There’s hardly any part of “Witness” I don’t love. In fact, I wonder how a film like this even got green-lit. Much of the supporting cast and the two writers were perennial television workers, the director had never directed an American film, and films about the Amish weren’t known to be blockbusters.
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.
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.
“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.
Dustin Hoffman isn’t just an actor. When he works, the film becomes all encompassing, and in the 1970s he was on a roll. He wouldn’t just play a part. He studies the part. He fights over scenes. He rewrites scripts. He does everything they tell actors not to do. Check out Tootsie to see the all too real scene between Hoffman and Albert Brooks about how hard his character is to work with. That was reality for Hoffman.
Courtroom dramas are about as frequent as starcrossed lover romance films, but we know how the romance films usually end.
We sometimes know, or hope we know, how the courtroom drama will end.
The test of a good movie, especially a courtroom one, is in the rewatching. When you already know the ending, do you want to see it again.
Some sports movies work even if you don’t like the sport. You don’t have to be a boxing fan to like Rocky, and you certainly don’t have to like basketball to love “Hoosiers.”
“Hoosiers” is a sport movie that really isn’t about sports, or even about basketball specifically. The same type of movie could’ve been about baseball, hockey, football or soccer.
The only reason I ever heard of this movie is that I saw it at least a dozen times.
I lived in a neighborhood that had a neighborhood movie theater, which played final-run movies for weeks on end. “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” played for weeks, and movies were one of the few things I was allowed to do outside past dark.
Oliver Stone make personal films. He fought in Vietnam, so he makes “Platoon,” “JFK,” and “Nixon.” His father was a stock broker, so “Wall Street” shouldn’t have surprised anyone.
I must confess an affinity for business movies and that has stayed with me through the years. “Wall Street” was really my first.