I decided for the month of January I’m going to stay in the 1980s for Female Filmmaker Friday, and since this film will be airing on TCM next Monday (1/21/19), I thought now would be the perfect time to look at Kathleen Collins’s groundbreaking independent feature Losing Ground. You can buy this film on DVD or Blu-ray (and I recommend purchasing directly from Milestone Film’s site so you can support their amazing work), which includes a bunch of special features, including her first film The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy (which I still need to see!). I first saw Losing Ground in 2015 during A Year With Women when it was aired as part of TCM’s inaugural Trailblazing Women spotlight. It has since become one of my favorite films.
Mark ‘Rat’ Ratner: What do I say to her once we get in the car?
Mike Damone: No problem, Rat. What you need is my special five-point plan.
Mark ‘Rat’ Ratner: Come on, Damone, I need real help her.
Mike Damone: What’d you mean? Hey! Men have died trying to obtain this valuable information. But I’ll give it to you for free.
Mark ‘Rat’ Ratner: Okay, okay. What’s your five-point plan?
Mike Damone: All right. Now, pay attention. First of all, Rat, you never let on how much you like a girl. Oh, Debbie. . .hi. Two. You always call the shots. Kiss me, you won’t regret it. Three. Act like wherever you are, that’s the place to be. Isn’t this great? Four. When ordering food, find out what she wants, then order for the both of you. It’s a classy move. The lady will have the linguine in a white clam sauce, and a coke with no ice. And five. Now, this is most important, Rat. When it comes down to makin’ out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.
Gillian Armstrong is one of my favorite directors. Later on I will write about My Brilliant Career and Little Women (1994), which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I’ve seen that one more than any other film I think. Which brings me to this week’s Female Filmmaker Friday on Armstrong’s sophomore feature Startruck. I actually bought this film without knowing anything about it other than it was directed by Armstrong and came in a shiny pink DVD case. Amazon recommended it when I bought Susan Seidelman’s Smithereens. Definitely one of the best cold-buys I’ve ever done.
I actually watched four films by Susan Seidelman last week (Desperately Seeking Susan, Making Mr. Right, Cookie and Smithereens). Aside from the film I am writing about today, I watched them in the order in which they were filmed. Thus, I have decided to spend the next four weeks of this feature discussing these films and the growth of Seidelman as a director. If I can manage to watch She-Devil before the series is over, I’ll discuss that film, too. Then I’ll have covered all of her work in the 1980s. I found a great podcast from 2009 in which Seidelman discusses the production of Smithereens, which you can listen to here. I really love what I’ve seen of Seidelman’s work and look forward to continuing her filmography. I discovered while reading about her that when she went to grad school she started out as a fashion major before switching to film, which is exactly what I did! I love little connections like that.