Nadia Tass double bill: The Big Steal (1990) and Mr Reliable (1996)

Steal poster

Director: Nadia Tass

Stars: Ben Mendelsohn, Claudia Karvan, Steve Bisley, Marshall Napier, Maggie King, Damon Herriman, Angelo D’Angelo

First viewing, via DVD

As someone who doesn’t own a car, I’m fairly oblivious when it comes to cars and car culture. Even so, anyone who’s ever watched a handful of teen movies will recognise the prominent role of cars and the social cachets and personal freedoms they bestow in rites-of-passage films, from Rebel Without a Cause to American Graffiti to Grease to Dazed and Confused and beyond. Even the first act of Transformers hinges largely around protagonist Sam Witwicky’s (Shia LaBeouf) bond with his new car, before switching priorities to pyrotechnics and robots thwacking each other about.

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Welcome to Woop Woop (1997)

Poster

Director: Stephan Elliott

Stars: Johnathon Schaech, Rod Taylor, Susie Porter, Dee Smart

First viewing, via Stan

Where to begin?

I’ve spent a good chunk of the past few weeks pondering that question, wondering what film to launch this website with.

Obviously, given the site’s focus on films that flew under the radar or fell through the cracks, it couldn’t be one of the 41 films to win Best Picture at Australia’s version of the Oscars, the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (formerly Australian Film Institute) awards. Nor could it be on this list of the 100 highest earning Australian films. That’s not to say films on either list won’t crop up eventually – commercial or award success aren’t always guarantors of cultural longevity – but simply that they won’t be cropping up yet.

No, the first film spotlighted had to firmly reflect Down Under Flix’s mission statement: a film that had slipped from or never hit the cultural consciousness, that had fallen into neglect and needed some attention. Something to set the tone, both for the site and myself. And, of course, I wanted to start with a bang.

Welcome to Woop Woop ticked all those boxes, especially the “start with a bang” part. In fact, if there was ever an explosion in an Australian souvenir shop, the town of Woop Woop would be created from the scattered debris.

Continue reading “Welcome to Woop Woop (1997)”