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Further Phoenix
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Joaquin Phoenix, Leaf Phoenix

Stand By Me

My Own Private Idaho

Mike Waters

Gus Van Sant

Scott Favor

Keanu Reeves



William Shakespeare

Edward Scissorhands

Henry IV

The Rough Guide to Cult Movies

Paul Simpson

The Rough Guide to Jazz

The Rough Guide to Opera


Starship Troopers

Jaws 3-D


To Die For

Anders Als Die Anderen
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

The Rough Guide to Cult Movies

Edited by Paul Simpson
First published in 2001

ISBN 1-85828-960-2 (Paperback, 484 Pages)

The "Rough Guide" series of travel books which already contains more than one hundred and fifty titles, has now been extended, first with music titles such as The Rough Guide to Jazz and The Rough Guide to Opera, and now this edition extends the scope of the series still further with The Rough Guide to Cult Movies.

It's an off-the-wall movie reference, quite unlike any of the other film reference books featured in Phoenix Bookshelf. It's crammed full with countless anecdotes, black-and-white photographs, reviews and many interesting behind-the-scenes stories. The films discussed in the book are grouped together into eighty separate sections featuring everything from "Comedies", "Martial Arts" and "Sci-fi" through to the more bizarre "Godzilla" and "Turkeys" chapters.

It's a handy little reference book to have when visiting a local video rental store, but when working your way through it from cover to cover, it soon becomes very unclear as to just what exactly constitutes a "cult movie." For example, Starship Troopers, Edward Scissorhands and the feeble Jaws 3-D are all included, but Stand By Me isn't.

Indeed, Joaquin Phoenix's Gladiator, To Die For and SpaceCamp are also present but in fact there's only one of River's movies to be found here.

My Own Private Idaho 1991
Mike (Phoenix) and Scott (Reeves) are rent boys in downtown Portland, Oregon. Mike is narcoleptic, and Scott just happens to be the bi-sexual son of the town's mayor, slumming it with deadbeat street characters. The story wanders into an offbeat reworking of Shakespeare's Henry IV which doesn't quite succeed, but the relationship between the two young men is the heart of the film.

Sandwiched between the "Gangster" and "Godzilla" chapters, the "Gay" section features eleven movies altogether including an obscure German film Anders Als Die Anderen from as early as 1919. Almost every copy of this movie was deliberately destroyed during the Second World War, but the book relates how a fragmented print of this work has since been uncovered and restored.

Mike is looking for someone who will love him and he thinks he has found that person in Scott, but Scott isn't so sure. Mike's dreamy detachment, reflecting his rootless life as well as his sleeping sickness, keeps him from feeling things too strongly, but his longing for love is palpable. The beautifully shot scenes on the road and by the campfire are stunning, both visually and emotionally, and Van Sant gets one of the best (and sadly, last) performances out of River Phoenix.

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