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I suppose I went to this movie for the actors: enigmatic Alec Baldwim,
charming Matthew Broderick, turned-sardonic Tony Shalhoub, mafia man
Ray Liotta (who resembles a "cappo di tutti cappo" even as the director
of the FBI) and thin Calista Flockhart. In the end I came to like it
because of what it actually is: a frank story about goodness and dreams
and not "another" cover up story for a gang heist.
So you've got undercover agent Joe (Baldwin) who is so dedicated to his job, that he lets someone cut his finger off, just in order to get a longer sentence. Then there's Steven (Broderick), a want-to-be film director, who's still searching for his pot of gold...ah, luck. The rest of the characters orbit gently around these two propellers, spawning a genuine web of film-making personnel. Joe and Steven get to know each other when the detective plans to frame a certain low-ranker of the notorious Gotti family (in this particular case, Tommy Sanz, played by Shalhoub) and decides to pose as a film producer in order to fulfill his assignment. He meets Steven, the fate less anonymous screenwriter and the cameras start rolling...well, more or less.
The film proves to be a productive comedy - as in you'll get plenty of chances to prove your laughing capabilities - and is also dubbed by a layer of "sensfullness", meaning it's a smart comedy. Not all the time,I have to admit, but often enough. If I were to compare it with, let's say, "Get Shorty", a rather similar movie, I think I'd go for this one simply because its got more juice to squeeze. Director/screenwriter Nathanson efficiently parodies a lot of wacko attitudes of Hollywood, even though some of these particular scenes did seem to have been forced into the film. All in all, I'd say it's worth your time!
And one more thing...the intro credits are simply brilliant!
This was funnier than we thought it would be, we really enjoyed it.
It's no Matrix or Shawshank but it's not supposed to be. As far as
comedies go, it was creatively warm and mostly...entertaining
throughout! (which is hard these days to find in most films)
Everyone did a good job with some good chemistry. Broderick was perfect for this role and I'm finding Alec Baldwin, (personal opinions aside), is becoming an actor I really appreciate in these types of roles so good for him. So, if it looks the 'least' bit interesting to you, then go and see it, I bet you'll enjoy it. Support a good lil film that has much more to offer you then most of the packaged crap out there.
THE LAST SHOT is best viewed with a bit of info to let the patient
viewer understand what is coming. The opening titles are clever,
dealing with movie paraphernalia that serve as matrices for the stars
and production staff names and should give a sense of what is to come.
But it isn't until the first 20 or so minutes into the film that the
significance of the movie can be appreciated.
Based on an apparently true news article, THE LAST SHOT takes a pot shot at not only Hollywood, but also organized crime, production magnates, the FBI, and little people with big dreams lost in the elusive utopia of fame.The plot is well outlined on these pages. Suffice it to say that the FBI sends Joe Devine (Alec Baldwin) to Hollywood to pose as a producer to lure the underground crime lord Tommy Sanz (Tony Shalhoub) to surface and be caught. Devine needs a script as he discovers from the gross Fanny Nash (Joan Cusack at her hilarious best) and gradually encounters Steven Schats (Matthew Broderick) who with his pathetic brother Marshall Paris (Tim Blake Nelson) has written an unmarketable, non-salable script called 'Arizona'. Devine grabs on to the project, making Schats the director (his dream come true) and casts the film with has-been actress with box office draw Emily French (Toni Collette who looks terrific and adds yet another priceless cameo to her brilliant repertoire) and Valerie Weston (Calista Flockhart) who just happens to be Schats' squeeze.
The process of film-making and the infectious delirium of Hollywood affects everyone in this film - even the FBI and especially Devine who softens into a man who wants to provide the 'littleman' Schats with his dream. The humor is broad, WAY over the top, crude, and slapstick and in so many ways this movie mimics all of the intangible oddities that make Hollywood what it is. The performances by Baldwin, Broderick, Cusack, Flockhart - and, well, all of the inserted cameos - are excellent. Once you get the premise of this film it moves from being inane to being a really terrific parody with some sensitive metaphors. Grady Harp
The Last Shot is a quirky, enjoyable art-house comedy based on the true
story of an FBI agent, Garland Schweickhardt, who was in charge of an
elaborate operation named "Dramex" to nab mob influences in the film
The Schweickhardt character in the film is named Joe Devine (Alec Baldwin). After a brief character establishing scene and an amazing title/opening credits sequence (featuring movie theater objects) that's one of the most creative and cute ones I've seen yet, Devine is transferred to the Providence, Rhode Island FBI office and learns of Tommy Sanz' (Tony Shalhoub) illegal mob dealings with the local teamsters. He figures that the best way to bust Sanz is to set up a fake film shoot and try to get him to make a deal to avoid having to use (and more importantly pay for) union truckers. So Devine, who knows next to nothing about the film business, poses as a producer and heads to Hollywood.
He gets a crash course in the industry from insider Fanny Nash (Joan Cusack in a hilarious extended cameo), and he begins his search for a script and director. Enter struggling screenwriter Steven Schats (Matthew Broderick), who has a day job as a ticket taker at Mann's Chinese Theater and who lives next to a noisy (of course) dog kennel, a fact that profoundly annoys his struggling actress girlfriend, Valerie Weston (Calista Flockhart). Schats has been shopping his script, "Arizona", for a number of years to no avail. Devine sets up a meeting with him and immediately offers him a deal, including casting power, final cut and points. Of course Schats jumps on the deal.
There's only one problem. The script calls primarily for location shots in the desert, including Hopi Indian cave scenes. It's integral to the story. But Devine insists that they shoot in Rhode Island. The bulk of The Last Shot hinges on a few different conflicts, including the FBI's reservations about Devine's plan, which keeps snowballing and turning into a more far reaching lie.
Although it's not every day that the FBI sets up a bogus film production, director and writer Jeff Nathanson uses his debut film as a helmer to comment on various levels of the typical craziness of the movie business. Devine's FBI superiors function as executive producers who are regularly perplexed about where their money is going, but who are easily enough talked into furthering their support as Devine pitches additional time and resources they need to acquire. On a more literal level, Nathanson is also able to spoof agents, directors, actors, and many processes, such as location scouting and casting. Much of this material is hilarious, and viewers do not need to have any intimacy with the film industry to "get it", or to get that there is probably a lot more truth to these scenes than is usually admitted.
The cast is excellent, including Baldwin and Broderick. They may not be the first two names many cineastes would think of when they imagine an art-house film propelled by humorous but poignant performances, but The Last Shot just shows why such conventional wisdom views are off the track. A lot of sizable stars take roles with far less screen time than normal--including Shalhoub, Flockhart and Ray Liotta, but this is a well-written script that turned out to be well directed, so it was a good move for them.
At the same time that Nathanson enables a somewhat sarcastic, cynical view of the film-making process, there is a parallel plot featuring Devine that emphasizes a much more romantic view of the lure of the business. It becomes increasingly clear as The Last Shot unfolds that Devine is no longer concerned with just or even primarily nabbing mobsters. He's trying to plunge deeper into making his "fake" feature because he's falling in love with the idea of film-making. There's a particular line of dialogue delivered by one of Devine's superiors in the FBI, having to do with continuing Devine's project, that is not only a hilarious line in context, it's virtually the climax of the film. Devine has triumphed. The sham has become not what he tells Schats, but what he tells his supervisors. The subsequent conclusion of the film is thus heartwarming and a bit melancholy/tragic at the same time. It's a nice change of pace from more stereotypically "Hollywood" endings.
This is a very good, near-excellent film that has not received the attention it deserves. Although there is an art-house atmosphere to it, it's really more of a mainstream film that should have opened wide in multiplexes with a big publicity campaign. I never even noticed the film on its theatrical release, and I live in New York City and usually pay attention to what's playing the art-house theaters. I only noticed the DVD through my weekly scouring of release schedules to make sure I don't miss anything. Give it a chance and make sure you tell a friend or two about it.
If you expect to see this film knowing nothing about it , don't read on. That said, I can see where the Last Shot is not a film that will appeal to everyone. but it will appeal to those who don't take Hollywood seriously. I didn't get to see it in the theatre because it never was offered here and that is a shame. It has every Hollywood cliché',rumor,perception,and is Hollywood,as well as what we hope Hollywood is not. If true that it is based on a true event, then It is all the funnier. It is Funny! It takes some very pointed jabs at everything Hollywood is and everything movie goers think it is. It's over the top, albeit you may laugh uncomfortably at things you know are true and some you know are not (or hope not anyway.) Just the thought of using the production of a film by the FBI as a sting operation is intriguing enough. But add in that the "director" and a few others are not aware the "film" is not real and you get the point. at times painfully funny. because I was laughing at everything I had come to believe about movie making. In the end, there you have what might be truth... everyone wants to make a movie. Even the FBI agent/producer. For him the line between the objective and the movie getting made becomes thin. Highly underrated and under-appreciated to my thinking. Very funny but with some sharp edges.
Some satires about the process of making movies point out to the
craziness that process creates among the people involved, which is the
idea behind "The Last Shot". It also depicts how most projects go
through transformations the people that wrote them, as different people
that know nothing about movies get involved.
Jeff Nathanson, the director and screen play writer of this funny movie has clear ideas about the concept that too many cooks spoil the broth. He has combined two different elements in his conception of the film. On the one level, there is the FBI investigation on racketeers and on the other, he brings a man who yearns to direct movies into the picture by offering him a phony deal in which supposedly a film is going to be produced, but only as a cover up to trap a mafioso in Rhode Island.
The idea of recruiting Steven Schats, an employee of the Graunman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood to direct his film "Arizona", is something that Joe Devine, an FBI man, dreams to get the results he wants. The film, which makes no sense at all, undergoes a change when Joe tells Steven the production will be shot in Providence, in order to take advantage of a deal with that state's cooperation with the movie industry. The young director gets horrified when he discovers how dissimilar the new location is in comparison with the real Arizona.
The plot gets complicated as Tommy Sanz, the mafioso who decides to cooperate in letting the movie company use the trucks he controls, to the production company in exchange of an executive producer credit in the movie. The arrival of Emily French, an actress of obscure talent, but with great physical attributes, contribute to create more confusion in the preparation of the movie. Also, Steven's girlfriend, Valerie, and his brother, Marshal, show up to make matters worse.
Alec Baldwin plays Joe Devine, the producer with great charm. Matthew Broderick also has an opportunity to shine in the movie. The wonderful Toni Collette appears as the sexy Emily French in great form. Tony Shalhoub is seen as Tommy Sanz, the racketeer. Calista Flockhart, Tim Blake Nelson, Buck Henry, James Rebhorn, do good work in the film. Joan Cusack makes the most of her character and a cameo by Ray Liotta round up the familiar faces in the movie.
"The Last Shot" is a delightful movie to watch as it's clear the director, Jeff Nathanson, clearly understands what make these people tick.
The simplest way to describe The Last Shot is offbeat. This film is not for everyone, but I enjoyed it. It is a little disturbing to think these things really happened. The cast is fantastic, especially Baldwin. Broderick makes up for his disastrous turn as Harold Hill (in the Music Man). I would like to add here that Joan Cusack, who didn't make the opening titles or any of the posters, is absolutely hilarious. Ray Liotta should not have been cast. His presence is too big for the part he's playing. Overall, it's a clever film. My kudos to the editor.
This is a brilliant small budget movie that deserves much more buzz and
play that it has received. It is similar in plot structure to Joseph
Heller's Catch 22.
Both start out with an odd but "realistic" beginning. Each progresses in small steps to more and more outlandish and unbelievable situations with a blurred line between possible and "this can't really be happening."
In Catch 22, the story begins with an odd but possible situation in the European theater in World War II. At the end of the story Milo Minderbinder, an American officer, is contracting with both the Germany and the Allies to bomb the other's military installations.
In the Last Shot, the story begins Baldwin, an FBI agent trying to make a name for himself, voluntarily allowing the bad guys to cut of one of his fingers so that he can charge the bad guys with more serious crimes.
The plot progresses with Baldwin setting up a façade of making a movie to trap other Mafia types. Obviously, no one expects that the movie will ever be made. It then progresses to a point where Baldwin and his superiors at the FBI are making what appears to be a real deal for a "three picture deal" and negotiating over marketing rights.
That progression, together with some wonderful side trips,cameos by Joan Cusack and Buck Henry, caused something that is rarely heard in multiplex theaters with relatively small audiences-outright loud laughter and even a bit of applause as the movie ended.
This movie is not Gone with the Wind or Citizen Kane. It is just good fun with laughs enhanced by the progression of not likely but possible to outright absurdity. The kicker is that the movie, according to the producers was based on a true story. If so truth may really be stranger than fiction.
The Last Shot is a supposedly true story about the FBI, undercover on a
fake film set, known only to the few agents involved, trying to lure in
an unsuspecting mobster in order to arrest him. With the actors and
actresses involved, I expected more. A lot more, actually. While this
was not a bad movie, I was still a bit disappointed.
Director Steven Schats (Matthew Broderick) and fake producer Joe Wells (Alec Baldwin) are making a movie called Arizona, which Schats and his brother happened to write. Along the way, Wells, AKA FBI Agent Joe Devine is talking the FBI into going further and further into actually shooting the movie until it seems that the FBI is actually interested in offering Devine a 3 picture deal.
Meanwhile, the casting is beginning and actually getting the attention of worthwhile movie stars, most notably Emily French (Toni Collette). Toni is visually stunning in this movie.
This movie was not too hard to watch, but still, I thought the talent could have made something much better. I miss the charismatic Broderick of Ferris Beuller. Most of the humor seemed to be of low value shock attempts, with the constant cursing. I am not against it, but in this case, it just seemed more childish and cheap than funny. Overall, not too bad but there are plenty of better movies to choose from. 6.5/10
This is based on a true story.In that story Alec Baldwin plays FBI agent Joe Devine who uses movie director-screenwriter Steven Schats (Matthew Broderick) to nail the mob.He claims to be a movie producer and promises to make a movie of Steven's script Arizona.Jeff Nathanson's The Last Shot from 2004 is some great stuff.It's funny with some pretty dark comedy.The cast is awesome.Broderick and Baldwin make a great couple.Other stars in the movie include Toni Collette, Tony Shalhoub, Calista Flockhart, Buck Henry, Ray Liotta, Joan Cusack and so on.Also the late great Pat Morita makes a visit in the movie.This is a fantastic movie about the movie factory called Hollywood and how things are done there.Steven Schats has a dream and so do many others who go there.Some of them get to fulfill their dreams, some of them just have to hang in there.
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