Archives for posts with tag: Ned Beatty

Even after all these years, “He Got Game” (1998) might still do the best job of any movie when it comes to depicting the pressures and temptations of being a great athlete in the ghetto. It also has all the Spike Lee hallmarks: intelligent music choices, inventive editing and cinematography, and a strange mix of professional and amateur actors. The latter hurts the movie’s flow, because, frankly, some of the performances are awful. Ray Allen does OK as a high school basketball phenom. Among the pros, Denzel Washington is his usual amazing self and Jim Brown makes a welcome comeback.

Dennis Quaid, he’s a puzzler. He has a natural charisma that transfers so easily to the movie screen, it’s like he isn’t even trying. But then there’s the films where it’s truly like he isn’t even trying. Take “The Big Easy” (1986), a New Orleans whodunit exacerbated by Ellen Barkin’s weak portrayal of a district attorney. Quaid’s uneven Cajun accent comes off like a horrible impersonation of a deaf person. Of course, he’s playing a guy that acts like he doesn’t give a shit, so he almost pulls it off, but you always wonder whether Quaid himself actually gives a shit.

OK, here’s the rule regarding accents for films with international casts. As an example, we’ll use “The Fourth Protocol,” a 1987 movie starring Michael Caine as a British spy going up against the Soviets, because it grossly violates this rule. First option: Have actual Soviets play all the Soviet characters. Second option: Have all the Soviet characters speak with Soviet accents. Third option: Have all the Soviet characters speak with British accents (unavailable here since we also have British characters). NEVER ACCEPTABLE: Let Ned Beatty and Alan North play guys named Petrovic and Govershin but sound like they’re from Kansas.

 

We all have a family member who starts describing a movie and then says, “it would have been good if they hadn’t gotten all political.” Well, that person would not like “The Walker,” a 2007 movie that will also bother people who don’t like to see men kissing. Woody Harrelson does a good job playing a gay southern bon vivant caught up in a murder investigation that has more to do with Washington maneuvering than figuring out whodunit. The murder plot is fairly interesting. Lauren Bacall plays a socialite and must have been the most smoking hot 84-year-old in history.

A lot of guys consider “Rudy” (1993) one of their all-time favorite sports movies. Having finally seen it, I can tell why. The best sports movies are not primarily about sports. “Rudy” is about perseverance. It also serves up many comfortable cliches common to sports movies: the workout montage, the slow-clap moment, the peptalk(s), the climactic big game. Side note: the practice scenes are fantastic in how they show the brutal, nose-bloodying, knuckle-skinning reality of football. Everybody gets beat all to hell. Every single day. “Rudy” is also where Jon Favreau met Vince Vaughn. See if you can spot Vaughn.