Archives for posts with tag: James Caan

I know there’s no accounting for taste – which partially explains Will Ferrell’s career longevity – but there’s no arguing his ability to fully commit to the character he’s playing, no matter how absurd. Is there anyone else who could bring the same level of positivity and enthusiasm to the role of a human adopted by Santa’s helpers? “Elf” (2003) is entirely dependent on willing suspension of disbelief, and Ferrell is so invested in his Buddy the elf, there are a lot of otherwise cynical people who rank it as one of their favorite Christmas films. And that’s the point of Christmas.

Ever had that recurring dream where you walk into your old high school science class and realize you’re late and don’t know what’s going on? That’s kind of how I felt watching “Bottle Rocket” (1996). I get the fact that it’s a Wes Anderson movie and it launched the careers of Luke and Owen Wilson, but it’s just not a very good movie. Owen’s lunatic criminal mastermind is curiously entertaining, but pointless. And I don’t know why most of the other affluent slacker characters are doing what they’re doing. Not James Caan. He’s an actual criminal. And he’s no slacker.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s page in Hollywood history will not talk about art. It will explain his contribution to the genre known as summertime blockbuster action films. “Eraser” (1996) might get mentioned because it’s a perfect example. Arnold must protect a federal witness (Vanessa Williams) from the four horsemen of action movies: pyrotechnics, technology, organized crime and double-crossing government officials. There’s beauty, humor, helicopters and explosions. The climax is just as implausible as the rest of the film and don’t ask me about Arnold’s accent. Just eat your popcorn and enjoy the air conditioning for two hours. It’s hot as hell outside.