Archives for posts with tag: James Earl Jones

“Patriot Games” (1992) is one of the few contemporary novels that I read and then saw as a movie. I read it during a week of jury duty back in 1990. I thought Tom Clancy wrote one of the most compelling car chase scenes I had ever read, but I was highly unsatisfied with the ending (Jack Ryan might stand for justice, but not the poetic kind.). The movie comes across as rushed and too actiony for a spy thriller. It’s like a sports highlight reel with no context of how the game was actually played. The ending? Slightly better.

“Coming to America” (1988) might be Eddie Murphy’s most underrated movie. The story is basic romantic comedy boilerplate (Spoiler: He pretends he’s something he’s not to impress girl, she becomes interested, he tells truth, she gets pissed, hijinks ensue, kiss and make up, the end.). The differentiators in rom-coms are the stars and their characters. You have to like the first and believe the second. Murphy and Arsenio Hall (an African prince and his servant) were at the height of their likability and they create memorable characters. Accents, mannerisms and naivete. The forgettable female lead just had to show up.


There are two ways you can go with “Field of Dreams” (1989). If you’re an optimist, baseball geek or lover of Kevin Costner in all his old-leather-jacketed, button-down-shirted, blue-jeaned glory, then it’s a fantastical, sweet, nostalgic journey of a middle-aged family man reconnecting with what’s really important in his life. Baseball as a metaphor for (fill in the blank). If you’re a cynic, you just want to shoot the guy who coined the phrase “build it and he will come” because by now you’re sick of it being co-opted by every douchebag real estate developer, PR person and hack journalist.