Tag Archives: Lorraine Bracco

The Set of 400: #31 – My Favorite Dog Painting (Modern)

Today! Because as far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster –

Goodfellas (1990)

Directed by Martin Scorsese (x5)

Starring Ray Liotta (x3), Robert De Niro (x6), Joe Pesci (x3), Lorraine Bracco (x3), Paul Sorvino (x3), Frank Vincent, Mike Starr, Tony Darrow (x2), Frank Sivero, Chuck Low, Gina Mastrogiacomo, Catherine Scorsese, Samuel L. Jackson (x12), Suzanne Shepherd, Debi Mazar (x2), Michael Imperioli, Kevin Corrigan (x3), Tony Sirico (x2), Illeana Douglas (x2), Paul Herman, Tony Lip, Vincent Pastore, Tobin Bell (x2), Vito Antuofermo, Frank Albanese, Johnny Williams, Elaine Kagan, Beau Starr, Welker White, Henny Youngman (x2), Jerry Vale, Isiah Whitlock Jr. (x2)

In the annals of great Oscar crimes, people are quick to jump on 1998, as I guess they feel Shakespeare in Love too frothy and inconsequential to beat the likes of Elizabeth, Life is Beautiful, and Terrence Malick’s epic comeback to prominence, The Thin Red Line. I’m sure I’ve brought up Saving Private Ryan before, so I won’t get back into that again. But I think there’s a case that can be made for Shakespeare in Love – maybe not in that deep a year, but in some year. However, the great Oscar robbery of the ’90s and of all times isn’t that – hell, I could come up with a bunch of years more egregious than ’98. No, the worst hit job ever done was Dances With Wolves somehow beating Goodfellas for Best Picture/Director in 1990.

This boring goddamn thing

You can say that maybe the Academy didn’t want to go with the violent gangster film – even though they’d handed Best Picture to both the Godfathers by this point – but then the option became the pastoral white savior Native American movie? You’re telling me they didn’t realize how rough they’d snubbed Martin Scorsese all those years and couldn’t recognize his (ever so slightly) waning greatness, and figure maybe it was time to reward him when a truly, truly great film came along, instead of waiting for the next convenient time, which wouldn’t arrive for over a decade and a half? Plus, what, they had to give Kevin Costner an Oscar?? The 1990 Academy Awards make no sense whatsoever, so stuff your Saving Private Ryan griping. That 45 great minutes wrapped around two hours of next to nothing isn’t in the same ballpark.

Remember how Captain Miller’s last words basically show how meaningless his life was and he only existed to teach Ryan a lesson? Remember that? Remember how you think the old guy at the beginning is Miller (because of the whole eye-jump though time) but it’s not Miller, because of how lazy the device was? Ugh, Saving Private Ryan, I swear to God

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The Set of 400: #358 – My Favorite Genital Surprise

Today! Because you’ve got to be a fucking Rembrandt to put on makeup –

Switch (1991)

Directed by Blake Edwards

Starring Ellen Barkin, Jimmy Smits, JoBeth Williams, Lorraine Bracco (x2), Tony Roberts, Perry King, Lysette Anthony, Catherine Keener, Bruce Payne, Jim J. Bullock, Tea Leoni, Michael Badalucco, Victoria Mahoney, Basil Hoffman

Not to be confused with the Bateman/Aniston film of the same name plus a TheSwitch was another cable staple of mine from the early ’90s, and man, the characters largely do not hold up. It’s a bunch of ’80s chauvinist dudes and vengeful, bitchy women thrown into a light-hearted Blake Edwards romp. It’s as 1991 as a movie can feel. Oh hey, and our second jaunt through ’91 in three days! I told you it’d get some love!

So while a lot of the antics are dated and borderline offense in retrospect, the reason this movie retains a spot on this big list is wholly Ellen Barkin’s tremendous performance, as the murdered jerk Steve reincarnated (that’s not really the right word – transmogrified, I guess?) as a woman, in order to find any women who liked him, and thus get into heaven. Don’t worry about the plot, it wildly doesn’t try to make sense. And while it does pay some quick service to how hard it is to be a woman in this asshole-prism of a man’s world, this is mostly an excuse for dude-trapped-in-a-hot-woman’s-body hijinks, of which there are many. The early promise of Barkin’s career never totally panned out – even though she’s had a fairly solid run in movies and TV, by and large – but I’d have to say this is her best overall performance. And it carries this film through its awkward twists and turns and bar fights. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #393 – My Favorite Mentally Ill Buddy Picture

Today! Because who dares to tow the van of the living Christ?

The Dream Team (1989)

Directed by Howard Zieff

Starring Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Boyle, Stephen Furst, Lorraine Bracco, Philip Bosco, James Remar, Dennis Boutsikaris, Milo O’Shea

My second favorite Michael Keaton film of 1989! Released two and a half months before Batman, Keaton was coming off the bizarre ’88 double feature of Beetlejuice and Clean and Sober when this insane asylum road trip hit theaters. I’m pretty sure I saw every Keaton movie of the era once the big black bat came into my life, and this weird little comedy has stuck around through time. His exaggerated Randle P. McMurphy bit (and alongside Cuckoo’s Nest alum Lloyd too!) is fine, but the best parts belong to Boyle’s messianic former ad man Jack and Lloyd’s delusional faux doctor Henry. Like a lot of ’80s comedies, they shoe horn in a gritty plot to give the thing a purpose, besides get lost and be crazy on their way to the ballgame – it’s something about corrupt cops – which all gets resolved fine in the end. Just to digress, do you remember the whole thing about there being, like, cocaine in a diaper bag in Three Men and a Baby? And there are shootouts and shit in that movie? Why the hell couldn’t it have just been those assholes taking care of that baby? Continue reading

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