armitageA more inscrutable major figure in  contemporary American cinema is hard to imagine. One of the less-heralded, but more vital, beneficiaries of Roger Corman’s tutelage at New World Pictures, George Armitage has only directed seven pictures to date, from Private Duty Nurses (1971) to The Big Bounce (2004), and only three since 1980. In broad strokes, Armitage’s direction sometimes resembles the madcap, freewheeling style of the early work of another Corman disciple, Jonathan Demme, except that the controls are tweaked to produce a giddy, anarchy-loving state in the viewer, of a manner that makes Demme’s Citizen’s Band and Crazy Mama seem comparatively sedate. A closer spiritual relative might be John Landis – at least, the John Landis who made Into the Night; we’ve tumbled into some warped part of the moral superstructure, everything is slightly corrupted, beginning with the geometry. That Armitage’s heroes are often misfits and outlaws seems only appropriate – it’s all they can do to keep up with the dissolution and entropy around them.

What to see?

Top Tier:

  • Miami Blues (1990) [DVD]

Also Essential:

  • The Big Bounce (2004) [DVD]
  • Grosse Point Blank (1997) [Blu-ray]
  • Hot Rod (1979)
  • Vigilante Force (1976) [DVD]
  • Hit Man (1972) [DVD]

Of Interest / Possibly of Interest:

  • Private Duty Nurses (1971) [DVD]