USA, 1959, 138 min, Dir. Otto Preminger
Complicating matters even further, MGM also apparently bought all the ancillary rights to the majority of Goldwyn's films, including Porgy and Bess, claiming that any restoration or DVD release must be done by them. Despite playing once on ABC in the late '60s, and a few specialty screenings in New York and Seattle, the film has been virtually unseen by the public. Most copies available are of poor quality or missing a few scenes. It's a mess!
Recently, it was announced that Dee Rees will direct a new adaptation of Porgy and Bess for MGM. Maybe the renewed focus on this property will help push along the restoration process of the 1959 version. I think everyone deserves the opportunity to see it. JASMYNE KEIMIG
UK, 1997, 93 min, Dir. Bob Spiers
Like it or not, the aesthetics of Spice World are in vogue again. The Matrix glasses. The Kappa tracksuits. The girly feminism. The furry hoodies. Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh, and Sporty are even back, launching a reunion tour last year. And yet Spice World, their Razzie Award-winning '90s-defining film, is totally freaking unstreamable. Honestly, a tragedy—especially if you consider it to be a poignant take on the evils of the paparazzi. I don't, but I'm saying you could if you wanted to.
This week, I snagged a physical copy of Spice World and was struck by how well it stands up—the pacing is better than you'd expect—and also how fantastical it is. Take, for example, the famous double-decker "Spice Bus" that unfolds like a dollhouse. Each of the girls gets their own themed room—Posh has a runway, Baby has a slide, Sporty has an elliptical. Meat Loaf is the bus driver. It's gleefully impossible. There are aliens, men in ass-less chaps, celebrities like Elton John and Alan Cumming. It's peak Cool Britannia, with as much aplomb as an Olympic opening ceremony.
Last summer, The Hollywood Reporter announced that a new animated Spice Girls movie is in the works (with all five original members signed on to star in it), so maybe we'll be spicing up our lives soon enough. CHASE BURNS
USA, 1980, 111 min, Dir. Allan Moyle
Because of the chaos that went on during post-production, Times Square is almost a really good cult movie. But the jumbled narrative (and a weird scene where the girls sing a racist song) makes the film lack a certain gut punch. However! The soundtrack is incredible (and perhaps the reason it isn't streaming) and the film captures the seedy era of Times Square before it got cleaned up by Giuliani in the '90s, practically making it a historical document. Release the gay scenes! JASMYNE KEIMIG
Italy, 1965, 86 min, Dir. Bruno Bozzetto
Animator Bruno Bozzetto, a popular and recurring director in this column, claims to have invented the Spaghetti Western genre with his animated feature debut, West and Soda. The genre is a plucky Italian-bred western that's full of dualities: slapstick and romantic, quirky and epic, sarcastic and hellish. West and Soda, with its gorgeous water-stained backdrops and tight clowning, is definitely a leader of the genre, although A Fistful of Dollars (1964), directed by the legendary Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood in his first leading role, is usually seen as the progenitor of Spaghetti Westerns. West and Soda came out a year after A Fistful of Dollars, but Bozzetto attributes his delay to the fact that animation takes longer to create. And, anyway, he says he started working on his project before Leone worked on his. So there! The point is that West and Soda is required viewing for any fan of the genre. It's less masterful than Bozzetto's later work, like Allegro non troppo, but all the things I love about Bozzetto are there: the visual gags, the emotional backdrops, the irreverent posturing, and the way he can slip from profane to profound in an instant. CHASE BURNS