Archives for posts with tag: Kevin Spacey

“L.A. Confidential” (1997) is a modern film noir classic that unfortunately has fallen off the radar. So has its star, Guy Pearce, who plays an idealistic cop with a streak of self-promotion. The juicy role failed to ignite the Englishman’s career. Instead, an Aussie, Russell Crowe, became the box office gladiator, so to speak, after his co-starring role as a brutal cop with a streak of idealism. The plot is delightfully stylish and multidimensional without becoming ridiculous. So are the conflicted characters played by Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito and David Strathairn’s mustache. The Oscar-nominated score is great, too.

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There aren’t many movies about Puerto Rico, so I can safely say “A Show of Force” (1990) is one of the better movies about Puerto Rico. It’s a heavy-handed, left-leaning, sorta-based-on-a-true-story political crime thriller starring the bizarre combination of Amy Irving, Andy Garcia, Kevin Spacey, Erik Estrada, Robert Duvall and Lou Diamond Phillips. And Andy Garcia’s beard, which covers so much territory, it deserved its own credit. Spacey plays a mysterious FBI agent. His performance might have been more effective had he played Frank Underwood or Keyser Soze first. You’ll roll your eyes realizing that Irving is playing a Hispanic journalist.

 

You know, I would just love to take a dump all over “Horrible Bosses 2” (2014). (I’m only speaking metaphorically. Jennifer Aniston’s character might be inside my head a little bit.) But dang it, I just can’t. I mean, it made me laugh out loud a couple of times. My expectations were low. (It’s a sequel to a ridiculous 2011 film in which three wimpy everymen plot revenge and hijinks ensue.) It met them. It’s another disposable Jason Bateman comedy. Jamie Foxx’s character is understatedly funny and “How You Like Me Now” by The Heavy is a great theme song.

Modern cinema suffers from a disease known as blockbusteritis. Symptoms are cookie-cutter plots in which the hero saves the world and hooks back up with ex-wife/girlfriend, in no particular order. Oh, and helicopters. Lots of helicopters. Experts are trying to track down the host virus, but it dates back at least as far as a 1995 outbreak called… well, it’s called “Outbreak.” Dustin Hoffman saves everyone from a killer disease by making impassioned speeches. Ex-wife Rene Russo might have been better off dead. In an unusual twist, neither of the two black co-stars (Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding Jr.), get killed.

I’ve gambled and won regularly (basketball, football), broke even (scratch off tickets) and gone from way up to busted (casino). I’m no high roller, but I’ve learned that to win big, you have to wager an amount that is uncomfortable to most people. Interestingly, being uncomfortable gives you a rush when you win AND lose, and a strange, incomplete feeling when you stop. “21,” the 2008 story of MIT kids that break the Las Vegas blackjack tables, is quite a thrill ride. But even though the inventive plot ties up all the loose ends, it’s still strangely unsatisfying. Ironic, huh?

LSD plays a prominent role in “The Men Who Stare at Goats” (2009). It also may have played a prominent role in the scriptwriting. The idea is funny and quirky enough. Take two seemingly polar opposites – the U.S. Army and New Age philosophy – and show how their moral relativism makes them highly similar and thus ripe for collaboration. Then start trippin’! What? You want the plot to be coherent? Dude, you’re bringin’ me down. Look! There’s Jeff Bridges! He plays a hippie Army commander. Ha ha! Get it? Movies like this make me think George Clooney has a mean streak.

Kevin Spacey makes movie-watching fun. Maybe he just does a good job of picking movies. Like “Casino Jack” (2010), which tells the story of Wasington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who ended up in prison for, um, lobbying. I guess he did it wrong or something. I was too busy enjoying the witty dialog, Kelly Preston, Jon Lovitz, the dude who played Dale Earnhardt in that ESPN movie, and adorable redhead Rachelle Lefevre to have any kind of moral epiphany. I already know Washington is sleazy and all politicians are hypocrites. But thank you, Mr. Spacey, for making it seem so fun.