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Posts Tagged ‘Edward Zwick’

Leaving Normal

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

“I didn’t choose any of this, you know? This chose me.”

Friday, May 1st, 1992 was day 3 of the L.A. riots. The day Rodney King said “Can we all get along?” President George H.W. Bush invoked the Insurrection Act, so California Army National Guard and federal troops were activated under the newly formed Joint Task Force Los Angeles. In L.A. and San Francisco, NBA and MLB games were moved or postponed. Van Halen, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and the WWF all cancelled events. Tension and shock spread across the country.

But also some people went to see movies. Mostly BASIC INSTINCT, which was still #1 in its seventh week. And a very small number of people must’ve went to see LEAVING NORMAL, a perfectly sweet little comedy-drama about white women. Maybe it wasn’t the best time for it. It was not a big enough release to make it onto the box office charts, and I honestly don’t remember ever hearing of it before researching this series. But if I’m gonna do Weird Summer I better cover a movie about leaving normal.

Actually it’s about a young woman named Marianne (Meg Tilly, PSYCHO II) and an older bar waitress named Darly (Christine Lahti, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS) deciding to leave a small, boring town called Normal. But I think we all get the implication. (read the rest of this shit…)

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

tn_jackreacher2For some reason it’s hard to make a movie series based on a book series about some dude who has different adventures. Except for James Bond, and Jack Ryan at one point. And it tends to be only screenwriters turned directors who know this sort of thing would be cool: Brian Helgeland did a Parker book (PAYBACK), Scott Frank did a Matthew Scudder (A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES), Christopher McQuarrie did a Jack Reacher (JACK REACHER). All of these are artful takes on pulpy material, slightly elevated genre fare that’s neither generic nor ashamed to take part in a one-liner or just-how-badass-is-he speech. The latter two are really more interesting for their characters and style than for the particular mysteries they get involved in, so naturally you’re left wanting them to have a whole series of movies.

So congratulations to Jack Reacher for eking out just enough box office to justify a sequel. It feels so natural, but I honestly didn’t think it would happen. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Last Samurai

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

tn_lastsamuraiBack in 2003, when THE LAST SAMURAI was new, I had a cynical, kneejerk reaction to it. “Yeah, right… Tom Cruise is the last samurai? Who’s next, someone from the brand new TV show this year America’s Top Model?” I was offended that they wouldn’t make a movie just about samurai, it had to be about the white guy that meets the samurai.

Some things I wasn’t taking into account at that time:

I. The DANCES WITH WOLVES type story of a westerner taken in by an enemy tribe of some kind and learning their ways is a longstanding tradition, and it’s a cool idea to do one with samurai instead of Native Americans. In fact it was partly inspired by real stories of a French soldier who did something like that.

II. There are hundreds of great samurai movies made in Japan, and director Edward Zwick of COURAGE UNDER FIRE was not about to beat them at their own game. It’s simply more interesting if he does his own thing here than if he just tries to imitate Japanese samurai movies. Come on.

III. What the fuck are you talking about here 2003 Vern, you LOVE the white ninja tradition of movies – ENTER THE NINJA, NINJA, AMERICAN NINJA, Steven Seagal… how could there not be value in seeing the big expensive studio from-the-director-of-GLORY version of that?
(read the rest of this shit…)