Tag Archives: Brion James

The Set of 400: #219 – My Favorite Mud Bath

Today! Because if we could just get rid of these actors and directors, maybe we’ve got something here –

The Player (1992)

Directed by Robert Altman (x3)

Starring Tim Robbins (x2), Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward (x2), Whoopi Goldberg (x4), Peter Gallagher (x2), Vincent D’Onofrio (x3), Dean Stockwell, Brion James (x3), Richard E. Grant (x2), Sydney Pollack, Lyle Lovett (x2), Cynthia Stevenson, Dina Merrill, Jeremy Piven (x2), Gina Gershon (x2), Angela Hall, Leah Ayres (x2), Paul Hewitt, Randall Batinkoff, Buck Henry (x2), Steve Allen, Richard Anderson, Rene Auberjonois (x2), Harry Belafonte, Karen Black (x2), Gary Busey (x2), Robert Carradine, Cher, James Coburn (x3), John Cusack (x2), Paul Dooley (x2), Brad Davis, Peter Falk (x3), Louise Fletcher (x2), Dennis Franz, Teri Garr, Leeza Gibbons (x2), Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum (x4), Elliott Gould (x3), Joel Grey, David Alan Grier, Anjelica Huston (x3), Sally Kellerman (x2), Sally Kirkland (x2), Jack Lemmon (x3), Marlee Matlin, Andie MacDowell (x2), Malcolm McDowell, Martin Mull, Jayne Meadows, Nick Nolte (x3), Bert Remsen, Burt Reynolds, Julia Roberts (x2), Mimi Rogers, Jill St. John, Susan Sarandon (x2), Rob Steiger (x2), Lily Tomlin, Robert Wagner (x2), Ray Walston (x3), Bruce Willis (x3)

Robert Altman’s brilliant movie-about-movies comeback, The Player purportedly features the most Oscar winners and nominees in one movie – and would advance by one if the Academy would just come around to the idea and hand David Alan Grier his statue already! Altman’s ’80s were a rough decade following his massive success in the ’70s, the only significant triumph being his spot-on political HBO mini-series Tanner ’88. But then came the glorious revival, featuring the likes of Short Cuts, Gosford Park, Ready to Wear I guess, and kicked off in ’92 with this epic Hollywood takedown. I think because of the size of the cast, and that insane opening tracking shot, I always think of this movie as being much longer than it is. Tight 124 minutes! I could’ve sworn I had this movie on VHS once upon a time, and it was spread over two tapes. Clearly not! What the hell am I thinking of? I had one of those weird standing plastic VHS racks that had a clearly defined plastic slot for each movie, so two-tapers wouldn’t fit. What movie was that??

My God, was it Magnolia?!

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The Set of 400: #256 – My Favorite Multipass

Today! Because I don’t want one position, I want all positions!

The Fifth Element (1997)

Directed by Luc Besson

Starring Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman (x3), Chris Tucker, Ian Holm (x2), Luke Perry, Tiny Lister, Brion James, Lee Evans, John Neville, Charlie Creed-Miles, John Bluthal, Maiwenn

Luc Besson’s follow-up to The Professional, The Fifth Element is a crazy cartoon of a movie. A wildly twisted sci-fi film, but I think it’s safe to say this movie is more a comedy than anything else, right? Like, with all the effects (so many effects!) and weird aliens and shooting and explosions, what do you really take away from this film? Ruby Rhod’s crazy cylindrical hairdo! How Gary Oldman’s Zorg’s head would sort of…leak black stuff? Former wrestler Tiny Lister playing the president! “Multipass!” It’s all pretty bonkers.

One of the five best sci-fi hairdos ever?

And it’s just terrifically entertaining. The fact that for decades the only significant English language films Besson made were The Fifth Element and The Professional (which share very few similarities, besides some light moments and Oldman) is pretty astounding. Besson would more recently make Lucy (a decent if forgettable hit) and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (a colossal misfire, apparently aimed at the sect of the population who thought the Star Wars prequels were awesome [and shut up, I only like The Phantom Menace!]), but that’s about it, directing-wise. But what a great start! Continue reading

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