Tag Archives: Barry Sonnenfeld

The Set of 400: #35 – My Favorite Rio Bravo Confusion

Today! Because what’s the point of living in L.A. if you’re not in the movie business?

Get Shorty (1995)

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (x2)

Starring John Travolta (x2), Rene Russo (x2), Gene Hackman (x3), Danny DeVito (x6), Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini (x3), Dennis Farina (x2), Bette Midler, Jon Gries (x3), David Paymer (x4), Renee Props, Martin Ferrero (x3), Miguel Sandoval (x3), Jacob Vargas, Linda Hart, Bobby Slayton, Harvey Keitel (x4), Penny Marshall, Alex Rocco

Ah, movies about movies! Plus, Elmore Leonard! Plus, everyone’s favorite Travolta – the mid-’90s, gigantic star variant! Get out of here with your Vinnie Barbarino! Plus, mobsters! This is a movie I have a huge blindspot on – I’ve had this on the high end of my favorite movies lists for years, and I honestly don’t know if anyone watches or thinks about it anymore.

Figure, the post Pulp Fiction Travolta oeuvre included a bunch of hits, but seriously, when was the last time you watched Phenomenon? Or Michael? Or Broken Arrow? Thankfully he made Battlefield Earth and put an end to this stretch of illogical success, or we might be getting huge Travolta vehicles to this day!

Instead, we now get things like this

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The Set of 400: #376 – My Favorite Swamp Gas From a Weather Balloon

Today! Because Elvis is not dead, he just went home –

Men in Black (1997)

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub, Jon Gries, Carel Struycken, Siobhan Fallon, David Cross, Mike Nussbaum, Willie C. Carpenter

Ah, that epic summer of 1997! With mediocre sequels (The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Batman and Robin), fair-to-okay star-driven actioners (Con Air, Air Force One), decently performing kids fluff (Hercules, George of the Jungle), and the okay start to the worst two-thirds of a film trilogy ever (Austin Powers), came the apex of Will Smith, the zenith of his ’90s run, that in reality was only like five movies long. He’d continue with hits for years to come, but would only top the gross of MiB once on his own, ten years later in I Am Legend.

But what a fun film to solidify Mr. Fourth of July’s stranglehold on the holiday (a grip completely lost two years later by the Wild Wild West debacle). Smith and Jones made such a great comedy team that they even buoy the utterly average sequel that followed in 2002. Vincent D’Onofrio is marvelously unrecognizable as the alien in the Edgar suit, the subject of the men in black man/bughunt through New York City. It’s a movie that fully explores the comic angles of aliens living among us, while not getting too bogged down in the nuts and bolts of the whole thing. Light, goopy, and very funny, Men in Black is kind of the perfect formula for a summer blockbuster. Oh, and Men in Black 3 is okay too. Continue reading

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