Tag Archives: Richard E. Grant

The Set of 400: #219 – My Favorite Mud Bath

Today! Because if we could just get rid of these actors and directors, maybe we’ve got something here –

The Player (1992)

Directed by Robert Altman (x3)

Starring Tim Robbins (x2), Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward (x2), Whoopi Goldberg (x4), Peter Gallagher (x2), Vincent D’Onofrio (x3), Dean Stockwell, Brion James (x3), Richard E. Grant (x2), Sydney Pollack, Lyle Lovett (x2), Cynthia Stevenson, Dina Merrill, Jeremy Piven (x2), Gina Gershon (x2), Angela Hall, Leah Ayres (x2), Paul Hewitt, Randall Batinkoff, Buck Henry (x2), Steve Allen, Richard Anderson, Rene Auberjonois (x2), Harry Belafonte, Karen Black (x2), Gary Busey (x2), Robert Carradine, Cher, James Coburn (x3), John Cusack (x2), Paul Dooley (x2), Brad Davis, Peter Falk (x3), Louise Fletcher (x2), Dennis Franz, Teri Garr, Leeza Gibbons (x2), Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum (x4), Elliott Gould (x3), Joel Grey, David Alan Grier, Anjelica Huston (x3), Sally Kellerman (x2), Sally Kirkland (x2), Jack Lemmon (x3), Marlee Matlin, Andie MacDowell (x2), Malcolm McDowell, Martin Mull, Jayne Meadows, Nick Nolte (x3), Bert Remsen, Burt Reynolds, Julia Roberts (x2), Mimi Rogers, Jill St. John, Susan Sarandon (x2), Rob Steiger (x2), Lily Tomlin, Robert Wagner (x2), Ray Walston (x3), Bruce Willis (x3)

Robert Altman’s brilliant movie-about-movies comeback, The Player purportedly features the most Oscar winners and nominees in one movie – and would advance by one if the Academy would just come around to the idea and hand David Alan Grier his statue already! Altman’s ’80s were a rough decade following his massive success in the ’70s, the only significant triumph being his spot-on political HBO mini-series Tanner ’88. But then came the glorious revival, featuring the likes of Short Cuts, Gosford Park, Ready to Wear I guess, and kicked off in ’92 with this epic Hollywood takedown. I think because of the size of the cast, and that insane opening tracking shot, I always think of this movie as being much longer than it is. Tight 124 minutes! I could’ve sworn I had this movie on VHS once upon a time, and it was spread over two tapes. Clearly not! What the hell am I thinking of? I had one of those weird standing plastic VHS racks that had a clearly defined plastic slot for each movie, so two-tapers wouldn’t fit. What movie was that??

My God, was it Magnolia?!

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The Set of 400: #350 – My Favorite Razor Licking

Today! Because I have crossed oceans of time to find you –

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Starring Gary Oldman (x2), Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Cary Elwes (x3), Richard E. Grant, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits, Monica Bellucci, Billy Campbell

As I think I’ve mentioned before, 1992 was basically the year I realized good movies existed. I enjoyed movies before then – and some turned out to remain decent afterward – but for whatever reason, I turn 13 and all of a sudden I’m looking for a different level of quality and artistic merit in my entertainments. All this after Batman Returns, though, so let’s keep my 1992 in perspective. I still didn’t really know what good was, I just now had a more serious pursuit of it. And one of the movies that had a definite impact on this quest was Coppola’s wildly over-directed Dracula.

Without much risk, I can definitively state that this was Coppola’s last even remotely good movie. Not that he’s been cranking them out – only five true features over the last 27 years – but it was as though this film took every last thing out of him. And it’s all on the screen – the frenetic editing, the sheets of blood, Anthony Hopkins going completely ape-shit, Keanu Reeves acting – it’s mayhem. Artistic mayhem, sure, but still so chaotic that just imagine if this was your whole exposure to the Dracula character. Like, no Bela Lugosi, no Christopher Lee, just this – how would this character have ever become popular? He’s this age-swapping, hyper-passionate monster who can’t pick a hairdo and go with it?

Seriously, what the hell was this about?

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