There would be no “Star Wars” without “American Graffiti”. The behind-the-scenes stories about what George Lucas did to get “American Graffiti” made is a plot within itself and a deeper storyline than the movie had.
“Another Take on Film” - Movies you may have seen before that are worth “another take” – watch them again and maybe notice some things differently the second time around. I’ll be continuously adding reviews of films from my personal library of thousands and thousands of titles and sharing what I think is special about each one. Every good film deserves another take.
Ever see a movie that looks, feels, and sounds like a TV show even though you’re sitting in the theater?
That’s Hero at Large. A director who, despite directing “Lords of Flatbush” which launched Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler and Perry King, spent most of his career in television, and a writer who wrote mostly for television and a cast of TV familiar faces led by “Three’s Company” star John Ritter make this film, and it somehow worked.
I sometimes get into an argument with myself if this is a Norman Jewison film or Al Pacino film. It’s not a Barry Levinson film, although he shared an Oscar nomination for the screenplay.
I never understood why this film never really found an audience. It’s classic Stephen King directed by classic John Carpenter. King’s narrative of the teen nerd no one likes supernaturally striking back against his bullies is straight out of “Carrie.” John Carpenter’s style of pure evil without rhyme or reason is straight out of “Halloween.”
Somehow, it didn’t mix. Slasher films made Carrie and Halloween tame by 1983, and for an R-rated horror movie, this isn’t very extreme.
This is one of those stories where a studio head says “What the heck. Let’s make a movie.”
Scriptwriter Tom Holland was a successful writer and wanted to direct his next script, a horror film. Horror was in during the 80s, but vampire films were in short supply (this was two years before “The Lost Boys”, and vampires were the topic of this script.
Some films are meant to be read. “Steel Magnolias” is one of those films where the dialogue is the lifeblood of the films. The plot isn’t really interesting and doesn’t go many places. The spine of the story is this group of close-knit friends and the drama of the good times and bad that bind them.
The drama involves a diabetic daughter and her health issues which drive the story forward. It’s a true story written by her brother and became a hit broadway play and two film versions.
“My Bodyguard” had a first-time director and a cast of unknowns, made $22 million from a $3 million budget, and basically launched the careers of Matt Dillion, Joan Cusack and others. Ok, Dillion was in Little Darlings that year, too, but this is the showy role that critics saw. Chris Makepeace, the nerd from “Meatballs” plays the nerd here, too. Martin Mull and Ruth Gordon add their schtick, but Makepeace and Dillon really make this film shine.
Ron Howard was best known as a television actor in “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Happy Days” but his resume as a director is second to no one. In 2018, he was called in to helm the Star Wars movie “Solo.” He directed the “Da Vinci Code” trilogy along with some other favorites of mine: “Apollo 13”, “Far and Away”, “Ransom”, “Frost/Nixon” and “A Beautiful Mind”.
My favorite will probably always be “Parenthood.”
“Braveheart” got the attention but “Rob Roy” deserved more.
I don’t think there is a better swashbuckler with smarter, dry and wittier dialogue than Rob Roy. Oddly, the best dialogue is with the supporting cast.
Jaws is generally recognized as an amazing film that basically created the summer blockbuster movie model. Summertime was not traditionally the time for audiences to stay indoors to watch movies, and Jaws changed that.
The Jaws sequels don’t have any positive reputation at all. Jaws 3 was in 3d, a fad that died a pretty horrible death in the 80s, and Jaws 4 was reviewed as one of the worst movies in memory. But that leaves Jaws 2 as kind of a middle child that got lost in a shuffle. Not fair.