Tag Archives: Billy Zane

The Set of 400: #296 – My Favorite Heart of the Ocean

Today! Because I’d rather be his whore than your wife –

Titanic (1997)

Directed by James Cameron

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (x2), Kate Winslet, Billy Zane (x3), Bill Paxton (x2), Kathy Bates (x2), Frances Fisher, David Warner, Bernard Hill, Victor Garber (x2), Gloria Stuart, Suzy Amis, Danny Nucci, Ioan Gruffudd, Jonny Phillips, Ewan Stewart, Bernard Fox, Jason Barry

First off, let me begin by saying SHUT UP. I am fully aware of the awesome shortcomings of this film. The dialogue is often atrocious, some of the poor actors forced to play ethic stereotypes get completely mangled in the gears of this film (we forever honor you, Fabrizio!), and the plot – the driving romantic engine of the film – is the most hackneyed, retread, unimaginative piffle they could’ve lit upon. I get all of that. It’s way too long – like, a good forty to fifty minutes too long – and in retrospect can be viewed as pretentiously so, given everything connected to this film that was to follow – Oscar speeches, no follow-up Cameron film for a dozen years, etc.

Ugh, this guy

All that being said, people who regularly slam this movie – then and now – are you seriously telling me you don’t think the second half of Titanic is an amazing movie? I know, it’s half a movie, and you’ve had to slog through nearly two hours of set dressing and nonsense to get there, but once they hit that iceberg straight until that old lady is tossing her baubles overboard, it is as impressive a piece of moviemaking as exists. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #306 – My Favorite Latin Argument

Today! Because you are a good woman, then again, you may be the antichrist –

Tombstone (1993)

Directed by George P. Cosmatos

Starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer (x2), Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Dana Delany, Paula Malcomson, Michael Biehn, Charlton Heston, Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church, Billy Zane (x2), Jason Priestley, Dana Wheeler- Nicholson, Jon Tenney, Michael Rooker (x2), Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Ben-Victor, John Corbett, Terry O’Quinn, Frank Stallone, Harry Carey Jr. (x2), Robert Mitchum (x2)

In the hectic western revival of the early ’90s – following Clint Eastwood’s masterful return to form with the Best Picture winning Unforgiven in ’92 – we as a people had a serious choice to make. Would we adopt a Kurt Russell Wyatt Earp movie, directed by the man who brought us Rambo: First Blood Part II, as our one-and-only, or would we opt for the Kevin Costner version, an hour longer and directed by Empire Strikes Back screenwriter and Big Chill director Lawrence Kasdan? This was some kind of dilemma.

Thankfully, the first one to make it to theaters (by six whole months) was perfectly enjoyable, and we could all save ourselves three-plus hours of our lives, at the beginning of Costner’s rapid descent from stardom in the mid-’90s. Tombstone may be the glossier, goofier take on the old legend, but it is infinitely more fun, and features an arguably superior cast (Costner’s does have Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman, Bill Pullman, Isabella Rosselini, Michael Madsen, and Three-Timer JoBeth Williams, though). Plus, it doesn’t try to out-western Clint – while Wyatt Earp really thought it could bring the gravity by adding running time and a brooding Costner. But hey, Earp did earn that one Oscar nomination – more than Tombstone by one! Congrats, Best Cinematography nod! Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #344 – My Favorite 3D Shark

Today! Because he’s in a ’46 Ford, we’re in a DeLorean – he’d rip through us like we were tin foil –

Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis (x2)

Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd (x2), Lea Thompson (x2), Thomas F. Wilson, Elisabeth Shue, James Tolkan, Billy Zane, Charles Fleischer, Casey Siemaszko, Elijah Wood (x2), Flea, Joe Flaherty, Donald Fullilove, Mary Ellen Trainor (x2)

Ah, 1989! A transformative film year for young Joe, not so much due to Back to the Future Part II, but because its release finally prompted me to watch Back to the Future Part I. And, you know, Batman, Indiana Jones 3, Ghostbusters 2, and so on. As I didn’t have the luxury of great distance between the original and the sequel, these two movies fell into that aforementioned issue I had as a kid – where a movie and its sequel sort of blend together. It didn’t help that BttFII straight rehashes the original movie during its second half, so the sheer laziness of this move didn’t much bother me as a ten year old.

And, I mean, they try to make it clever, showing the old scenes from new angles, with all new stakes and complications, but with a decidedly older face on Marty, and a completely different Jennifer. If you watch the first and second movies one after the other – and try to think of it as one movie – I think it actually makes for a cooler experience. If you allow yourself to ruminate on the fact that four years passed and this is what they came up with – not to mention the mind bending time travel convolutions and all that chalkboard explaining of things – you might not think back on II all that fondly.

Whatever you say, Doc!

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