Archives for posts with tag: Larry Miller

“What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” (2001) is a rhetorical question, but there is an answer. The worst that could happen is you could assemble an incredibly deep cast (Nora Dunn, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Bernie Mac and many more) for an interesting story pitting white collar and streetwise crooks against each other in a match of masculine one-upmanship – but then have Martin Lawrence as the star. Lawrence’s schtick and some horrible impersonations by he and John Leguizamo are a lowest-common-denominator drag that exacerbates an uneven performance by co-star Danny DeVito as a lascivious corporate raider who spars with Lawrence’s burglar.

If “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot” (2019) isn’t a fable about post-traumatic stress disorder, it ought to be. And if it is, it’s the best one I’ve ever seen. Sam Elliott (who is having quite the late-life renaissance), is The Man. One of the greatest of The Greatest Generation, we find him in 1987. Outwardly, a quiet retirement. Inside, the silent torment of his memories of love and war, which we see in flashback. He needs something to get him out of this purgatory. Fortunately, there’s a monster to slay, literally, but I also think figuratively.

Garry Marshall died a few months after the release of “Mother’s Day” (2016) and I can assure you, he took no sitcom-style plot conventions with him to the grave. They’re all here: the younger and sexier second wife, the wacky parents, the sassy black friend, the wedding scene, the hospital scene, the graveyard scene. He did everything but have Fonzie jump a shark again. But that was Marshall’s gift. He could take boilerplate romantic comedy material and pan fry it in enough schmaltz to clog an artery, yet it would always come out satisfying (not great, satisfying). It’s cinematic comfort food.