Archives for posts with tag: Donald Sutherland

Leave it to Sylvester Stallone to turn the restoration of a 1965 Mustang into a workout montage. By the time he made “Lock Up” in 1989, he’d already done four Rockys and three Rambos, and yet his idea of branching out was to play a short-timer convict who gets beat up a lot. Donald Sutherland plays a sadistic warden (is there any other kind in Hollywood?) trying to keep Sly inside. John Amos, Frank McRae and Tom Sizemore provide strong support, but the story is an unimaginative mashup of Stallone’s previous work with some of “The Longest Yard” thrown in.

Many years after “National Lampoon’s Animal House” first came out, a friend of mine re-watched it and said it seemed “slower” than he remembered it. Unlike the gag-on-gag-til-you-gag comedies of more recent generations, this film has a plot, and plot exposition, and relationshippy subplots, and there are several physical comedy scenes featuring John Belushi with almost no dialogue. And the shocking-for-1978 nudity and language is common now. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t aged well. Despite some non-PC asides, the big punchlines are still brilliant examples of comedic craftsmanship. Worthless and weak? This film changed comedy and, in some ways, college.

Ron Howard makes art for the common man, so his films like “Backdraft” don’t get a lot of credit. In that one, there’s an awkward subplot involving a behind-bars arsonist played by Donald Sutherland. The scenes, which ape “Silence of the Lambs,” seem to exist mainly to give Robert De Niro more screen time. Yet, 28 years later, producer Howard signed off on a stripped-down, straight-to-video sequel that reshapes this subplot into a standalone procedural. And it’s actually a pretty decent, 101-minute TV show. “Backdraft 2” (2019) stars Joe Anderson (who?) plus Sutherland and another key 1991 player, William Baldwin.