Posts Tagged ‘Gene Hackman’

Movie Characters You Wouldn’t Want to Meet in a Well Lit Alley

December 22, 2011

Never mind the saying that goes “I wouldn’t want to meet that person in a dark alley.” There are some movie characters that you wouldn’t want to meet in broad daylight. Who are some of these characters? Well, there’s…

Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction
One of the most infamous movie of the 1980’s, which features the most psycho of psycho ex’s and is one of Glenn Close’s signature roles. There wasn’t even much a relationship for her to get worked up over. It was just a weekend fling with Michael Douglas’ character. Of course, when Michael Douglas’ character explains he’s married and things have to end, Alex isn’t just going to slink away and gripe about married men. Crank calls, acid on a car hood and a boiling pot that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase Rabbit Stew, all show how sick this woman is. In fact when this film was broadcast on television, I had to shut it off when I saw the pot-boiling scene. That scene scared me, because I knew immediately what was in there and I didn’t wait to see Anne Archer, who played Douglas’ wife in the film, lift the lid. I thought, “If this lady can kill some kid’s pet, who knows what she’s capable of and I don’t want to find out.”

Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada
Newly minted journalism graduate, Andrea Sachs, (Anne Hathaway) is hired as the assistant to the editor-in-chief of Runway Magazine, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Andrea soon learns that the job most gals would die for involves working for a boss who takes maliciousness to a whole new level. Miranda makes snide comments about Andrea’s sweater (“It’s not blue… it’s cerulean.”) and expects her to know what type of skirt Miranda means when she tells Andrea that she wants “skirts”. Yes, the boss is not only from hell, the boss also makes everyone’s life a living hell. Of course, it would be funny if there weren’t bosses like Miranda Priestly. Unfortunately for the majority of working folk, there are plenty of bosses, both male and female, like Miranda Priestly.

Avery Tolar from The Firm
If you’ve seen The Firm you’re probably wondering what’s so bad about Avery Tolar, who’s played by Gene Hackman? Yeah, he’s a lawyer, but he doesn’t make sarcastic remarks or threats. So, what’s the problem? The problem is that he is apathetically amoral. He knows that the law firm he works for is basically a tool of the Mafia. Maybe at one time he cared and thought about doing something about it. Unfortunately, he gave up and thought, “The hell with it.”  So, he just did his job, ate, drank and was merry and waited for what he thought was inevitable, death at the hands of the firm. That’s what makes his character so scary. He had lost hope and not having hope is scary.

Darth Vader from Star Wars Episodes IV – VI
Of course, I couldn’t leave out the baddest of bad guys. The man who killed his son’s adoptive parents, destroyed an entire inhabited planet, had his daughter tortured, had someone frozen in carbonite, was going to freeze his own son in carbonite, fought his own son in what was suppose to be a death match and cut off his son’s left hand. It’s pretty obvious the dude’s not to be messed with. Or is it? Remember Darth Vader started out as Anakin Skywalker, a noble Jedi Knight. Yet, as noble as he was, he was something of a lost soul. His mother had to stay behind on Tatooine while he went off to become a Jedi and she later died at the hands of the Sandpeople. He had to keep his love (and marriage) to Padme Amadala a secret. On top of that, somehow being a Jedi wasn’t enough and he was seduced by the Dark Side of the Sith. He lost Padme because of joining the Sith and never got to know his children. So, is he to be pitied, as well as feared? No, because in the end he redeems himself. In Episode VI, as the battle is raging in the space above and on the ground of Endor, Luke Skywalker, in the new Death Star, refuses to continue fighting Darth Vader. Therefore, the Emperor says, “So you shall die, Jedi” and starts zapping him. Luke cries out, “Father!” At that moment, Darth Vader picks up the Emperor and tosses him over a ledge. Vader is no longer lost. He sees that his son is in trouble and helps him. His love for son trumps any allegiance to the Sith and it brings him back to the way of the Jedi.

See, there is hope for all the bad guys out there to turn from their villainy. The thing is, they themselves have to see the error of their ways.

Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Attraction-Michael-Douglas/dp/B00005UPNS/ref=sr_1_4?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1323367591&sr=1-4

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093010/

http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Wears-Prada-Widescreen/dp/B000J103PC/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106918/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/

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Disasters Films of the 1970’s

May 26, 2011

Well, May 21, 2011 6:00 PM came and went and we’re all still here. All this talk about the end of the world got me thinking about how I can turn this into a blog entry. Then it hit me. (I’m talking about an idea, not a bolt of lightening.) I could do a blog entry on the disaster films of the 1970’s. After all, disasters flicks of the 1970’s have it all, action, drama, sometimes a secondary love story to keep the story going when there’s a lull in the action.

Also, what was going on 1970’s is similar to what is going on today, such as high energy prices, a war, a recession, high unemployment. In a way, is it not surprising that these films came out when they did and interestingly enough they were very successful, to boot. Yet, one would think that in such a situation, people would flock to see happy, escapist films, not films where people had to deal with earthquakes, fires, plane crashes or other catastrophes. My theory is that in a weird kind of way these films were escapist. The people watching these films were safe and sound in a movie theater, so they could comfort themselves with the thought, “Those people in the film REALLY have it bad.”

So, without further ado, here is a short list of disaster films of the 1970’s.

Airport 1970
What would happen if you got on a plane on a snowy night and one of the passengers carried a bomb?  No, this is not the latest terror plot, this is the plot of Airport. Based on the book of the same name by Arthur Hailey, the film stars Dean Martin, as pilot of the ill fated plane (in a rare dramatic turn), Burt Lancaster, as the airport’s manager and George Kennedy is the gruff mechanic who saves the day. This film was successful at the box office and spawned three sequels and the infamous Airplane! spoof movies.

The Poseidon Adventure 1972
Picture this: You’re on a cruise ship on New Year’s Eve. Everyone is at dinner, they’re happy and waiting for midnight to strike. Midnight comes and so does a tidal wave. Uh-oh. Well, that’s The Poseidon Adventure for you. But wait, there’s more than just a tidal wave. The wave turns the boat upside down, so people have to swim up to the bottom of the ship in the hopes of being rescued. Stars Ernest Borgnine, as a cop on his honeymoon, Stella Stevens, plays his wife, the prostitute who went straight and it also stars Gene Hackman, Shelly Winters and Roddy McDowell. This picture wasn’t a disaster at the box office and earned nine, count’em nine, Academy Award nominations. I guess this film floated the Academy’s boat. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Earthquake 1974
In the late 1970’s many a comedian made a joke out of the “Big One”, which is the earthquake that does more than just shake up California, but causes havoc. When I heard these jokes, I wondered where the comedians got this idea from. Then I saw the movie Earthquake on television and I stopped wondering. This movie came out just as the disaster flick was wearing thin, so its kind of a throw in everything but the kitchen sink, type of film.  It has major stars, such as Ava Gardner, Lorne Greene (as her father, no less, even though she was only 7 years younger then him), Charlton Heston and George Kennedy, as a gruff cop who saves the day. It has a disaster, i.e. the big earthquake that shakes Los Angeles to its core. It also has a cliché love story where businessman Heston has an affair with a young mother. The film didn’t win any awards, but it did feature a new sound system called  Sensurround. Yet, it this feature didn’t catch on for subsequent films. You think the fact that it was associated with the film Earthquake had something to do with it?

The Towering Inferno 1974
This film is considered the best of the disaster film genre, since the level of acting of its two major stars Paul Newman, as the architect of the the world’s tallest building and  Steve McQueen, in his last film role, as the fire chief who obviously wants to put out the fire, is top notch. The film also stars William Holden, as the chief builder, Richard Chamberlain (who plays the film’s villian, no less) as the electrican, Faye Dunaway and even Fred Astaire. Newman’s character returns from vacation and senses that something isn’t right with the building. He is proven right, as shoddy wiring starts a fire that quickly consumes the building, just as a high society party is going on at 129th floor. Who will be saved and who will go up in smoke? I don’t know. I guess, I’ll just have to watch the movie and find out.

Of course, this blog entry is no disaster, since no one was hurt in the writing of this entry. 

Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/Airport-Full-Screen-Burt-Lancaster/dp/B00000I1CJ/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

http://www.amazon.com/Poseidon-Adventure-Special-Gene-Hackman/dp/B000EHSVNW/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1305945909&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Earthquake-Charlton-Heston/dp/6305137277/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1305943269&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Towering-Inferno-Special-Paul-Newman/dp/B000EHSVOG/ref=pd_sim_d_1