"I'll just get my gear."

Posts Tagged ‘Gregory Widen’

Backdraft 2

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Yes, it’s true – in 2019, 28 years after the release of the hit movie BACKDRAFT, it got a DTV sequel. Since I hadn’t seen the original when this came out two years ago I didn’t really pay attention, and kind of assumed it was just an unrelated firefighter movie taking on the brand name.

In fact there’s quite a bit of continuity: original screenwriter Gregory Widen (HIGHLANDER) returns, the lead character is meant to be the grown up son/grandson of Kurt Russell’s characters, William Baldwin returns as Brian McCaffrey (now assistant chief) and Donald Sutherland returns as crazy/fun pyromaniac Ronald Bartel. Also it’s supposed to be the same fire station, there are photos of Russell and Scott Glenn on the wall, the events of part 1 are discussed, and (in a real fuckin stretch) Brian uses the phrase “career dissipation light,” which was already a stretch when he repeated it back to a corrupt Alderman he heard using it 28 years ago. Are we really to believe he loved it so much he made it part of his lingo? (read the rest of this shit…)

Backdraft

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

May 24, 1991

This may surprise you, but I had never seen BACKDRAFT until now. It’s often mentioned as the Ron Howard movie people like, or a good Kurt Russell movie or ‘90s thriller, or a movie with amazing pyrotechnic effects, and I knew I’d heard people speak of it fondly. I asked on Twitter and received many emphatic confirmations that people consider it a classic, some having even reaffirmed their love semi-recently in a theatrical screening.

So I hope you won’t all feel direspected when I tell you I thought this movie was pretty fuckin ridiculous! Maybe that’s part of what you like about it? It’s also true that the fire stuff is impressive, and of course Russell is good in it, and his character is pretty interesting because he’s about 85% total asshole and 15% guy you root for, which is not the obvious choice. Also, it’s fair to say that there aren’t very many movies specifically about firefighters; usually the macho ball-busting sweaty working class bros who go to the pub together to be rowdy and are in dutch with the old lady because of the job in movies are cops. Also, I can’t fault people for loving the type of corny old-fashioned weepy-eyed hand-over-your-heart astronaut movie type salute it gives to the heroism of firefighters. I think these are all legitimate reasons to like the movie, I’m not questioning that. (read the rest of this shit…)

Highlander

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

HIGHLANDER is the 1986 cult classic about immortal warriors of different nationalities waging a battle across centuries, and its opening is a clash in its own right. It starts with Sean Connery narrating flowery fantasy movie text, cuts to credits rhythmically cut to a rockin Queen theme song, and before we know it the gorgeously grainy cinematography of Gerry Fisher (WISE BLOOD, THE NINTH CONFIGURATION, DEAD BANG) and the orchestra of Michael Kamen (DEAD ZONE, BRAZIL) are lavishing cinematic glory on a super-powered sword fight between trenchcoated acquaintances in the Madison Square Garden parking garage during a professional wrestling match. The stadium rock band influenced by opera butts up against the rock arranger turned classical score composer for a sword-and-sorcery meets urban-action cage match. And somehow this all feels perfectly natural.

The production itself is a battle royale of nationalities: British and American financiers, Australian director Russell Mulcahy, Frenchman Christopher Lambert playing Scottish, Scotsman Connery playing Egyptian-Spanish, carrying a katana. Classes, cultures and eras fit together in unexpected ways, forming a movie that feels a little closer to the neo-noir-and-loneliness cinematography-porn of BLADE RUNNER than to other action films of ’86 like THE DELTA FORCE, AVENGING FORCE, NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER, QUIET COOL, DANGEROUSLY CLOSE or NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE. And yet HIGHLANDER developed enough multi-generational populist appeal to be declared “best movie ever made” by Ricky Bobby in TALLADEGA NIGHTS. (read the rest of this shit…)