Dick Miller

Dick Miller in Gremlins

For this loving spoonful of Junkfood Cinema, Cargill and I find ourselves in the presence of true greatness. During SXSW, we were able to sit down with actor/writer/genre mainstay Dick Miller. Not familiar with Dick Miller? Actually, we’re willing to bet Mogwais to Terminators that you ARE familiar with Dick Miller, though likely by face moreso than name. He has been appearing in films for nearly six decades, and has the type of career that actually charts a direct line through the history of film itself. Whether working with Corman on movies like A Bucket of Blood, Rock All Night, and Piranha, his various team-ups with Joe Dante, or any of the other innumerable cult classics that comprise his resume, Dick Miller is the very essence of a living legend. His importance to genre and cult cinema are not merely the opinion of these Junkfood Cinema hosts. That Guy Dick Miller, a documentary about the life and career of our special guest, just played SXSW. The doc finds some of the biggest names in the industry reminiscing about the silver-screen splendor of Mr. Miller. You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #3 Directly



The movies are filled with familiar faces with seemingly forgettable names. They’ll never see themselves on a marquee or win an Oscar, but people like Bob Gunton, Paul Gleason, and Brion James always make their brief moments onscreen count. Their presence often raises the level of a film, if even for a few minutes, but while most viewers would agree with the sentiment the actors go unsung in the general consciousness. Dick Miller is another one of those guys. He’s been in over 200 films, and while a couple of them saw him in a major or even leading role the vast majority found him simply as the clerk, the man behind the counter, the cop, the [insert generic occupation here] guy. If you’ve seen a Joe Dante movie then you’ve seen Miller in action, and the odds are almost as good if you’ve ever seen a Roger Corman film. Miller is pictured in Webster’s dictionary beside the word “ubiquitous.” That last one’s not actually true, but the guy gets around. That Guy Dick Miller is a new doc that shines a light directly on Miller and his career, and it offers an affectionate and loving look at the man through his own words as well as those of the people who love him. His wife, brothers, and numerous actors and filmmakers share thoughts on what makes him stand apart even in the tiniest of roles.



It has been the common self-effacing jab around the Junkfood Cinema lab that the canon of movies we feature and love are indicative of our total lack of taste. Of late however, the idea of a person stricken with a total absence of taste has seemed more and more a self-contradicting paradox. Taste is a wholly subjective construct as idiosyncratic as a fingerprint. It is a function of synaptic response. Our brains all see the same images, but how we perceive them on a critical thinking level is informed by our experiences and our individual archetypes for quality art. Therefore the only way for a person to indeed harbor no film taste whatsoever would be to never have watched a single one. You may take issue with the films a friend chooses to watch, but the very fact that they have a preference for those films precludes the idea that they have no taste. Such musing brings us naturally to A Bucket of Blood; in much the same way the Disney Monorail brings one naturally to Beirut. But kindly replace your necks to the un-whiplashed position and allow me to explain. A Bucket of Blood is a 1959 horror film from b-movie maverick Roger Corman. Corman is a name revered by some, reviled by others, and, sadly, unknown by most. The bulk of his catalog is typically written off as exploitation junk; white noise in the din of cheap cinema. His movies are to be appreciated only ironically, lest resurface […]


A Christmas Story

Sometime around fifteen years ago, A Christmas Story was something of a modern cult classic. It was kind of amusing and kind of off-beat, and you could make a connection with someone if you mentioned it and it turned out you both liked it. Or, at least, that’s how it was where I grew up, which was the area of Northwest Indiana where the story was set. A funny thing happened in the late ’90s, though. TNT started playing the movie on cable for 24 hours straight during Christmas, the concept caught on, and now, thirteen years later, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know about Ralphie, his Red Rider BB gun, and Scut Farkus. But another funny thing happened, too. After so many years of repetition, the movie has started to feel a whole lot less quirky and fun. At this point, it’s probably the most overrated holiday movie ever, and all it takes is one person dropping quotes from it at a Christmas party to get me to make internal noises of frustration. Joe Dante’s Gremlins has had almost the exact opposite lifespan. It came out a year after A Christmas Story, was a pretty gigantic hit right away, and established itself as one of the iconic ’80s blockbusters quite quickly. But, over the course of the last couple decades, its influence has faded a bit. Despite the fact that the movie is set during Christmas, and is about the perfect Christmas present just as […]

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published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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