Archives for posts with tag: Beverly D’Angelo

From the very start, with its elegant montage of kitschy postcards set to Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983) lets the moviegoer know they’re going to get a much stronger effort than what is normally given to a road movie. Written by John Hughes and directed by Harold Ramis, one family’s cross-country quest for a theme-park vacation is an epic comedy that still makes some “best” lists two generations hence. A formula plot played out by masters, suburban dad Chevy Chase leads a cast so deep, you probably won’t realize Jane Krakowski was in it until the credits.

There’s a long list of movies where Stereotypical Suburban Family suffers a tragedy, is screwed over by the justice system, decides to take the law into its own hands, and has to weigh the philosophical magnitude of the decision. The tone of the times determines the ending. “Eye for an Eye” (1996) adds to the list without adding much artistic originality. Sally Field is the hyperbolically irrational mom and Ed Harris is the rock-solid dad. Their daughter is killed by psychopath Kiefer Sutherland, whose character is incredibly well fleshed out (no pun intended). He’s really the only reason to watch.

Is it acting if you go through an entire movie without saying anything? (Oh yeah, silent movies – I forgot.) Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a mute in “Lightning Jack,” a 1994 western starring Paul Hogan. Hogan also wrote the script, which explains why a gunslinging Crocodile Dundee has a mute sidekick – more lines for Hogan. The plot is actually kind of interesting, and Gooding does well given the restrictions on his character. Hogan, however, loves himself too much to play a murderous bank robber, so he sprinkles in just enough wincingly self-deprecating slapstick to make himself (but not me) feel better.