UNCLE MEAT
1987, 100 min, USA, Dir: Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa began directing The Mothers of Invention’s one and only movie, UNCLE MEAT, less than two years after the group’s 1965 debut but it did not see release until 1987. Colorful footage from their “Absolutely Free”-era residency at the Garrick Theater in New York, and from the Sgt. Pepper/psychedelia-mocking “We’re Only in it for the Money” album cover shoot is mixed with orchestral bits from a 1968 concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Plus you get Rodney Bingenheimer, Linda Ronstadt, Meredith Monk and others along for the ride at the legendary Hollywood Ranch Market on Vine Street. Camerawork by the great Haskell Wexler.


THE CONVERSATION
1974, American Zoetrope, 113 min, USA, Dir: Francis Ford Coppola

Sandwiched between THE GODFATHER and GODFATHER II, THE CONVERSATION is Coppola at his very best - a sinister, unstoppable portrait of moral (and physical) violence and the sheer paranoia of living in the modern world. Gene Hackman is tremendous as fly-on-the-wall surveillance expert Harry Caul, drawn into a murderous whirlpool when he’s hired to bug lovers Frederic Forrest and Cindy Williams. Co-starring John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Teri Garr and Harrison Ford.


RICHARD PRYOR LIVE ON THE SUNSET STRIP
1982, Sony Repertory, 82 min, USA, Dir: Joe Layton

Richard Pryor came back from his nearly fatal freebasing accident to create the best stand-up act of his career, captured beautifully in this landmark concert film by director Joe Layton and cinematographer Haskell Wexler. Pryor's riffs on marriage, the mob, Africa and his own drug problems are hilarious, but the underlying complexity of his material makes this the rare stand-up routine that's as poignant as it is funny.


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