Tag Archives: Ellen Burstyn

The Set of 400: #216 – My Favorite Projectile Vomiting

Today! Because it’s pretty much discarded these days, except by the Catholics who keep it in the closet as a sort of embarrassment –

The Exorcist (1973)

Directed by William Friedkin (x2)

Starring Ellen Burstyn (x2), Max von Sydow, Jason Miller, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, William O’Malley, Mercedes McCambridge

If you’ve managed to compartmentalize types of horror films to the point that you can place something ahead of The Exorcist in overall quality, okay. It is more a supernatural horror flick than a slasher movie, more a psychological thriller horror than a ghost story or a tale of creeping death. But this is a lot of mental gymnastics to avoid the obvious conclusion – The Exorcist is the greatest horror movie ever made, and it’s not even particularly close. Again, I’m not a huge fan of the genre in general, but I do tend to seek out renowned, acclaimed films of any stripe, and I’ve never seen anything that quite compares. Halloween is a great slasher movie, but it’s like comparing a small family drama to Citizen Kane.

Yes, even for all its wacko visuals

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The Set of 400: #255 – My Favorite Flaming Wheelchair

Today! Because I am not a man. I began as one, but now I am becoming more than a man –

Red Dragon (2002)

Directed by Brett Ratner

Starring Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson (x2), Anthony Hopkins (x3), Harvey Keitel, Mary-Louise Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman (x3), Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison, Ken Leung, Bill Duke (x2), William Lucking (x3), Frank Whaley (x2), Mary Beth Hurt, Ellen Burstyn

First of all, let me just say SHUT UP. I know the later Hannibal Lecter movies are not exactly beloved by audiences at large. This especially seems to apply to Red Dragon, mainly because of Manhunter, I guess? And okay, I get that – it came out first by quite a bit, and is a solid movie, so if you saw it first and were bitter Brian Cox didn’t get cast in Silence in the Lambs or something, okay. You hang on to that bitterness.

But no one can convince me that Manhunter is actually a better movie. It didn’t have the built in obstacle of needing to overcome a director like Brett Ratner at the helm, I’ll give you that – Michael Mann is by-far the superior filmmaker – but I feel that Red Dragon improves upon the original with every single actor in the film. Again, this isn’t necessarily to slight Manhunter – it’s a fine movie – but this seems to be the main argument against this movie, and I think it is ludicrous beyond words. The only aspect that I might say the original handled better is Lecter himself – because that movie didn’t treat him like he was somehow the star. The Red Dragon story has very little to do with Lecter, and when the original was released – five years before Silence – no one would’ve been clamoring for it be about him. This movie, of course, was concocted as a way to keep making Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal films, giving it that lingering cash-grab feel that people couldn’t shake.

On the other hand, Manhunter did go with this choice

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