Today! Because I can go out there tonight with the materials you’ve got and make myself $15,000. Tonight! In two hours! Can you?
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Directed by James Foley
Starring Jack Lemmon (x4), Al Pacino (x3), Ed Harris (x2), Alan Arkin (x4), Kevin Spacey (x2), Alec Baldwin, Jonathan Pryce (x3), Bruce Altman
Hey, surprise back-to-back Jonathan Pryce movies! Now in the past I’ve mentioned some stage-y films (say, Noises Off) and really stage-y films (Rhinoceros), but then we’ve got Glengarry Glen Ross, which is one of the stagiest goddamn motion pictures ever made. Seriously, it’s what, 80% in the office? Maybe more than that? Sure, they broke some moments out into the rain or that bar, but it’s almost a unit set film, and that set isn’t anything all that striking or cinematic. So how do they counteract this? Towering, screaming performances, that’s how!
Enjoy this one room, suckers!
Today! Because there was a murder around here last night, they found the body this morning. A lady from Scarsdale –
Wait Until Dark (1967)
Directed by Terence Young
Starring Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin (x3), Richard Crenna, Jack Weston, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (x2), Julie Herrod, Samantha Jones
Apparently my favorite movie from 1967 (take that #263 Jungle Book and #311 The Graduate!), Wait Until Dark was a tremendous play by Frederick Knott (that I secretly and not so secretly burned to stage, back in my theater days), turned into a very effective locked-in movie, featuring the best acting Audrey Hepburn would ever do. Many of her most famous roles largely required her to show up – not saying she wasn’t talented, but light comedies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sabrina and Roman Holiday aren’t exactly showcases for towering talent. Or maybe I just give more credit to drama/thriller acting – which probably isn’t fair. You know what, forget what I said. Audrey Hepburn is fine.
Hell, I couldn’t pull off this look
Today! Because if I’m doing a fake movie, it’s gonna be a fake hit –
Directed by Ben Affleck
Starring Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin (x2), John Goodman (x2), Scoot McNairy, Victor Garber (x3), Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler (x2), Tate Donovan, Chris Messina, Philip Baker Hall (x2), Rory Cochrane, Clea DuVall (x2), Titus Welliver, Bob Gunton (x2), Richard Kind (x2), Richard Dillane, Adrienne Barbeau, Taylor Schilling, Christopher Denham, Zeljko Ivanek
When we as a people rose up and decried in one voice that we would not allow the slighting of Ben Affleck to continue for one goddamn minute longer, Argo became the surprise Best Picture winner of 2012, despite not receiving a Best Director nomination – as rare a thing to happen at the Oscars as any. And the pointed reason for this win is attributed to this general outrage of Affleck being overlooked, which I don’t really understand. Not the overlooking (even though it was probably a little unfair), but the outrage. Why did everyone care so much? And in a year that I will go to the wall to defend as one of the best in film history? It’s not like there weren’t other deserving and/or better films available. So why did everyone lose their minds over the nominations?
Like, did this seriously have to happen?
Today! Because long before the age of Reason/Evil waged unholy treason –
The Return of Captain Invincible (1983)
Directed by Philippe Mora
Starring Alan Arkin, Christopher Lee, Kate Fitzpatrick, Michael Pate, Bill Hunter
Just your standard Australian musical superhero comedy, The Return of Captain Invincible is a pretty oddball production story that shouldn’t work as a movie as well as it does (which is debatable, too). While they managed to scrape together enough dough for effects and the likes of Arkin and Lee in the lead roles, the planned distribution company in America went bankrupt just before the movie’s release, resulting in it having virtually no all-time box office gross – figures have it around $55,000 worldwide. In Australia, the movie was tied up in litigation for a year – something having to do with tax credits and the producer re-cutting the film without the director’s input – before it got released. Thus, the whole thing managed to slip under the radar for a long time.
Or has it ever really emerged? I have no idea how popular this movie ever got. As of this writing, IMDB only shows 599 people having rated the movie – a few thousand being pretty standard for almost any film. This, despite our collective mania over superhero films in the last twenty years, and the world’s ever-long love affair with musicals? I’m not 100% sure when I first saw it – I want to say I acquired a VHS copy when some video store was going out of business when I was in college? Don’t know, but I’ve been squarely in the Captain Invincible fan club a long time. Continue reading