Tag Archives: Luis Guzman

The Set of 400: #172 – My Favorite Tussle

Today! Because this is the dumbest fucking shakedown in the history of shakedowns –

Out of Sight (1998)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh (x2)

Starring George Clooney (x3), Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames (x3), Don Cheadle (x3), Albert Brooks (x4), Dennis Farina, Nancy Allen (x2), Michael Keaton (x5), Steve Zahn, Catherine Keener (x3), Luis Guzman (x4), Connie Sawyer, James Black, Viola Davis, Paul Calderon, Samuel L. Jackson (x4), Isaiah Washington, Keith Loneker

All of the sleek cool on display in #249 Ocean’s Eleven is directly attributable to Soderbergh’s work on Out of Sight – one of the great unacknowledged sequels of all time. There is again a heist at the center of the film, but it unfolds in a completely different way. Where Ocean’s is pretty straightforward, with only some narrative somersaults at the end to heighten the impact of the caper itself, Out of Sight flips in and out of the linear tale, explaining the characters prior interactions in prison (virtually all the guys were in prison at some point), and how and why this grand Detroit house robbery came about.

The cast is first rate across the board, but none more so than Jennifer Lopez as Marshal Karen Sisco, kidnapped while Clooney’s Jack breaks out of jail, plunging them both in the trunk of the getaway car, where the hot, sweaty romance begins to blossom. Ridiculous, right? But it totally works, in that marvelous Elmore Leonard way. I want to emphasize how good Lopez is here, because I don’t think she will ever really get the credit she deserves as an actress. As time went by, she did more and more romantic comedies and middling TV shows, but her career’s start – with Selena and Out of Sight and…Anaconda – signaled her as a major talent, capable of a lot more than she’s done. Sure, her music career always came first, and those Affleck films sure didn’t help things, but I always hoped she’d get back to some great character work. Not too late, JLo!

No reason to get blue about it!

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The Set of 400: #217 – My Favorite Adult Braces

Today! Because it’s not going to stop/’Til you wise up –

Magnolia (1999)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x4)

Starring Tom Cruise (x3), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x4), Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly (x4), William H. Macy, Jason Robards (x2), Melora Walters, Ricky Jay, Alfred Molina (x3), Felicity Huffman, Melinda Dillon (x2), Luis Guzman (x3), Philip Baker Hall (x3), Thomas Jane (x2), Michael Murphy (x3), Henry Gibson (x3), Neil Flynn (x2), Patton Oswalt, Jim Meskimen (x2), Jeremy Blackman, Michael Bowen, Cleo King, Clark Gregg (x3)

Like many people, my initial reaction to Magnolia was that I had a problem with the ending. For everything else going on in this movie – and there is a ton going on here – the natural takeaway, as it is the climax of the movie, is “What the hell is all this with the frogs now?” But, come on, how else was it going to end? Isn’t it obvious that the solution to all the crazy pent up drama is for the sky to open up and drench the city in biblically apocalyptic frogs? No?

I mean, this kid seemed to dig it

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The Set of 400: #300 – My Favorite Healthy Choice Pudding Promotion

Today! Because I don’t know if there is anything wrong because I don’t know how other people are –

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x3)

Starring Adam Sandler (x2), Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman (x2), Luis Guzman (x2), Robert Smigel, Mary Lynn Rajskub (x2)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s smallest movie also easily qualified as his weirdest, until Inherent Vice came on the scene twelve years later. But this one is still pretty odd – Sandler (at his unhinged drama-comic best) plays a thoroughly damaged novelty item warehouse manager who simultaneously begins a relationship with a solidly damaged British women, while also contending with that most typical of film villains – scurrilous phone sex operators. He’s also got half a dozen sisters and periodically flies into violent rages, often at the expense of innocuous public restrooms or sliding glass doors.

The film features a weirdly wonderful use of color throughout

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The Set of 400: #368 – My Favorite My Fair Lady Appropriation

Today! Because without slippy-flippies or angry masturbating I don’t see how that’s possible –

Anger Management (2003)

Directed by Peter Segal

Starring Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler, Marisa Tomei, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Lynne Thigpen (x2), Kurt Fuller, Krista Allen, Woody Harrelson, January Jones, Kevin Nealon, Alan Covert, Jonathan Loughran, Nancy Walls, Heather Graham, John C. Reilly (x2), Harry Dean Stanton, Bobby Knight, John McEnroe, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens

And we’ve wandered into the guiltiest of my pleasures (which sounds awfully gross in that phrasing) – Adam Sandler movies. While I enjoy the vast majority of them, you won’t see a ton of them in the days to come, because they’re largely an interchangeable group of films starring the same people, behaving in the same ways, so it’s tough to differentiate. But this one has Jack the Actor.

I remember having a very late night argument about who was the greatest actor in film history about a dozen years back, with them taking DeNiro and me backing Nicholson and I still feel I’m right in that comparison, even if, come on, Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest, let’s face it. Not to rag on DeNiro – that guy used to be great – but he hasn’t given an even halfway decent performance in anything in about twenty years. Sure, Jack is more or less retired, but I can’t think of an occasion where he totally phoned in a film. Plus, I once heard the argument that if you were casting an Odd Couple movie today, you could easily stick Jack in either main role, and that just resonated as defining truth to me. No? It should be more complicated than that? Probably. Continue reading

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