September 24

Siesta (1987, d. Mary Lambert)

I can’t think of many films with more perplexing critical responses: nominations from both Independent Spirit and the Razzies, positive reviews from Janet Maslin and Roger Ebert that refer to it as a ‘bad’ movie. It’s glamorous and stagey, but those aren’t necessarily faults; that the whole film is awash in chic 80s style makes it kind of charming, uniquely dating it. Siesta is much like Memento – non-linear storytelling, characters that are more symbolic for the sake of symbolism than purposeful in the narrative. It’s also like Dennis Hopper’s better late films – The Hot Spot and Catchfire – in its unpredictability and intensely eroticized aesthetics. A music video director tries to make an Antonioni film. At least it seems to expect its audience to think.

It also has the most terrifying performance I’ve ever seen a comedian-turned-actor give in a movie: Alexei Sayles as a rapist cab driver who may or may not be real.

The Big Easy (1988, d. Jim McBride)

Cutting Class (1989, d. Rospo Pallenberg)

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September 23

Alice, Sweet Alice (1977, d. Alfred Sole)