Tag Archives: Kevin Dunn

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

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The Set of 400: #242 – My Favorite Music Hall Drunk

Today! Because the tramp can’t talk. The minute he talks, he’s dead –

Chaplin (1992)

Directed by Richard Attenborough

Starring Robert Downey Jr. (x6), Paul Rhys, Geraldine Chaplin, Anthony Hopkins (x4), Kevin Kline (x2), Moira Kelly (x2), Dan Aykroyd (x4), Marisa Tomei (x2), Penelope Ann Miller, John Thaw, Kevin Dunn (x2), Diane Lane, Milla Jovovich (x2), James Woods, Nancy Travis, Matthew Cottle, David Duchovny, John Standing (x3), Maria Pitillo, Deborah Moore

Ah, 1992! Apparently the heyday of my movie watching! The eighth entry from the year of Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign, Chaplin had a good hand in stretching my film interests back into the silent era. Now, as we’ve gone over in this space recently, it’s not like this list is teeming with dialogue-free cinema, however, without Chaplin there’s a good chance that none whatsoever would appear. Charlie Chaplin is a gateway into the entire era for most casual film goers, right? Silent comedy, by and large, looks ridiculous now, but at least it’s accessible. People like broad, physical comedy up to the present day, so silents can still be enjoyable, so long as you put aside your prejudice against this form of moviemaking. Don’t lie! Silents are hard, sometimes! One of the only instances where I fell asleep in a movie theater was catching the 1916 Sherlock Holmes starring William Gillette at the Chicago Film Festival a few years back. I was too tired going in! Plus, while there may have been no spoken words, the theater was still plenty loud from the reverberating snores! Everyone I went with fell asleep too! 100% true story. Sorry, Mr. Gillette!

This dude discovering a gun in his hand could only sustain us for so long!

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The Set of 400: #276 – My Favorite Veal Piccata

Today! Because you have the whitest white part of the eyes I’ve ever seen. Do you floss?

Hot Shots! (1991)

Directed by Jim Abrahams

Starring Charlie Sheen, Valeria Golino, Jon Cryer, Cary Elwes (x4), Lloyd Bridges, Kevin Dunn, William O’Leary, Kristy Swanson, Bill Irwin (x2), Bruce A. Young, Ryan Stiles, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Heidi Swedberg, Don Lake

Indirectly responsible for foisting Two and a Half Men on the world, I imagine, Hot Shots! is a direct parody of Top Gun, plus a bunch of other movies mocked along the way. Abrahams spun off from his frequent collaborators the Zucker brothers to concoct this largely solid gagfest with Naked Gun/Police Academy writer Pat Proft, and while a little dated today – this movie being the height of Gulf War comedy – it’s still a pretty funny movie, all things considered.

As mentioned earlier, there aren’t a ton of opportunities to see Cary Elwes do zany comedy – despite this being what he does best, outside of smarmy villain roles – so couple that with Airplane! vet Lloyd Bridges, future Veep great Kevin Dunn, clowning genius Bill Irwin, improv maestro Ryan Stiles, and a weirdly suited for this type of comedy Valeria Golino, and Hot Shots! totally keeps the comedy rolling. I’ve mentioned before how franchise films blend together for me from when I was a kid, and Hot Shots! Part Deux is no exception. It’s more a Rambo thing, right? So that makes it a little easier to differentiate.

Yeah, I’d say that’s accurate

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