Sunday, July 6, 2008

AND WILLIAM HURT AS THE PRESIDENT!

What a crazy mess. A complete waist of an interesting idea and a lot of slumming talent. 
I just watched Vantage Point. If the TV show 24 is a over cooked up version of international terrorism (conveniently always taking place in the political hotbed of Los Angeles), then this is a cracked out version.

Right off the bat, at this very moment I’m hearing the cast yab in the “making of” doc, talking as if this is more then just a goofy thriller. As if it’s politically significant. 


NOTE: to Hollywood screenwriters (if you want to be less shallow):

1) Go watch Battle Of Algiers.

2) Call me a Bolshevik, if you must... but the reason ‘they’ (America’s enemies) ‘hate’ us is NOT because they are jealous of how ‘free’ we are or our arrogance. Believe it or not, people are ‘angry’ at us for tactual polices. Some of the things we do to the rest of the world, might be considered destructive, even selfish and cruel. And usually in the name of our fading dollar. 

Please one day write a ‘bad guy’ who is deeper then ‘pissy’.


BUT BOY WHAT A CAST!

IF THIS WAS 1986.

You have young pretty boys Dennis Quaid hot off of Jaws 3-D and James Legros, Blade from the hit TV Show Punky Brewster.

And D-Day from Animal House and the black football player from Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

Not to mention the big guns William Hurt fresh of his Oscar winning performance in Kiss Of The Spider Woman

and  Sigourney Weaver about to get an Oscar nomination for Aliens together again for the first time in five years since Eyewitness in 1981.


In the opening scenes of  Vantage Point, big-star Sigourney Weaver plays a news room director who appears to have a major part among the large cast. But then she more or less disappears ten minutes into the flick. 

While William Hurt plays the president and the president’s body double (I won’t even try to explain this) who gets shot about a dozen different times, every twenty minutes or so.

Now, I must say, following presidential politics a little, I thought to myself...  what a strange president Hurt would make. 

Would our country elect a completely bald man theses days? Are we ready to elect a man who resembles Russia's Vladimir Lenin to our highest office? A man who deliver his lines with even more herky-jerky hesitation in his voice then Walken or Shatner?

What strange casting I thought.


But what a strange career William Hurt has had.

He came out of New York theater with the lead in Ken Russel’s science-’friction flick Altered States (1980). And then a couple of brilliant performances, in to me a couple of the best flicks of the 80’s, The Big Chill (1983) & Body Heat (1981) both directed by Lawrence Kasdan

He got chewed off the screen by dying Lee Marvin in Gorky Park. (1984) 

But then he won his oscar as the transvestite political prisoner in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) (what ever happened to director Hector Babenco?).

Then he got two more Oscar nominations for Children of a Lesser God (1986) and  Broadcast News (1987), but  he was really just carrying water for the lead actresses  Marlee Matlin (Oscar winner) and Holly Hunter (she shoulda won, losing to Cher for Moonstruck). And then another costar Geena Davis, won an oscar for The Accidental Tourist (1988). 


So far-so good. Nice career.

Then he hooked up for round four with director Lawrence Kasdan for the lame comedy, I Love You To Death (1990), that may be the beginning of the end for him. Playing a retarded hit man, he started to take on the voice inflections of his on screen partner Keanu Reeves.

Though he took admirable chances in the 1990s, working with major international directors, the films ended up being their less memorable films. Woody Allen’s Alice (1990), Wim WendersUntil the End of the World (1991), Luis Puenzo’s (1992), Anthony Minghella’s Mr. Wonderful (1992) ect.


As his hair line recited so did his career. 

Though he popped up in some high profile fair like Dark City (1998) and One True Thing (1998) and Lost in Space (1998). The majority of his work ended up on cable not a movie screen. 

Then his transformation from yuppie leading man of the 80’s to weird character actor seemed to be complete with a memorable appearance more or less playing Gepetto in Spielberg’s updating of Pinocchio, A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001).

And then he, to the surprise of many got another Oscar nomination for his jarring ninth-inning cameo in the overrated A History of Violence (2005).


The comeback complete.

He seems to have found his footing in a number of higher profile flicks, playing distant and cold dick-ish authority figures in flicks like The Good Shepherd (2006), Into the Wild (2007) and The Incredible Hulk (2008).

When he was younger there was always a coolness and almost a gloss over his eyes, but they were cold rebels, in some ways.

Strangely, his style might have been to it’s most effectiveness in the messy, slick Mr. Brooks (2007). Though the film doesn’t really work, he was terrific as Kevin Costner's serial killer alter ego.

Hopefully, he will find more roles that fit his unique style as opposed to playing parts like the president, that seem better suited for Eddie Albert or Bradford Dillman or some antique from another generation.


-sweeneyrules

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