Tag Archives: Forest Whitaker

The Set of 400: #262 – My Favorite Scorpion and the Frog

Today! Because I can’t help it, it’s in my nature –

The Crying Game (1992)

Directed by Neil Jordan

Starring Stephen Rea, Miranda Richardson, Forest Whitaker (x3), Jaye Davidson, Adrian Dunbar, Jim Broadbent, Tony Slattery, Birdy Sweeney, Ralph Brown

Subject of the last good-to-great Boy George song, The Crying Game was a huge critical and word-of-mouth success in late ’92, leading to six Oscar nominations for the relatively new Miramax Films, and on everyone lips was the fact that this movie contained a mind-blowing twist. That was enough to interest thirteen year old Joe, I’ll tell you.

Now, the thing was, I didn’t see this movie until after the Oscars that year, so I full well knew the twist before seeing the film. I mean, Jaye Davidson was nominated for Best Supporting Actor – that kinda gives the whole game away. This wasn’t a Linda Hunt/Year of Living Dangerously situation. But I guess…I thought there was something else, maybe? Now realize, 1992 was squarely my launching point when it came to discovering there were good movies out there. As I think I’ve referenced before (in one of the previous five ’92 entries), this year is by far the most represented on this list, despite not being widely acclaimed as some great year in cinema. So maybe the twist wasn’t so important to me. Hell, I sat through Howard’s End as a 13-year-old, too, so maybe I was just willing to check out anything up for awards.

While an admirable movie, Howards End can be paint-dryingly dull (I’m not a huge fan of period British drawing room dramas, though)

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The Set of 400: #341 – My Favorite Glinda the Good Witch Impression

Today! Because it’s time to rock it from the Delta to the DMZ –

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

Directed by Barry Levinson

Starring Robin Williams (x2), Forest Whitaker (x2), Bruno Kirby, Robert Wuhl, J.T. Walsh, Noble Willingham, Richard Portnow, Juney Smith, Richard Edson, Tung Thanh Tran

Robin Williams had made movies, and some good ones, before 1987, but it all completely changed with Good Morning, Vietnam. It’s as though there was no concrete idea how to harness his stand-up/Mork and Mindy comedy into a feature film, so no one really tried. Popeye has glimmers of it, with the ad-libs, while The World According to Garp showcases Williams serious acting ability. And then everything converged into this wild war comedy, grounded very definitely in reality.

For those of us who grew up with his later comedies, Good Morning, Vietnam can tend to feel like nothing particularly special. This was the Robin we knew from virtually everything that was to follow over the next two decades. The non-sequiturs! That stream-of-consciousness pile of voices and characters! The virtually non-stop jokes! Sure, after decades, that tends to get taken for granted as his particular style, but this was the beginning of that for most cinema audiences, plus it is housed in a very real war picture, while still managing to work, for the most part.

Seriously, every Robin Williams talk show appearance was basically this

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The Set of 400: #361 – My Favorite Slow Motion Fight Screams

Today! Because I ain’t your pal, dickface –

Bloodsport (1988)

Directed by Newt Arnold

Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Donald Gibb, Bolo Yeung, Forest Whitaker, Leah Ayres, Roy Chiao, Norman Burton

Bloodsport?!” I can hear you reasonably asking. “Are you kidding me? This list is bullshit!” Maybe! But not because of Bloodsport, junior! You want list outliers, here is an epic – I’m not even really a Van Damme fan. I want to say I saw Kickboxer once, and maybe Universal Soldier, but that’s it. However, for whatever reason, I watched Bloodsport to death in the early ’90s. Clean cut Frank Dux beating ass through the Hong Kong death match tournament! And were it just that, I’m probably not sold. I’m not a huge kung fu movie fan in general, but this thing had other outstanding elements – the great funny sidekick work of Revenge of the Nerds’ Donald Gibb as Jackson, the random rare Oscar winning Van Damme co-star in the form of a young Forest Whitaker, and the tremendous villainy of Bolo Yeung as the lethal Chong LiDude!

Jacked and terrifying!

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