Archives for posts with tag: Ned Beatty

According to the credits, “The Fourth Protocol” (1987) is based on a novel by Frederick Forsyth. I never read the book, but the film is so weighed down with Cold War spy movie boilerplate, it’s amazing that Michael Caine didn’t get a hernia starring in it. It’s one of TV star Pierce Brosnan’s first major film roles (he plays a Soviet spy to Caine’s stock British spy). The worst part is that several Soviet characters are played by American actors who use their regular speaking voices. You can’t tell whether they’re actual Soviets, American double agents, or what. Very aggravating.

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.