Archives for posts with tag: James Caan

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.

I could tell “A Fighting Man” (2014) was filmed in Canada. The trees didn’t look American. Like Canada, this film is quieter and less interesting, but in an acceptable sort of way. It’s a cliché boxing movie about a washed-up pug with one last chance for redemption. Or something, I couldn’t tell for sure what. The script was trying so hard to be self-consciously profound, it made me cringe, remembering back to when I was an obliviously crappy 22-year-old fiction writer. Ever wondered what an exact 5 was on a 1-10 movie quality scale? Then go see “A Fighting Man.”