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Rewatching classic Australian films
January 7, 2014 4:28 PM   Subscribe


 
That reminds me I need to see The Dish again some time.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:42 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


Out of that list, Chopper is easily the best, and is one of the few Australian films I can watch again and again and enjoy. Too bad old mate screwed the pooch on that god-awful Killing Them Softly, what an awful pile of shite that was.

Oh, and Praise was pretty good too. McGahan is a great writer and I love his books, and this film adaption does justice to the novel. Movies of 1988 and Last Drinks would be good ideas.

I read Last Drinks by the pool at the Palazzo Versace on my honeymoon, ordering frosty Heineken after frosty Heineken. We would repair to our rooms for some shenanigans, and then an expensive seafood dinner at one of the restaurants nearby. I think that was actually the last time I was genuinely happy.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:47 PM on January 7


Waiting til they do The Castle.

Tell'em they're dreamin.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:52 PM on January 7 [14 favorites]


Why wouldn't they start with Mad Max? These seem to be "worthy" films.

Or Ned Kelly. *snicker*

They better do Razorback. That has stood the test of time, probably better than Wolf Creek. Dogs in Space too.

And, a plug for the fantastic documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation for anyone who hasn't seen it. I cannot recommend it highly enough/
posted by Mezentian at 4:54 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


Coming soon: A Peter Jackson Classic: Meet the Feebles!
posted by kaibutsu at 5:03 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


"Kangaroo, I guess."
posted by mrnutty at 5:03 PM on January 7


Can't wait for them to review this one.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:04 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


Meet the Feebles isn't an Australian film.

(But yeah: where's Mad Max? Dogs In Space?)
posted by pompomtom at 5:05 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Coming soon: A Peter Jackson Classic: Meet the Feebles! yt

That would be from New Austrazealand, I presume?

And add me to the "puzzled by the lack of Mad Max" list.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:06 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]




Notes:
  • The series isn't reviewing films in any particular order.
  • This is an ongoing series that's just over one month old. Patience, people.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 5:10 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]




Where is Muriel's Wedding? Was that not the best Australian film in terms of not only bringing the public at large into the home of the average, albeit dysfunctional, Australian family but also resurrecting the Abba craze, enticing an entire generation to outperform themselves, albeit dysfunctionally, to the tune of Dancing Queen?
posted by jsavimbi at 5:11 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


Toecutter: That there is Cundalini... and Cundalini wants his hand back.

Seriously though. The original Mad Max is punk as fuck and is easily more influential than any film listed there.

I guess I don't know what they mean by classic.
posted by vapidave at 5:16 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


Last Wave, Walkabout, and Picnic at Hanging Rock definitely stand the test of time. I hope they eventually get a chance to talk about each.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:18 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


Alvin Purple doesn't cut it, huh?
posted by de at 5:19 PM on January 7


Can't wait until they get to Young Einstein.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:21 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


That's a strange list. What about Breaker Morant? Gallipoli? My Brilliant Career, Proof (Directed and written by Jocelyn Moorehouse starring Hugo Weaving and Russell Crowe)? The Year of Living Dangerously?
posted by nnk at 5:22 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


If Mad Max, Don's Party and Barry McKenzie don't make this list, I'm complaining.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:25 PM on January 7


What? They haven't covered "Australia" yet -- with the gloriously gratuitous Hugh Jackman shower scene.
posted by antinomia at 5:34 PM on January 7


Also Bliss. I love that film.
posted by Flashman at 5:36 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


Barry Mackenzie Holds His Own is almost as good as the original, and has the added bonus of a drunken Clive James appearing as "drunken man". So yeah, do that one.

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is good, if a bit dated in style. Walkabout is outstanding, blistering and surreal, plus The World's Most Perfect Woman (tm), Jenny Agutter. Strictly Ballroom is completely ridiculous and completely charming in equal measure; the perfect film.

Sirens is the worst movie ever made.
posted by Fnarf at 5:45 PM on January 7


For what it's worth, I am sure I could happily rewatch Strictly Ballroom every few weeks for the rest of my days. And although I have seen Proof only once twenty years ago, I would love to see it again.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:48 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


I recently watched Wake in Fright and so should you. It has all the hallmarks of great 1970's American cinema set in the desolation of rural Australia.
posted by item at 5:51 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


Or Ned Kelly. *snicker*

As it is widely held to be the world's first feature film (from 1906), that would be as logical a place to start as anywhere.
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:53 PM on January 7


That's The Story of the Kelly Gang.

I was thinking about this Ned Kelly, but you are correct, they should do that one too.
posted by Mezentian at 5:59 PM on January 7


Strictly Ballroom is simply marvellous and has spawned several catchphrases in our household:

Well, that was unexpected.
posted by arcticseal at 6:03 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Was that not the best Australian film in terms of not only bringing the public at large into the home of the average, albeit dysfunctional, Australian family but also resurrecting the Abba craze, enticing an entire generation to outperform themselves, albeit dysfunctionally, to the tune of Dancing Queen?

Well, that or Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.
posted by crossoverman at 6:04 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


It's sometimes known as "Ned Kelly and his Gang". Your link goes to one of those hoax films, like Godfather III or Phantom Menace.
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:07 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


As it is widely held to be the world's first feature film (from 1906), that would be as logical a place to start as anywhere.

Unfortunately, you can't watch The Story of the Kelly Gang anymore. Only 17 of its original 60 minutes survive.
posted by crossoverman at 6:07 PM on January 7


Doesn't have The Road Warrior, unimpressed.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:09 PM on January 7


You can however watch the surviving footage on YouTube.
posted by Mezentian at 6:12 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


The Odd Angry Shot was released on Blu-Ray last week.

A fantastic look at the Australian infantry's Vietnam.

NSFW language Youtube clip featuring a young John Jarret and Graeme Kennedy!
posted by Duke999R at 6:14 PM on January 7


You can however watch the surviving footage on YouTube.

Oooh, very cool! I have not seen all of this.
posted by crossoverman at 6:14 PM on January 7


I firmly believe that no one has seen the Jagger Ned Kelly in its entirety, as everyone who has tried has fallen asleep no more than twenty minutes in.
posted by Fnarf at 6:15 PM on January 7


I feel bad that my Aussie film experience is rather Brian Trenchard-Smith-heavy.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:22 PM on January 7


There's no shame in that. If nothing else he gave the world Nicole Kidman.
posted by Mezentian at 6:24 PM on January 7


Needs these:

The Last Wave
Walkabout
The Quiet Earth
(as long as you ignore the last act/half)
Proof

And while not classic by any stretch, I have a genuine fondness for BMX Bandits, which was shown on HBO in the early 80s about 7 trillion times, and I think I watched it every time. A terrible film that I love.
posted by zardoz at 6:32 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


They haven't covered "Australia" yet

Because it's shit?

But yeah, The Odd Angry Shot... when I saw that (very late in the game) I finally understood why Graham Kennedy had a career. When I grew up, he was just panel-show-regular on just about everything. I'd thought that that was what he did. Then watched that film and suddenly it dawned on me that he was an actor. Who could act.
posted by pompomtom at 6:56 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Could use another set of hands.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:59 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


The Quiet Earth

Seriously, people, do we need a primer in where New Zealand ends and Australia begins?
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 7:06 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


New Zealand's best exports have always been from Australia.
posted by Mezentian at 7:09 PM on January 7


do we need a primer in where New Zealand ends and Australia begins?

The Auckland Harbour Bridge? That's the one in Sydney, isn't it?
posted by Fnarf at 7:10 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Why are people acting like the 4 movies so far are the only ones and getting snarky?

Also nthing:
-Wake in Fright/Outback
-Priscilla Queen of the Desert
-Picnic at Hanging Rock

And BMX Bandits is so bad-good!
posted by JauntyFedora at 7:18 PM on January 7


The Quiet Earth

Seriously, people, do we need a primer in where New Zealand ends and Australia begins?


Especially as it stars Bruno Lawrence, who was (in the eighties and early nineties) the easiest way to spot New Zealand films -- The Quiet Earth, Spotswood, Utu, Smash Palace, Goodbye Pork Pie... What do all of these movies have in common?

If the guy had not perished in 1995, he would absolutely have been in The Lord of the Rings; Denethor, maybe.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:20 PM on January 7


New ZealandAustralia's best exports have always been from AustraliaNew Zealand.
FTFY ;-)
posted by dg at 7:28 PM on January 7


The Plumber. ("The Cars That Ate Paris?" WTF?) Early Peter Weir. A story that delightfully teeters back and forth between rational indignation and class guilt. The business about cannibals and kuru is a delightful background melody.
posted by SPrintF at 7:32 PM on January 7


I thought Spotswood was Australian (and IMDB seems to back me up).

(it being a ten minute drive from my place)
posted by pompomtom at 7:41 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Why are people acting like the 4 movies so far are the only ones and getting snarky?

It seems the Guardian series is a companion to a series on SBS run in December. Those were the only films to feature in the Guardian or on SBS. With neither the paper nor the TV station making any mention of further films, there's an implication that this is it. Or at least that this is it for a while. Either way, it makes the choice of those four films quite, let's say idiosyncratic.

On preview, Spotswood had that great Australian* actor, Russell Crowe in it. "I'm not a Pommy bastard, I'm a Welsh bastard!".

*Unless he's been throwing phones at people recently, in which case he is of course the overrated Kiwi actor.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:46 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Hah, pipped at the post by GeckoDundee, well done.

It's a shame they stopped there, and I agree there are a lot of films that could perhaps have better earned the epithet "classic". And for anyone using this as a list of good Australian films to watch, add Noise.
posted by Athanassiel at 7:50 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Waiting til they do The Castle.

Tell'em they're dreamin.


Such innocent times, when Ugg boots had completely different associations.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:50 PM on January 7


Out of that list, Chopper is easily the best, and is one of the few Australian films I can watch again and again and enjoy.

I'd take Lantana over Chopper any day.
posted by dobbs at 7:55 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


Oh, hey, I've forgotten my favorite Aussie film ever: Malcolm, with Colin Friels.

The documentary Cane Toads: An Unnatural History belongs on any list as well.
posted by Fnarf at 7:57 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


I was just about to say, Malcolm! And The Last Days of Chez Nous, which is a particular fave of mine.

(But really, I think they are both films that are very firmly of their time and place - possibly they don't travel well)
posted by Kaleidoscope at 8:02 PM on January 7


Wait, is Romper Stomper not an Aussie film? I haven't seen it mentioned (apologies if I've missed it). That movie shocked the hell out of a young msali, and I've always had a fondness for it.
posted by msali at 8:04 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


Yes, Romper Stomper is Australian. Yeah, opened my eyes a bit too, at the time.
posted by dg at 8:07 PM on January 7


Happy that someone mentioned Bliss.

I must add Getting Square on the strength of David Wenham's character acting and for the accurate and funny vision of the Gold Coast culture.

Also The Boys, David whenam in a totally different role.
posted by vicx at 8:17 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Snowtown is a moving and inspirational lovefest that will amaze and delight.
posted by Wolof at 8:20 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


Do. not. listen. to. me.
posted by Wolof at 8:21 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]




The Year My Voice Broke
Not in the same league, but a lot of fun:
Malcolm
The Big Steal
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:37 PM on January 7


Everynight, Everynight - Not a very well known Australian film, but a very powerful look at the prison system in Australia (at least as it stood in the 70s, the screenwriter having been in Pentridge prison at the time)

I'd take Lantana over Chopper any day.

Agreed.
posted by crossoverman at 8:52 PM on January 7


Oh, and The Proposition - an amazing Australian western
posted by crossoverman at 8:53 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


Another nod here for Dogs in Space, one of those very rare films that looked at young misfits in the early punk-era in a believable way.
posted by ovvl at 9:00 PM on January 7


Malcolm is great for the kiddies, I'll admit. Haven't seen it for about 20 years, but I adored that movie as a child.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:05 PM on January 7


Oh, and The Proposition - an amazing Australian western

Oh yeah, the movie Nick Cave wrote after binge-watching three seasons of Deadwood and taking an overdose of Boring Drugs.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:06 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I rewatched Malcolm not that long ago: it's still bloody good.
posted by pompomtom at 9:06 PM on January 7


Does He Died with a Felafel in His Hand count? Am I doing this right?
posted by bartleby at 9:10 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Tons of great Australian films already mentioned here.

One I'll add: Animal Kingdom, a great crime thriller.
posted by brianstorms at 9:19 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


Wow, how did I forget Animal Kingdom?

Also, for something completely different - Somersault, back when Sam Worthington was a good actor.
posted by crossoverman at 10:20 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Wake in Fright is my favourite Australian film: a harrowing descent into the national psyche, brought to you from the same man who directed First Blood and Weekend at Bernie's.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 10:21 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Death in Brunswick is a little bottler.
posted by Wolof at 10:21 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


Flirting is also great, with Noah Taylor and a young Thandiwe Newton.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:28 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Snowtown and Wolf Creek are both brilliantly done, but are also the two most traumatic movies I have ever seen. Wolf Creek, in particular, left some kind of psychological scars I think.

Picnic at Hanging Rock and Muriel's Wedding are just magic.

Wake in Fright is haunting and visceral and retro and desert-harsh, all at once.

Samson and Delilah broke my fucking heart, and filled me with deep sorrow for what we've done to Indigenous communities.

Lantana is a beautifully-drawn portrait of suburban ennui.

Mystery Road (released 2013) is a grittily realistic crime thriller.

There are so many more I could list.

In case you can't tell, I love Australian movies (and not just because I am Australian). They have a rawness and authenticity that, for me, is sadly lacking in most Hollywood offerings. There are sure to be some absolute gems showing up on this list. I hope it brings some more exposure to some of the brilliant Aus movies that have been produced over the years.
posted by Salamander at 11:44 PM on January 7


It would be almost cliche for me to stand up and demand a review of 'Mad Max' - though god knows I have a few old friends where snippets of that film's dialogue is guaranteed to come up in almost any conversation. So I'm going to hold out hope for reviews of 'Dead-End Drive-In', 2003's 'Ned' (as distinct from the Ledger film), and 'Hercules Returns'.
posted by MarchHare at 3:33 AM on January 8


Oh, and. 'The Hard Word' from 2002. With great and all-too-brief turns from Kym Gyngell and Greg Fleet. And it wonderfully illustrates the theory that in a family of three brothers, there's typically (in order) The Smart One, The Good One, and The Fuck-Up.
posted by MarchHare at 3:56 AM on January 8


Very worthy drama heavy so far.
I have a soft spot for Crackerjack.
posted by Catch at 4:13 AM on January 8


I've always been surprised by the number of quality films coming out of Australia on a per-capita basis.
Also, Little Fish.
posted by Red Loop at 4:52 AM on January 8


For most Australians David Wenham will forever be Diver Dan.

Not for me.

I've seen The Boys.
posted by puffmoike at 5:40 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Will nobody mention Bad Boy Bubby? Has no-one else seen it?
posted by glasseyes at 7:01 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I have seen Bad Boy Bubby.
But I am owned by cats now and they won't let me remember.
posted by Mezentian at 7:09 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I think Proof is my favorite ever Australian film. If you've never seen it, do yourself a favor.

Not that there aren't a lot of great Aussie films. Although Jane Campion is a Kiwi, her first film Sweetie is decidedly an Australian film and is also up there among my favorites.
posted by yoink at 10:17 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Death in Brunswick, as Wolof says above, is a beauty. Some of Sam Neill's (another Kiwi) best work ever.
posted by yoink at 10:19 AM on January 8


I love Australian film. I hope they take this series further.

glasseyes - "Be still ya little cunt" is still one of my favourite phrases used regularly, so useful in so many varied contexts.
posted by goo at 11:34 AM on January 8


StarStruck was the first Oz movie I ever saw, and will always hold that place in my psyche (to the point that I went searching for the bar from the movie when I finally made it to Sydney only to find it had been torn down). But I'm pretty sure it's not going to make it onto this best of list.

Songs include She Got Body originally by Split Enz
and the epic I Want to Live in a House
posted by drinkmaildave at 5:40 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Errr...Danny Deckchair? I know it's not high art, but it's a very charming, silly film.
In the same vein, I'd give a shout-out to Goodbye Pork Pie too, but well, you know
posted by Flashman at 6:36 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I hope they do Welcome To Woop Woop.
It's.... a film (full, trailer).

Pork sauce and beef curtains are still my go-to dirty talk phrases.
posted by Mezentian at 7:37 PM on January 8


Oh god, Welcome to Woop Woop. Yonks ago, I was working for the street press and one of my jobs was to go to media screenings of films and then write reviews for the paper. One of my assignments was to go see WtWW, especially because they'd bought a full-page ad in the paper. I went and there were about 5 other people in the media screening, one of whom was Daryl Somers (along with 2 minders). About halfway through the film, Dazza got up and walked down to the front, in front of the screen, trying to get out the door he came in. It didn't work - there was an exit at the back. As he realised and walked towards the exit, he delivered his verdict to the rest of us: "Don't feel you have to stay to the end." Shortly after, the other two reviewers also got up and left. I was the only one who stuck it out till the bitter end, and I must confess that I did it mostly because of the full-page ad.

As a bonus, after my review appeared, someone wrote in to the paper because I had mis-identified some Australian wildlife. I think I called sulfur-crested cockatoos just plain cockatoos or something. That film was not only horrible, it was cursed.
posted by Athanassiel at 10:32 PM on January 8


Welcome to Woop Woop is a movie I loved and hated at the same time. I couldn't turn it off in disgust, but I wanted too.

In some strange way it is the Frankenstein of Australian movies. It has the isolated country town (Razorback), the rednecks (Razorback), the weird singing (Priscilla), the strangely parachuted in American (well, every movie ever), the over the top Australianisms (Croc Dundee, Australia, Priscilla, Muriel's Wedding), the offbeat comedy (Malcolm, etc) AND Bill Hunter.

All that was missing was Jack Thompson.
posted by Mezentian at 11:43 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I firmly believe that no one has seen the Jagger Ned Kelly in its entirety, as everyone who has tried has fallen asleep no more than twenty minutes in.
posted by Fnarf at 6:15 PM on January 7 [+] [!]


I know at least one person who has. Or at least claimed to effectively enough to be granted a PhD for a thesis on the filmic representation of Ned Kelly in Australian Cinema.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:46 AM on January 9


Rabbit-Proof Fence
Walkabout…

Anything with David Gulpilil.
posted by Pouteria at 4:33 AM on January 9


The Guardian series continues with Romper Stomper
posted by crossoverman at 4:25 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


See? You'll get your Mad Max in good time.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 10:46 PM on January 9


If anyone is interested this week they have done Picnic at Hanging Rock, '75's "The Blair Witch Project".
posted by Mezentian at 3:38 PM on January 25


Oh, what an awful comparison.
posted by crossoverman at 4:27 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


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