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Posts Tagged ‘Woody Harrelson’

Doc Hollywood

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021

August 2, 1991

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate watching DOC HOLLYWOOD 30 years later. But jesus christ, this type of movie. Michael J. Fox (CLASS OF 1984) stars as Dr. Benjamin Stone, an arrogant Washington D.C. emergency room doctor who gives it all up to become a plastic surgeon on the other coast. “Okay, question: Beverly Hills, beautiful women and plastic surgery – what do these three things have in common? Me, in less than a week,” he says to another doctor, clearly convinced this is a fuckin cool thing to say. And then he puts on his LEON-style round glasses, gets a bunch of gum and toothpicks to chew on, and hops in his red ’56 Porsche Speedster to head for the 90210.

But on his cross country drive (during which he laughs at how fucking awesome he is when he drives on a shoulder to pass a bunch of traffic) he crashes literally into a white picket fence and is forced to to do community service at a small country hospital in “the Squash capital of the south” on “the buckle of the Bible Belt.” Seems like a pain in the ass at first, but then he Learns a Valuable Life Lesson and/or Discovers What He Really Wants Out of Life. (This story was later remade as Pixar’s CARS and Vanilla Ice’s COOL AS ICE.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Note: I believe I’ve seen the Mario Van Peebles version, but I don’t remember it at all, so I won’t be able to make a comparison.

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY is the movie about Han Solo when he was a little younger than in STAR WARS. This is a generalization, but I’m gonna go ahead and say that no one in their right mind wanted to see a movie about young Han Solo. The only exception is George Lucas, who actually had Lawrence Kasdan writing this before he sold everything to Disney. I’m guessing it was his idea of what the fans who hated his prequels wanted to see.

The trouble is that if there was one Star Wars character who would be the MOST difficult to recast, it would definitely be Han Solo. This is a character that’s all about the specific charisma of Harrison Ford. If Kurt Russell or somebody had gotten the part then it might’ve still been a cool character, but it would not be the same. And you can’t re-create that. You can’t reverse engineer it.

So, with that in mind Alden Ehrenreich (the funny cowboy actor from HAIL, CAESAR!) has done as good a job as one could hope in an impossible task. He only looks a little like him and only sounds a little like him, but he gets some of his mannerisms, some of his attitude, some of his charm without ever seeming like he’s doing an impersonation. (If there’s one area in which it’s an uncanny reproduction I’d say it’s in his gun poses, which always look ready for a promotional poster.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern’s Favorite Movies of 2017

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

I don’t always do a BEST OF list, but as the rancid corpse of 2017 rots on the side of the street it seems like a good time to remind ourselves that good things still exist. I’m not in a ranking mood (I don’t always feel up to figuring out how to measure, say, THE FLORIDA PROJECT against BOYKA) so I’m gonna do some categories and just go through a bunch of the movies I enjoyed this year in hopes of encouraging other people to check them out or share their love for them or the ones that they were passionate about themselves.

Some of these I didn’t write about, and some of them I am working on reviews of (as marked). Most will of course link to my reviews for more in-depth thoughts. But I think you’ll find some surprises and many things not on other peoples’ lists.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Monday, December 11th, 2017

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is playwright turned IN BRUGES/SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS director Martin McDonagh’s exploration of a grieving mother at war with the local PD. Her teenage daughter was raped and killed seven months ago, and she’s mad that they haven’t made any arrests, so she rents three billboards that bluntly explain the situation and blame the police chief by name.

I probly don’t need to tell you that this creates some tension in town. Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson, SEVEN POUNDS, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, TRIPLE 9, THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, 2012) tries to reason with her politely about taking it down. His deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES), who is locally infamous for an unexplained incident involving the torture of a black man, is not as cool-headed about it, and threatens poor Red Welby (Caleb Landry Jones, GET OUT) at the billboard company. The woman’s son Robbie (Lucas Hedges, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA) is traumatized and hurt by the graphic details of the murder he had previously avoided knowing. Her ex-husband Charlie (John Hawkes, STEEL), a domestic abuser and a cop, is embarrassed by it and doesn’t think it helps anything. (read the rest of this shit…)

War for the Planet of the Apes

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Director Matt Reeves, in his two sequels to the prequel to the PLANET OF THE APES series, has achieved some sort of cinematic miracle. I don’t think we as a society have properly acknowledged how incredible and unlikely these movies are. These are prebootquel-sequel-summer-event-special-effects-movies that are bleak, heavy and emotional, yet fun to watch. They feel like they’re based in the real world, yet they have us accepting apes that can speak English – not in a BABE talking-animal-movie type of way, but in a “some of them have evolved enough to learn how to do it” sort of way. Tentative, with odd rhythms, and economical use of words. It’s like a trick that they’re still mastering, putting great effort into each syllable, having to catch their breath between words. There’s still something creepy about this demonstration of intelligence from animals that are in a war with humans like us. Yet Reeves gets us to root for them – for their survival, for their moral choices.

It’s almost beside the point that somehow Reeves films a bunch of dudes in weird suits out in the woods and Weta turns them into photo-realistic animated characters. Most of the main characters and extras are computer generated, but I just think of it as live action while I’m watching it. Remember when it seemed like the Achilles heel of motion capture would always be the creepy, doll-like eyes? Well, here we have Caesar (played by the Marlon Brando of mo-cap, Andy Serkis), a performance that’s at least 25% intense stare-down. It’s as if all the soul and humanity missing from all the eyeballs in THE POLAR EXPRESS were set aside to load into his. (read the rest of this shit…)

Triple 9

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

tn_triple9TRIPLE 9 – being from John Hillcoat, the director of THE PROPOSITION, THE ROAD and LAWLESS – is a cops ‘n robbers movie where the dirty details of the setting, the eccentric character and actor moments, and the suffocating cloud of near-hopelessness in mood and content are given a little more energy than narrative. Even so, it is fairly effective as a heist/suspense thriller and is handily pushed over the finish line by its A+ cast who all came excited to play in this heightened world of crooked Atlanta cops and mercenaries forced by Russian-Jewish gangsters to try to steal from the Department of Homeland Security. The specifics are all odd enough to make police corruption stories seem fresh.

The movie opens with a carload of sweaty, dangerous men discussing and then launching into a credits-sequence daylight bank robbery. It’s only after their messy escape (which includes a van driving fast through traffic while filled with red dye pack smoke and machine guns fired on gridlocked civilians) that we see the badges come out and realize that most of these guys are cops. (Others, we hear later, are “special ops guys” turned private security contractors.) They actually change out of their stained clothes and go straight to work. That’s a long day! I bet they smell pretty ripe, too. (read the rest of this shit…)

Money Train

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

tn_moneytrainex3-snipes“You know, we are not getting along.”

In MONEY TRAIN that legendary comedy duo of Wesley and Woody play John and Charlie, brothers who are both New York City transit cops who play by their own rules. They get into fist fights with other cops (for example over the fatal shooting of a guy who only snatched a chain), Woody has a gambling addiction, and when they chase a suspect onto the tracks it slows down the train that delivers the apparently millions of dollars of subway fare, getting them on the shit list of Captain Patterson (Robert Blake, Our Gang).

Then they get assigned a new partner. Somebody who’s uptight and doesn’t like their methods, right? No, actually she’s really cool, works well with them and even hangs out with them at the bar after work. The trouble is she’s Jennifer Lopez, so they fight over her.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Out of the Furnace

Monday, March 10th, 2014

tn_outofthefurnaceOne movie that came and went during the “summer is over, time for some actor-y shit” period of 2013 was OUT OF THE FURNACE. This is the second movie directed by Scott Cooper, who also rewrote from a script by Brad Ingelsby (writer of the gratuitous American remake of THE RAID that apparently is still happening). Cooper previously directed CRAZY HEART, which was known as the Jeff Bridges Oscar movie, but it was also a good movie in its own right, so it was intriguing that he was doing one with Christian Bale next.

I feel like after we got used to him being Batman we kind of forgot how great Christian Bale is. It’s a relief to see him being funny again in AMERICAN HUSTLE, but I also still like watching Earnest Christian Bale. And in this case Rugged Christian Bale. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Hunger Games

Monday, November 11th, 2013

tn_hungergamesOkay, I admit it. I kinda liked THE HUNGER GAMES. I was real turned off by all the pre-release hoopla, the reporting of every miniscule detail of casting and filming, for a movie from an only okay director (sorry, Pleasantvillamaniacs) based on a book written for kids and too recent for any of the reporters to have grown up on it and have a personal connection to it. It seemed pretty transparent to me that publicists had convinced everybody that this was gonna be the next TWILIGHT, and they were running scared trying to learn the lingo and the character names to show they knew all about this. Hey man I’ll suck your dick for a hit.

Okay that last sentence was harsh but I wrote it down in my notebook and it’s too late to back out now, it’s part of the historical record. I still feel that way but also I gotta admit I was wrong when I predicted nobody would like the movie that much and it would be quickly forgotten. Then they hired a director I kinda like (I AM LEGEND’s Francis Lawrence) for parts 2-3 so I figured it was time to shut up and listen to all the cool uncles of the internet and try this out. Also I was kind of into Jennifer Lawrence after SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. Sorry. But I watched it with an open-minded and I mostly enjoyed it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Seven Psychopaths

Friday, February 8th, 2013

tn_sevenpsychopathsNow that I’ve seen SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS I understand why the ads made it look so dumb: it’s too hard to explain. They made it look like some corny post-Tarantino “isn’t it funny, they’re hardened criminals but they’re arguing over a Shih Tzu!” type bullshit. And that’s in there – writer/director Martin McDonagh (IN BRUGES) is about the only guy whose style can remind me of Tarantino in a good way – but overall it’s weirder and more distinct than that.

In IN BRUGES the protagonists were hit men, and there was a subplot about a movie being filmed near where they’re staying. In this one the movie business is more central. Colin Farrell plays a clearly idiotic screenwriter trying to write something called SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, but he doesn’t have much more than a title. He doesn’t even have seven psychopaths, so he just spends his time trying to think of concepts for different psychopaths, sometimes based on stories he’s heard or seen in the news. So we see these stories in his head, or going on around him, and fictional reality begins to blend with fiction-within-fiction. (read the rest of this shit…)