Tag Archives: Curtis Hanson

The Set of 400: #27 – My Favorite Lana Turner Cameo

Today! Because this is the City of the Angels, and you haven’t got any wings –

L.A. Confidential (1997)

Directed by Curtis Hanson (x2)

Starring Guy Pearce (x3), Russell Crowe, James Cromwell (x3), Kevin Spacey (x3), Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito (x7), David Strathairn (x5), Ron Rifkin (x2), Matt McCoy, Graham Beckel, Amber Smith, Simon Baker, Paul Guilfoyle (x2), Darrell Sandeen, John Mahon

Man, they really did not know how to market this movie. Like, look at that poster! Besides just being a terrible composition of pictures, this – like most ads for the film – focuses on Kim Basinger, despite her being at best the fifth or sixth lead in the film. I went with this poster because most chose to spotlight Kevin Spacey – himself not remotely the star of the film, plus his subsequent reveal as a huge monster. I almost chose this poster instead:

Meh

But it doesn’t show anyone at all, and instead leans heavy on reviews and names – again getting Spacey first. Maybe due to its twisty, complicated plot, L.A. Confidential wasn’t a huge hit in its day, but the acclaim was deafening, so it would get its due at the Oscars at least, right?

Incorrect

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The Set of 400: #397 – My Favorite Endless Novel

Today! Because he probably calls everybody Vernon –

Wonder Boys (2000)

Directed by Curtis Hanson

Starring Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Robert Downey Jr., Frances McDormand, Katie Holmes, Rip Torn, Alan Tudyk, Philip Bosco, Richard Thomas

I loved this movie when I first saw it nineteen years ago – That screenplay! Those characters! – but I’ll admit it may not be holding up quite so well anymore. I’m not sure I ever would’ve had this in the top 100, but 200 seems totally reasonable, had I been ranking down that far in the early ’00s. Something resonated with me in Douglas’s writer cranking out a seemingly never-ending book, amidst the spiraling chaos of his academic environs. I especially remember the ending (not to spoil it, but you have had nearly two decades to watch it by now) being one of the most devastating things I’d seen at the time. I really fancied myself a writer back then, so I think that makes sense. Continue reading

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