steve Martin and Eddy Murphy movies, but this one is hilarious. The scene with the dog in heels gets me every time.)
Saved (a great pre-Juno coming-of-age film)
Born Romantic (a melancholy British comedy about love)
Layercake (Sean Connery is my 007, but this movie convinced me that Daniel Craig would be a top James Bond)

Marlene Shaw, "Street Walkin Woman" from The Best of Marlene Shaw
Bettye LaVette, "Before the Money Came" from The Scene of the Crime

Thanks to Richard Crouse and Simon Ware of ECW Pressfor the book giveaway (Son of the Best 100 Movies You've Never Seen).

Thank you Kelsey of the First Weekend Club for the giveaway to Canada Screens presentation of RiP: A Remix Manifesto"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved your interview with Richard Crouse. I especially liked his stories about old Hollywood. After your interview I watched both Switchblade Sisters and Venus in Furs, all I can say is "What a trip" Hopefully Mr. Crouse can come back and you two can discuss more under seen films. Thanks for the suggestions.

A Sweet Liar: Theatre Francais de Toronto's Le Menteur/The Liar

The tag line is  "Don't believe a word he says" , but you can believe me, Le Menteur/The Liar is a fun way to spend a night at...