Tag Archives: David Paymer

The Set of 400: #214 – My Favorite Big Screen Tuberculosis

Today! Because there’s a cancer in the presidency and it’s growing –

Nixon (1995)

Directed by Oliver Stone (x2)

Starring Anthony Hopkins (x5), Joan Allen (x2), James Woods (x2), Paul Sorvino, Ed Harris, Powers Boothe (x3), Bob Hoskins, E.G. Marshall, David Hyde Pierce, David Paymer (x3), J.T. Walsh (x3), Mary Steenburgen (x2), Kevin Dunn (x3), Brian Bedford, Fyvush Finkel (x2), Annabeth Gish, Tony Goldwyn (x2), Larry Hagman (x2), Edward Herrman, Madeline Kahn (x2), Dan Hedaya (x3), Tom Bower, Tony Lo Bianco, Saul Rubinek, John C. McGinley, Michael Chiklis, George Plimpton, Marley Shelton (x2), James Karen (x2), Donna Dixon (x2), Sam Waterston, John Diehl, Robert Beltran

The last good-to-great movie Oliver Stone has made, Nixon is a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the beleaguered 37th president, even while taking him to task for his many shortcomings as a politician and as a person in general. Throw in a bit of wild Oliver Stone-esque conspiracy speculation and a run time so bloated it manages to encompass decades of Tricky Dick’s life rather effortlessly, and you get a bombastic, overblown, sorta wonderful, sorta insane biopic unlike any other.

The performances carry through some of the more gymnastic directing – it’s a movie drowning in technique and style – with Hopkins’ amazing transformation into Nixon at its center. Many others have taken on this idiosyncratic role – Langella is fine in Frost/Nixon, Spacey a little less so in Elvis & Nixon, Dan Aykroyd’s terrific SNL take – but none were able to capture the manic nuance of the man, while also attempting to physically resemble him, the way Hopkins did. It’s magnificent. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #346 – My Favorite Lewd Fowl

Today! Because if I had some place to go I certainly wouldn’t be in Cleve-land –

Howard the Duck (1986)

Directed by Willard Huyck

Starring Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins, Chip Zien, Holly Robinson, David Paymer (x2), Richard Kiley, Paul Guilfoyle, Dominique Davalos, Tommy Swerdlow, Miguel Sandoval

I am fully aware of how terrible a movie this is, thank you very much. And while I do have an unnatural affinity for bad films, not too many actually wound up on this list. The Room, the apex of modern awful cinema, lurked around the long list and kept angling to knock Rocky IV out of #400th, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. The circumstances needed to enjoy that movie are so specific that I felt they removed it from competition – has to be with a crowd, should be at midnight, I have to be at least four cocktails to the worse. So no, Howard the Duck isn’t just some guilty pleasure, cheeky, oh look how cute he thinks it’s funny to include lousy movies thing. I genuinely enjoy this pile of merde de canard.

Still, even though it doesn’t appear on the list, The Room‘s Greek God Greg Sestero does feature prominently in one of my favorite pictures ever

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #399 – My Favorite Gruesome Earring Removal

Today! Because I got hammered –

Payback (1999)

Directed by Brian Helgeland

Starring Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello, William Devane, Lucy Liu, Kris Kristofferson, David Paymer, Bill Duke, John Glover

Hyper-violent revenge fantasy of the late ’90s that it is, Payback is basically a bunch of pretty unlikable characters beating the shit out of each other. What’s not to enjoy in that? Director Helgeland was coming off writing his Oscar-winning screenplay for L.A. Confidential with this fun, bloody knockaround, starring reputed real-life villain Gibson as Porter, a lowlife double-crossed for $70,000 and out for vengeance. Considering the torture and beatings throughout the movie, it somehow manages a pretty light tone, with a lot of comedic bits, especially from the never-better Gregg Henry, film MVP as Porter’s opposite number Val Resnick, and a vintage ass-kicking Lucy Liu, just prior to her Charlie’s Angels/Kill Bill prime. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies